2016 was something of a banner year for horror films in terms of box office, if not critical, success. Films like The Boy, Annabelle, and The Forest didn’t exactly wow the critics, but they made nifty profits for their respective studios. Other films, which were both critical and box office triumphs also flourished in 2016. Don’t Breathe, Lights Out, and The Conjuring 2 were very sizable hits and kept audiences glued to their seats. But there’s always a nifty amount of duds to marvel at, and my job is to sit and watch them in the hopes that I might save some of you the hassle of wasting your hard earned cash to see them (I suffer so you don’t have to).
I’m not gonna waste any valuable time recounting the films in my dishonorable mention list, as I don’t wanna promote them any more than they’ve already been promoted. Bottom line is, you’ve probably already suffered through them, so why relive the horror of having to read about them all over again? SO below you’ll find the Terrible Ten, the worst of the worst, the lousiest of the lousy aka The Worst Films Of 2016. I pray that you haven’t seen all of them, but if you already have – my deepest sympathies go out to you. It ain’t easy being lousy, but then again, as evidenced by the following films – maybe it is.
10) Terror Toons 3 – Written & Directed by Joe Castro.
I’m not exactly sure why this franchise still exists (There’s a fourth entry currently in the works as I type), but I guess someone, somewhere likes to look at 80 minutes of fractured images with silly sounds attached to them. This literally gave me a headache as I suffered through it, and it’s a complete and utter mess. The worst part of it is that it seems to be the last film that the venerated HG Lewis appeared in. I hope he’s watching much better films wherever he is right now.
9) Cell – Written by Stephen King and Adam Alleca. Directed by Tod Williams.
I wonder what this would’ve turned out like if the original director, Eli Roth, hadn’t bailed on it. Then again, maybe Eli saw the final script and decided to cut his losses before they gt too big to overcome. You’d figure that with Stephen King, Samuel L. Jackson and John Cusack on board that this would’ve been halfway decent, right? It just goes to prove that even the best of us have some really bad days every so often, and this mess is absolute proof of that.
8) Baskin – Written by Can Evrenol and some other people you’ve never heard of. Directed by Can Evrenol.
What can I say about what was billed as the first horror film from Turkey, other than it’s absolute crap? Unbelievably, this one got some favorable reviews from some of the bigger names in this business I’m in. I’m not sure if I saw the same film they did, and if I did indeed see the same one, then I wonder if they got to ingest some chemical substances that I didn’t beforehand? The first half of this one has a bunch of Turkish cops sitting around, drinking and eating as they recount stories of their first sexual experiences. The highlight of this first half being the bit when they discuss having sex with a chicken (seriously). The second half plummets them into a (sorta) hellish environment that’s vaguely similar to some of the less entertaining haunts you might have visited last Halloween. Man, I wish I could’ve had some of the stuff those other guys got while I was watching this one…
7) Viral – Written by Christopher Landon and Barbara Mitchell. Directed by Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost.
As if we haven’t seen enough “Populace infected by rogue virus” films already, here come the rotten folks at Blumhouse Pictures to remind us why that particular sub genre is pretty much dead and buried. A stupid film featuring a group of teens who take time out from being quarantined to sneak out and have a big party. Also features one of the stupidest endings in recent history. Released directly to VOD, and I hope if you ordered it – you demanded a immediate refund right after it was over.
6) Phantasm: Ravager – Written by Don Coscarelli and David Hartman. Directed by David Hartman.
I wonder if Coscarelli knew this one was a stinker, so he “graciously” passed the director’s baton to the hapless Hartman? This one was originally slated to be released as a series of webisodes, before some genius decided they could make some money by stitching the webisodes together and make a feature length film out of them. This is the biggest disappointment of the year for me, a terrible looking and turgidly paced train wreck of a film that wastes the talents of nearly everyone who had major parts in the previous four Phantasm films. It was billed as the final chapter, but idiotically it ends with the promise of a 6th film. What a sad final film for the always great Angus Scrimm to end his career with.
