Dread Central's Best & Worst of 2008
Let the Right One In: Not a surprise, I’m sure this one is appearing on the list of everyone who got the chance to see it, and most of them are probably much more talented prose writers than I. Suffice it to say this tragic vampire love story is beautiful and haunting from start to finish, and if you continue to miss it during its limited theatrical run, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
4bia: An anthology film from Thailand, this was one of the biggest surprises of this past summer’s Fantasia Film Festival. I went in with zero expectations and came out very happy. Though two of the stories are pretty weak, the other two more than make up for them. Honestly one of the best anthologies I’ve seen in a long time, and hopefully someone will get this on DVD here in States soon.
Repo! The Genetic Opera: The songs aren’t perfect, some of the singers really aren’t good at all, but there’s just something about Repo! that makes me smile every time I think about it. The production design alone is worth seeing it for, and I highly recommend you see it in a theater, with a big crowd, as soon as you possibly can. Yes, it’ll be nice on DVD in the privacy of your home, but this is a crowd movie if there ever was one.
Splinter: And out of nowhere comes this Brit named Toby Wilkins, whose only claim to fame previous to this were the “Tales From The Grudge” shorts, with a really fun and fast-paced monster movie. A monster movie like we honestly just don’t get anymore, done with practical effects and a respect for the audience. How refreshing!
Hellphone: What the hell is it? It’s a French movie that you haven’t seen, I can almost guarantee, and while its horror cred is somewhat questionable, it was one of the most fun films I saw all year long. The story follows a young kid who needs a cell phone to impress the girl he likes, and ends up with one possessed by a demon. Anyone who crosses the kid meets a nasty end, or just some amusing humiliation, and soon he’s in a rush to figure out how to stop it. Reminiscent of all things about 80’s movies that make them so damn appealing years later.
Asylum: David R. Ellis decided the best way to follow up Snakes on a Plane was this painfully generic teens-in-peril film, featuring one of the most laughably bad “villains” ever put to screen. I kept hoping that it would turn around at some point and become something with a least a dollop of freshness, but that hope was unfounded.
The Attic: For some reason I was really looking forward to this flick from Pet Semetary director Mary Lambert. Maybe because it was being done under the radar, so info on it was scarce, which made it more exciting when something did pop up. Sadly, the final product, about a girl who believes her doppelganger is doing nefarious things when she’s not looking, is about as boring as watching paint dry on grass.
Lost Boys: The Tribe: Really, I didn’t think it could be this bad, but man was I wrong. Between the recycled dialogue shoved down Corey Feldman’s overly-graveled throat, the atrocious storyline that had almost nothing to do with the first movie yet was trying to be a carbon copy of it, and The Sutherland, you couldn’t ask for a more disappointing sequel. So of course it made truckloads of money and they’re already working on a third.
Diary of the Dead: Talk about an amazing letdown; George A. Romero’s first foray into cinema-verite is not only one of the worst things of 2008, but the worst thing the man has ever done. The “acting” is atrocious, the plot is heavier than an anvil and the action is so slow as to be non-existent. I hope Diary was a misstep and his next movie will be the best zombie movie ever, or at least as good as Dawn of the Dead.
Seed: I know, I know. It shouldn’t be surprising that Uwe Boll directed one of the worst films of 2008, but after the surprisingly good Postal, I had some hopes. Hopes that were dashed against the rock of Boll’s ineptitude over and over again during the ridiculously long runtime for Seed. If only he had some loose concept of pacing and lighting, maybe the film could’ve been saved. That’s a big “maybe” though...