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Dread Central's Best and Worst of 2011





The Woman in Black's Picks

In 2011 I was fortunate enough to see a lot more good films than bad so while the second half (the Bottom 5) of my list of the best/worst movies of the year was a piece of cake to compile, it was much more of a struggle to come up with the first half (the Top 5). In addition, I've been accused in the past of including too many "fringe" films (i.e., not pure horror) so this time I'm leaving off a trio of my favorites since they could easily be categorized as more sci-fi than horror, but you can find them as the first three listed among my honorable mentions.

Dread Central's Best and Worst of 2011

Dread Central's Best and Worst of 2011- The Woman in Black's Picks (click for larger image) Topping my Best of 2011 compilation is Absentia, which I saw very early in the year but still managed to stay in the forefront of my mind as the months wore on. It's a perfect example of a filmmaker doing a lot with very little. That is, if you consider an intelligent script, completely natural actors, and a director (Mike Flanagan) who gets that we don't need absolutely everything explained in minute detail to be "very little". For me it was enough for Absentia to be my No. 1 film of the year. It's accompanied by the following (in no particular order):

Stake Land - As a fan of vampire films, I was ecstatic to see director Jim Mickle and his co-writer Nick Damici (who also stars as the mysterious vampire slayer simply named “Mister”) put some bite back into the sub-genre. This isn't the first offering from Glass Eye Pix to land on one of my year-end lists (see 2009's I Sell the Dead), and I'm sure it won't be the last.

Attack the Block - Without even seeing my fellow Dread-heads' lists, I'm pretty sure this film will land on more than a few of them so I won't bother going into a lot of detail about why I selected it other than to quote Drew's five-knife SXSW review from back in March: "A fantasy-adventure that hearkens back to Eighties monster movies…Attack the Block transcends the genre it's referencing, becoming a truly fresh and exhilarating marvel rather than just an homage to what came before."

Sint (aka Saint) - A pair of holiday-themed horror flicks came out in 2011: Rare Exports, which garnered the lion's share of attention, and my favorite of the two, Sint from the Netherlands, which flew in a bit more under the radar. I'm not usually a huge fan of slashers, but this one is so fresh and unique that it totally won me over. The Black Petes alone are worth the price of admission. If you're looking for a new Christmastime classic, this is it as far as I'm concerned.

A Lonely Place to Die - You want intense? How about nail-bitingly suspenseful? This movie is all that and more. It's actually the first film I've watched in years that I had to pause in the middle to go outside and get some air. Melissa George really shines in A Lonely Place to Die, and as Gareth wrote in his review, the on-screen violence is "harsh, impactful, and shocking…a thoroughly gripping, expertly crafted, and visually sumptuous mix of white-knuckle tension and adrenaline-pumping action." One of the biggest surprises of the year.

Honorable Mentions: Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Contagion, Super 8, Paranormal Activity 3, The Road, Insidious, The Caller

Memorable Performances: Since I always have to bend the rules a little when it comes to these best/worst lists, I wanted to be sure to include a couple of shout-outs to those actors and actresses who gave the most memorable performances of the year, even if the projects in which they appear aren't listed elsewhere.

In movies we had Gretchen Lodge from Lovely Molly, who thrilled me like no one else in 2011 with her raw, brave portrayal of the title character as she terrifyingly descends into madness. Or is there more to it? Seek out this film and find out for yourselves! There's also Brian Austin Green from ChromeSkull: Laid to Rest 2, who chilled me to the bone as ChromeSkull's facilitator turned nemesis Preston. We already knew from "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" how much BAG has matured from his "90210" days, but ChromeSkull really sealed the deal.

On TV we had Mos Def, the one shining light in what turned out to be an uneven (yes, I'm being kind) season of "Dexter" - they never should have killed him off! But the one performer who stands heads and shoulders above them all is Jessica Lange as saucy Southern belle Constance in "American Horror Story". The accolades have been pouring in for her all year, and I must once again add mine. Jessica, start writing your SAG, Golden Globe, Emmy, etc., acceptance speeches! Note to the powers-that-be at FX: Do whatever you can to keep her on the show for at least one more season please.

