Among the great theatrical releases of 2012 there has been some atrocious cinema experiences that have left me wishing that the Mayan’s predictions were correct and craving the December 21st. Taking a look back on this regrettable side of 2012, I select my worst ten films of the year.
10. Holy Motors
Critics continue to heap praise upon Leos Carax’ peculiar Holy Motors, heralding its quirkiness and innovation. This baffling acclaim has seen it included on many critic’s best films of the year lists, making my first choice a controversial one. After generating such remarkable attention I decided to see it at the Chicago International Film Festival, but the experience wasn’t as rewarding as the plethora of positive reviews suggest. The French filmmaker’s poor attempts at an anarchic, surrealist examination of themes of identity and performance are outweighed by an overwhelming sense of self-importance and pretentiousness. Admittedly, Denis Lavant’s central performance(s) and the cinematography are superb, but neither is able to rescue a film that’s so far up its own ass it never recognises that the lack of a narrative is a problem.
It’s not quite the worst film of the year, but Ted is certainly the biggest disappointment. After such an illustrious career with hilarious television comedies, MacFarlane’s sloppy control of comedy is unforgivable regardless of it being his feature debut. Not only does the director do little to invite new audiences and calm the naysayers, he offers nothing new to reward returning fans – epitomised by the regurgitation of old Family Guy material.
An ill-boding atmosphere, an impressive performance from Ethan Hawke and a team with plentiful experience within the horror genre; Scott Derrickson had all the ingredients to make an interesting modern horror film. Though he initially teases audiences with flourishes of the creative addition the audience deserve, Derrickson descends into a clichéd narrative, predictable jump scares and lazy plot developments. Regrettably, Sinister becomes the very subject that The Cabin in the Woods aptly parodied and contemporary horror audiences should no longer tolerate.
7. This Means War
With his completely amateur approach to filmmaking McG is among the worst directors working today and has made less of an impression but more of a nasty smudge on the film industry. While it’s disappointing to see an actor with as much talent as Tom Hardy appearing in a film like this, what’s most depressing of all is that as far as contemporary romantic comedies are concerned, something as painfully mediocre as this has become the accepted norm.
6. Iron Sky
The film’s special effects exceed the expectations of the low, crowd-sourced budget, but Iron Sky never shrugs off the ridiculous concept at the heart of the narrative. As a film that focuses on the idea that Nazis have escaped to the Moon, it takes itself too seriously and is, frustratingly, neither funny nor cheesy enough to be so bad that it’s good. The result is a combination of confused ideas, clumsily delivered and entirely lacking in substance.
5. The Five-Year Engagement
On the surface The Five-Year Engagement isn’t a typical genre product. Instead of a formulaic narrative, Segal opts for a more focussed investigation into long-term relationships. Though they initially hint at an innovative approach to the exhausted rom-com genre, its creators soon venture to the genre clichés it looked set to avoid. The resulting poorly scripted experience will leave you craving the end, but unfortunately the conclusion is miles off, with a nonsensical runtime that stretches beyond two hours. This unengaging and ruthlessly unfunny cash in on the reputations of its stars isn’t even passable within the repetitive, cliché-ridden world of romantic comedy.
4. John Carter
Disney put their full backing (approximately £158million budget) behind their summer blockbuster, but from its conception to resulting theatrical release this was a project that never knew what it wanted to be; changing its name from John Carter of Mars to John Carter, purely to make it easier for audiences to understand. The result of their efforts is The Phantom Menace all over again, only without the glorious special effects and with worse performances, convoluted cinematography and tame narrative. This overblown, headache-inducing nightmare is the biggest reason why Star Wars fans should be worried about the future of their beloved saga.
Speaking of overblown headache-inducing nightmares, Peter Berg’s adaptation of the popular family board game Battleship was released in early 2012. Noisy, cliché-ridden and entirely predictable, this disastrous disaster film is unbearable from the moment it begins. Not even easily-pleased, action-craving fans of Michael Bay’s atrocious Transformer series will find anything remotely enjoyable about a film that clings to the false belief that Rihanna can act.
2. Project X
In 2008 an Australian teenager threw a house party when his parents were out of town, which is relatively innocent enough. But when he and his two friends decided to post their address onto MySpace the party escalated and five-hundred strangers arrived. What then occurred was a night so wild and out of control that riot police were called to calm it down. This may be a remarkable, newsworthy event, but its most certainly not a film. The problem for the film isn’t the clichéd narrative, awful performances or lifeless handheld aesthetic; it’s the dangerous message beneath the surface. The film clings to the idea that it doesn’t matter what damage you cause, or how badly you screw up your own or other’s lives, as long as you come out looking cool, it’s worth it.
1. The Devil Inside
Though it begins as your standard exorcism fare it soon descends into a poorly scripted found footage horror that would’ve been better off staying lost. But what makes The Devil Inside the worst film of the year hinges on one aspect, its conclusion. At the end of the film a title card appears which tells its audience to visit their website for more information. To have the audacity to ask an audience to sit through such an outrageously awful film and then deliver a ridiculously manipulative ending with an embedded marketing campaign is truly horrifying. The Devil Inside is an exploitative mess that makes a mockery of the audience who paid money to see it.
And finally some dishonourable mentions: 7 Below, Meeting Evil, The Divide, Act of Valour, The Lorax, Men in Black 3, The Bourne Legacy.
What are your worst films of the 2012? Let me know below!