Part two of this four part “series” covers the biggest disappointments of the year. These are not necessarily the worst movies I watched last year, just the ones that I was most excited to see, or had a ton of hype built around them, and then failed to deliver. Practically all of these are horror movies because those are what I get the most excited for. I know I bring most of the hype for these films upon myself, but there are plenty of cases where, even after I have pumped myself up for a certain release, it manages to deliver (Paranormal Activity 2 for example).
Four of the five below are 2010 releases, but the requirements were merely movies that I watched in 2010. Let’s get to the list.
Top 5 Biggest Disappointments of 2010:
5. A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) – 4
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IP Movies Blu-ray Review
Rent on Netflix
Check Out A Nightmare on Elm Street on Amazon
To be fair, upon a second viewing, I ended up giving this film a bit more praise than my initial comments on this site. This is most likely because my expectations were at a 0 when reviewing it on BD instead of the 10 when seeing it in theatres. With that said, this still ranks as one my biggest disappointments of the year. A remake (or “reimagining” as everyone likes to say nowadays) of the 1984 hit of the same name, A Nightmare on Elm Street does little to set itself apart from most of the other horror schlock we get today. Freddy Krueger (Jackie Earle Haley), a serial killer who works in dreams, haunts the teenagers on Elm Street, trying to kill them while they sleep. Quentin (Kyle Gallner) and Nancy (Rooney Mara) band together to try and rid the city of this hellish nightmare once and for all. In keeping true to its unoriginal nature, there is little difference between this 2010 remake/reimagining, and the 1984 original, making this as pointless as they come and an obvious cash-grab attempt. The Blu-ray has a ton of special features, but the movie itself is lackluster.
4. Devil (2010) – 2 Stars
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I’m a weird guy: I am as non-theistic as can be, but I still enjoy movies that have religious overtones (Signs is, after all, one of my favorite movies ever, and I enjoyed the hell out of The Exorcism). When a movie starts getting overtly preachy, however, I shut down and the loathing begins. That is what happened with Devil (and will be happening again further down this list). It is obviously going to be a religiously-influenced movie given the title, but couldn’t they have at least been creative about it? Not only was the religion of the characters forced upon the viewer, but the movie went nowhere and felt handcuffed by its PG-13 rating. Essentially, Devil is the story of five strangers being trapped on an elevator and one among them is the Devil, killing the other passengers when the lights go out. It has a decent twist that I didn’t see coming, and is very Agatha Christie-like in its delivery, but the final five minutes of the movie are not enough to make this a recommendable title. Rent it, watch it, and forget it. That’s what I should have done.
3. The Human Centipede: First Sequence (2010) – 2 Stars
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The Human Centipede is a victim of internet hype. Knowing about this movie for about six months now, I finally got around to watching it on Christmas Eve. Yes, the film was shot beautifully, with a wonderful use of color, and it is almost impossible to tell it is an independent film. This doesn’t make it worth watching, and I am forced to ask the question, “what the hell is the point”? Dr. Heiter (Dieter Laser) is a retired surgeon obsessed with conjoining different animals, and wants to make a new pet with the most dangerous animal: humans. Lindsay (Ashley C. Williams) and Jenny (Ashlynn Yennie) are two American tourists whose car breaks down in the middle of nowhere on a way to a German club. They happen upon a house as they search for help; unfortunately for them, it is the house of Dr. Heiter. Disgusting things ensue, and then the movie ends. There is no catharsis for the victims, and not even a real conclusion for the audience. The problem is that nothing happens. Why have all this blood and put people in these unthinkable circumstances if nothing is to be gained, for either the victim or the bad guy? My problem with this film is that it is pointless. Why make a movie with absolutely no message other than “there are sick people out there”. No shit there are! We see it every day in the news, so why did I just waste 90 minutes of my life being told the same thing over and over again? Well, now I’m ranting for no discernible reason. Tom Six is obviously talented, and I hope he decides to use that talent to tell a worthwhile story in the future. I’ll leave it at that.
2. Legion (2010) – 3
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Speaking of an overtly religious script killing any semblance of an enjoyable movie: enter Legion. I won’t spend much time here because the movie was mostly forgettable, and having not seen it in about half a year, I don’t remember much of it. One thing I cannot forget, though, is thinking how obviously conservative the director, writers, or both must be to make this movie. They do not even attempt to hide the fact that the (long, boring) speeches in the film are pro-life, and that believing in God is the only way to survive this “end of days” situation. If you put religion in movies, fine, but do it in a creative manner (this goes for any religious or political beliefs, not just one that differ from my own). Legion is the story of what happens when God gets sick of dealing with the human race, and all their flaws. He sends Angel Michael (Paul Bettany) to destroy the human race, but Michael rebels against God and decides to help the humans out. He stumbles upon a lone diner in the middle of the desert, and he and the group of people inside are the only things keeping humanity alive. From the opening biblical verse to the closing “God is tired of your bullshit” message, this movie disappointed. As I mentioned in my initial comments, the only good thing about this movie is Willa Holland in a mini-skirt. Save yourself 99 of the film’s 100 minute runtime by just Googling Willa instead.
1. Halloween II (2009) – 3
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Rent on Netflix
Check Out Halloween II on Amazon
The reason this falls in at #1 on my list is simply because Rob Zombie can do so much better. I make it known to anyone that inquires that I love Rob Zombie’s films, starting with House of 1000 Corpses, going through the Halloween reimagining. This just did not live up to the Michael Myers name like the first one managed to. There was plenty of blood, which is great, but Zombie seemed to strip the soul of the original characters away, which I thought was there with his first Halloween remake. I loved his cinematography on the film, but everything else was a disappointment. Picking up almost exactly where the first movie ended (just like the originals), Halloween II is another bump in the road for Michael Myers (Tyler Mane), who is still trying to kill his sister, Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-Compton). Brutal and gruesome, but lacking the soul that the first reimagining found. This was a major disappointment mostly because of who made the film – Rob Zombie – and my respect for his work. Hopefully Halloween III gets back on the right track.
Two movies that make the list are horror remakes/reimaginings; two make the list because they are overtly, non-creatively religious; the fifth makes the list because it is pointless, and was killed by hype. That seems about right to me! What were your biggest disappointments of last year? Comments are always appreciated. I will be posting part three (biggest surprise) and part four (worst movies) in the coming days.
As always, thanks for reading.
Branden has been a film fan since he was young, roaming the halls of Blockbuster Video, trying to find the grossest, scariest looking VHS covers to rent and watch alone in the basement. It wasn’t until recently, though, that Branden started seeking out the classics of cinema, and began to develop his true passion for the art form. Branden approaches each film with the unique perspective of having studied the art from the inside, having both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in acting. He has been a film critic since 2010, and has previously written for Inside Pulse Movies, We Love Cult, and Diehard Gamefan. His biggest achievement as a film critic, to date, has been founding Cinefessions and turning it from a personal blog to a true film website, housing hundreds of film and television reviews, and dozens of podcasts.