Saturday, January 24, 2015

Worst of 2014

My plan was to combine my Best and Worst onto one list.  But then I got to writing and it got a little too long.  So we’ll roll with Worst right now.
I couldn’t find 10 films I really disliked, but it’s because I avoided a lot of movies that probably would have ended up on that list.  Jessabelle, Ouija, Paranormal Activities: The Marked Ones.  All of these were left unseen by me.  I thought about throwing them at the bottom of the list, but that seems cruel.  One day I’ll watch them and rant about them then.  I don’t want to ruin all that fun just yet.  I gotta pace myself, you see.

9. Zombeavers
It’s not that it was terrible.  It’s more what it represents, combined with the fact that it just wasn’t very good.  What it represents is the new SyFy movie trend of making an obviously bad movie, with the plan of making it so ridiculous (and making the title ridiculous) that people will love it for those reasons.  It’s a way to get people to love something ironically, without actually ever trying to make a movie that would stand on its own merits.  SyFy has been making movies for a while, and, while they’ve been pretty ridiculous, they didn’t always fit this bill.  I would tell you how many times I’ve seen Frankenfish, Minotaur, Yeti, Ice Spiders and Sabretooth, but I don’t need your judgement right now.  The wife and I once made sure we were both home to watchOdysseus: Voyage to the Underworld, starring one Arnold “Imhotep” Vosloo.  They were also behind some really quality movies, like Splinter.  They weren’t cheesy all creature-features.  Then the giant shark movies started showing up, and it all went to hell.  “What if we made nothing but stupid, over-the-top movies?”  It’s hard to fault them, really: I’m sure the Sharknado series has drawn in more viewers/money than Battlestar Galactica ever did.
I’m getting on an old-man rant, so it’s time to pull myself out.
That brings us to Zombeavers.  There was no plan in place to make this a good movie.  The idea started and ended with, “What if there were zombie beavers?”  It wasn’t funny.  It wasn’t clever.  It was just a loud, obnoxious movie about zombie beavers attacking sex-addicted college students in a remote cabin.  There were a couple funny moments, but, for the most part, it was really painful.  An unfunny idea that was turned into a movie without much thought put into it.  I didn’t hate it, but it wasn’t good, and it’s just the latest example of a trend that has gone too far.
If it tells you anything, my favorite part of the movie was watching the outtakes with Bill Burr and John Mayer ad-libbing while driving around in a truck.

8. Willow Creek
This is on here because I wanted it to be good.  It’s a found footage Bigfoot movie directed by Bobcat Golthwait.  I’m a fan of Bigfoot, and, seeing as how I had just visited the International Cryptozoology Museum, I was really looking forward to this.
It was really boring, and seemed to steal scenes directly from The Blair Witch Project (Golthwait says he’s never seen Blair Witch, so I guess it’s just some sort of terrible coincidence).  There were a few decent scenes, but I couldn’t stand the main guy, and that really hurt the movie.  It wasn’t terrible, but it just wasn’t very good.
My original review.

7. The Quiet Ones
I’m a fan of Hammer films.  I love the classics, and I’m a huge fan of The Woman in Black.  This has a great cast and a pretty cool story (well, the story this was loosely based on was good.  This version left quite a bit to be desired), but it didn’t really go anywhere.  The writing wasn’t very good, and the characters were barely characters at all.  Like Willow Creek, this wasn’t terrible, but it was really boring and just kind of a slog to get through.

6. The Purge: Anarchy
I really disliked the first Purge movie.  One of my main complaints was that it didn’t show enough of the wider carnage.  All we got was the inside of one house, and the family we were stuck with was terrible.
I got my wish here.  We saw a bigger view of the city.  We got more people involved.  It was exactly what I wanted.  Until I realized that it wasn’t.  Outside of the main character (who was more an action movie stereotype than a character), there wasn’t another likable character to be found.  I think there were a couple good scenes, but I can’t seem to remember them, so maybe it was part of a fever dream.
They tried hard to up their political statement game with this one, and they failed horribly.  It wasn’t smart enough to really say anything; just a string of failed concepts.  How is this only sitting at 6?

5. ABCs of Death 2
Oh.  Right.  Because other movies came out this year that were quite a bit worse.
I didn’t care for the first ABCs of Death, so I wasn’t looking forward to this one.  But I started watching it anyway, because I hate myself.  I say “started”, because I didn’t finish this.  I don’t know that I even made it halfway through.  I had planned to watch the whole thing under the premise of, “If I don’t like what’s on my screen right now, I’ll just wait 5 minutes and a new short will be on.”  But then I remembered I would be doing that for 2 hours, and I just couldn’t do that to myself.  I think I watched 6-7 segments (maybe more), and I didn’t like any of them.  Had I finished this, it would probably be higher on this list.  Or I would be dead.  Either way, I guess.

