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Dread Central’s Best and Worst of 2010

Well, folks, 2010 is officially in the can, and unlike 2009 horror movie fans took it in the can a lot less this year. Sure the last twelve months had its fair share of lows, but it also brought us a couple of new classics. As always we covered every single one of them mostly in great detail for you.

Now, with a fresh movie-watching start before us, we’re taking our usual yearly look back at the good, the bad, the WTF, and everything in between.

Don’t just read along, though … give us your lists in the comments section below. We wanna hear from you regarding what we nailed and what we dropped the ball on, so let the games begin!

Dread Central's Best and Worst of 2010

Dig on our Best of and Worst of lists for 2010 by following the links below!

“>[The Buz]

“>[Thom Carnell]

“>[The Foywonder]

“>[Heather Wixson]

“>[Gareth Jones]

“>[MattFini]

“>[Nomad]

“>[The Woman in Black]

“>[Uncle Creepy]

“>[Andrew Kasch]

The Buz’s Picks

As per usual I failed this year as a horror fan and a movie fan in general. When I was working on Never Sleep Again, I didn’t go to a single movie for at least five or six months. I’m still trying to catch up on what I missed. So sadly I didn’t get to watch a lot of movies this year, but I did see at least five great ones and one really bad one. So without further ado here are my best and worst picks of 2010.

Dread Central's Best and Worst of 2010

AMC's The Walking Dead (click for larger image)5. “The Walking Dead”
What’s this? A television show in a best movies list? Damn straight. Out of all the horror films to come out this year, “The Walking Dead” stood out to me, television or not, as being one of the single best pieces of horror entertainment to hit our genre in decades. Who’d have thought that zombies would have translated so well to television? Horror fans did. And it was nice to see just how right we all were. I look forward to next season and what it has to bring us in zombie shenanigans.

4. Shutter Island
Some may argue that this wasn’t horror, but I’m one of the few people out there that considers the psychological thriller part of the horror genre. Besides, a chance to put a Martin Scorsese film on any list is reason enough alone to include this incredible film. From start to finish Shutter Island is mesmerizing. The cinematography, direction, acting, editing, and score are all top notch; and this truly was a treat to see in the theatre. It unfortunately got panned by many for having a predictable twist ending; however, I feel that the twist worked perfectly within the film and the movie isn’t so much about it being a twist but more so about Teddy’s last line of the film: “Is it better to live as a monster or die as a hero?” If the movie had come out 15 years ago, I think people would have hailed this as an instant classic.

3. Paranormal Activity 2
If you’d asked me last year which list I’d be putting PA2 on at the end of this year, I would have predicted my worst. As it stands, I would have been dead wrong. PA2 was every bit as scary and entertaining as the first film and succeeded in being one of the few horror prequels to actually work. And once again, the film has infinite replay power seeing as how the greatest joy with these films is to show them to your friends and watch them shit themselves with fear. And for the record: Fuck kitchens.

2. Piranha 3D
I don’t really think I can say much more on Piranha 3D and just how mind bogglingly awesome it is. Talk about a film that perfectly encompasses the ideology of tits and gore. The greatest thing about Piranha, though, is it knows how ridiculous it is yet, at the same time, plays it straight. With this winning combination it never went too far either way and made it easily the most entertaining movie I’ve seen all year. If there is a God, he’ll grant us a new killer fish movie every year that is every bit as good as this one was.

1. Frozen
I debated with myself on whether or not I should have Piranha 3Dor Frozen be number one. In the end I decided that while Piranha 3D was a rip roaring good time, it wasn’t exactly a great movie by critical standards. Frozen on the other hand is a damn fine movie. I can’t remember the last time I watched a film and truly felt the dread and sorrow that the characters felt in Frozen. Absolute empathy. That is just one of the many great things Frozen has to offer. I’m even more impressed with the film knowing that the crew actually shot on location and the actors really were 200 feet up on a ski lift. That alone is a fantastic feat for an independent film. And the one thing about this movie that I hadn’t seen in a long time was the feeling of loss when a character dies. Fortunately director Adam Green keeps these people real with moments of heartbreak and pure gut-wrenching terror. I absolutely loved this film and hope Green does some more like this.

Dread Central's Best and Worst of 2010

A Nightmare on Elm Street 20105. A Nightmare on Elm Street 2010

4. A Nightmare on Elm Street 2010

3. A Nightmare on Elm Street 2010

2. A Nightmare on Elm Street 2010

1. A Nightmare on Elm Street 2010
Can you tell I really hated this movie? There was so much potential for another entry in the Nightmare franchise with all the new technology available these days. But what do they do? Rehash classic moments from the original with no creative identity of its own. Everything just felt wrong in this movie. And would people stop saying Jackie Earle Haley was a good Freddy? Are you high? You might as well have put Warwick Davis in the role and have him sing “Fred in da Hood come to do no good.” This is easily the worst movie of the year and nothing at all can even come close to topping it. The only movie from the decade that MAYBE is as bad as Nightmare 2010 is Rob “Hell Yeah” Zombie’s Halloween 2, but at the end of the day I think H2 at least tried to do something different, as bad as it was, whereas Nightmare just sat there and looked at you in the theatre and snickered because you just lost 12 bucks on a ticket. The movie was akin to watching The Chris Farley Show: “Remember when…um…Nancy…was sleeping and then Freddy came out of the wall and…stuff? Yeah…that was cool…”

Fuck this movie.

“>[The Buz]

“>[Thom Carnell]

“>[The Foywonder]

“>[Heather Wixson]

“>[Gareth Jones]

“>[MattFini]

“>[Nomad]

“>[The Woman in Black]

“>[Uncle Creepy]

“>[Andrew Kasch]

Thom Carnell’s Picks

For me, 2010 was a mixed bag movie-wise. There were so many films released theatrically and to home video that being able to keep up often became a daunting task. There just never seemed to be enough time to get all the films on my list seen. Add to that the fact that I tend to watch a lot of foreign product and stuff damn near impossible for the “average Joe” to get his or her hands on… and the filtering process gets even more difficult.

So, with that said…

What follows is a sort of “from the hip” list of readily available films that were either released to theaters or on DVD all broken down into a Best/Worst listing. I’ve left out a TON of foreign product (even though, in my opinion, the Korean, Japanese, Thai, Spanish, and even Philippine markets have cornered the market on truly terrifying films) only because they can be a nightmare in and of themselves to procure.

Agree or disagree… that’s what makes being a film fan so fun!

Dread Central's Best and Worst of 2010

Black Swan
Visually stunning and thematically engaging, Aronofsky defies convention and offers up a mind-numbing tale about the price of beauty and the intensity of perfection that both delights and disturbs. Unlike most films, Black Swan takes for granted that its audience is intelligent and never panders or over-explains. Instead, it presents its compelling and beautifully detailed story almost matter of factly and leaves it to the audience to figure it all out. Stellar direction and pitch-perfect acting make Black Swan required viewing for film fans.

Shutter IslandShutter Island
Scorsese does it again by taking a well-worn subgenre (The Mystery in a Mental Hospital) and spinning it on its ear. While there is an over-abundance of CG in the film (so much so that it gets a little distracting), it’s still brilliantly shot and acted well. And yes, sure… the film is not exactly a puzzler (I mean, who didn’t see the ending coming down Main Street?), but it is just so beautifully photographed and superbly acted (especially DiCaprio) that it demands inclusion on this list. Shutter Island is simply a great film and sadly one that may take a few years for audience to embrace. Its narrative just might be a little too subtle for audiences who want the “Biff Bam Boom” so prevalent in American cinema. Still… this is some great stuff by one of America’s preeminent directors!

[REC] 2
Picking up right where [REC] left off, [REC] 2 wastes very little time on character development or even introduction here. We have a SWAT team entering the building and BAM… we’re off and running. There is very little dickin’ around, and the cause of the infection is given outright with lots of creepy make-ups and some great headshots rounding out the proceedings. If you have seen [REC], you know what to expect. If you haven’t, see that fucker NOW. If you’ve seen QUARANTINE and think it’s the same thing as seeing [REC], you’re wrong. DEAD wrong.

Valhalla Rising
Starkly told and yet beautifully shot, this is a film that, while not for everyone, is, in my opinion, absolutely amazing. While not strictly horror, the film’s themes of isolation, fear, and death warrant its inclusion here. The pace of the narrative is slow and one really has to pay attention to each and every word spoken (because there aren’t very many of them), but damn… just a terrific cinematic experience. VERY violent at times and yet lyrical and introspective, there is one stunningly crafted scene shown after another. Without ever saying a word, Mads Mikkelson smolders in the lead role and conveys more emotion than many actors could ever accomplish. This is easily one of the best films I’ve seen in recent memory. Absolutely amazing and, for the patient viewer, highly recommended.

