Dread Central's Best and Worst of 2012

The Foywonder's Picks

2012 was a really good year for movies – just not for horror movies. Putting together my best list was a bit of a chore because there were many horror offerings I felt were okay but unremarkable, few I would include on a best list even as an honorable mention. Despite coming away from the year firmly believing that the found footage genre has now completely overstayed its welcome, my favorite film of the entire year fell into that category: Chronicle. The only reason I didn’t include Chronicle on my best list is because I’m still not entirely sure it qualifies as a horror movie even though it certainly takes a turn towards Carrie-esque horror by the end.

Dread Central's Best and Worst of 2012

The Loved Ones (2012)5) THE LOVED ONES - I’m going to cheat here. I watched an import copy of The Loved Ones two years ago and included it on my best list then. It was one of the best horror movies of 2010, and with it having just gotten released in the US this past year, I can say it is still one of the best horror movies of 2012. I’ll just repeat what I wrote then: “I’ve heard this movie described as John Hughes does torture porn. That’s an unfair description. Unlike a myriad of torture-themed films I've seen, The Loved Ones uses the gruesomeness to actually ratchet up the suspense rather than just aiming for shock value or tantalizing viewers with gory money shots. Add in the surreal father-daughter maniac relationship, and you have an extra layer of creep factor. I first saw this film with a room full of teenagers on Halloween night, and believe me when I tell you it had every one of them freaking out. Seek it out when it finally comes your way.

4) SOLOMON KANE – I don’t know which is worse: that it took this movie three years to finally get released in the US, that it was released to American VOD months ago but has yet to get a proper DVD/Blu-ray release, or that the same talented director made the preposterously, at times hilariously, bad Silent Hill: Revelations. Solomon Kane is the movie Van Helsing should have been. Better plot, better acting, better tone, better everything. If only Solomon Kane had the luxury of even half Van Helsing’s budget, it could have afforded the bigger and better action set pieces and special effects needed to put it even higher on my list.

3) THE WALKING DEAD (VIDEO GAME) – “Hey, Foy’s cheating again! That’s not a movie! That’s a video game!” It sure is - a cinematic game that tells a better story and delivers a more visceral gut punch than both the TV series it’s based on and just about every other horror movie of the past 12 months. I’m willing to include it on my list because it really is more akin to an interactive movie than a video game. Decisions have consequences. Actions have repercussions. When characters die, there’s a genuine sense of loss. Actual suspense! I can’t even say that about half the movies I saw this year. Stunning how movies are becoming more like video games, and now here’s a video game that, when all five episodes of it are put together, makes for a more satisfying cinematic experience than many movies these days.

2) THE COLLECTION – Easily my biggest horror surprise of the year! I wasn’t a huge fan of The Collector: too unpleasant, too mean-spirited, just not much fun. I was initially planning to skip this sequel altogether. Thank goodness I didn’t because I would have missed a horror sequel I had the sort of fun I haven’t felt since the days of Friday the 13th Part 6: Jason Lives and Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors. A frigging crazy house of horrors that’s occasional silliness only further added to the thrill ride aspect. What I loved most about The Collection was that unlike so many “torture porn” movies, the premise is built almost from the very beginning around the notion of the victims hunting their tormentor instead of vice versa, even if within his lair he and his myriad of traps give him the advantage. Like Die Hard meets Saw. Saw Hard with a Vengeance!

1) THE CABIN IN THE WOODS – I’m fairly certain this movie is going to appear on most of the Dread Central staff’s best lists (sans Fini) so I’m not going to bore you with yet another spiel about why I loved this film so much. Instead I’m just going to voice my one minor complaint: That guy in the movie was right; it really would have been better with a merman.


Dread Central's Best and Worst of 2012

5) SMILEYSmiley makes it onto this list by virtue of its ending. If the ending to The Devil Inside had audiences across the country booing vociferously, throwing trash at the screen, and even spitting on the floor in anger, then it’s a good thing this movie didn’t get a wider release because then we might have heard stories of angry moviegoers trying to set the theater on fire. The ending can be surmised with one word: bull-fucking-shit! Not just implausible, also insulting and infuriating. And to make it worse, there’s a second twist ending that is equally erroneous. The rest of the film leading up to it didn’t offer much to smile about either.

