It’s that time of year again. Time to air out the worst of the worst, bottom of the pile films of the year. 2012 has the unique distinction of being the year where I have ended up with the longest list of terrible films to choose from thus far, and yet, there were still several badly reviewed films that I never even got around to seeing (films like Adam Sandler’s latest outing, “That’s My Boy”), so if you notice something bad missing, chances are I simply didn’t see it.
Because there was such an abundance of awfulness to choose from, I’ve decided to pair off similar films in a few places on the list in order to include a few more. So, before we begin with the actual list, I present the plethora of dishonorable mentions:
The Cold Light of Day – An extremely generic thriller that has nothing distinguishing about it. Featuring undeveloped characters, mindless action, and a rather dull plot.
Intruders – A horror film that is completely lacking in horror and thrills. Even hardcore horror fans will find this one difficult to stay awake during.
Kill List – Who would have thought it would be possible to turn a film about two hitmen into such a bore? First it takes forever to get going, then continues its terrible pacing throughout the rest of the film only to stumble into a completely inexplicable ending that felt like the main characters had accidentally strayed into another film. This thing just reeked of really lazy and uninspired writing.
Lay the Favorite – One of the most forgettable bad movies I’ve seen in the last few years. The screenplay is very repetitive and merely turns the film into a meandering mess that goes nowhere.
The Moth Diaries – A stretched out, tedious film with the pacing of a snail. This merely continues the trashing of the vampire genre that began with “Twilight.”
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 – If you’ve seen the other entries in the series, then it should be no surprise that this is here, though you may be surprised that it wasn’t quite bad enough to reach the bottom ten. It features the same problems that the other “Twilight” films had: terrible acting, awful stories, etc. The one good thing to come out of this film is that it finally marks the end of one of the worst series in cinematic history.
Resident Evil: Retribution – “Resident Evil” is another series that has inexplicably been allowed to continue despite having not had a decent entry since the original outing. Filled with nothing but mindless action and awful performances, it’s unclear if this series will ever come to an end like it should have done several years ago.
Lola Versus – A film that tries to be funny, quirky, and meaningful, but fails in all three areas. All it ends up being is a tiresome, clichéd rehash of the several other romantic-comedies already out there.
At last, now we come to the actual list itself. Prepare yourself for the very worst films of 2012:
10. Cosmopolis – I can’t recall having seen a film that was in such dire need of a plot before. The film merely tells the story of a young rich man (Robert Pattinson) who is driving across town in his limo to get a haircut. Along the way, he has random conversations and sexual encounters that end up going nowhere. It was rather shocking to see that David Cronenberg would do such a bland film with such a flat script (one that he wrote no less). It’s even more of a surprise to see that Pattinson’s performance wasn’t the cause of the film’s demise. He’s actually not that bad here, but it ends up making perfect sense. The character is flat and bland, and Pattinson is… well, you know.
9. Friends with Kids and Compliance – A pair of films that win the honor of being the most annoying films of the year. Some films are bad because of their actors, screenplays, or other technical issues, but it takes a rare film to have all those problems AND be as irritating as can be.
“Friend with Kids” tells the story of Jason and Judy, two friends who have never had any attraction towards each other. They both want a kid, so they decide to have one together and share the responsibility for it. Never so badly have I wanted to smack the main characters of a film upside the head and talk some sense into them. You would think their friends would do so, but no, for that would ruin the flimsy premise of the film. Aside from this frustration, it falls into the regular clichés of every other romantic-comedy.
“Compliance” was a surprise year-end addition to my list given that the reviews were rather favorable. It tells the tale of a man who calls up a fast food restaurant claiming to be a police officer. He tells the manager that one of their employees has stolen from a customer and that he has surveillance proof of it. The rest of the film has him convincing the employees there to do humiliating things to the thief in question. This escalates into such inexplicable behavior that it makes you question just how stupid people can be.
If this were based on an original story, I would simply say that it was one of the least believable films I’ve even seen. However, it’s apparently based on a true story, usually meaning that something vaguely similar happened. Even though it’s based on a true story, it’s hard to believe that it actually happened like this. Are we supposed to believe that almost everyone talking to this obviously fake cop is mentally retarded? That’s the only way the film even slightly begins to work. Or if it really did happen like this, then it’s merely a bland film that seems to be poking fun at how dumb these people are. Writer/director Craig Zobel is clearly going for a contained thriller, but instead ends up with one of the most annoying films I’ve sat through in some time.
