Although 2015 was a strong year for horror in general, as usual, a few bad apples snuck through, dampening our spirits and suggesting to the rest of the world that our beloved genre is a low art after all.
These included, but weren’t limited to; unnecessary sequels (Sinister 2), bizarre found footage adventures (The Visit), home invasion nonsense (Knock Knock), ill-advised reboots (Victor Frankenstein) and whatever the hell The Lazarus Effect was supposed to be.
The following are my personal worst of the worst, the horror movies that, for me, besmirched the name of an otherwise awesome year of genre offerings:
Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension
The (hopefully) final installment in a series that should’ve died years ago, The Ghost Dimension promised to finally show us all the activity, which begs the question: what the hell have we been watching for more than five years? A not-so-nifty 3D presentation only muddied the waters further which, in an already fuzzy found footage format, doesn’t really help communicate anything more effectively. What transpired was, after loyally waiting for answers since 2009, the joke was truly on us.
Those unlucky enough to catch Dominic Brunt’s revenge-fueled monstrosity, which thankfully only broke ground in the UK, were left with the sourest of sour tastes in their mouths. Sexist, exploitative and downright dumb, Bait is the wet dream of every man who honestly believes that nice guys finish last because he, in reality, isn’t a very nice guy. Disgusting, badly written, and boring in spite of its overt violence and gore, if we’re lucky, this one won’t make it across the ocean to bother any more well-meaning patrons.
In a year that gave us The Hallow, a British production filmed almost entirely on location in Ireland, we had to suffer the indignity of Cherry Tree, an Irish production filmed at home in which almost everybody speaks with a British accent and we’re tasked with believing the action takes place in Great Britain, too (in spite of car registrations, scenery, etc). This film had the unfortunate luck of showing at Frightfest 2015 opposite Hellions, a movie with a similar plot that did everything so much better.
Sightseers writer and star Steve Oram’s directorial debut was highly-anticipated, not least because of his work on Ben Wheatley’s cult favourite is widely-regarded as some of the best in horror-comedy history. However, as it turns out, when it came time to devise his own idea, Oram took it way too far in the other direction, managing to nail neither the horror nor the comedy in a messy, confused and painfully boring attempt to be different that failed to make any kind of mark, in spite of the amount of excrement and blood smeared everywhere.
The Human Centipede 3 (Final Sequence)
Any arguments about satire were completely dismissed with the final installment in Tom Six’s purposefully disgusting trilogy that, let’s face it, hasn’t been interesting or scary since the First Sequence. Mean-spirited, badly-performed, incompetently-directed and with a cameo from Six that is more cringe-inducing than the centipede itself, Final Sequence proved once and for all that this guy is nothing more than a piss-taker with one, suitably gross idea who got lucky. And not a very good one at that.