4. Wolf Creek 2
In what seems to be a theme on this list, I didn’t love the first Wolf Creek.  It wasn’t bad, but there just wasn’t much to it.
For this one, they decided to make Mick Taylor – the killer – more of a personality.  Tell some jokes.  Yuk it up.  Make him more of a wisecracking ne’er-do-well/serial killer.  The people love to laugh with the guy who is brutally murdering and torturing innocent humans, right?
Maybe the thought process was that many people do cheer for the killers in slashers.  But that’s a little different than this.  People cheer for Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers because they’re known entities, and the victims are purposefully vapid.  “Who cares if they die?  They’re not doing the world any good, anyway.”
You could counter my Mick Taylor argument with, “Freddy Krueger cracks jokes,” but those movies were different than this.  By the time Freddy was cracking jokes (“Soul food, nyuk nyuk nyuk.”), those movies had long since veered into the ridiculous.  So far, the Wolf Creek films are still trying to be grounded in reality.  Sure, Mick Taylor may laugh and make jokes as he’s running over a herd of kangaroos (nyuk nyuk nyuk), but they’re still supposed to feel real (they have to, or the ugly torture scenes would be for naught).  This took what I disliked about the first one and made it uglier.
My original review.

3. Alien Abduction
I had high hopes for this.  Something about a found footage alien movie sounded cool.  It sounded like something I could get down with.  But the family we followed were boring/awful, and the movie just dragged.  It was basically the “Slumber Party Alien Abduction” segment fromV/H/S/2 stretched out over 85 minutes.
Hey!  Speaking of V/H/S

2. V/H/S/: Viral
I didn’t like V/H/S, but I thought part 2 was a huge step up.  I didn’t have high hopes for this, but I did think it would be somewhat enjoyable.  I wasn’t expecting something amazing, just something halfway decent.
I didn’t get that.  I didn’t get that at all.
The second segment – “Parallel Monsters” – wasn’t bad.  It was a decent idea, but it drug on for a bit too long.  Still, a decent enough segment.
The rest was terrible.  The segment with the magician and the magic coat was laughable, and didn’t seem to fit at all within the found footage of the rest of the films.  I honestly thought it was a joke, but I was mistaken.  The skateboarder segment was entirely too long, and the characters were insufferable.  The wraparound story was amazingly confusing.  The entire movie was littered with terrible effects of limbs being chopped off.  This was a terrible, terrible movie.  I know anthology films can be a mixed bag, but there was very little to like here.  “Parallel Monsters” wasn’t even good enough to warrant a rewatch.
And the only reason it wasn’t the worst movie I saw this year…

1. Leprechaun: Origins
I like the original Leprechaun series.  I don’t love it, and I certainly don’t think they’re good movies, but I enjoy them for what they are: ridiculous slasher movies about a killer Leprechaun.  Even if I’m not necessarily in the mood for that kind of thing, they’re pretty good movies to put on in the background while I’m doing something else.  I look up from making dinner, see the Leprechaun killing a guy by jumping on him with a pogo stick, smile, and go back to dinner.
I had prepared myself for something different with this movie.  Something darker.  I was looking forward to it.  The original Leprechaun was kind of played out.  With Warwick Davis being replaced by WWE’s Hornswoggle, I was perfectly fine with a change of direction.
But not like this.  Never like this.
The writing was terrible.  The actual origin story was all told by a 4 minute info dump in a basement.  The only likable character was Sophie, but she was only likable because she was set up as our proxy.  None of the characters had much in the way of an actual character.  Sophie and her boyfriend were having issues, but they did nothing to add to the story or the characters.
And the Leprechaun?  They say it was Hornswoggle, but who could know for sure?  Underneath the Galaxy Invader-esque rubber suit, it could have been anyone.  It could have been the kid fromSmall Wonder for all I knew.
There was not a single redeeming factor in this movie.  I thought I would at least find something to have fun with.  “So good it’s bad.”  I didn’t find that.  Maybe I needed to watch it with a big group of people, but I don’t even know if that would’ve helped.  This was a terrible movie.  Please don’t watch it.  Even if you like the Leprechaun series, don’t watch it.  Please.  I beg you.
My original review.

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