Lola’s Top Ten Worst Films of 2016

While 2016 was mostly a good year for the horror genre, there were still some major flops that slipped through the cracks. My list consists of the films that were not necessarily the worst, but the ones that I found most annoying. I’ve ranked them accordingly.

disappoint5.jpg10. The Disappointments Room

There isn’t much to say here. I think Wentworth Miller had some sort of gothic trope check list that he used to create this script. The sad thing is, he’s an excellent writer. Stoker is a favorite of mine. If you want to see a good gothic thriller starring Kate Beckinsale, I’d go with Stonehurst Asylum.

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9. Holidays

There have been some great anthology films of late. Unfortunately, Holidays falls into the weird and stupid category next to The ABCs of Death. The best segment of the batch is the Kevin Smith one, but even Smith’s piece seems lacking. The worst one is the Saint Patrick’s Day one, which crams a shitty 90 minute film into about 15 minutes.

171610088-7213fc65-1b44-41b3-a847-68a42f5b4325.jpg8. Green Room

I know many of you are going to disagree with me about this one. I liked the director’s first film, Blue Ruin, but Green Room seemed sloppy and nonsensical. It was drastically underlit, and I frequently couldn’t tell where the characters were in relation to one another. I’m also confused as to why this massive group of white supremacists couldn’t wipe out a few punk rockers. Finally, I have to talk about Patrick Stewart. His performance was almost unwatchable. He mumbles his way through the whole damn movie, like he’s sedated or something.

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7. Intruder

If I were ranking these films based on how poorly they were made, Intruder would be at the very top. This Netflix original had little to offer except unintended laughs. The most cringe worthy scenes are the ones where Moby attempts to act. Also, why can’t that girl see her stalker when he’s standing right next to her while she’s in the shower? She better get her peripheral vision checked.

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6. The Purge: Election Year

The Purge is a fun concept, and I enjoyed the first film and parts on Anarchy. However, Election Year just took it way too far. I didn’t hate this film, but it was just trying too hard. There were moments and characters I enjoyed, but the film as a whole felt like silly political propaganda.

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5. Ghostbusters

Ok, so Ghostbusters isn’t a horror movie, but horror sites covered the hell out of it and it has ghosts. To be honest, I couldn’t sit through the entirety of this film. The jokes fell flat as a pancake, and the characters made my flesh crawl. Whoever thought this script was good must’ve had their streams crossed.

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4. Morgan

This film had so much potential to be smart and scary. Instead, audiences were forced to endure some needless action scenes and an obvious plot twist.

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3. Cabin Fever

Cabin Fever gets the award for most pointless remake of 2016. Ever wonder what would happen if you took the exact same script, and reshot it with different actors? Yeah, neither did anyone else.

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2. Blair Witch

The Blair Witch happens to be one of my very favorite films. When I heard about the new film, I was pretty excited. The trailer looked good, and I knew it was in the capable hands of Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a messy, confusing rehash of the original. Dumbest part of the movie? The drone, definitely the drone. They set it up to be an important part of the film, and then did nothing with it, what a waste.

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1. The Darkness

This film is so rubbish, it’d be comical if it wasn’t so sad. The trailer offered promise of an unusual ghost story, with Anasazi gods at the heart of it. Unfortunately, the Anasazi gods were only a minor part of the film. Instead, the audience was forced to endure haunted house 101 gimmicks, and a family that is full of dysfunction and low on likability. Kevin Bacon, you can do so much better.

 

 

Blair Witch – Sticks and Stones

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The Blair Witch Project from 1999 is one of my top 10 favorite films. There is something about that movie that manages to hold me like no other. Despite being such a seemingly simple story, it has so many layers to form ideas and theories around. Ignoring Book of Shadows for now, the original The Blair Witch Project provides a sturdy foundation that leaves plenty of room for a solid sequel. Unfortunately, director Adam Wingard’s new film Blair Witch, leaves a lot to be desired.

Blair Witch, was written by Simon Barrett who wrote two of Wingard’s best films, The Guest and You’re Next. Blair Witch is a direct sequel to the 1999 film. The film follows a group of students who journey into the woods to find out what happened to the characters of the original film. The character James (James Allen McCune) is Heather Donahue’s younger brother. James has always been plagued by her disappearance. His friends Lisa (Callie Hernandez), Ashley (Corbin Reid), and Peter (Brandon Scott) agree to go along and film their findings. Along the way they team up with suspicious rednecks Lane (Wes Robinson) and Talia (Valorie Curry). Of course this is Blair Witch, so no walk in the woods, is well… a walk in the woods. They become lost and soon begin to see signs that they might not be alone. They experience inhuman howls at night, find mysterious stick figures, and the sun never seems to rise. From there things only get worse and worse.

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I don’t want to spoil any specific plot points, but this is mostly a rehash of the original film, but without the mystery. I was hoping for an expansion of the The Blair Witch Project’s mythology, but there wasn’t much said that the first film didn’t already say. They did introduce some time bending elements, which added an extra level of intrigue. However, they didn’t explore that idea enough to make it worth while.

In fact, none of the additions seem to serve much purpose. For example, one of the characters cuts her foot and it gets infected. Then, something starts moving in her wound. When she’s finally able to pull the squirming thing out, it turns out to be some sort of centipede. This scene, although kind of gross and fun has nothing to do with anything else. It never happens to anyone else and it’s only addressed one time.

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Also, at the beginning of the film they introduce a drone that they’re going to be using to help capture the forest. I was excited about this at first. I thought great, this opens up the film. It’ll allow for more angles, rather than just the human shakey cam POV. However, they barely do anything with it, and naturally it’s destroyed early in the movie.

Speaking of the cinematography, Wingard gets way too carried away with the found footage thing. The camera is always moving way too much and way too fast. It never stops. Plus, every character in the film has their own camera, so we’re constantly switching back and forth between different characters POVs. Isn’t completely nauseating. I’ve said it before, I’m a found footage fan, but filmmakers need to know how to be still.

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What bothers me the most about Blair Witch is its utter lack of ambiguity. The 1999 classic had it in spades. Nothing was conclusive. The viewer had to decide on their own whether or not there was anything paranormal going on. I mean I personally always thought there was obvious witchery afoot, but still. Wingard and Barrett’s effort leaves no room for imagination. They don’t give much away about the witch, but she definitely exists. In fairness to them, I doubt the studio would’ve gone for subtlety.

Blair Witch overall isn’t a terrible film, it’s just not doing anything different. It had a couple tense moments in it, but mostly it just made me wish I was watching Eduardo Sanchez’s film. Even for those who enjoyed this film, I don’t think it will leave a lasting impression. It’s such a shame, because this movie had everything going for it. It had hype, creative talent, and good source material. I guess sometimes it’s just impossible to recapture the magic.