Review of 2013: The Worst Horror Films of the Year





20- Zombie 108: Director Joe Chien

Delivering all sorts of awesomeness to the zombie genre, the problem with Zombie 108 was it was simply too outrageous, and too ambitious. The idea of adding gangs and turf wars, police dealing with scum, and a sick rapist and serial killer all added something quite inventive to the refusing to die genre, but sadly the director got a little too excited. Badly acted, poorly produced and with some terrible effects, Zombie 108 should be applauded for its ideas, and forgiven for its greed to bring in all sorts of tricks, but sadly the finished product was a complete and utter mess.





19- The Dyatlov Pass Incident: Director Renny Harlin

More and more these days the found footage genre is offering up new horrors which try to be clever, and end up falling flat on their arse. Case in point: The Dyatlov Pass Incident. A cool idea of documentary filmmakers (aren’t they all) filming an expedition to a sinister hiking site where people went missing, in mysterious circumstances, should have worked. The trailers promised some really cool stuff, and the build up was intense. However, if you made it to the end, I am sure you’ll agree that things went downhill very fast, and a silly, ridiculous waffle about time travel and aliens ruined a strong premise. A painful waste of something very interesting.



18- The Banshee Chapter: Director Blair Erickson

Arriving at FrightFest with Kim Newman’s approval, horror fans were very excited about The Banshee Chapter. The film split fans, and I was on the side who hated it. Why? Well, the positives were the idea of government experiments and sinister drugs being used, the setting in the desert worked well, and the cast (especially Ted Levine doing his best Hunter S. Thompson impression) were very strong. The issue I had was that the scares were way to expected, way too forced, and so predictable that there was almost zero tension. I saw the film in 3D, which seriously ruined my enjoyment, and sadly the so-called “scariest film of the final day of FrightFest” turned out to be a joke, which did not see me laughing along with it. Embarrassing.



17- Dark Skies: Director Scott Stewart

The film looked good, was produced well, and the build up was actually kinda tense, but the story of aliens targeting a poor, defenceless family collapsed into absolute shite. The film did deliver the odd scare, and there were some cool moments and great sound effects, but Dark Skies suffered from a sense of “seen it all before, and better” and the film felt weak, clichéd and little too “play it safe”. Had it grown some balls it just may have been interesting.



16- 6 Plots: Director Leigh Sheehan

Oh dear, a group of friends got drunk at a party, got kidnapped, and are now being held hostage in Saw-like traps just waiting for someone to slip up. Cue a ridiculous onslaught of modern mobile phone technology, a totally stupid killer appearing as an evil smiley face, and you have yourself an annoying, not scary, and incredibly boring 90 minutes of so-called edge of your seat, life or death scenarios. An ugly, horrible film.



15- The Last Exorcism Part II: Director Ed Gass-Donnelly

The Last Exorcism was a found footage classic with some great ideas that made it stand out from the crowd, the sequel which boasted the most ridiculous title of the year, was flat, lifeless and stupid. Nell returned, trying to build a new life for herself after the events of the first film, but that pesky Demon just wouldn’t leave her alone. The opening scene delivered the films most effective, and best shock, and it was all downhill from there. A true representation of how a film does not warrant a sequel just because the first film was successful.



14- Hollow: Director Michael Axelgaard

Scary jackets and long shots of creepiness which amounted to nothing at all, Hollow was a British found footage horror with bags of ideas, but no actual delivery of the ideas to make them work. Four friends investigating some spooky goings on related to a haunted tree and a creepy Monastery should have worked, and the countryside setting had all the potential for some serious scary shit. However, group bickering, bad dialogue and too much ambition made Hollow fall flat on its face, instead of delivering a new found footage classic. I wanted to like it, I really did, but I couldn’t.



13- Dark Feed: Director Michael Rasmussen, Shawn Rasmussen

The writers of John Carpenter’s The Ward made their directorial debut with Dark Feed, a tale of a film crew shooting a low budget film, and experiencing some rather disturbing goings on. The idea was cool, and every now and then the film showed some real promise, but God it was dull, and dragged on and on and on. Very little happened, and if you want to create atmosphere then you need to add music, and if you want to have your audience connect with the characters then you need to write them, and their script, half decent. Dark Feed had none of this, and felt bland, boring and almost insulting to the horror genre.



12- Detention of the Dead: Director Alex Craig Mann

Horror and comedy are a match made in heaven when done right, but when done wrong, they can be pretty darned awful. Just look at Detention of the Dead, the story of a group of highschool kids in detention while their classmates all turn into zombies outside the detention room. An idea that could have offered up some hilarious scenarios, but instead gave us clichéd characters, cringeworthy dialogue and horror aimed at five year olds. Too nice, too safe and too crap.



11- The Possession: Director Ole Bornedal

The reason The Possession is so high up my list is that this interesting little horror really angered me. It was superb for the first half, and dealt with a family on the edge, and a little girl suffering from Demonic influences, really well. The acting was strong, passionate and heartfelt, and the story was familiar but very good. Jeffrey Dean Morgan was superb as the Father figure, and the entire film looked as if it was going to piss all over the doubters. Then the final half hour or so came, and the neat, creepy build up fell apart and became a farce of bad CGI, relentless stupidity and some truly awful, over the top scripting. The Possession literally collapsed under the pressure of actually being quite good, and taking such a strong buildup away and delivering such an awful finale really, really annoyed me.



