Dread Central's Best and Worst of 2010
The Loved Ones
The surprise hit of the year for me. First-time director Sean Byrne takes the high school romance genre and gives it a massive psycho injection with gripping and effective sequences of torture and abuse that put to shame most of the lazy torture porn offerings of the past two years. Lead antagonist Robin McLeavy, alongside actor John Brumpton as her utterly insane father, is an unhinged treasure.
The most fun genre release of the year, Alexandre Aja’s Piranha 3D does exactly what it set out to do: Take you on a wild and gory thrill ride from start to finish. Sure, some of the effects work is a little dodgy; but limitless gore, Ving Rhames, Jerry O’Connell, Eli Roth’s head being crushed, Kelly Brook and Riley Steele in a nude underwater make-out session, Christopher Lloyd and THE cameo appearance of the year by Richard Dreyfuss are all top-notch ingredients for one great big monster-movie feast.
Christopher Smith’s cinematic track record goes from strength to strength with the Sean Bean-starring Black Death. A bleak, harrowing, unsettling and plain vicious cross of The Wicker Man and Witchfinder General, Black Death is not a film you will soon forget.
Genre favourite Adam Green returns to the swamp for more head-mashing mayhem at the hands of Victor Crowley. An immediate sequel to the events of the first movie, Hatchet II is bigger, better, funnier, gorier and just plain better than the first. Some of the year’s best kills are to be found here alongside a great cast of legends including Danielle Harris and Tony Todd.
While not specifically a horror film per se, Buried – like District 9 last year – has shouldered its way onto my year-end list by virtue of just how utterly fantastic it is. Director Rodrigo Cortés manages to perfect the impossible: Keep the audience interested for 90 minutes with a single physical cast member in a single location. When that single location happens to be a coffin, the chances of failure are astronomical. Thankfully, actor Ryan Reynolds steps up to the plate and makes the role of Paul Conroy all his own, punching out a career-defining performance that makes Buried an unmissable, and unforgettable, success.
A Serbian Film
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale
The problems with this pathetic action-horror hybrid are synonymous with its title – a nonsensical story involving killer angels that look like demons and a bold-faced rehash of the plot of The Terminator. Not even Dennis Quaid can save this utter mess of a movie, drowning in ridiculous dialogue, brain-dead characters, unimpressive action sequences and plot-holes so big I assume the angels flew through them on their way down to torment us.
As with most every year, 2010 had its fair share of straight-to-DVD crap polluting shelves and players. Quite possibly the worst of the bunch was Asham Kamboj’s pseudo-political borefest Basement. Sporting a lethargic pace (which makes the brief 77-minute runtime feel twice as long), painfully poor lighting (if you thought AvP: Requiem was bad, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet), annoying characters, poor performances and a half-baked storyline that’s just plain shite, this particular basement should be filled in with cement and forgotten about.
New Terminal Hotel
B.C. Furtney is a magician; a technological wizard. Somehow, the director has managed to capture the very essence of boredom and seamlessly fuse it to celluloid. Insomniacs around the world rejoice – the answer to your prayers has arrived. Sluggish, tepid, uninvolving, and just plain vacuous; not even the best efforts of the oft-reliable Tiffany Shepis and Ezra Buzzington can elevate New Terminal Hotel above plain worthless. This is one dive you do NOT want to check into.
Isle of Dogs
A British gangster flick that aspires to being a giallo, Tammi Sutton’s attempt at crossing genres is an extreme disappointment. Most of the elements are there, but they’re undercooked, underdeveloped and carelessly used. As described in the original review, the film is more of a rag-tag mish-mash than a careful symbiosis of genres. Isle of Dogs is slow, boring, emotionally impenetrable and just downright tedious.
A Nightmare on Elm Street
Would the real Brad Fuller please stand up? SO WE CAN PUNCH YOU IN THE FUCKING FACE!