La Horde (aka The Horde)
What a pleasant surprise! Goddam… once again, leave it to the French to show us Americans how to do a horror movie right. This time… it’s zombies, and boy do they get it right. This is… by far… my favorite zombie film I’ve seen this year. A group of cops enter a dilapidated building which has been taken over by a Nigerian drug lord/arms dealer in a simple act of retribution for the killing of one of their own. The assault goes bad when several of the cops are injured. So, we have a pretty standard crime thriller starting out. Then, far off, we hear howls of some animal and shadows are seen flitting about the building’s periphery. From that moment on, La Horde is a balls-to-the-wall zombie action hootenanny. Good performances (especially the old man and the main Nigerian lead), inventive scenarios, and competent direction from the filmmakers make for a rollicking good time. Very fun! Well worth seeking out. Viva La Horde!

Dread Central's Best and Worst of 2010

Bitch Slap
With a script seemingly written by a hormonal 12-year-old boy who’s watched WAY too many Tarantino movies, this film is a T&A cavalcade with little heart and even less brains. It’s a train wreck of one-dimensional characters and comic book screenwriting (and I don’t mean that in a good way). All you need to know about this fiasco is that the director cut his teeth on episodes of “Xena”, “She Spies”, “Hercules”, and “La Femme Nikita”… do I need to paint a friggin’ picture? Ok… that said, the women in the film are HOT, but that by no means makes a decent film or a satisfying viewing experience. Watching this with a bunch of guy friends and a ton of beer might be fun, but… I walked away feeling frustrated and irritated.

Legion
An interesting premise (Maximum Overdrive meets Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight meets The Prophecy) gets hamstrung by LOOONG talky (i.e., boring) sequences and a moronic third act. Make no mistake, though; at its core Legion is a zombie film (think Night of the Living Dead in a diner with some goofy Biblical shit thrown in to obscure its true origins), but a bad one. Director/writer Scott Charles Stewart is an ex-FX guy and it shows; there are some decent looking FX shots in the film. The problem is… the story is cobbled together and not exactly well thought out. I mean for example, towards the end, a woman who has JUST given birth is seen rapidly climbing up a mountain with her newborn baby in her arms. The shit just don’t make sense – from an anatomical standpoint alone. Further, the internal logic having to do with God and his relationship with Michael and Gabriel is loaded with inconsistencies. And don’t even get me started on the fact that this is supposedly a film about angels, but very few angels are ever seen. Having now seen Legion, I worry about Stewart’s next project – the big screen adaptation of Hyung Min-woo’s comic Priest. From his handling of Legion, he’s bound to fuck that up as well.

The Wolfman (2010) (click for larger image)The Wolfman
This is really a film that needs to be reviewed in two parts – the plot and the FX. The plot… is terrible. Full of holes and idiotic inconsistencies, the film is a mess. While the cinematography and set design are first rate, the script keeps getting in the way and drags the film down. Now… the FX… are impressive. The metamorphosis scenes are breathtaking and Rick Baker outdoes himself. The creature pays homage to the classic monster design as well as updating it into something both cool to look at and something that gives off a sense of genuine menace. But… for all of that… the script shoots holes in any credibility. Oh, and Benicio del Toro is TERRIBLE. When you first see him – doing Hamlet on stage of all things! – you know you’re in for a bumpy ride. Bottom line: Is the film worth seeing? Well, yes… the set design, the cinematography, and the FX are all things every genre fans should see. If for no other reason than to see how good this film COULD HAVE been. Just know going in that there are some MAJOR problems with the narrative and the main performance.

Someone’s Knocking at the Door
Low budget and poorly acted, you have to at the very least give this one credit for chutzpah. I mean, it’s not often that you see a film in which the murder weapon is a 15” long phallus. Reportedly shot in 11 days, the expediency shows around the edges. One problem with the film is that, from the beginning, we are supposed to believe these chuckleheads are med students. Really?!?! Drug addled and not too smart from the looks of things, it’s a huge leap of faith expected from the audience to believe these kids are anything but dropouts. It’s also pretty obvious that the director, Chad Ferrin, is REALLY into David Lynch from the erratic editing and wacky internal logic. And then, there’s the end… I won’t say what it is, but I will say it’s a copout and shows one of the hallmarks of bad storytelling. The gore is minimal and I guess the big “controversial” aspect of the film is the supposed male-on-male rape scenes. Whatever… The best thing I can say about this film is that it’s short (76 minutes). Oh, and look for Vernon Wells (Commando, Road Warrior) in a small role.

Mirrors 2
Having absolutely nothing to do with the first Mirrors, this completely inane film is more of a Scooby Doo mystery than supernatural thriller. Where to begin, though… The script is one whose ending you will see coming a MILE away. The acting is sub-par and delivered without conviction. While there are a few interesting CG moments in the film, they are few and far between. What bugged me most about Mirrors 2 is that it is obviously cut from a completely different cloth than Mirrors was and the labeling it as part of the franchise was more marketing decision than anything else. William Katt shows up for absolutely no reason and his encounter with the spectre of the mirrors in fact goes against everything that the resolution implies. Dumb, silly, and completely without merit, Mirrors 2 is not worth your time or your rental.

Sadly, there were so many more bad films this year than good ones… Skyline, Devil, The Lost Tribe, Hatchet II, The Last Exorcism, the brain cell killing Monsters, Resident Evil: Afterlife, Splice, the Japanese Dead Rising film, the inane and unnecessary Night of the Demons remake, Aaah! Zombies! , dear god, Giallo… and then there was the incessant shitpile that was the After Dark HorrorFest and Fangoria’s Frightfest, which featured (with maybe one or two exceptions) films that closely resembled something you’d find left on your lawn by the neighbor’s dog.

Still, what was bad was really bad, but what was good was also really good. Here’s hoping 2011 is another fascinating year for cinema!

“>[The Buz]

“>[Thom Carnell]

“>[The Foywonder]

“>[Heather Wixson]

“>[Gareth Jones]

“>[MattFini]

“>[Nomad]

“>[The Woman in Black]

“>[Uncle Creepy]

“>[Andrew Kasch]

The Foywonder’s Picks

If there’s a word that sums up the movie year of 2010, it would have to be unmemorable. I can think of only three movies in the past 12 months that I would go so far as to call great. Narrow the field down to just the horror genre, and assembling a list of the five best of the year becomes a near impossibility for me. Even most of the ones I enjoyed left no lasting impression on me. So in putting this list together, I decided to base my opinion on what horror movies do I still remember at year’s end, what movies I still talk about, what films I still recommend to others, the ones I’d be willing to watch again. Basing my decisions on such criteria, a movie from The Asylum is on my best of the year list. Even I cannot believe this. This could be a sign of the apocalypse.

Dread Central's Best and Worst of 2010

5) MEGA PIRANHA
I decided to give my #5 slot to my favorite so-bad-it’s-good movie of the year. A movie like this you either laugh with it, at it, or hate it. I had a blast doing the first two. In fact, thinking back on it long and hard, I had more fun watching Mega Piranha than Piranha 3D. Despite crazy Christopher Lloyd, fully nude Kelly Brook in 3D, and some of the most over-the-top nature gone amok carnage ever put to film, Piranha 3D never fully clicked with me for some reason. On the other hand, in an over-the-top b-movie way, Mega Piranha did. What can I say? I had more fun watching fake CGI giant piranha leap out of the water, crashing and exploding into multi-story buildings, than I did watching fake CGI prehistoric piranhas devour spring breakers. I called this film “blissfully retarded” in my review. In a year I found to be as lackluster as this, “blissfully retarded” is just good enough to make it onto my best list.

4) THE LOVED ONES
For my #4 pick I selected a film I’ve been lucky enough to see that most of you have not yet had the opportunity to see because it has yet to be released in the US. 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.

The Human Centipede (First Sequence) (click for larger image)3) THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE (FIRST SEQUENCE)
I’m still not even sure I actually enjoyed this seriously fucked up horror film from the demented mind of Tom Six. His is most definitely a demented mind. Normal people don’t dream up movies about mad scientists sewing people together ass-to-mouth. There is no denying The Human Centipede (First Sequence) is the most memorable horror movie of the year. Even people who haven’t seen it talk about this one, if just to let it be known they find the premise so vile they’ll never watch it. The only reason I think the film works and the reason it’s on my list at all has to do with one man: Dieter Laser. His mad scientist is one of the best deranged geniuses gone wrong in ages. Combine his intense, sometimes darkly comical performance with the icky imagery of people getting sewn together ass-to-mouth and… I’m not even sure how to finish that sentence.

2) [REC] 2
[REC] 2 is the very model of how to make a sequel that’s really just more of the same yet feels fresh and delivers everything you liked about the original while expanding upon its mythology in a way that enhances both films. Aside from the motivations that leads to the introduction of a group of dumb teenagers (I refuse to believe any teenagers could be this dumb), this a smart, scary, exciting dark ride of a movie that delivers the first-person POV thrills I’ve never gotten from the Paranormal Activity films.

1) RARE EXPORTS: A CHRISTMAS TALE
I can very much see this one becoming a Christmas tradition in my household. In my review I heralded it as not only the best Christmas horror movie since Gremlins, but I proclaimed it one of the best movies of 2010. Now I can just call it the best horror movie of 2010. If you need any other reasons why, then just read my review.

