Headlines


Dread Central's Best and Worst of 2012





Jinx's Picks

All said, 2012 wasn’t a completely terrible year for horror flicks. It wasn’t great, mind, but it certainly wasn’t terrible. It opened strong with one of my favorite films of the year (in any genre), and then gifted us with the occasional gem amidst the expected dreck from both the big studios and the indies.

Ohh, but there were some terrible movies, too. Movies that shame their cast, their makers, and the very genre they’ve chosen to degrade. Every year has its handful of stinkers, to be sure, but a few of this year’s worst were downright heinous.

Oddly, the recurring trend this year didn’t seem to be an issue of good/bad or great/terrible. Rather, this year seemed to give us a handful of films (in various genres) that had great potential, and every needed resource, but squandered it all with dodgy scripts full of easily fixed mistakes. One of these even managed to make it onto my Honorable Mentions list, through no fault of its weak writing. But, as this isn’t a “Best/Worst/Mehst” list, I’ll belabor this point no further.

One last note: Some of the films on the following list aren’t technically “2012” films. Some may have been produced years ago, and some may have been released in a limited capacity at the end of last year. My list takes into account those movies which were made widely available to viewers within this past year. Hope this doesn’t unsettle any of you.

Dread Central's Best and Worst of 2012

The Innkeepers5. The Innkeepers - One of the year’s biggest surprises for this reviewer. While I enjoyed director Ti West’s previous film The House of the Devil, I found his slow-burn approach to be mostly annoying with his earlier efforts (Trigger Man and The Roost). Fortunately, The Innkeepers continues West’s upward streak with this fun, frightening, and well-acted take on traditional spookfests. While the deliberate pacing in its first half may be off-putting to some, I found the characters endearing enough to carry the film without benefit of any supernatural shenanigans. Of course, once the ghosts do make an appearance, the movie becomes a genuine hair-raiser, barreling along toward a surprisingly downbeat (and perhaps somewhat misjudged?) finale.

4. The Loved Ones - Originally lensed in 2009, only to get a half-hearted release in the States this year, The Loved Ones manages to live up to its long-festering hype, giving us a grueling, haunting, and oddly romantic little flick that plays out like the bastard child of Tobe Hooper and John Hughes. The performances, the photography, and the music are all wonderful, but it’s the film’s darkly comic/horrific tone and lead actress Robin McLeavy’s truly unhinged villainess that left their bloody mark on this viewer. Now, Paramount, where the hell is the Blu-ray?!

3. Kill List - Director Ben Wheatley’s moody chiller almost defies categorization, as it seems to shift genres with each of its act breaks. Initially a mumble-corish domestic drama, then a buddy crime flick, Kill List ultimately switches its gears over to our favorite genre by its final thirty minutes, when the story’s mostly heretofore unseen threat finally reveals itself. Kill List is not for every viewer, but this writer found it to be one of the most engrossing and truly scary films that the year had to offer.

2. Take Shelter - While Shea Whigham and 2012’s breakout star Jessica Chastain put in predictably great performances, it’s star Michael Shannon’s intense turn as a possibly prophetic, possibly schizophrenic blue-collar family man that anchors this moody, icily horrifying film. While it’s a stretch to call this character study a full-on horror film, horror fans should appreciate its relentlessly unnerving tone and some of the most jolting sequences I’ve seen all year.

1. The Grey - Intermittently gorgeous and terrifying, Joe Carnahan’s survival tale may have been sold as a Liam Neeson action flick, but is more a stirring meditation on life, death, and faith. Every aspect of this film is superb from its fantastic acting to the beautifully gritty photography to the film’s haunting tone and its harrowing climax, which somehow manages to be as downbeat as it is hopeful. Nearly a year after having first seen this, I still claim it as my single favorite film of 2012.

Honorable Mentions: Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel, The Cabin in the Woods, Prometheus, ParaNorman, Lovely Molly, Chronicle

Dread Central's Best and Worst of 2012

5. Silent Hill: Revelation - An exhausting experience, this movie nearly put this reviewer right to sleep in the theatre. A follow-up to the damn good 2006 Christophe Gans original, Revelation forgoes any narrative logic in favor of hurling setpiece after setpiece at the audience but fails to ever be exciting or enthralling. Or even remotely interesting. While some of the creatures are cool, and the sets at times capture the gorgeous grime from the previous film, this film ultimately fails with its lamebrained script and hilariously awful acting. A franchise killer if I ever saw one.

4. Airborne - Dull, dull, oh so dull. Though the movie itself is well-lensed, and Mark Hamill’s brief appearance is quite decent, Airborne is ultimately a snoozefest, saddled with wooden actors and a story that never takes flight.

3. The Collapsed - Easily the worst of this year’s post-apocalyptic thrillers (and yikes, is that saying something), The Collapsed features a nifty last act twist that sets up what could be a potentially interesting sequel. Pity the preceding eighty minutes are poorly acted (mostly) and boring as hell.

2. Piranha 3DD - An aimless, entirely joyless trip into exploitative tedium, full of crassly unfunny “humor” and slumming actors who know better. While I dig grindhousey movies as much as the next guy, boobs and blood only do not a good movie make. A terrible film.

1. Area 407 - Ugh. A case study in what not to do with the found footage conceit, Area 407 squanders its cool (and mostly hidden) central idea by straining the audience’s patience with its repetitive structure, bad dialogue, and a seemingly unending laundry list of POV no-no’s. A life-draining, mind-numbing, soul-crushing watch. This movie hates you.

Dishonorable Mentions: Silent House, Paranormal Activity 4, The Wicker Tree, The Tall Man, The Apparition

Yet To See: Antiviral, Berberian Sound Studio, Hitchcock, Bait 3D, American Mary

[Andrew Kasch]

[Brad McHargue]

[Doctor Gash]

[The Foywonder]

[Gareth "Pestilence" Jones]

[Heather "The Horror Chick" Wixson]

[Jinx]

[MattFini]

[Uncle Creepy]

[The Woman in Black]


-->




NEXT STORY

"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.

http://www.dreadcentral.com/reviews/lovely-molly-blu-ray-dvd


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

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

Worst:
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.
Agreed.
MonsterMash's picture

Agreed.


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.

**SPOILER ALERT**

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.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.