4) BARRICADE – Was the snooze-inducing tedium of Barricade an actual movie or just a hallucination brought on by a bad case of the flu? Such a bore was Barricade that rather than write about it again, I’m just going to steal a paragraph from my review: Barricade isn’t so much a movie as it is a series of often poorly lit scenes almost always culminating in a fake jump scare operating under the mistaken belief that it’s a mind-bending chiller in the tradition of "The Twilight Zone” and The Shining. Not much by way of plot or character development, but, by god, there are flat jump scares, one after another, seemingly half of which culminate in the reveal of nothing out of the ordinary or someone relatively calm wondering why the other person is so freaked out. No matter how many times the Foley artist contributed a loud crash or the music would aggressively crescendo, I cannot recall a single moment that even so much as made me flinch. About all it succeeded in doing was provide enough noise to keep me awake (before delivering one of the year’s worst endings).

3) THE APPARITION – I’m going to assume by this film’s barely 75-minute running time that the producers edited it down into oblivion. If not, then The Apparition can lay claim to having the worst screenplay of any movie this year because the previews did a better job explaining what exactly was supposed to be going on in the film than anything within the film itself. Also never a good sign when a movie’s entire marketing campaign (trailers, TV spots, posters, DVD artwork) are all based around the very last shot of the film. Rarely has describing a movie’s story and characters as “moldy” been so appropriate.

2) DARK TIDE – “Professional diver tutor Brady returns to deep waters after nine years following an almost fatal encounter with a great white shark, bringing happy couple Kate and Jeff. However, before they know it, they discover that the nightmare from the deep is still lurking in the deep, more carnivorous and hungry than ever.” Too bad that completely inaccurate plot synopsis that is still to this day posted on IMDB as the plot summary wasn’t the movie they actually made. Instead I suffered through a 114-minute, painfully boring, semi-thriller that had less to do with sharks and more to do with Halle Berry arguing with her ex-husband, a wealthy father arguing with his slacker son, and all of them taking turns arguing with each other until their boat ends up in a The Perfect Storm scenario where they have to quickly make amends before they either are rescued, drown, or get eaten by stock footage of a shark. John Stockwell’s Dark Tide is so uneventful it felt like the producers tacked on a fairly lengthy sequence around mid-movie featuring characters never seen before just so someone could finally get eaten by (unseen) sharks.

1) PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 4 – If you’ve listened to the most recent Dinner for Fiends, I’ve pretty much stated why this is the worst film I saw in a movie theater in all of 2012 not titled Red Dawn. I’ve never been a huge fan of this franchise, but I’ve never come out of any of these films feeling this negative. Forgetting the lame attempts at jump scares, the extended periods of nothingness, the head-scratching reasons why the main character is filming everything she does 24/7, and all the other completely worn out Paranormal Activity clichés, these films have never exactly been plot-heavy to begin with; yet, this installment manages to be such a poorly assembled slog that by the time it's over, it's apparent it would require yet another sequel and probably even another prequel just to make the ongoing mythology make a semblance of sense. Which begs my most pertinent question regarding this entire franchise: Why does Paranormal Activity need a mythology in the first place? If it was to become a franchise, why not just set each film in a different location with a different group of people and a different paranormal threat instead of bringing back Katie and family and constantly straining to create some sort of evolving storyline about witch covens, possession, rituals, and a demon/ghost that spends an awfully long time just screwing around when each time it clearly knows exactly what it wants and should just go in for the kill immediately. I remember when the first film opened in theaters how much of a relief it was to finally have something seize the Halloween horror mantle from the Saw franchise. Now we need something fresh to put Paranormal Activity out of its misery because I’m starting to miss Saw.


[Andrew Kasch]

[Brad McHargue]

[Doctor Gash]

[The Foywonder]

[Gareth "Pestilence" Jones]

[Heather "The Horror Chick" Wixson]



[Uncle Creepy]

[The Woman in Black]



"Sushi Girl ends with a twist that even the most attentive movie-goer won't see coming."

Holy SHIT you have to be kidding me. If there is a more obvious twist ending in a movie this year, I haven't seen it.

Submitted by G.D. on Thu, 12/27/2012 - 12:36am.