Honorable Mentions: Frozen, Birdemic

Dread Central's Best and Worst of 2010

5) RESIDENT EVIL: AFTERLIFE
Alternate title: Paul W.S. Anderson Jerks Off with James Cameron’s 3D Camera for 90 Minutes. This was the first Resident Evil movie I’ve ever seen. That in no way had any impact on my complete inability to comprehend what the hell was going on in this film. I don’t even believe this was an actual movie. This was merely an excuse for Paul W.S. Anderson to recreate all his favorite moments from better movies in 3D. The only thing he didn’t throw at the screen was a kitchen sink. I can only imagine how stupid this movie must look in 2D. After House of the Dead I declared “bullet time” officially dead; after this debacle I hereby declare Zach Snyder’s special brand of hyper-stylized slow motion action officially uncool.

Altitude4) ALTITUDE
Having seen quite a few glowing reviews for this film, I can only assume one’s ability to enjoy Altitude is predicated on one’s ability to not hate the four lead characters and not roll one’s eyes at the explanation behind it all and not sigh in disbelief at the “Stephen Spielberg’s Amazing Stories” ending. That twist ending might have actually worked if everything preceding it hadn’t annoyed the hell out of me. I absolutely hated these characters, especially the idiot blonde guy, the most obnoxious character from any movie this year. Uncle Creepy told me before I saw Altitude that he hated the ending so much he threw the screener he was sent in the garbage immediately after watching it instead of sending it to me so that I wouldn’t end up paying $10 buying a copy from Wal-Mart like I did. I called him up immediately after watching it for myself and told him I would mail him my copy if he’d throw it in the garbage for me.

3) VAMPIRES SUCK
Yes. Yes, they do. They really, really do. Zero knives, bitches!

2) MY SOUL TO TAKE
I still want to know how the blind kid found a rope hanging out of a bedroom window, a rope he wouldn’t have had any clue was even there if he hadn’t seen it with his own eyes. I still want to know why a slasher movie ended with characters standing around verbally explaining the proceedings as if it were the reveal at the end of an Agatha Christie novel. I want to know a lot of things about My Soul to Take. The thing I most want to know is what the hell was Wes Craven thinking? Craven cannibalized his own creations, Nightmare on Elm Street and Shocker, to create this dull mishmash about a back-from-the-grave, body-possessing, switchblade killer in what looked to be a papier-mâché Rob Zombie costume. So weirdly awful I actually found myself wanting to know where in the hell Craven was going with it. Then he got where he was going, and I realized he had just wasted 90 minutes of my life. This could be worst movie of Wes Craven’s career, and I say that as someone who paid to see Vampire in Brooklyn theatrically.

1) THE DESCENT: PART 2
I saw a lot of bad horror movies in the past 12 months but only one that truly pissed me off. If they’d just gone and made a classless cash-in sequel to my favorite horror movie of the past decade, I wouldn’t have come away nearly as outraged. Instead they decided to make a direct sequel that rewrites both endings to the original and screws with the dynamics of the relationship between the two lead actresses which had already ended on a perfect note. This sequel is a cast of photogenic CW Network actors and actresses away from being what the original would have been like had it been produced by Dimension: over-reliance on gross-out visuals, dumb characters making unbelievably dumb decisions, amazingly well lit subterranean caves, monsters that get so much screen time they lose their proper effect, and an insulting twist ending to boot. They should have just marketed this as The Cave Part 2 as it was closer to that brainless dud than Neil Marshall’s monstrous masterpiece.

Dishonorable Mentions: A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Wolfman, Case 39, Night of the Demons, The Graves

“>[The Buz]

“>[Thom Carnell]

“>[The Foywonder]

“>[Heather Wixson]

“>[Gareth Jones]

“>[MattFini]

“>[Nomad]

“>[The Woman in Black]

“>[Uncle Creepy]

“>[Andrew Kasch]

Heather Wixson’s Picks

Dread Central's Best and Worst of 2010

Monsters (click for larger image)1. Monsters
Part Children of Men, part District 9, but 100% spell-binding storytelling, Gareth Edwards’ Monsters is by far my favorite film of the year. Few movies are able to capture the true independent spirit of filmmaking while delivering a tender story amidst a sci-fi epic, but Monsters does just that. Set in a world where aliens already exist on our planet, Monsters shows that human or not, everyone is just searching to find their place in this world. The last 20 minutes of the movie alone are Oscar-worthy, and sci-fans would be remiss if they didn’t seek out this gem when it comes out on DVD.

2. Paranormal Activity 2
A sequel that not only is better than the original but actually makes the first one a far more satisfying experience after the fact? Yes, indeed! I never would have imagined at the start of 2010 that I would call Paranormal Activity 2 one of the best films of the year, but here I sit. Effectively jarring, and the only film since The Blair Witch Project that actually kept me up, PA2 shows other filmmakers working out there that sometimes it’s not gore or over-the-top villains that keep audiences on the edge of their seats – it’s good, old-fashioned creepy storytelling.

3. The Crazies
The Crazies is a movie that was the underdog from the start: a smaller-than-needed budget, an independent studio that hadn’t much experience handling wide releases of theatrical horror, and it was a remake of a horror film that is not well-known to mass audiences. But somehow, Breck Eisner’s The Crazies prevailed, connected with audiences, and showed independent studios out there that when marketed and made right, horror will find an audience. On top of all that, you have a stellar cast, a genuinely strong script, and an ending that makes you anxious for a sequel. The Crazies ended up being one of the more refreshing films for me this year.

4. Frozen
It’s hard to make a horror film these days that’s just about three people stuck on a chair amidst our culture of short attention spans, but somehow, Adam Green found a way to make it work in Frozen. As a storyteller, Green delivers a horror film that makes you care about the protagonists through a delicate character study, coupled with a chilling exploration of your worst fears, relentlessly holding you as the viewer in a death-grip of emotional terror that doesn’t let go until the film’s conclusion.

5. Red Hill / Machete

I reserved my last spot for two films that weren’t necessarily horror but were by far two of my favorites overall for the year. The first is Robert Rodriguez’s Machete, which features a perfect blend of B-movie machismo, ass-kickings aplenty, and Danny Trejo’s Rambo meets Robin Hood meets Robocop performance as the titular character was killer enough to spawn one of my favorite catchphrases of the year: Machete Don’t Text. The second is Red Hill, an Aussie drama featuring “True Blood” star Ryan Kwanten as Shane Cooper, a man caught in the middle of the deadly showdown between those he’s sworn to help uphold the law beside and a wronged convict, hell-bent on revenge. Like Monsters, it’s a film that deserves to get some Oscar love (but most likely won’t).

Dread Central's Best and Worst of 2010

Personally, I just can’t do a list of the top 5 worst films of 2010. Let’s just say I prefer to focus on the good rather than the bad.

“>[The Buz]

“>[Thom Carnell]

“>[The Foywonder]

“>[Heather Wixson]

“>[Gareth Jones]

“>[MattFini]

“>[Nomad]

“>[The Woman in Black]

“>[Uncle Creepy]

“>[Andrew Kasch]

Gareth Jones’ Picks

Dread Central's Best and Worst of 2010

The Loved OnesThe Loved Ones
The surprise hit of the year for me. First-time director Sean Byrne takes the high school romance genre and gives it a massive psycho injection with gripping and effective sequences of torture and abuse that put to shame most of the lazy torture porn offerings of the past two years. Lead antagonist Robin McLeavy, alongside actor John Brumpton as her utterly insane father, is an unhinged treasure.

Piranha 3D
The most fun genre release of the year, Alexandre Aja’s Piranha 3D does exactly what it set out to do: Take you on a wild and gory thrill ride from start to finish. Sure, some of the effects work is a little dodgy; but limitless gore, Ving Rhames, Jerry O’Connell, Eli Roth’s head being crushed, Kelly Brook and Riley Steele in a nude underwater make-out session, Christopher Lloyd and THE cameo appearance of the year by Richard Dreyfuss are all top-notch ingredients for one great big monster-movie feast.

Black Death
Christopher Smith’s cinematic track record goes from strength to strength with the Sean Bean-starring Black Death. A bleak, harrowing, unsettling and plain vicious cross of The Wicker Man and Witchfinder General, Black Death is not a film you will soon forget.

Hatchet II
Genre favourite Adam Green returns to the swamp for more head-mashing mayhem at the hands of Victor Crowley. An immediate sequel to the events of the first movie, Hatchet II is bigger, better, funnier, gorier and just plain better than the first. Some of the year’s best kills are to be found here alongside a great cast of legends including Danielle Harris and Tony Todd.

Buried
While not specifically a horror film per se, Buried – like District 9 last year – has shouldered its way onto my year-end list by virtue of just how utterly fantastic it is. Director Rodrigo Cortés manages to perfect the impossible: Keep the audience interested for 90 minutes with a single physical cast member in a single location. When that single location happens to be a coffin, the chances of failure are astronomical. Thankfully, actor Ryan Reynolds steps up to the plate and makes the role of Paul Conroy all his own, punching out a career-defining performance that makes Buried an unmissable, and unforgettable, success.