5) The Greasy Strangler – Written by Toby Harvard and Jim Hosking. Directed by Jim Hosking.
I’m not entirely sure what the makers of this film were hoping to achieve, but if they intended on annoying the fuck out of their audience – then they succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. A fever dream of disgusting images, full frontal nudity, and grease. Lots and lots of grease. I cannot begin to recount how annoyed I was while watching this mess that takes its one joke premise and stretches it to feature film length. The joke got tired after five minutes, yet they keep milking it for all it’s worth until it just becomes a chore to sit through this. An intentional mess? Perhaps. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it, and I didn’t.
4) Blair Witch – Written by Simon Barrett. Directed by Adam Wingard.
The names Simon Barrett and Adam Wingard come connected to some of the better horror films released over the last few years. Films like You’re Next and The Guest. This one was originally promoted as The Woods, before it was revealed to be a sequel to The Blair Witch Project about a month before its release. Unfortunately it’s more of a remake than a sequel, because it tells pretty much the same story as the original did. The only difference being that it looks a lot better than the original did (then again it cost about $5 million dollars as compared to the reported $16-24 thousand that its predecessor did. So it should look better). But it’s a lifeless, stupid mess of a film that’s guilty of the worst crime any film can be accused of – it’s terribly dull. This one got some love from a few of the bigger online horror outlets out there, and if they had paid me some of the cash they paid those guys, I guess I would have some nicer things to say about it as well. But they didn’t, so I didn’t. I’ll end with this, if you see a poster proclaiming a horror movie as “A New Beginning For Horror” – stay far away from it.
3) Incarnate – Written by Ronnie Christensen. Directed by Brad Peyton.
Alls I can say about this is that if Aaron Eckhart’s career can survive both I, Frankenstein AND this travesty, then have no doubt, he is for sure the Antichrist.
2) Yoga Hosers – Written & Directed by Kevin Smith.
Hopefully Kevin Smith will get the hint, and either retire from the film business immediately, or after his next abortion of a film, entitled “Moose Jaws”, is shat upon an unsuspecting public. This film is the poster child for vanity production, and as such should be treated as the piece of dung that it is. Hiring his friends and family to make films isn’t the crime he’s committing here, it’s hiring them to be in crap like this that should get him locked away for life. Yoga Hosers is a lifeless, unfunny waste of celluloid that fritters away the once prodigious talent Smith seemed to have. But his more successful films like Clerks and Dogma seem to have taken place eons ago, and now he’s just coasting on his name (which oddly enough seems to retain some value). How he thought a film about two air headed convenience store clerks, and their struggle against a group of Nazi bratwurst people (called “Bratzi’s”) would entertain anyone outside of his friends and family is beyond me. But maybe they hated it too? One can only dream…
1) The Darkness – Written by Greg McLean, Shane Krause & Shayne Armstrong.
This is the third entry on my list to come from the horrid people at Blumhouse Pictures (Incarnate and Virus being the other two). And I have to wonder, why do they hate horror films so much? If they hate them the way I suspect they do, then why waste money making them? Go and feed some starving kids you miserable bastards! The Darkness holds the singular honor of being the only horror film I can ever recollect seeing, that has absolutely no horror to speak of in it, no genuine horror anyway. That is unless you consider a couple of scenes of rogue hand prints making bedrooms all dirty (Ooooh…scary!). But The Darkness is really about a family with personal problems. So it’s essentially a Lifetime movie being promoted as a horror film. It does venture into some supernatural shenanigans eventually, but that happens in the last five minutes of the film – and it isn’t scary at all. I’m hoping Kevin Bacon and Radha Mitchell got paid very well for involving themselves in this claptrap. By far the biggest waste of time I spent in a theater this year.
And there you have it, the ten worst films I’ve seen in 2016. I pray that 2017 fares a bit better in terms of bad films. I know they’re gonna be there, but a few less wouldn’t hurt, would it?