Dread Central's Best and Worst of 2011

Now we turn to the Bottom 5. In all honesty, a few of these films were such stinkers that as soon as I finished watching them, I promptly did my best to forget they existed so my comments regarding each will be minimal.

The worst of the worst has to be Creature. I really hate to add to the disdain my cohorts here at Dread Central have been piling on this flick, but there's simply no other option but to do so. Fred M. Andrews, your heart was obviously in the right place, but it takes a lot more than heart to make a good film. Try to include some of those other ingredients the next time.

Kill Katie Malone - If listing Dean Cain as the "star" of your film when he's in it for probably a total of five minutes is the best you can do to market it, then maybe you should find another line of work. On top of that, Kill Katie Malone was dull, silly, and mostly senseless. Steer clear.

Red Riding Hood - Oh, what a letdown this one was! With the likes of Amanda Seyfried, Gary Oldman, Julie Christie, and Virginia Madsen being directed by Catherine Hardwicke, I had hopes of Red Riding Hood transcending its "teen fantasy movie" tag and delivering a product worthy of its big-name roster. Obviously, since I'm putting the film in this position, my hopes were dashed.

Psych: 9 - Here's another instance of the bad outweighing the good. A decent premise that starts out okay turns muddled and melodramatic with some over-the-top performances that pull out every cliché in the book. As Uncle Creepy said in his review, " It's all been done before and done much better."

Ghost from the Machine - Another film I had high hopes for given its premise (bringing dead loved ones back to life), but it was so sloooooooow and booooooooring. It might have made for an interesting short film, but trying to stretch it out to feature length just didn't work.

Dishonorable Mentions: The Rite, Hellraiser: Revelations, The Howling: Reborn, The Sacred, Super Hybrid

Biggest Disappointment: Sucker Punch might not technically be a horror film, but it got quite a bit of coverage here on the site by virtue of being directed by genre darling Zack Snyder and including several of our favorite actors/actresses. I'm not one to get offended by anything, but man, is Sucker Punch offensive in just about every way. I tried to give it the benefit of the doubt, but as it wore on … and on … and on, I could feel my anger rising … and rising … and rising. The people I was watching it with wanted to leave, but oh no, not me! I had to stay for every single sordid moment of this abomination. Was this really Snyder's "vision"? If so, I felt duped and dismayed. Certainly everyone is entitled to a misstep or two along the way in their careers, but it's going to take some time for him to work his way back into this Woman's good graces.

[Andrew Kasch]

[Doctor Gash]

[The Foywonder]

[Heather "The Horror Chick" Wixson]

[Gareth Jones]

[MattFini]

[Nomad]

[The Woman in Black]

[Uncle Creepy]


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antiology's picture

BEST OF 2011

Father's Day
Kill List
Grave Enconters
Hobo With a Shotgun
Evidence
Paranormal Activity 3
Asylum Blackout


Submitted by antiology on Sun, 08/05/2012 - 5:18am.
Genrewriter's picture

I didn't see quite as many new horror films as I would have liked this year but I can muster up some thoughts about the ones I did. In other words, I need to get to the video store and do some serious renting again.

Troll Hunter: The best horror film I saw this year and maybe my overall favorite film that I saw in 2011. It's beautifully shot, the monsters look cool and unlike some other found footage movies, it doesn't get too high on the sub genre it represents.

Hobo With A Shotgun: I had really high hopes for this one but it was a case of far too much in too compressed a space of time and after a while I was just bored by it.

Drive Angry/Final Destination 5: I'm lumping these two in together because they were bad movies that I am shocked that I had a good time watching. Drive Angry is your basic Nicolas Cage action role with a nice horror twist and some good carnage and Final Destination 5 is just a fun body count movie with some good kills.

Insidious: I really wanted to love this movie, in fact the first thirty minutes or so truly scared the crap out of me to the point where I actually watched the rest of the film with the lights on...and I'm a grown man,m damn it! Sadly, the film just didn't sustain itself and lapsed into some truly idiotic moments-Sorry, but if I just barely rescued my kid from some weird spirit realm, I'm not gonna stick around to confront the ghost that's been haunting me all my life no matter how tempting it is. I sort of feel the same way about this film as I did about The Gravedancers from a few years back. Good start but by the end it just loses me.