Honourable Mentions:
A Serbian Film
Darfur
Bedevilled
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale

Dread Central's Best and Worst of 2010

LegionLegion
The problems with this pathetic action-horror hybrid are synonymous with its title – a nonsensical story involving killer angels that look like demons and a bold-faced rehash of the plot of The Terminator. Not even Dennis Quaid can save this utter mess of a movie, drowning in ridiculous dialogue, brain-dead characters, unimpressive action sequences and plot-holes so big I assume the angels flew through them on their way down to torment us.

Basement
As with most every year, 2010 had its fair share of straight-to-DVD crap polluting shelves and players. Quite possibly the worst of the bunch was Asham Kamboj’s pseudo-political borefest Basement. Sporting a lethargic pace (which makes the brief 77-minute runtime feel twice as long), painfully poor lighting (if you thought AvP: Requiem was bad, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet), annoying characters, poor performances and a half-baked storyline that’s just plain shite, this particular basement should be filled in with cement and forgotten about.

New Terminal Hotel
B.C. Furtney is a magician; a technological wizard. Somehow, the director has managed to capture the very essence of boredom and seamlessly fuse it to celluloid. Insomniacs around the world rejoice – the answer to your prayers has arrived. Sluggish, tepid, uninvolving, and just plain vacuous; not even the best efforts of the oft-reliable Tiffany Shepis and Ezra Buzzington can elevate New Terminal Hotel above plain worthless. This is one dive you do NOT want to check into.

Isle of Dogs
A British gangster flick that aspires to being a giallo, Tammi Sutton’s attempt at crossing genres is an extreme disappointment. Most of the elements are there, but they’re undercooked, underdeveloped and carelessly used. As described in the original review, the film is more of a rag-tag mish-mash than a careful symbiosis of genres. Isle of Dogs is slow, boring, emotionally impenetrable and just downright tedious.

A Nightmare on Elm Street
Would the real Brad Fuller please stand up? SO WE CAN PUNCH YOU IN THE FUCKING FACE!

“>[The Buz]

“>[Thom Carnell]

“>[The Foywonder]

“>[Heather Wixson]

“>[Gareth Jones]

“>[MattFini]

“>[Nomad]

“>[The Woman in Black]

“>[Uncle Creepy]

“>[Andrew Kasch]

MattFini’s Picks

Dread Central's Best and Worst of 2010

5. Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy

There might have been two big Freddy Krueger films in 2010, but only one of them was fit to don Freddy’s crumpled old fedora. Some of my Dread Central colleagues were heavily involved in the creation of this exhaustive and expansive documentary – a fact which has no bearing on the accolade I’m giving it.

Here’s a film that explores its subject with as much depth and insight as humanly possible. Funny, fascinating and surprisingly touching, Never Sleep Again brilliantly documents all facets of “Freddy Mania” with a keen eye.

Best Worst Movie Review4. Best Worst Movie

Yes, this made the film festival rounds in 2009, but its official theatrical release wasn’t until this year – which qualifies it for this list. This Troll 2 reunion isn’t simply an exploration of the longevity and appeal behind Claudio Fragasso’s ridiculous cult sensation but, more interestingly, works as a character study of leading man George Hardy. Watching Hardy’s emotions run the gamut from awestruck to annoyed makes for gripping storytelling – especially when he’s joined by the film’s other participants. Alternating between hilarious and depressing, there have been few films in recent memory as compelling as this.

3. Frozen

While Adam Green is perhaps best known for the over-the-top Hatchet double feature, his psychological films have convinced me that this guy knows how to put a movie together. Frozen is so affecting that it guarantees you’ll be watching it through squinted eyes and the cracks of your fingers. It certainly helps that the actors bring these characters to life in a way that makes them completely believable. Green’s commitment to old school filmmaking (i.e., filming this in impossibly brutal conditions instead of bullshit green screen) solidifies this as one of 2010’s greats while also being the best film to date in his promising career.

2. The Human Centipede (First Sequence)

No film this year was more of a delightful surprise than Tom Six’s mad scientist oddity. Audiences were disgusted before this film even hit theaters (to this day I have friends who angrily refuse to watch it) as we all know people love controversy. Of course, the detractors might be shocked to discover the depravity is considerably restrained and frequently hilarious. It’s not without some unsettling moments, either. In fact, Human Centipede works so well because it’s a rollercoaster of humor, horror and well-executed suspense. The end result? A new classic in my house. FEED HER!!!!!!

1. Splice

I’m still astounded that Warner Bros. had the stones to release such a commercially unfriendly film to theaters … and in a summer slot to boot! It’s a shame the risk didn’t pay off, but Splice was an easy choice for my number one spot this year as no other film managed to resonate in quite the same way. The idea that sins of the parents are repeated on their children is what drives this twisted little sci-fi shocker and provides some surprisingly complex substance to chew on once the credits have rolled. Not for all tastes, this unexpected trip back into old school Cronenberg territory isn’t afraid to take risks, while Dren is one of the most magical CGI creations of all time.

Dread Central's Best and Worst of 2010

5. Resident Evil: Afterlife

I didn’t hate watching this, the fourth installment in the inexplicably enduring franchise, but it’s writer/director Paul W.S. Anderson’s absolute contempt for coherent storytelling that places this one on the list. It’s nothing but a barrage of amazing coincidences as our heroes combat an evil corporation seemingly hell-bent on killing everyone – despite the fact that there’s only a handful of survivors left in this ravaged wasteland. Time and time again, Anderson has displayed his startling inability to think his story through, but never has it been as glaring as in Afterlife. It’s watchable, but you’re going to hate yourself afterwards.

4. Neighbor

I wanted to love Robert A. Masciantonio’s Neighbor based on its premise alone: a mysterious woman stalking and killing the residents of a small town for no discernable reason. Unfortunately, America Olivio proves she doesn’t have the chops to carry a film of this nature, and the rest of the cast succeeds in nothing but grating on the nerves. Poor writing and slack direction that fails in generating any suspense really sinks this abominable effort on nearly every level.

Puppet Master: Axis of Evil3. Puppet Master – Axis of Evil

Seriously, Full Moon, why’d you even bother? The same no budget crap you’ve been churning out for the last seventeen years … only difference being that this time you said it would be different. You lied.

2. Road Kill (Road Train)

When I put an Aussie movie on my “worst of” list, you know it’s a pile of filth. This isn’t just among the worst piles of garbage of 2010, it’s one of the worst things I have ever encountered in the genre.

1. A Nightmare on Elm Street
Thanks for making it easy, Platinum Dunes. Make no mistake; this remake is among the most execrable ever put to film. Let’s attribute it to the complete lack of innovation in the dream sequences and the bland collection of actors slogging their way through this turgid mess. Jackie Earle Haley never had a chance with this script, but he does nothing to elevate the character of Freddy Krueger either. Everyone involved here succeeded only in one thing: killing this new franchise before it even got out of the gate. Good riddance.

“>[The Buz]

“>[Thom Carnell]

“>[The Foywonder]

“>[Heather Wixson]

“>[Gareth Jones]

“>[MattFini]

“>[Nomad]

“>[The Woman in Black]

“>[Uncle Creepy]

“>[Andrew Kasch]

Nomad’s Picks

Dread Central's Best and Worst of 2010

The Crazies (2010)The Crazies
In a town hit by a man-made chemical weapon causing neighbor to turn on neighbor, there is nowhere to hide. If the government knows it happened and seals the place off from the rest of the world, that’s double true! The premise is not overly worked with characters so well formed; all it took was a cast of excellent actors to make it swing. This is an epic tale with tragedy at every turn and absolutely no need for a sequel.

Black Swan
Sometimes, a crew is just allowed to do everything right. The fact they are ALLOWED to is the real miracle. Black Swan is the darkest fairytale about a ballerina trying to make her dreams come true. Unfortunately, her success can only be attained as her sanity unravels, on screen, like a terrifying creature of infinite beauty. This is the saddest of soul-stirring songs with a finale that will stay with you long after the credits roll.

Frozen
While 90% of Hollywood seeks to wow their audience with overwhelming spectacle, earth-shaking horrors…or at the very least, ye old tried and true remake, one film crew decided to take us back to school. Three people on a chair lift in the dead of winter. As each light goes out below them, we wonder what will happen next. Superb acting, perfect direction and sound effects that will make you ball up in your seat with imagined pain are all the movie magic you’ll ever need.

Repo Men
When is the last time you heard a soundtrack to a movie and said, “I need to own that!!” Not for a long fucking time, yea? This movie has that at its core, and built around it is a gritty cyberpunk tale with very few traditional “good guys” to be found anywhere. It’s bloody, fast, sexy and even alongside the unflinching horror, it’s funny! This is everything I ask a perfect date movie to be…if your girl is as twisted as you are, of course.

