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.

 

 

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Morgan – What Happened to the Horror?

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There’s a reason sci-fi and horror keep bringing back the Frankenstein story. When done right, this theme is is fodder for countless philosophical questions. What happens when a being is made by man rather than nature? Is it ok to put science before ethics? What does it mean to be human? Can humanity be learned? Initially, Morgan seems like it is going to be a creepy rumination on all of these topics, but it quickly devolves into an action fueled clunker.

Morgan follows Kate Mara as a corporate representative who goes to assess the risk of a potential product. That product is Morgan (Anya Taylor-Joy), a lab created being that possesses abilities and intellect beyond that of human beings. If you’ll forgive me, basically she’s “More human than human.”. The group of scientists that created Morgan, have come to love her as they would another person. Amy (Rose Leslie) is particularly fond of her. She treats Morgan as a sister, or perhaps a daughter.

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After witnessing Morgan’s power, Mara decides she needs to be terminated. Initially the doctors are upset but willing to obey. However, they are unable to face the reality of killing Morgan. By then it’s too late. She has seen how easily humans will turn on her. She escapes, leaving a trail of carnage in her wake. She takes her only true friend Amy as a hostage. It’s up to Mara to track down Morgan, and regain the upper hand.

Once Morgan breaks out of the facility, the film ceases to be a horror movie in any way, shape, or form. The rest of the film is dedicated to car chases, physical fighting, and several people eating bullets. The sad thing is that all this action plays out against a beautiful backdrop of forest, fog, a serene lake, and a decaying mansion. When I was allowed a moment here and there to breathe, I could take it all in. It’s the perfect atmosphere for a different kind of film.

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This film should’ve been a slow character driven horror piece. It could’ve been too. Director Luke Scott had all the ingredients to make a chilling morality tale. The characters at first are quite engrossing. There’s a scene where Paul Giamatti is pushing Morgan in order to get her to break. I got a little teary eyed watching him lambast this poor creature. Taylor Joy brings so much to the character of Morgan. She’s articulate, and scary, and sympathetic all at the same time. Her moments with Rose Leslie are among the best in the film. This relationship should’ve been given more time to flourish. Morgan’s relationships with all the scientists should’ve been given more screen time.

There are some wonderful actors in this film, whose talents aren’t utilized at all. Toby Jones seems to have an interesting connection with Morgan, it’s unclear if he looks at her as more of a project or as an emotional being. You barely have time to ponder this, before his character hangs himself.

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Then there’s Kate Mara. The problem with Mara’s character is that her role is hindered by the final twist of the film. The twist itself is actually pretty damn good, except you can see it coming from a mile away.  They would’ve been better off cluing the audience in from the beginning and playing with that. Scott couldn’t have made the clues more obvious if he tried. Even the casting of Mara is a big red flag. (Seriously look at her face, and compare it to Morgan’s) Without the twist, Mara’s character is pointless. She doesn’t grow or change. She just beats people up and waves a gun around. She’s pretty much the protagonist in name only. If it were my script I would’ve made Rose Leslie’s character the protagonist, because she’s the one facing the biggest moral dilemma.

Morgan may be pretty to look at and contain some great performances (Not by Kate Mara) but it’s a “Hollywood” film in the worst kind of way. It tricks you into thinking it’s going to have depth, and then crams the film with cool fight scenes and noise. By the time it’s over it’s lost all value. I guess perhaps Morgan wasn’t meant to ask big questions or offer any insight, but it sure was a deceptive first act. My recommendation, watch the first half hour, then walk away.