Submitted by Genrewriter on Mon, 01/02/2012 - 5:19am.
totally agree
creepygirlmoviereviews's picture

totally agree


Submitted by creepygirlmovie... on Thu, 03/22/2012 - 4:12am.
nonserviam03's picture

Honestly, I thought 2010 was a better year. Maybe not specifically for horror, but for movies in general. There were a lot of fun movies this year, but not really anything that I liked quite as much as The Social Network or Black Swan. That being said, I didn't see I Saw the Devil or Martha Marcy May Marlene.

If anyone's curious about my top 10 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_A9qN_tsdU

And my bottom 5 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tw4_6fP5sl0


Submitted by nonserviam03 on Sat, 12/31/2011 - 4:04pm.
James Coker's picture

LifeMi how in the world did Insidious fill you with seething Rage?


Submitted by James Coker on Fri, 12/30/2011 - 4:08pm.
Rottenjesus's picture

Just because no one asked for it...here's my Top 5!

BEST 5:

5. HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN

4. TUCKER & DALE vs EVIL

3. FINAL DESTINATION 5 (DEATH BY SAILBOAT!)

2. RARE EXPORTS

1. ATTACK THE BLOCK (Deserves all the praise it gets)

Honorable Mention: CHILLERAMA! (Zombies Ate & Fucked the Neighbors!)

There is no Worst 5 because DC has steered me clear of a lot of the crap released this year. So I'm not dead inside like Nomad clearly is. ;)


Submitted by Rottenjesus on Thu, 12/29/2011 - 4:20pm.
MagusMaleficus's picture

Funny, I just watched Attack the Block and Tucker and Dale Vs Evil last night for the first time and dug 'em both, although I didn't want to give a blowjob to Attack the Block like some folks. Even so, AtB was a damn fine debut film from Joe Cornish.

I still need to compile my thoughts on other flicks I saw this year before I can draw up a coherent list.


Submitted by MagusMaleficus on Thu, 12/29/2011 - 1:12pm.
LifeMi's picture

Here's my top films of the year in no particular order.

Best: Super 8, Final Destination 5, Paranormal Activity 3
Honorable Mention: Fright Night
Worst: Chromeskull Laid To Rest II, Hellraiser Revelations, Insidious
Dishonorable Mention: Hobo With A Shotgun


Submitted by LifeMi on Wed, 12/28/2011 - 11:38pm.
Vanvance1's picture

We're polar opposites. Hobo with a Shotgun was in my top 2 this year. I also loved Insidious.


Submitted by Vanvance1 on Thu, 12/29/2011 - 3:30pm.
LifeMi's picture

Vanvance1, I didn't hate HWAS but just found it dull and unmemorable. Insidious still fills me with seething rage, though.


Submitted by LifeMi on Fri, 12/30/2011 - 12:43pm.
moderator I'm with you on HWAS, but
Steve Barton's picture

I'm with you on HWAS, but Insidious? Not so much! LOL


Submitted by Steve Barton on Fri, 12/30/2011 - 4:49pm.
LifeMi's picture

Here's the thing about Insidious. The story was fine and could've worked as a subtle, 70s style possession film. The problem is that it's overblown and absurd by the third act. Seriously? Darth Maul with a goatee and claws? It didn't help that the characters are terribly written and acted. Simply put, I never felt engaged or drawn into the film; there were no scares or suspense to be had, save for a couple of creepy images. I know I'm in the far minority, but I despise Insidious.


Submitted by LifeMi on Fri, 12/30/2011 - 5:46pm.
MonsterMash's picture

Alright I usually don't see a lot of things that are bad- I avoid most of the shit shuffled out into theaters(and I still have a lot to see like Chillerama, I saw the Devil, Rubber, Scream 4 and Black death)- so I only have a top best list in no real order-

Hobo with a Shotgun- My favorite of 2011- Grindhouse with soul!
Drive Angry- Enjoyable vehicular carnage, and I like classic cars
Tucker and Dale- Hilarious and had fun characters
Most of The Thing prequal- I didn't like the overuse of CG at the end
Treevenge- It's great
All that Remains- This and Treevenge are the best short films I have ever seen. AtR is spectacular.