Best Worst Movie
Brilliance. The filmmaker, who was also an actor in the abysmally bad Troll 2 (the subject of this movie), paints a portrait of triumph wrestled painstakingly from the clutches of total failure. We are now in the future, where we celebrate the cataclysmically bad in films, and so a movie outlining such a fall and rise with nothing but pure honesty behind the lens makes for an insanely good time, not to mention the source of many an hysterical moment. Even worse, the documentary is so good, IT MAKES YOU WANT TO WATCH TROLL 2!!! For that, the filmmaker should be applauded, then shot.

Dread Central's Best and Worst of 2010

DevilDevil
A pack of unlikable characters locked in an elevator, and one by one, they start dying in the most brutal ways possible. Instead of playing up the claustrophobia of the situation, we get breaks with a detective trying to unravel the mystery. This might also be a gripping option, except that the ENTIRE PREMISE OF THE MOVIE IS BASED ON THE FACT THAT THE KILLER IS THE DEVIL!!!! Thus, the fucking title…and the trailers. Why, oh why, would you waste your time and mine trying to spin a murder mystery worse than anything “Law and Order” ever threw in the trash, when the whole idea is the devil is fucking about? Ugh. The only thing more ill-conceived would be if the fucking trees were killing people. Could you imagine that crap?!?

Legion
Some movies convince you they started out as a stick figure sketch made in the middle of a pitch meeting. The ink bleeds through the cocktail napkin like a classic Slayer album cover. An angel with rippling abs and leather pants wields a glimmering sword in one hand and a badass automatic weapon in the other. SOLD!! Then the same guy writes the film and directs all the action. The suits stop him when he insists it would be “boss” if they replaced all the gunfire sounds with him making Pew Pew noises. This is a colossal waste of time and one that will give you a headache with brain assaulting dialogue you’ll be convinced a pack of stereotypical jocks from an 80’s movie came up with.

Skyline
It’s 2…two…TWO bad movies in one! One film is a CGI blockbuster with giant menacing aliens pilfered from your favorite video games and movies. The other, a badly lit, poorly acted, horrifically written and sluggishly paced “humans in peril” saga shot on a sub-par camera phone. Put them together and it’s as yummy as chocolate-dipped dung beetles.

Jonah Hex
This was a painful one. Most reviewers would agree it is a lesson in what to NOT do in nearly every instance of editing, directing, and shooting. The creators took an edgy, mysterious anti-hero character with years of history already written for him and (as Hollywood is so fond of doing) then said, “You know what…we got this.” They said, “We’ll make him HOT and wisecrackin and give him a perpetually sweaty HOT femme to rescue.” Then they hired an excellent actor to play his nemesis and told him to read all his lines as if he was disappointed with his only female child. They also mentioned that if he could get through the entire film without making a single facial expression, he would get a fat bonus. Success.

Clash of the Titans
Never have I looked forward to a movie more and been so completely disappointed by the result. Just goes to show you can’t computer generate FUN!! Ya know…because it is supposed to be fun, like those movies they make where we laugh and cheer and smile a bit. Instead we got an orgy of flaccid special effects sitting in for any sort of interesting writing and, as a final fuck you, a little dig on how lame the creators thought the original was. Note to Hollywood: If you don’t understand why an original movie is loved, DON’T REMAKE IT.

“>[The Buz]

“>[Thom Carnell]

“>[The Foywonder]

“>[Heather Wixson]

“>[Gareth Jones]

“>[MattFini]

“>[Nomad]

“>[The Woman in Black]

“>[Uncle Creepy]

“>[Andrew Kasch]

The Woman In Black’s Picks

It’s always interesting to look back over the past year and reflect on what constitutes the best and worst films of a particular time frame. While most of us tend to focus on the negative — too many remakes/reimaginings, unnecessary and unsatisfactory sequels (or prequels), and an overall lack of respect for the moviegoing public exhibited by the studios and especially the MPAA — I was surprised by how few truly low rated movies I had on my 2010 horror list. Out of a total of 80 films, a good quarter of them (21 to be exact) earned a rating of 4 knives or more with just 14 garnering below average scores (0 to 2 knives), which means a whopping 45 (or well over half) received an average or above average mark (2-1/2 to 3-1/2) from me. As a result, it was very easy to pick my Worst of 2010 and keep things to a minimum with a Bottom 5 and an equal number of Dishonorable Mentions, but when it came to honoring the Best, I had a much harder task. So, per usual, I’m bending the rules a bit, and while my Best of 2010 does have a Top 5, the Honorable Mentions simply had to be expanded to an even dozen.

Without further ado, let’s get this show on the road so we can concentrate on what’s upcoming in 2011!

Dread Central's Best and Worst of 2010

Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan1. Black Swan
I have only one word to describe Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan: breathtaking. It is hands down my favorite film of the year, and not just in the horror category although it certainly provides plenty of chills and squirm-inducing moments for genre fans who might be put off by its ballet milieu. The transformation scene is still burned into my brain and will surely remain there for months to come. Natalie Portman acts her ass off and proves she is a true “movie star”. Black Swan, along with its cast and crew, deserves each and every accolade and award nomination it has received thus far with undoubtedly many more to come.

2. Piranha 3D
We’ve all heard the expression “from the sublime to the ridiculous”, and what better to follow the transcendent beauty of Black Swan than the cheesy hilarity, over-the-top gore, and gratuitous nudity of Alexandre Aja’s Piranha 3D! Was it technically among the “best” of 2010? Of course not, but it provided more fun and giddy good times than any of the other films on this list did, and it stands out as the first movie since 2004’s Dawn of the Dead remake that got me to return to the theatre the same day for a repeat viewing. That’s got to count for something, right?

3. The Human Centipede (First Sequence)
Remember that focus on negativity I mentioned in my opening paragraph? Another thing people complained about this past year was a lack of originality. They obviously didn’t see Tom Six’s The Human Centipede. Crazed, crazy, creative, and disgusting, it was also mind-blowingly inventive (what kind of person thinks up these things?) and gave us the best new horror villain in years: the stunningly deranged Dr. Heiter, played to a “t” by German actor Dieter Laser.

4. Triangle
Black Swan isn’t the only psychological thriller that struck a chord with me this past year. Although I hadn’t been much of a Melissa George fan prior to hitting “play” and watching Triangle, I wound up liking this soooo much more than I expected. She gives a terrific performance, and thanks to a great supporting cast and a really smart script from writer/director Christopher Smith, Triangle is a brilliant little mindfuck flick that just seems better and better as time goes on.

5. Frozen
I was fortunate enough to be among the first people to watch and review Adam Green’s survival horror tour de force Frozen. Here’s what I said then, and it’s still true today: “Man vs. Nature is an eternal theme that’s tricky to get right on film. In Frozen‘s case it’s damn near 100% right.” There are two remarkable things about Frozen – its realism and its cast. Other than Black Swan, it provided me with the purest emotional experience of 2010. If you’ve still yet to see it, what the hell are you waiting for?

Honorable Mentions:

  • Daybreakers (the best vampire flick and one of the most ambitious films to hit theatres in 2010)
  • Shutter Island (a tad too long but outstanding in terms of mood, acting, storyline … everything!)
  • After.Life (Christina Ricci gives a brave, bold performance, and Liam Neeson is spectacularly creepy; watch out for director/co-writer Agnieszka Wojtowicz-Vosloo in the future)
  • The Loved Ones (yes, it is as excellent as everybody says it is, if not more so)
  • Black Death (another win for UK director Christopher Smith, who so far can do no wrong in my book; moody, dark, and uber authentic feeling with a perfect twist ending)
  • Heartless (uneven but incredibly well made, beautifully shot, and capably acted … impressive, funny, touching, dramatic)
  • The Disappeared (ghost story of the year with great characterizations and attention to details like plot, atmosphere, and sound design)
  • Paranormal Activity 2 (proof that, yes, lightning can strike twice)
  • Tell Tale (the first revenge tale in history that actually made me root for vengeance; Josh Lucas is simultaneously restrained and out of control, Lena Headey is fantastic as always, but the real scene stealer is Brian Cox)
  • My double-feature recommendation of The Last Exorcism (yes, I dug the “controversial” ending) with Babysitter Wanted (my pick for Best Indie) because they both dare to go places few other films would even dream of
  • Lastly, I can’t let 2010 end without a tip of my hat to the best darn genre show on TV, “Supernatural”, which had its best run ever during Season Five, in which Team Winchester battled the odds to halt the impending apocalypse … and paid a heavy price. No matter what happens down the road with Season Six (and possibly Seven and beyond), we’ll always have our “Swan Song”.
  • Dread Central's Best and Worst of 2010

    Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010) (Click Here For Larger Image)1. Resident Evil: Afterlife
    This is a truly awful movie with a ridiculous script that makes virtually no sense and the most pretentious acting we saw all year. It’s only redeeming features are how well it’s shot and how good the 3D looks, but really, don’t waste your time. Play any one of the RE video games instead.

    2. A Nightmare on Elm Street
    This one starts off decent (much like the F13 remake) up to the opening title card, but then it’s downhill from there. Director Samuel Bayer (or whoever was really in charge) made it boring, dull, and not scary in the least. With actors clearly too old for high school, horrendous acting from lead Rooney Mara (the three best actors sadly get killed off first), and a villain who almost comes off as sympathetic (Jackie tried but is no Freddy, sorry to say), Platinum Dunes continues to get it wrong. However, they do get extra points for the title sequence; it’s the creepiest thing in the whole film. Just make sure you shut it off once they’re done running.

