Dread Central's Best and Worst of 2011
2011 was an odd year for movies, but not because there were many head-scratchers out there. The simple truth is this past year saw more good flicks than bad, and that in and of itself is quite the achievement. Still, several flicks rose above the crowd as both winners and stinkers, and I'm ready to give my take on the state of cinema for ya, right here right now, along with a few honorable and dishonorable mentions sprinkled in for flavor. In no particular order …
Super 8 - For me this flick was nothing short of pure magic and spectacle. It's a true love letter to everyone who grew up loving monsters and monster movies. Yes, it had that sickeningly sweet Spielbergian ending, but for my money the movie is just impossible not to love.
The Road - Though the film hasn't come out officially yet here in the States, this shriek-fest from director Yam Laranas ranks up there with not only some of the best films of this year, but quite possibly of the last several as well. It's beautifully shot and frightfully scary and intelligent; you guys need to do whatever you can to see this flick ASAP!
Stake Land - Who says vampires lack bite? Never mind the sparkling drama queens who rake in the dough at the box office, this is what the vampire sub-genre should be revered for. Thanks to over-exposure to legions of teenage girls and cougars alike, vampire projects have been universally defanged. If you need a reminder of just how terrifying these beasts can be, look no further.
Attack the Block - Every time the hyperbole wheels starts rolling for a foreign film that we've yet to see here Stateside, it becomes easy to be disappointed. Attack the Block is one of the few films I've ever seen that not only lives up to the hype, but it completely transcends it. It's really too bad that Sony didn't trust this one enough to give it a proper release. If you haven't seen this one yet or have been on the fence, go ahead. Blind buy it. You'll be thanking me right after your first of many viewings.
Troll Hunter - I know, I know. A third foreign flick on my best of list. What can I say? What's good is good, and Troll Hunter is simply great. In a sea of failed cinema verite movies, this flick gets everything right. There are moments in which you just won't believe your eyes. You'll be sitting there, mouth agape, in a state of awe. If that alone is not enough to be included here, then I don't know what is.
Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, Insidious, Paranormal Activity 3, Final Destination 5, Rise of the Planet of the Apes
The Rite - Any movie featuring the great Sir Anthony Hopkins playing a priest who is possessed by demonic forces should be a no brainer of a home run; yet, the makers of this atrocity still managed to find a way to make the film's events fall flatter than the sunny state of Florida. Horrid demon CGI, hammy performances, and the completely unusual usage of frogs for dramatic effect were enough to make The Rite the first film of 2011 to scrape the very bottom of the barrel.
The Roommate / The Resident - It's true we're only supposed to list five movies here, but damnit, even if you combine the similarities of these two shitfests (awful acting, no suspense, ridiculous events leading nowhere), they still don't amount to at least one halfway decent movie. If you're a true glutton for punishment, I wholeheartedly recommend setting up a double feature here. Just don't forget to sign your suicide note. You will be missed.
Rubber - Though critically acclaimed by nearly everyone and their grandmother, I fuckin' hated this movie. It's not high art, and it's nowhere near as smart as it likes to think it is. A story featuring a sentient tire with the uncanny ability to make people's heads explode should have been no less than a rip roaring good time. The filmmakers, however, had other plans. Instead of the mayhem-laden hilarity that should have permeated the screen, the fourth wall is broken to bits and a pretentious experiment in arthouse filmmaking rolls on a seemingly endless path to boredom. What anyone sees in this flick is completely beyond me.
Red Riding Hood - Holy shit. The word "rancid" comes to mind along with "putrid". When you have big name actors up on the screen delivering performances worthy of a school play, you know there's a problem. Here's your classic example of a flick that cares far more about how pretty it is than it does about delivering anything that even remotely resembles substance. Shallow, empty, and stupid, not even the biggest of metallic elephant torture devices could make this shell of a movie even slightly interesting.
Creature - For my money this could be one of the worst damned movies of all time. Here's the thing … you have a cool looking practical swamp monster out in the wild killing people. You have actors known to deliver quality performances. The only thing you have to do is roll the camera and let the mayhem begin. Not here. No way. There's no fun to be had, no events that take place which even remotely make sense, and little to no interaction between the guy in a friggin' suit and the actors of the movie. This is the biggest fuck up of a simple formula I think I've ever seen. It's astounding in its relentless pursuit of being as awful as possible and not in a good way. It's simply wretched.
Fright Night 2011, Zombie Diaries 2, Hellraiser: Revelations, Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, The Howling Reborn