I typically highlight a number of depressing microfilms when it comes to this style of list, but I’m going to pass on that this year and do things a bit differently. This year, I’m only going to focus on the absolute worst of the pics that had a little buzz or a few bucks behind them. Although 2016 was – overall – a pretty solid year for horror, there were definitely a couple marquee failures. So, here’s a guide to the true criminal offenders, the movies you should have been avoiding, and can continue to avoid as 2016 fades away.
A dreadfully bland affair with some of the worst decision making you’ll see in a genre title, The Forest was a crash and burn film that somehow fails to entertain for even the briefest of moments. A marquee affair that somehow earned a wide theatrical release, The Forest was one of those films that should have hit VOD outlets and then slipped away into obscurity. Why it was pushed so hard is a tough nut to crack, there’s nothing enjoyable about the film.
Independence Day: Resurgence
As I type this, one question just reverberates through my mind: what the hell was this shit? Everything that was entertaining about Independence Day is dead and gone, nowhere to be seen or felt in this astoundingly flat follow up. It’s so terrible in fact, I have no desire to continue talking about it.
Gods of Egypt
What in the name of all that is decent about cinema? Terrible performances, a terrible script, perhaps the worst casting we’ve ever seen in a major motion picture and some CGI that would leave SyFy execs feeling utterly disappointing. It’s a shitstorm from start to finish, and what’s even worse is that somehow a flick like this – loaded with plenty of big “special” effects still proves to be flat out boring. I’m not even sure how you make a movie like this feel so far from inspiring. When you can’t create a single stimulating scene in a film like this, you’ve failed on an epic level.
You know what I love about Cell? It was so nauseating and abysmal that I was actually quite successful in erasing it from my memory. I honestly can’t remember much more than a handful of scenes and the general feel of the film. It’s a lifeless stinker that finds a way to sink despite reuniting two of today’s stronger performers in John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson. Those two alone should have been enough to win fans over and elevate the production, but the script was coma-inducing and the pace of the movie never once feels like it successfully works. This one feels more like one long, drab, worn out scene stretched to feature length runtime. There are no peaks in the film, and all the beats are missed. Weird, terrible stuff.
The biggest indie letdown of the year, Carnage Park was nothing like we’d expected when we learned that Mickey Keating, Pat Healy and Ashley Bell were the three crucial players of the production. Keating’s now given us more than one winner, and early signs pointed to another here. It was not to be; Carnage Park is a mess that feels convoluted and utterly confused from the first to the last minute. We can’t all hit consistent homeruns, so Keating certainly gets a pass without a major fanbase drop-off, but no one can afford to make movies this bad on a regular basis.
The Darkness is similar to Carnage Park in the sense that it features another super talented filmmaker directing a disappointingly predictable tale that really offers next to no scares and characters so muddled about who they are we viewers are practically shut out from even the possibility of investing in them. It’s just not a good film, and it’s kind of weird to know that Greg McLean helmed this one. McLean is the stud who brought us the Wolf Creek flicks and the super promising pic-on-the-way The Belko Experiment. He’s much, much better than one might think after watching The Darkness.
We’ve seen some very bland found footage features over the years, no denying it. But Branden Kramer’s Ratter takes things into new, lifeless territory. Nothing happens in 95-percent of the film. We literally watch a young lady live an uneventful, and embarrassingly clichéd almost-hipster/almost-uber nerdy life for nearly an hour and a half before an anticlimactic finale that does nothing to justify the flat-lined build up. I think I’d rather watch a Real World marathon than this snooze fest.
Little Dead Rotting Hood
While this is one of the lower profile pics on this list, it did see a little bit of buzz kicked up in advance of its arrival, but it’s still just one giant WTF sequence. If you want to acknowledge its ties to classic folklore, that’s fine and dandy, but it doesn’t change the fact that nothing about the movie actually works. If there’s anything worthy of a skip this year, Little Dead Rotting Hood is definitely that (or, at least one of them) movie. It doesn’t even work as a so-bad-it’s-good piece, unfortunately.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Proof that sometimes attempting to appeal to everyone alive, including hardcore LGBTQ supporters/community members, doesn’t work, and that some classics should never be tampered with, we were subjected to this sorry excuse of a (made-for-television) film earlier this year. It’s an embarrassment of a production, and it’s hard to ignore that as we can clearly see by the casting alone that whoever got behind this one missed some key ideas and messages of the original film. If you want to see a contender for worst remake of all time, then I guess you might look into this one. Here at ATHM, we’re just suggesting you don’t throw away a few hours of your life and steer clear.
Dead Rising: Endgame
There was a little bit of charm in Dead Rising: Watchtower. Dead Rising: Endgame, however, has absolutely no pulse, and what charm we did get from Watchtower is nowhere to be found in this unnecessary follow up. The idea may be to turn the Dead Rising film franchise into something as successful as the games in which they’re based, but we kind of need to see a great film before we can even recognize that as a possibility. This is the opposite of a great film.