I am surprised that nobody put Lovely Molly on their Best list or even honorable mention. It was a favorite of mine this year and totally caught me off guard.

Submitted by Drew on Wed, 12/26/2012 - 1:35pm.
Jinx's picture

I actually had Lovely Molly in my Honorable Mentions. Really dug that film - super-creepy and very well acted. Glad to see you liked it, too.


Submitted by Jinx on Wed, 12/26/2012 - 3:34pm.
Fearless_Froude's picture

Really, you liked it? I hated the ending and that scene when she was naked and started hugging up on the wolf like character.

Submitted by Fearless_Froude on Thu, 12/27/2012 - 10:26pm.
Jinx's picture

Overall, I really dug the film. However, the third act ran off the rails a bit, with violence and overt strangeness that ran counter to the film's tone from its first two acts. Still, I really enjoyed the final moments and their implication.

Submitted by Jinx on Thu, 12/27/2012 - 10:54pm.
nazo's picture

My Best, complete with disclaimers.

5. The Revenant. It's kind of a mess, but mostly in a good way. It's a zombie movie, a buddy comedy, a war movie, an addiction movie, a crime movie, all at the same time, and it doesn't always work, but when it does it's both original and good.
4. ParaNorman. My favorite of the surprising amount of kiddie/animated horror movies this year. Like The Revenant, it's nowhere near perfection, but it looks great, and is a fun watch.
3. Juan of the Dead. This one really surprised me. It manages to be an unapologetic knock-off and completely fresh at the same time. Even in translation, it's one of the funniest movies I've seen this year, has good zombie scenes, and maintains an excellent pace throughout.
2. Cabin in the Woods. It doesn't "reinvent the genre" like many of its fans claimed, and I thought the horror elements of the movie were pretty weak (the half-assed Evil Dead ripoff could have been handled much better), but it worked so well as a comedy it's still one of the better movies of the year.
1. The Grey. Jinx perfectly described why this was so great. Easily the best horror movie to come out this year. Brutal and beautiful, I'm shocked it didn't end up on more "best of" lists.

And Worst, of the small percentage of bad horror that I actually watched
5. V/H/S. I'm not sure what was worse, the horribly cheap aesthetic, the long periods of time in which nothing happened, or the outright misogyny, notable even by the horror genre's already low standards.
4. Bait. I was expecting a fun, campy, sharks chomping people in ridiculous situations good time. What I got was eighty plus minutes devoted to the development of more characters than we saw in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, most of whom were completely uninteresting, with personalities ranging from "unlikable" to "I want to stick a Q-Tip all the way through my brain." Even the guy in a ridiculous metal cart suit couldn't save the movie for me. To everyone who recommended this piece of shit on DFF, I fuck you back.
3. Piranha 3DD. Might as well have had this song playing in the background the entire movie.
2. Wrong Turn 5. Mean-spirited, incompetent, irritating, boring, predictable..and that was just Doug Bradley's character! The kind of horror movies that give horror movies a bad name.
1. Excision. 2012 might have been the year of the overhyped "indie" horror movie. V/H/S, Kill List, The Innkeepers, and The Loved Ones all ranged from frustratingly mediocre to just bad, but the worst of the bunch was Excision. I am sick of one dimensional, cardboard characters. I am sick of indie soundtracks. I am sick of boring surrealism. I am sick of lazy, incoherent satire. Suburbia is the easiest target in the world. If you can't effectively satirize that, then you should not be writing for a living. And most of all, I am sick as hell of precocious teenagers, and I'm not going to take it anymore!

My Overall Top 10 for the year is (so far); 10. Safety Not Guaranteed 9. Bernie 8. Juan of the Dead 7. Cabin in the Woods 6. The Raid: Redemption 5. The Avengers 4. Seven Psychopaths 3. Headhunters 2. The Grey 1. Looper.

Submitted by nazo on Tue, 12/25/2012 - 8:13pm.
Fearless_Froude's picture

HOW THE HELL IS KILL LIST AND EXCISION on your worst list? when we had crap like The Devil Inside, The apparition and The Possession. like god damn

Submitted by Fearless_Froude on Wed, 12/26/2012 - 12:01am.
nazo's picture

Kill List wasn't one of the worst movies, just an example of a movie that was really overhyped. I thought it was mediocre. It had some really good moments and ideas, but the mystery didn't get interesting until at least half way through the movie, and I was never invested in any of the characters. I didn't see the Devil Inside or The Apparition for obvious reasons, and The Posession was mediocre, but had enough intentional hilarity that I couldn't get mad at it.