Honorable Mentions- Chromeskull Laid to Rest 2- I just wish it was more memorable. That was my problem with the first one too. I like the killer, but why can't they deliver a memorable kill? I like the Hatchet franchise because they can deliver the memorable kills, but in Laid to Rest, we don't get much. Example- The climax of the original LtR where the guy with the cane fights Chromeskull, their is no payoff. Stab. The end of that. Now the Climax of Hatchet 2, where R.A. fights Crowley, that was a fight!
Season of the Witch- It's not as bad as people think. I enjoyed it. I think it was kind of dumb, but it was entertaining.
Insidious- like a PG-13 Nightmare on Elm St. without Rob Englund, it wasn't that bad, but it's not memorable.
Conan the Barbarian- for all of it's flaws, I enjoyed the hell out of it.
The Last Lovecraft: Relic of Cthulhu- as a Lovecraft fan, I really dug this. It's Hilarious, and a hell of a lot of fun.
Wrong Turn 4- It was fun. Cool kills, good laughs. I love the part where the victems dig through the wall instead of going through the glass door. Brilliant.
The Ward- I saw it in 2011, and I liked it a lot. Carpenter's still the master(I don't think i'll name any others that I saw this year that didn't come out this year, but I thought this one was significant).
Rise of the Apes- good, but little to no horror to be found.
Upcoming annual syfy Twilight Zone marathon for New years. And the Fourth of July.
Splatterhouse/Jericho- My favorite Horror video games to come out in a long time. Yeah that was last year, but they're so good they're worth mentioning again.

Dishonarable Mentions-
Super 8- It was speilberg reselling E.T. with an uninteresting alien. Better yet, It was Speilberg sitting there on the screen masturbating on the giant pile of money he made off of that cliched piece of shit that I despise with every fiber of my being. Fuck you Spielberg.
The Piranha 3DD Facebook page webmaster(s)- Fuck you. If you knew the fucking movie wasn't finished, why were you such a cock-tease? If you would have announced the push back on the release date from the beginning,I wouldn't be mad.
Various Syfy films that let me down-Swampshark(or Klanshark), Scream of the Banshee, and others. Although I did enjoy Mega Shark vs Crocasaurus very much(for an Asylum movie anyway)(It premiered on syfy in 2011 if I remember right).
Mega Python vs Gatoroid made me laugh once. It was alright(for an asylum movie).
Anything else I viewed in 2011 that was horror that I can't remember because I've mentally blocked out the pain.


Submitted by MonsterMash on Wed, 12/28/2011 - 11:04pm.
James Coker's picture

Honorable mentions I forgot to mention: SWEATSHOP,Silent House and Amer

2011 Biggest Disappointments: ChromeSkull Laid to Rest 2, Dont be Afraid of the Dark and Stake Land


Submitted by James Coker on Wed, 12/28/2011 - 3:44pm.
nazo's picture

I considered Amer a 2010 movie, or it would have made my worst list.


Submitted by nazo on Wed, 12/28/2011 - 7:43pm.
moderator Great lists, guys! Keep 'em
Steve Barton's picture

Great lists, guys! Keep 'em coming we're having a great time reading them!


Submitted by Steve Barton on Wed, 12/28/2011 - 3:21pm.
nazo's picture

I haven't seen as many movies as you guys, but here's my best & worst horror from 2011.

Best
5. There's very little to separate the top 4 movies on my list, but a big gap between 4 and 5 on my list, so here's my top five so bad it's good horror movies of 2011, a potential banner year in the category. Season Of The Witch, Bloodrayne: the Third Reich, Hyenas, 2012: Ice Age, and Alien vs Ninja all entertained my far more than they should have, and I'm sure there are more that I'll discover in the future.
4. Attack The Block. It didn't blow me away like it did some people, but it's a really fun monster movie that was better than every summer blockbuster except
3. Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes. Yes, some of the pseudoscience babble in this one was of the Syfy variety, but everything else really worked, and Andy Serkis was amazing. Arguably better than the original. Also, I know some complained about the short running time on DFF, but I enjoyed watching a tight, concise summer movie for once instead of the 2+ hour bloatfests to which we've become accustomed.
2. Tucker & Dale vs Evil. Everybody else covered why this one was great.
1. Trollhunter. You can make any argument as to why any other movie on the list is better than this, but it is doomed to failure because those other movies don't have trolls in them. Foy's description of them as "large, angry, feral, mongoloid Muppets on a rampage" is perfect. What else could you possibly want in a movie?