8. Think Like a Man and This is 40 – Here we have a pair of films that are overly-long and severely lacking in the laughs that they were trying to achieve. “Think Like a Man” is filled beyond capacity with characters that are undeveloped in a mess that becomes completely predictable. In the end, the film is merely a giant advertisement for Steve Harvey’s book of the same title.
“This is 40” is the latest mess from Judd Apatow, a writer/director who doesn’t know the meaning of restraint. Just like with “Knocked Up,” “This is 40” could have been trimmed down by quite a bit anywhere during its production, but unfortunately, he never takes the time to do so, resulting in a film that is bloated, stretched, and filled with material that feels like deleted scenes.
7. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance and Underworld: Awakening – A pair of films that resulted in two of the strangest film-going experiences I’ve had this year. I went to both of these films, the movie played on the screen for its runtime, then was over, but absolutely nothing of consequence had happened during that entire time. They were all, as they say, “sound and fury, signifying nothing.” I won’t bore you with the details of these as even I’ve forgotten pretty much everything in them. All you really need to know is that they were action-filled messes that aren’t worth anyone’s time.
6. Battleship – My goodness, what a dumb idea for a movie. Let’s take a classic board game and throw in some aliens. Who in their right mind thought this would work? The whole story merely acts as a template for them to feature as many explosions and as much gunfire as they possibly could, resulting in a film that is basically a combination of “Battle: Los Angeles” (the worst film of 2011) and the latter “Transformers” films (both of which made appearances on my worst of lists of their respective years).
5. The Watch – I can’t recall a film like this where, within ten minutes of it starting, I was checking my watch to see when it was going to be over. It is a completely unfunny, unfocused mess that drags on and on. Everyone involved thinks that this is incredibly funny material, but they only end up embarrassing themselves as joke after joke falls flat on its face. It’s an experience best forgotten, but don’t worry, it’s very easy to do just that.
4. Paranormal Activity 4 – The latest entry in yet another franchise that needs to die. This entry is even lazier than the previous outings. As usual, it features no scares, but the strange thing is that this time, they don’t even try. People go to these films expecting them to at least attempt a scare or two, but you won’t find any here. Not only that, but this one doesn’t even attempt to move the story forward or explain how it got to this point in the first place. What you’re left with is an incredibly forgettable film that makes you wonder why people continue to fall for the exact same bad movie over and over.
3. The Apparition – One of the dullest “horror” films I’ve seen in quite some time. This completely unoriginal story becomes a battle to stay awake with its lazy writing and complete lack of scares. Is it any wonder the studio delayed the film for two years and then tried to give it the smallest release possible?
2. Silent Hill: Revelation – I thought the first “Silent Hill” was bad, but this pile of garbage actually makes it look decent. This entirely unnecessary sequel is a complete mess from the awful screenplay to the terrible acting. Even the lighting and cinematography are horrid. The entire film is simply a bore that felt like it was merely an excuse to force bits of the first film back onto the screen (the nurses, pyramid head, running around the murky city, etc.). The story certainly wasn’t a priority as aside from being deadly dull, it’s filled with completely nonsensical plotpoints throughout. Hopefully this is the last of this series, because I don’t think I could take how bad a third entry could get.
1. Dark Tide – Never heard of it? Imagine “Jaws” without the interesting storyline, engaging characters, memorable dialogue, thrills, suspense, and entertainment and you’d have a pretty good idea of what awaits you with “Dark Tide.” It tells the story of Kate (Halle Berry), who is hired by Brady (Ralph Brown) to take him and his son out to the open water to swim with sharks. That’s the plot that the writers, Ronnie Christensen and Amy Sorlie, attempt to fill up two hours with. Anyone else would think that that would be a terrible idea, but apparently these two thought they could pull it off. They were wrong, oh so very wrong. The only probable reason anyone agreed to work on this thing was because all they would have to do is hang out on the beach and on a boat while doing a bit of swimming. As to why this film was allowed to get made in the first place will just have to remain one of the biggest mysteries of 2012.
Well, there you have it: The worst films that I happened to catch during 2012. As I mentioned, I didn’t get a chance to see all the bad ones, but you can bet that most of them are somewhere on this list. With all of these out of the way, it’s now time to assemble the opposite side of the list, so be sure to check back soon for my Top Ten Films of 2012.