Everything about Excision rubbed me the wrong way, from the characters to the cutesy dialogue to the soundtrack to the attempts at surrealism. It was bullshit Sundance pandering at its worst.

Submitted by nazo on Wed, 12/26/2012 - 1:41am.
kiddcapone's picture

The Raid: Redemption
The Cabin in the Woods
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
The Woman in Black

Chernobyl Diaries
The Devil Inside
Paranormal Activity 4
The Possession
Piranha 3DD
Dark Shadows

Submitted by kiddcapone on Tue, 12/25/2012 - 12:44pm.

Totally forgot about Woman in Black!

Submitted by will graham on Tue, 12/25/2012 - 7:51pm.
Fearless_Froude's picture

THE BAY is, i think the best horror film of the year. It came out of nowhere and it almost and i tread very carefully when saying this, ALMOST brought back the feel of how i felt seeing Paranormal Activity 1 for the first time. 2012 was a meh year for horror.

Submitted by Fearless_Froude on Mon, 12/24/2012 - 8:55pm.
MonsterMash's picture

Among the ones I enjoyed this year would be:
Ghost Rider 2
Wrath of the Titans was ok
Cabin was awesome
Piranha 3DD was nonsense fun
Prometheus I enjoyed
Dredd was fun
Sinister I really liked
Silent Hill 2 was enjoyable - who can say they didn't have fun with Cenobite Mortal Kombat?
The Collection was pretty good.
I have not yet had the pleasure of seeing Abe kill vampires.

As for straight to dvd-
Bait 3D was kind of fun- not enough shark carnage
I bought REC 3 but have not watched it yet.
The Inkeepers was pretty good as well.

Favorite movie moment of the year- The Expendables 2. I went to that with five friends and we all had a blast.
There are genreally some I don't enjoy but I try not to bring them back up.

Submitted by MonsterMash on Mon, 12/24/2012 - 3:13pm.
aliensharkboy's picture

Ummm... haven't thought of a best horror of the year list, but movies I enjoyed the most:
5: Paranorman
4: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
3: Super Shark
2: Prometheus
1: The Cabin in the Woods

Honorable mentions: Sand Sharks, Sinister, 2-headed Shark Attack, Cockneys VS Zombies, The Grey, Men in Black 3, Rec 3: Genesis... I could go on, I've loved so many films this year! And to add the few films that would be on my best of the year, but aren't as they weren't horror-ish: Skyfall, The Avengers, The Amazing Spider-man, Looper, The Dark Knight Rises... once again I could go on.

I've avoided the films people have said are bad, but among the bad ones I've seen: Bait 3D, Playback, Tape 407, The Possession(Haven't seen it... but I still hate it) and The Human Centipede 2. Outside the horror genre Taken 2 comes to mind... And in case you're wondering, Piranha 3DD is NOT on either lists, it's right in the middle.

Submitted by aliensharkboy on Mon, 12/24/2012 - 1:16pm.

Really? Cabin the Woods sucks shit. All it did was make fun of far better movies.

Submitted by streetloaf on Sun, 12/23/2012 - 9:59pm.
Foywonder's picture

This notion I've seen many people perpetuate that Cabin in the Woods is designed to be some sort of slap in the face of classic horror movies and a middle finger to the entire genre never fails to baffle me.

Submitted by Foywonder on Mon, 12/24/2012 - 7:22pm.
MonsterMash's picture


Submitted by MonsterMash on Mon, 12/24/2012 - 9:34pm.
moderator You mean sort of like Scream
Steve Barton's picture

You mean sort of like Scream did? lol

Submitted by Steve Barton on Mon, 12/24/2012 - 5:12pm.
Brad McHargue's picture

What a well-thought out argument. Thank you for sharing.

Submitted by Brad McHargue on Mon, 12/24/2012 - 10:18am.