Best non horror movie of the year: 13 Assassins. Not a Miike fan, not a samurai fan, most definitely not a J-horror fan. Doesn't matter. The last 45 minutes are absolutely amazing, and the first half is very well crafted.
Best movie of 2010 that most people probably didn't see until this year. Rare Exports. My favorite movie of the past three years, and my favorite Christmas movie ever. It's like John Carpenter tried to make a Steven Spielberg Christmas movie, and this resulted. Wonderfully weird, imaginative, funny, and heartwarming. If you haven't seen it, seek this one out.

Worst
I don't watch movies I know I'm not going to enjoy (Apollo 18, The Thing, The Roommate, etc), so here are my top 5 most disappointing movies of 2011. If you gave this movie a positive review leading to me watching it...you know who you are.

5. Insidious. It wasn't terrible, and there were a couple cool bits like the gas mask exorcism and the haunted house (complete with rent a kreuger!), but I was bored for the majority of the running time.
4. Black Death. Maybe the movie would be better if I had never seen Monty Python and the Holy Grail. I don't know. Everything that happened was completely ridiculous, but it wasn't fun. It reminded me of the original Carrie, another movie I don't particularly care for (heresy, I know). It was trying to critique religion, but the fanatics were too cartoonish for me to take seriously, but it took itself too seriously for me to have fun.
3. Yellowbrickroad. Again, the first 95% of the movie wasn't terrible. It wasn't anything to get excited about, but it wasn't terrible. It was basically people wandering around the woods for 90 minutes, but I liked the musical touch, and there were a few bits with actual suspense. The ending was just pretentious bullshit, though.
2. Rubber. Ugh. I still think a movie about a killer tire could be funny. A movie about a movie about a killer tire? Not so much. I laughed twice. The first time the tire telekinetically exploded a small animal (by the 800th time? not so funny) and the moment the tire reincarnated as a tricycle. Pretentious and unfunny, the only good thing about watching this is that I was able to dissuade some of my friends from watching it.
1. (with a bullet between the eyes) Fright Night. OK, I didn't think this one would be good, but I didn't think it would be this hateable. I think I left a long comment on one of the DC reviews with some of the reasons I hated it.

EDIT-Speaking of disappointing, I completely (and appropriately) forgot about The Loved Ones, which underwhelmed me, and would have taken the #4 slot on the above list.


Submitted by nazo on Wed, 12/28/2011 - 7:46pm.

List is based on what has come out in the uk.

Best:

1. The Killing (Danish original series)
Not exactly horror but decided to included it due to it's dark subject matter. Made in 2007, the hunt for the murderer of a teenage girl is emotionally gripping and the acting is all round oscar worthy. Brings back memories of when British tv made high class programing and not coping the style of American shows.
The American remake is also a damn good show but believe me it's not a patch on this. US tv take note THIS IS HOW YOU SLOW BURN!!!

2. Super 8
Just thought it was alright at the cinema but it has grown on me since. Most enjoyable film I saw at the cinema this year.

3. Drive Angry
Entertaining flick which reminds me why Nuimage/Millennium Films is the best company for b movies. Shows that there is still fun to be had as Nic Cage heads towards video premiere.

4. The Walking Dead (spoilers)
Still good but has got script problems that stop it but being great. I mean T Bone has done nothing so far, he might as well have died at the start of the series. and despite it's excellent conclusion, the lost girl plotline really dragged on.

5. The Thing
The weakest adaptation of the short story 'Who Goes There' yet still enjoyable. Seriously people would have liked this alot more if it's wasn't related to the other movies.

Honerable mention: Tucker and Dale
Would have made the list if I hadn't seen the trailer first.

Worst:
1.Giallo
I assume that everyone was fortunate enough to forget all about this. absolute crap. Proof that Adrien Brody is the most overated actor of his generation. Let's face it if we were to judge Dario just on the last 20 years, he would be one of the worst horror directors to ever live.