    3. Damned by Dawn
    It’s a good thing I keep an ongoing list of what I watch during the year or otherwise I would have completely forgotten about this stinker that was downright painful to sit through. At only 80 minutes long, it still felt padded and streeeetched out. It might be an okay installment in an anthology, but otherwise Damned by Dawn is muddled and not nearly worthy of its full feature length.

    4. Altitude
    I feel a little guilty including Altitude among the Bottom 5, but oh, that ending! Worst of the year by far. Before the third act, however, I was kind of enjoying it. It’s very shaky acting-wise, but I give director Kaare Andrews and star Jessica Lowndes credit for giving it their all. Until Altitude falls apart into a sappy, disappointing mess. If the monster had more screen time, I maybe could have partially forgiven it, but better luck next time, kids! Everyone deserves a second chance.

    5. Knife Edge
    This long-awaited return to the horror realm by Anthony (Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth, Waxwork) Hickox is nothing but tedious and sleep inducing – a real letdown to say the least. Uncle Creepy summed it up best in his review: “Somewhere between the ninety-fifth plot twist and the seventy-eighth character turn, I found myself just not caring. During the third act reveals are shot at us in rapid fire succession without even the simplest care in the world as to whether or not they actually make sense. It’s pretty stunning, really, and a total missed opportunity.” Amen.

    Dishonorable Mentions:

  • Dark Nature (forget dark – this nature is dullsville; did not work for me at all)
  • The Possession of David O’Reilly (muddled, dull [that word again!], and ridiculous behavior on the part of the characters; should be in the Bottom 5, but the acting and chemistry are so good, I’m being lenient)
  • Skyline (another one I feel a little guilty about including, but c’mon – where was the fun?; drops the ball midway through with an utterly silly ending)
  • Legion (starts out rather enjoyably but then hits a brick wall with too much boooooring exposition that never goes anywhere, pacing issues, and not enough real action; if you want the apocalypse done right, watch “Supernatural”)
  • Finally, although I know I’m going to get heat for this, we have Birdemic. No, it’s not so bad it’s good. It has 5 to 10 minutes of pure comic gold, but the rest is tedium personified. Bad acting, bad script, bad effects. It’s probably a cult classic in the making, but I hope to never see any part of it again!
  • “>[The Buz]

    “>[Thom Carnell]

    “>[The Foywonder]

    “>[Heather Wixson]

    “>[Gareth Jones]

    “>[MattFini]

    “>[Nomad]

    “>[The Woman in Black]

    “>[Uncle Creepy]

    “>[Andrew Kasch]

    Uncle Creepy’s Picks

    2010 was a really strange year for horror. It started off slowly with movies ranging from passable to utter shit, then there was the horror drought in which we were lucky to see anything at all, but holy shit did it end on a strong note. So without further ado … in no particular order here are my picks for best, worst, and flicks that came close to being both!

    Dread Central's Best and Worst of 2010

    Paranormal Activity 2
    Just how in the world this movie worked is still beyond me. It defies all rational ways of thinking. Paranormal Activity 2 should have been a soulless cash-in meant only to ride the popularity of the first. Instead it provided some of the most rock solid chills and scares that I’ve ever had in a theatre. Literally this flick did the impossible.

    FrozenFrozen
    Though Adam Green is primarily known for the Hatchet film series and getting into as much trouble as humanly possibly, Frozen is easily his best work to date. Doing a flick about three people stuck on a ski lift isn’t exactly the most exciting sounding premise for a film, but it’s Green’s smart and thoughtful script and intense execution that put this one on the top of the pile for 2010.

    The Loved Ones
    Though it’s not available here in the States as of yet, there’s no way that I could have written this list without including The Loved Ones in my Top 5. Believe everything that you’ve heard, folks. This flick lives up to its expectations and shatters them into a million bloody pieces.

    The Human Centipede (first Sequence)
    Seriously, what list is complete without a little ass-to-mouth action? Or, in this case, a lot of ass-to-mouth action. While not as disturbing as everyone made it out to be, I found The Human Centipede to be more funny than I did horrifying, but there’s no denying — this is one hell of a gross good time!

    Piranha 3D
    The end credits finished. I stood up. Walked three steps and then sat back down in my seat to watch the glory that is Piranha 3D over again. Easily the most fun I’ve had in a theatre in years, this trash is totally my treasure and is a flick I can see watching multiple times for many years to come. This is the feel good and dirty flick of the decade!

    Honorable Mentions:
    Hatchet II
    Daybreakers
    The Last Exorcism
    Burning Bright
    Shutter Island
    After.Life
    Black Swan
    Let Me In

    Dread Central's Best and Worst of 2010

    Altitude
    Why couldn’t we just have a monster movie? Would that have been so wrong? Why did we have to get saddled with so much bullshit baggage about past lives, alternate realities, and whatever else you decided to ram down our throats? Altitude showed SO much promise and easily stands on its own two feet as my biggest disappointment of the year.

    Resident Evil: Afterlife
    Oh, how I loathe you. Can we please just reboot this franchise and make it more like the video game series we all love instead of a pointlessly flashy and completely braindead shit meal? Is it really that hard? Can no one else see how wrong things have gone here?

    A Nightmare on Elm Street
    Ah, Platinum Dunes. Thanks so much for taking one of the horror genre’s crowning jewels and turning it into one of the single most soulless and senseless movies ever to be errantly ejaculated out by a studio in years. You guys are awesome. Here’s to many more years of grit, lens flares, and orange gels!

    Bitch SlapBitch Slap
    Never before has a movie about hot chicks with lesbian tendencies been so dull. I can’t even imagine a teenager popping a chubby to this ever-so-flaccid cock-tease of a movie. For the life of me I still don’t even understand who this rancid bowl of drivel and fuck was marketed to. How I wish I could unsee it.

    The Wolfman
    Know why you’re on this list, Wolfman? Yes, you were rated R. Yes, you were exceedingly gory! In all honesty, you really weren’t even that bad. However, the simple fact that you have Rick Baker doing your effects and still went for an all CGI transformation is simply inexcusable and more than enough of a reason to ask you to respectfully blow me. Thanks, I’ll wait.

    Dishonorable Mentions:
    Skyline
    Legion
    Clash of the Titans
    Jonah Hex
    Don’t Look Up
    Knife Edge
    Road Kill
    My Soul to Take

    “>[The Buz]

    “>[Thom Carnell]

    “>[The Foywonder]

    “>[Heather Wixson]

    “>[Gareth Jones]

    “>[MattFini]

    “>[Nomad]

    “>[The Woman in Black]

    “>[Uncle Creepy]

    “>[Andrew Kasch]

    Andrew Kasch’s Picks

    These lists are always tricky because I see a lot of films in special premieres, festivals and market screenings, and that causes major confusion with their actual releases (films like [REC] 2 and DREAD appeared on previous year-end lists). As always, I’m judging solely based on what I watched this year regardless of how widely they’ve played.

    Dread Central's Best and Worst of 2010

    “THE WALKING DEAD”
    A cheat? Hell no! Frank Darabont’s ninety-minute pilot alone blew away every other horror offering this year and put bite back into the old-school zombie. After decades of wannabes, this show effectively took George A. Romero’s legacy and transcended it into an A-level long-form story with real characters and raw emotional power.

    Andy Mitton and Jesse Holland's YellowBrickRoadYELLOWBRICKROAD
    Not since The Signal have I been this excited over a no-budget indie. Writer/directors Jesse Holland and Andy Mitton prove to be one of the best new talents in horror with their psyche-invading debut about a group of historians who venture into a forest right out of the “Twilight Zone”. This is the closest thing to being stuck in a long surreal nightmare where everything and everyone is unpredictable.

    I SAW THE DEVIL
    South Korea proves it’s still the country to watch for no-holds-barred horror. Like Se7en crossed with Death Wish, this serial-killer/revenge drama combo throws out some of the most unbelievable “holy fuck!” set-pieces and characters since Oldboy. See it before it gets remade.

    BLACK SWAN
    Much debate has raged over whether or not this is a horror film, but I’m here to say that all the naysayers are crazier than Natalie Portman. Darren Aronofsky’s latest masterpiece plays like a hybrid of Roman Polanski and David Cronenberg, clearly influenced and molded after genre classics like Repulsion. A great head trip with the best performances of 2010.

    BEST WORST MOVIE
    What starts as a weird catharsis for Troll 2 star Michael Stephenson quickly turns into one of the most interesting character studies on filmmakers and fandom you’ll ever watch. As touching as it is funny, this trip through the freak show perfectly illustrates why horror is the most fun world to play in. The best of its kind since American Movie.