My Best of the year:

1. The Walking Dead game: While the "choose your own adventure" element of the game was greatly exagerated, there's no doubt that this was the best genre game of the year. An excellent story featuring the two most moving moments in video game history (screw you ff7 fanboys!). Cannot recommend it enough!

2. Cabin in the woods: Only horror film that I really enjoyed this year, never boring, although Joss Whedon's spoof dialog of genre cliches is becoming... well cliched.

3.Walking Dead season 3: So much better than the last season, a nice mix of drama and action. The show still has problems though, I mean the producers of the show have issues with black males, and why are the 2 leading females thick as pigshit? I mean who the hell wears a thong during a zombie appocalypse? Wear confortable underwear lady!

4. Catherine game: Came out in europe this year, a puzzle game rather than a survival horror. The nightmare sections of the game funny enough remind me of a nightmare I once had. Great storytelling all round. People who want original games should check this out.

5. The Killing 3 (the danish original series): Still not a patch on the original story but better than the second. The Danish original still pisses over most American crime dramas. This time Sarah Lund has to track down an abducted girl from a rich family, her abductor wanting a suicide case reopend. I do have a complant with the show in that the poliitical story arc is too similar to the ones in the other stories. Apparently this was the last series but it does leave it open for a spin-off show/tv movie. Oh and will someone in hollywood please hire Sofie Grabol!

6. Lollipop Chainsaw game: Gameplay is only ok, but the humor, voice acting and soundtrack make up for it. buy it cheap!

7. The Secret of Crickley Hall series: After almost a decade of the BBC copying the style of American shows (badly) it's nice to see them do a show just like they used to but with better production values. Very dark and disturbing, (like many of James Herbert's work) surprised that the BBC dared showed it considering the subject matter and the trouble they're in (look up Jimmy Saville on wikipedia). Well acted and best viewed in parts, more like this please BBC and lay off the REALLY LOUD MUSIC please!

8. The Bridge series: A body is found on a bridge right on the border between Demark and Sweden and two dectives have to find out why it was put there. The show starts out brilliantly but falls apart the further it goes on, suffering from multiple storylines that lead nowhere and burrows some story elements from Se7en. What makes the show is the female dective who suffers from the autism known as Aspergers (had to look that up) and her friendship with her work partner. Shot and lit like an urban Micheal Mann film (check out the opening credits on youtube) it's worth a watch before the american remake comes out.

Honerable mentions:
Dredd: Not really horror and Robocop is still the best Judge Dredd film (just replace Robo With Dirty Harry and you'll have a typical Dredd story) this was never the less better than expected. If only people rented future cult titles instead of illegally downloading them, we might have got a sequel. Also the final slowmo effect was the most memorable scene of the year for me.

Joe Dante's The Hole: Since it's only just come out in the States, I get chance to include it again. :)

My Disapointments of the year:

Rec 3: Well acted and made but becomes yet another "omg killing zombies is so funny!!!!!" should have covered the girl in the appartment and how she came to be there instead.

Walking Dead second half of season 2: Just too slow, why isn't T-dog allowed to say much? Why are the 2 lead female characters by the stupidest
on tv? and only one unpredictable death. thank christ for series 3.

Prometheus: Visually the best film of the year, ruined by bad storytelling and bad dialog. Quite frankly Pandorum is better than this!

Piranha 3DD: When I first saw it I enjoyed it but that might have been because me and some of my bisexual girl-friends had a fair ammount to drink before we went to see it. Sober, it is bad. Btw is it just me or do Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan hate children?

Submitted by will graham on Sun, 12/23/2012 - 8:23pm.

I watched Cosmopolis for 10-15 minutes and I had to turn it off. The mind numbingly mundane conversations between the various characters bored the shit out of me. And I consider myself to be a big fan of Cronenberg.

Submitted by LSD Zombie on Sun, 12/23/2012 - 5:30pm.
Rob's picture

Great lists. My best list would be Cabin in the Woods, ParaNorman, Solomon Kane, and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Didn't see any other horror films in theaters this year except Underworld: Awakening, which was decent but nothing great. I'll see Resident Evil 5 at some point. I would've seen Dredd if I wasn't so broke by the time it came out.