2. Blitz
Absolute cack. Made for the binge drinking, lads mags, I'm 'ard' uk audience.

3. Trespass
Read what I put for Drive Angry and think completely the opposite and you'll have my feelings towards this film.

4. Mothers Day
Proof that remaking a bad movie doesn't mean things will be better.

5. Stake Land
Sorry but just don't get the love for this

Dishonerable mention
Shark Night
Pretty much a syfy movie but with a much bigger budget (and I loved it!)


Submitted by will graham on Wed, 12/28/2011 - 7:22am.
Cinemascribe's picture

Just wanted to give shout out to Creepy for putting Super 8 up there. Loved that flick for pretty much the same reasons you stated here,man. That was actually my personal favorite film of 2011.

Also nice to see someone give an honorable mention to Final Destination 5,which wasn't a masterpiece, but managed to take me by surprise and be superior to the two entries preceding it on every possible level. Quick fun and nasty all the way,with an opening sequence that was jaw dropping. After the inexplicable atrocity that was The Final Destination, I was certain that it was all over for the franchise. I'm talking the full-on "time to finish piling the fresh dirt on the grave, give it a quick pat with the shovel, hit the lights and lock the cemetery gates behind you if you're the last one leaving, it's been real but it's dead" kind of over. Color me shocked to witness proof to the contrary.


Submitted by Cinemascribe on Wed, 12/28/2011 - 6:08am.
Terminal's picture

SO Glad Foywonder was smart enough to put Human Centipede 2 on his Worst list.

I fucking hated Chillerama.

I feel bad for DC. This has been a lackluster year for horror and it must have been a bitch creating lists for the year.


Submitted by Terminal on Wed, 12/28/2011 - 4:21am.
moderator It's never easy, dude.
Steve Barton's picture

It's never easy, dude. Looking forward to seeing your best / worst picks.


Submitted by Steve Barton on Wed, 12/28/2011 - 3:53pm.
Terminal's picture

5 BEST

I Saw the Devil
Attack the Block
Super 8
Insidious
Hobo with a Shotgun

5 WORST
The Thing
Creature
Final Destination 5
The Human Centipede 2
Drive Angry


Submitted by Terminal on Wed, 12/28/2011 - 4:19pm.
moderator I wish I could muster up the
Steve Barton's picture

I wish I could muster up the love that so many have for Hobo. I didn't hate it, but it got real old, real fast for me.


Submitted by Steve Barton on Wed, 12/28/2011 - 5:14pm.
Genrewriter's picture

Same here, unfortunately. After a while, I found myself sort of nodding and thinking "Okay, great, you guys really know how to push the envelope. Can we move on now?"


Submitted by Genrewriter on Mon, 01/02/2012 - 5:00am.
Terminal's picture

You're worse than Hitler. Kidding obviously.


Submitted by Terminal on Wed, 12/28/2011 - 5:53pm.
moderator LOL. Honestly I'm baffled as
Steve Barton's picture

LOL. Honestly I'm baffled as to why I didn't love it. I should have. It has everything that I like.


Submitted by Steve Barton on Wed, 12/28/2011 - 6:02pm.
Terminal's picture

Damn, I also forgot Tucker and Dale vs. Evil. The funniest movie of the year by far.


Submitted by Terminal on Thu, 12/29/2011 - 3:12am.
Sirand's picture

It's because Hobo felt manufactured at every turn.


Submitted by Sirand on Wed, 12/28/2011 - 10:28pm.
Vanvance1's picture

Are you kidding? I've watched Hobvo twice and both times I had a huge smile on my face the entire duration.

This is pure exploitation in the best sense of the word. It's what Grindhouse, Machete and Drive Angry wanted to be. Great goofy fun,actual character devlopment and heart. This one is an inevitable cult classic.


Submitted by Vanvance1 on Fri, 12/30/2011 - 5:28am.
Terminal's picture

Every grindhouse pos since 2007's Tarantino/Rodriguez double feature has been manufactured at every turn. Even the indies are manufactured and artificially flavored. What's the point? Hobo has more soul than Grindhouse and Machete ever did, so I prefer it.


Submitted by Terminal on Thu, 12/29/2011 - 3:06am.

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