    Honorable Mentions: Frozen, Paranormal Activity 2, Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale

    Dread Central's Best and Worst of 2010

    This year offered so many terrible/mediocre/forgettable films that 2010 itself deserves the top honor in the “Epic Fail” category. Yet again, we were hit with another barrage of lousy remakes and poser throwback films that were about as thrilling as an afternoon visit to Grandma. I was lucky enough to avoid most of the worst, but if I have to select one, it would be…

    A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET
    If only horror movie characters could kill famous boogeymen half as well as Platinum Dunes. Even with the combined budget of the entire original Elm Street series, Sam Bayer and Co. couldn’t come up with a single imaginative idea for this latest cash grab. The fact that they did it all with complete contempt for Wes Craven’s creation makes its place on every “Worst of the Year” list well-deserved.

    “>[The Buz]

    “>[Thom Carnell]

    “>[The Foywonder]

    “>[Heather Wixson]

    “>[Gareth Jones]

    “>[MattFini]

    “>[Nomad]

    “>[The Woman in Black]

    “>[Uncle Creepy]

    “>[Andrew Kasch]

    Image Type 1:

    DreadCentral presents Box of Dread

    Box of Dread
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    • NYC-Hearts

      While opinions can differ as to what constitutes a “horror” film on the margins, I really don’t see any basis for excluding “Black Swan” from the horror camp (despite what some argue in comments below). Black Swan is a mash up of Powell/Pressburger’s “Red Shoes,” “Repulsion” and a lurid, unhinged pyscho-sexual giallo into a nasty piece of dread showing a mind fracturing beyond repair. Best horror film of the year, IMO.

    • DavidFullam

      That’s not Kasch. The real deal would name “Funny Games” at the best of the year. It “breaks the 4th wall” you know!

    • LifeMi

      Here’s my take on Best and Worst of 2010…
      BEST
      Dread. Absolutely loved it; I’m a jaded horror fan and it’s really hard for a movie to freak me out. Dread did that and for that, I give DiBlasi HUGE creds.
      OTHER FAVORITES
      Daybreakers. Nice to see someone do a real vampire movie in the midst of the Twilight bullshit.
      Let Me In. Not great, but a solid remake that is just as good as Let The Right One In.
      [REC] 2. Once again, not a great film but it delivers and is a worthy sequel to [REC].
      (Haven’t seen Black Swan yet, but I’m assuming that will be a favorite as well).

      WORST
      A Nightmare on Elm Street. I didn’t think it could get worse for Platinum Dunes after F13. I was wrong. Fuck this movie.
      OTHER HATES
      Legion. Should’ve been, at the very least, entertaining. It was dreadful in every possible way.
      Saw 3D. I haven’t liked a Saw film since the original, but this is easily the worst one.
      The Wolfman. Not painfully bad, but for a Universal Monsters fan like myself, it was pretty disappointing.
      The Crazies. It should’ve been crazy like the Dawn of The Dead remake, but it was pretty bland.

    • Shambling_in_Bandages

      There are an awful lot of “not-horror” films on those lists, considering that it’s a Top 5 for an entire year. If pushed to do a Top 10, would we have seen a contributor saying “While not strictly a horror film, ‘Dinner for Schmucks’…” or something similar?

      Kidding, of course. But it does make me wonder what’s wrong with a genre when its “Best of the Year” lists include sword-and-sandal fantasy, sci-fi, thrillers or documentaries about old horror films in order to make up the numbers to a whopping no. 5.

      That’s not knocking you fine gentlefolk at DC, so I hope you don’t read it as such. I’m just wondering… what the hell is going on? Where have all the horror films gone?

      • Uncle Creepy

        I dunno, dude. I see lots of horror on every list? Which flicks in particular are you referring to? The only one’s I can see being iffy are Never Sleep Again, and Best Worst Movie because they’re movies about horror movies and not exactly horror in and of themselves. Still, they’re on plenty of lists from other horror sites, as are Black Swan (which Aronofsky himself calls a horror movie, and a couple of others.

        Maybe you mean Bitch Slap? Machete? Fringy, yes, but definitely within the genre. Again, horror is subjective. That’s a main reason why people’s lists have a tendency to be diverse.

      • Nomad

        For my part, the list was difficult. I hadn’t seen a lot of the non mainstream horror people seem to be raving about, so I thought it was a fairly weak year for the genre.

        I’m sure you are referring tothings like Clash and Hex in worst categories. I made my lists based on what we reviewed on Dread, even tho those movies are a stretch as horror concepts.

    • Terminal

      I like these lists usually. I liked The Buz including The Walking Dead on his top 10, but the Worst 10 was a cop out of a sorts. I would have enjoyed a lengthier Top 10 and just skipped the worst 10 if he had none.

      I have to say I really enjoyed Foy’s list, even though I hated Human Centipede.

      For Heather: Machete and Red Hill were not horror. You even called Red Hill a drama. And yet ANOTHER cop out for Worst 10 of the year. Focus on the good and not the bad? Sheesh, do you collect rainbows in jars, too?

      Matt Fini’s picks were my favorite in the best and worst category. Even if Best Worst Movie wasn’t a masterpiece, I can see why it’s on Top lists across the net.

      With Nomad I’m not shocked you listed The Crazies as one of the best of the year. It was just a Southern Fried 28 Days later, goofiest piece of shit of the year.

      With WIB, Triangle was in 2009, not 2010, but the movie is so fucking good, I don’t care. Great bottom five.

      For UC, I thought the Wolfman rocked, but I don’t know, I can’t understand why people hate it so much. Oh well, good lists.

      ———-
      “We are bad guys. That means we’ve got more to do other than bullying companies. It’s fun to lead a bad man’s life.”

      • The Buz

        In all honesty, I was working so much in 2010 that I really didn’t see all that many movies. And the ones I did have time to see I made sure I saw the best ones I could. Thus I didn’t see bad movies except for Nightmare on Elm Street. That and it sucked so much that it deserved an entire bottom five, lol.

        • Terminal

          DC should then rethink their strategy on end of the year lists. Instead of asking contributors for lists and risk getting a Heather list of “It’s better to be nice and not a big meanie head!” or yours, how about ONE pick from every staff member and compile it on one big list?

          I notice this year’s list was scant with members. In the early days you had about fifteen or eighteen lists with lengthy responses, this year was very bone dry.

          ONE bad and ONE good pick from every member and use it as one big article would make more sense. It’s obvious this year all the contributors didn’t see a lot of movies and there weren’t many to see a lot of horror films.

          The lists were entertaining but they had a lot of choices not specifically horror (Black Swan is not horror no matter how you rationalize it), and were very brief.

          Other sites really made a big deal out of it.
          ———-
          “We are bad guys. That means we’ve got more to do other than bullying companies. It’s fun to lead a bad man’s life.”

          • Uncle Creepy

            FYI the only year there was more than 9 contributors to the list was 2007 when 14 staff members did theirs. From 2008 to present it’s always been 9 or 10 at the most, so your scant contributor remark is completely inaccurate.

            In terms of the lengths of the lists, they’re just about the same and have been for quite sometime. Each person is asked to do a top five and a bottom five and write a paragraph or two — at the most — as to why they chose these flicks.

            As for choices “not being horror”, horror is subjective to the viewer and each person sees things differently. Unless of course you’re Terminal and you believe that the way that you see things — is for a fact — how they are.

            So here’s to another year of your incessant bitching about nothing at all while trying to persuade others that we’re changing our platform (4+ years going strong on that one) even though we haven’t, wouldn’t, and never will. And of course another year rife with you reviewing our reviews, nitpicking everything we do, saying staff is being defensive when we’re just trying (in vain obviously) to address your 99% unfounded and ridiculously negative for no apparent reason remakes, saying we don’t like you because you don’t kiss our asses (thereby insinuating that the rest of our readership are ass kissers), and of course praising how other sites do things so much better than we do! :-)

            Cheers! We love ya, buddy!

            • Terminal

              Creepy, there’s no reason for being such a panty waste. Just change the tampon and relax. I wasn’t even criticizing you for once, I was actually just opening the line of discourse and hoping to open up a conversation because I enjoy lists.

              And here we are once again where even though I say I like most of the lists, you’re crying and stomping like a petulant kid because I didn’t bow down and kiss your feet and claim everything you do is the bee’s knees.

              You’re not hot shit, and I’m not going to treat you like you are. I try to approach everyone like an average person and I even complimented most of the lists.

              Buz didn’t even seem to care about my response, and explained why. I’m still not sure why you responded so angrily yet again or why my opinion matters so much you act like a wounded dog every time I express anything but complete praise for anything and everything you do.

              Daddy issues, much?

              Pardon me for responding to a list that usually attracts responses. Why do you even HAVE comments sections if when you actually DO garner responses it’s usually defensive dribble about how people don’t appreciate what you do and all that crap?

              Come on man, either get a thicker skin, tone down the ego, or just eliminate the comments section. I actually felt I was a lot more easier on you guys than I was last year.

              And yes horror is very subjective but Black Swan? Bitch Slap? Machete? Red Hill? No one can rationalize those choices.

              But hey if you’re happy just doing things the way they are, then by all means, continue on! It’s your website, it’s your house, you pay the bills, so don’t let one user’s opinion make you curl up in a ball sucking your thumb.