Also, I didn't mind Total Recall, I think because of the acting more than anything else. And I'm someone who isn't a big Kate Beckinsale fan at all and I loved her in that movie. I think if she does more genre flicks, she should stick to villain roles. She's fun to watch as a villain.

Oh, I also saw Prometheus, which I agree with Foy about. A well made and well acted film that amounts to nothing.

Submitted by Rob on Sun, 12/23/2012 - 4:22pm.
theGoldenSimatar's picture

Glad to see some people liked Prometheus.

Though I have to honestly wonder: am I the only person in the world that liked Piranha 3DD?

Submitted by theGoldenSimatar on Sun, 12/23/2012 - 2:24pm.
Brad McHargue's picture

Probably. It was just so...lazy. The big piranha attack scene was so weak compared to the fist flick, and as a whole it was just very boring. To each their own, though.

Submitted by Brad McHargue on Sun, 12/23/2012 - 4:33pm.

Surprised that Devil Inside didn't make more worst lists.

Strange year for me, my best list is pretty much full of video games and tv shows rather than movies, and my worst list is pretty much full of disapointments rather than films that were shite.

I'll post them later when I have time, I'm a slow writer (this took me 5 minutes to write) and still need to do christmas tidying up.

Submitted by will graham on Sun, 12/23/2012 - 7:23am.
Brad McHargue's picture

Ya know, THE DEVIL INSIDE was a really stupid movie, but I think if it had ended differently, it wouldn't be getting as bad a rap as it has been over the past year. Yes, it was yet another exorcism movie, but it had some suitably creepy scenes and, at least when compared to other theatrical fare this year, was mildly enjoyable.

Submitted by Brad McHargue on Sun, 12/23/2012 - 11:28am.
Terminal's picture

Nice to see The Cabin in the Woods get a lot of attention and Prometheus so little. I'm kind of noticing DC is growing less and less enthusiastic about year end top 10 and worst 10 lists every year, that kind of saddens me. There's less hard hitting and aims for the gut that there used to be. In either case, the movies I expected on the lists are there, so it's been an interesting year.

Submitted by Terminal on Sun, 12/23/2012 - 7:10am.
Debi Moore's picture

I don't really understand the "less enthusiastic" remark either. I was totally gung-ho about my favorites and getting my list done, but maybe my overall lack of enthusiasm for 2012 as a whole showed through? We did ask everyone to try to keep things to a manageable length for consistency's sake, but I don't feel anyone's list suffered as a result. Can you be a little more specific about why you feel that way?

And I just have to comment re Andrew's "most misunderstood" label for The Tall Man. I understood it all right... I just didn't like it very much. It was a close second to Munger Road as the year's most insulting flick.


Its "message" that these people have the right to decide kids are better off away from their natural parents (who are poor and, yes, may even be abusive at times) and placed with wealthy families instead is a bit too "1%-erish" and Republican for me, and I'm surprised Andrew would buy into that for even one second. Plus, aside from that, I found it to be a total bore as a "thriller." One of the biggest disappointments of the year for sure.

Submitted by Debi Moore on Sun, 12/23/2012 - 3:31pm.
Sirand's picture

I found nothing political about it. It's not a rich vs poor film. It's an interesting concept that plays with your allegiances in the same way Martyrs did... creating a sort of "social worker as the boogeyman" conceit. It's a genre version of Gone Baby Gone... And Biel, an actress I've never given a second thought about, is pretty terrific in the film.

People like to dump on it because it starts out as one genre and turns into another...but that's part of its appeal.

Submitted by Sirand on Sun, 12/23/2012 - 3:53pm.
moderator The class distinction seemed
Debi Moore's picture

The class distinction seemed pretty obvious to me... They weren't taking kids out of the suburbs and placing them with rural families, that's for sure! But at least we do agree this is one of Biehl's best performances so hopefully that trend will continue for her.

Submitted by Debi Moore on Sun, 12/23/2012 - 4:30pm.
Matt Serafini's picture

I don't know what you mean by us being "less enthusiastic" about these lists, Terminal?

Can't speak for my colleagues, but I had five pages in Word when I was done with my list. Could've gone on a bit longer, but I tried to limit my ranting as best I could.

Submitted by Matt Serafini on Sun, 12/23/2012 - 12:41pm.

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