              It’s not like I’m going to change the website tomorrow or something.

              Have a bottle, relax, and go take a nap. We’ll talk when you’re feeling better.
              ———-
              “We are bad guys. That means we’ve got more to do other than bullying companies. It’s fun to lead a bad man’s life.”

            • Uncle Creepy

              LOL! Thanks for illustrating my points!

              So here’s to another year of your incessant bitching about nothing at all while trying to persuade others that we’re changing our platform (4+ years going strong on that one) even though we haven’t, wouldn’t, and never will.

              And yes horror is very subjective but Black Swan? Bitch Slap? Machete? Red Hill? No one can rationalize those choices.

              And of course another year rife with you reviewing our reviews, nitpicking everything we do, saying staff is being defensive when we’re just trying (in vain obviously) to address your 99% unfounded and ridiculously negative for no apparent reason remakes,

              Buz didn’t even seem to care about my response. I’m still not sure why you responded so angrily yet again or why my opinion matters so much you act like a wounded dog every time I express anything but complete praise for anything and everything you do.

              saying we don’t like you because you don’t kiss our asses (thereby insinuating that the rest of our readership are ass kissers),

              And here we are once again where even though I say I like most of the lists, you’re crying and stomping like a petulant kid because I didn’t bow down and kiss your feet and claim everything you do is the bee’s knees. You’re not hot shit, and I’m not going to treat you like you are.

              and of course praising how other sites do things so much better than we do! :-)

              But hey if you’re happy just doing things the way they are, then by all means, continue on! It’s your website, it’s your house, you pay the bills, so don’t let one user’s opinion make you curl up in a ball sucking your thumb”

              I wasn’t angry at all, dude. Your posts make me anything but! I illustrated that you were being inaccurate and then said I was looking forward to another predictable year of you doing the above! Of which you’re off to a great start! Besides! How could I get angry at such a very sexy internet rebel!

              Just funnin’ with ya! 😉

            • LifeMi

              Question; how come Kasch didn’t do a list this year? His absence was notable.

            • Uncle Creepy

              Andrew’s list was just added – he was on the road for the holidays. This addition makes this the largest collection of lists we’ve had since 2007. I’m sure he’ll be glad to know he’s been missed.

            • Terminal

              No, no, I’m not insinuating the rest of your readers are ass kissers, but I notice that the news items never get comments, and when they do it’s stifling praise, which is not uncommon. The site has its fans. But then the people who are insistent on posting less than positive remarks on articles and the like are greeted with defensive comments from you and the others.

              And you mistake my comments for criticism when most times they’re sarcastic comments, and sardonic humor.

              But I did notice a change in the tides this year. In previous years the DC Best and Worst lists had a long list of contributors voicing the views on movies. There were Andrew Kasch, and Johnny Butane, Johnny Butane’s wife, his wife’s sister, their dog Scruffy, Morgan Elektra, Buz, you, WIB, et al.

              And now it’s a small list of people like Heather “Sunshine and lollips” Wixson, and few others posting lists of movies, half of which aren’t even horror to begin with. Heather even called “Red Hill” a drama.

              Every single horror site from the biggies like BD to small blogs are posting their Best and Worst lists this year with enthusiasm, I’m sorry expecting one of the biggies to make a big deal out of lists that are typically intended to provoke conversation and debate would.

              Maybe your hearts aren’t in it anymore, maybe people just didn’t see many movies, maybe you’re so arrogant you assume your lists don’t need to be properly put together since the readers will come anyway, who knows?

              All I was saying, which was meant to be constructive, was that if you’re having difficulty compiling lists (which is apparent since Buz and Andrew Kasch are moving on to big projects after the fantastic Never Sleep Again), why not just have a different list next year?

              Maybe one pick from every staff member and pile it on? Or maybe you just create categories like the Rondo Awards?

              See this is me being constructive fan, not me being “negative” or “a troll,” or “negative nelly,” or “a prick.”

              You could either take that in record and file it away for next year, or just ignore it as you usually do.

              As I said it’s not my site, you have nothing to worry about from me.
              ———-
              “We are bad guys. That means we’ve got more to do other than bullying companies. It’s fun to lead a bad man’s life.”

            • Uncle Creepy

              Dude, you’re still on this? Really? I said I was ribbing you.

              First you post:

              “Good Lists”

              And then, after throwing your usual passive aggressive hissy-fit meant to illustrate what a non-conformist cool guy you are, you post:

              “Maybe your hearts aren’t in it anymore, maybe people just didn’t see many movies, maybe you’re so arrogant you assume your lists don’t need to be properly put together since the readers will come anyway, who knows?”

              Fickle much? LOL!

              Then you wonder just why sometimes you are ignored. The thing is Terminal you hardly ever act as a “constructive fan”. Maybe, just maybe, if you posted something along the lines of “Hey, I’ve got a possible suggestion for next year” instead of going into long winded unfounded diatribes about “daddy issues” etc, things would be looked at differently. That’s never the case though. In nearly every single thing that you post there’s always some kind of veiled smarminess, outright name calling, ridiculous accusations, etc. You have literally spent 4 1/2 years trying (and failing) to act as our conscience. That’s why you are reacted to the way that you are. You reap what you sow, dude. It’s nothing personal at all.

              Again … The lists, with the exception of the year 2007 when we had several more contributors, are nearly exactly the same in length, content, site exposure, and amount of people doing them. We do not tell our writers what to do with their lists as we feel their opinions NEED to be exactly that – THEIR OPINIONS. Some chose to number them in order, some don’t. Some choose to look at a particular side. Others don’t. That’s what makes them unique and not stamped off of the assembly line crap.

              In your quest to be an internet rebel you try ever-so-hard to point out whatever shortcomings you see fit that don’t live up to your quality assured standards. Standards I may add that you yourself have never exhibited anywhere.

              At this point I’m sounding more like a broken record than anything else so I’m done. Finito.

            • LifeMi

              While I don’t agree with Terminal’s rant, he does bring up one point worthy of discussion. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the Best and Worst lists have followed the same basic structure since the beginning. I wouldn’t mind seeing something new at the end of 2011. Maybe you could announce everybody’s lists in parts. One day, you announce everybody’s top five, then the next day announce everyone’s top four and so on and so forth until you get to everybody’s top film, then do the same thing for the bottom 5. That could be a good way to go about it. Just my suggestion.

            • Uncle Creepy

              And it’s one we’ll totally consider for next year! Thanks for the feedback!

    • will graham

      Well here’s mine based on what came out here in the uk:

      Best

      1. Piranha 3D: the most fun I’ve had at the cinema in a long time.

      2. Rec 2

      3. Joe Dante’s The Hole: Scarest movie of the year, weak ending but everything else before makes up for it. Brings back memories of the 80’s when they knew how to make horror movies for the early teens audience.

      4. The Crazies

      Worst

      1.Predators/Troublemakers studios: Can’t remember the last time I came out of the cinema spitting venom. see the Predators thread on the forums to see why I disliked it.
      3 movies in since seperating from the Weinsteins and Troublemakers studios have delivered inferior products that feels more like expensive video premieres than block busters made on a budget.
      In fact Universal Soldier 3, Ninja, Undisputed 3 and The Marine 2 had better action scenes than Machete and Predators!

      2. Legion: I never liked the look of it but had to go due to it being a friends birthday. the only person I know who likes it, also thought Skyline was amazing, what does that tell u?

      3. Rampage: An Uwe Boll that’s actually overated and I liked some of his earlier films. Badly improvised, a string of not very good action scenes and little plot and yet some people feel that this is the film Falling Down should have been?!!!!

      4. Burke and Hare: Better than anything John Landis did during the 90’s but still quite poor compared to his pre twilight zone films. The film isn’t funny, and was more fun spotting the uk actors in the film than following the story.
      Still As least Isla Fisher was seriously fucking hot as usual.

      Just for the record, overall the most films I’ve enjoyed in general this year were either a remake, a sequel or produced by Nu Image.
      And both Shutter Island and Inception had the most predictable endings I’ve seen in an acclaimed films in years!
      there must be something wrong with me.

      • Vanvance1

        Thanks for reminding me about ‘The Hole’. This is vintage Dante and if I ever had kids would be a wonderful horror starting point.

        P.S. Inception had a great ending. Hell, Inception was great. The only big budget movie of 2010 worth watching.

    • Vanvance1

      For me Gareth’s is the DC list closest to my own views.

      It’s good to know a critic’s taste because if it’s similar to your own it becomes much easier to trust a review.

      I truly fail to understand all the love given Shutter Island. Scorsese is painfully overrated and he created a technically proficient but otherwise dull and predictable ‘thriller’. I wouldn’t call it horror.

      Ditto Frozen, it was competent but light on substance and impact. I really expected a lot more.

      Kudos that most everyone hated the Nightmare on Elm Street remake.

      P.S. Horror Director of the year has to go to Smith for the one two punch of Triangle and Black Death.

    Steve Barton

    You're such an inspiration for the ways that I will never, ever choose to be.