10- The Purge: Director James DeMonaco

The idea of one night of the year where residents could “purge” and let out all their anger and frustration without the thought of consequences, was a great premise for a horror film. Sadly, The Purge contained the idea in one house, and spent too much time looking at the effects, and the “do the right thing” attitude. Some loved it, others hated it, and I feel we actually had an idea for a horror which could, and should have delivered some real nasty shit, and instead played it safe and worried too much about making a point about society, and forgot the idea altogether, and forgot how much fun horror audiences could have actually had with it. Not raw enough, not violent enough, and certainly not brave enough to give horror fans what they actually wanted. The Purge appeared too scared of its own shadow, and too scared to actually deliver.



9- Stranded: Director Roger Christian

Not even the great Christian Slater could save this horror in space disaster. The use of practical effects was a bonus, and there were some nice creepy moments involving dark corridors, a great monster and a strong claustrophobic setting. But sadly the dialogue was awful, the music made you want to kill yourself and the scares didn’t actually work. Eventually the cast appeared to be half asleep, and as the ‘creature’ begins killing crew members, characters seemed totally unconcerned, and Stranded delivered zero tension, no urgency whatsoever, and a general sense of being cheated out of a great sci-fi horror was felt (I assume) by horror fans the world over.



8- I Spit on Your Grave 2: Director Steven R. Monroe

Steven R. Monroe’s remake of the classic Video Nasty was disturbing, nasty and very impressive. Sadly his sequel to his own remake just felt like a perverts fantasy, and I cannot begin to explain how uncomfortable I felt watching this, and not in a good way. The premise of a sexy young girl being subjected to horrific sexual attacks was extended, and taken to the extreme here, and not even the eventual revenge could dampen the fact that this sequel was totally unnecessary, and makes you question just how far is too far. This felt like too much of a nasty thing, and totally ignored what made the original (and the remake) so disturbing: this simply felt like a gratuitous film involving rape and revenge simply for shock tactics, and nothing more. There was no heart, no substance, and viewers would naturally feel uncomfortable watching what is arguably one directors perverted wet dream. Hats off to Jemma Dallender though for delivering an impressive performance.



7- Love Bite: Director Andy De Emmony

This werewolf comedy horror tried so hard, and I mean SO hard to be hip, and I imagine it would have probably appealed to the horror audiences under, let’s say twelve. For the rest of us though, Love Bite was shocking. The comedy came off as a painful Inbetweeners wannabe, and was so far off that level of brilliance it was embarrassing. The main characters were likeable enough, but they could not carry the film, and they all collapsed under the pressure of being in a horror, and could not deliver their lines in a way that was even remotely funny. The only saving grace was Jessica Szohr because she was very, very hot. Everything else, including the awful CGI werewolves, sucked.



6- Texas Chainsaw 3D: Director John Lussenhop

The words “do your thing cuz” will forever be wedged in the back of my mind as quite possibly the worst Texas Chainsaw film was released, and even though I had high hopes, there was something in the back of my mind that said this would be crap. Crap is too nice a word, this was awful, and an insult to Leatherface. The opening scene was clever, and respectful to the Texas Chainsaw story, but after that things took a turn for the worse. A bunch of friends staying at a house one has inherited, and Leatherface himself living in the basement was just so daft, it could never have worked, and it didn’t. Even the moments which could have delivered pure horror gold, like the attack of the fair, didn’t work. Texas Chainsaw felt like a cash-in, and a poor one at best. Leatherface is beloved among the horror community, and seeing his character literally reduced to a great big pile of shite was so much scarier than the film itself. If I could burn original films on a bonfire, then this film would be on it for disgracing the name Leatherface, you bastards!


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5- Six Degrees of Hell: Director Joe Raffa

Promoted by the fact the great Corey Feldman (The Lost Boys) was starring, 6 Degrees of Hell showed early promise. Rumours of it being the scariest film of the year, some unsettling stills from the film, and one of those trailers that you knew was crap, but were willing to give it the benefit of the doubt. Sadly 6 Degrees of Hell, and all its story of a haunted hotel, real life ghost actors and a confusing plot about death and everything that comes with it, never lived up to horror fans expectations. The film was a mess, but clearly though it was some arty, high class, glossy horror that was above the casual horror fan. If you didn’t get it, then don’t worry. It’s not that the film was too clever for you, it was just crap!



4- Dark Touch: Director Marina de Van

This Carrie wannabe was the only film at FrightFest which had me reaching for the exit. The only reason I didn’t get up and leave is because I wanted to see how it concluded. The story of a young girl dealing with some parenting issues, and connecting with some vengeful spirits was rather interesting in the first twenty minutes. An attack on her family early on provided some very interesting highlights to the film, but eventually everything fell flat, everything became clichéd, unbelievable and so ridiculously stupid that I found myself laughing rather than being scared. Kimberly Peirce’s Carrie remake was shite, but this was an altogether different beast of absolute rubbish. Lazy, predictable, stupid and so not scary this could easily be played in primary school, and even then kids would complain at how silly it was. Truly awful.



3- Reel Evil: Director Danny Draven

Yet another Grave Encounters rip-off, Reel Evil started off nicely, but failed to deliver anything new, or even remotely scary. As per usual, a documentary film crew are on hand to film everything, and here they have been given their big break documenting a horror film being shot in an abandoned mental asylum. Cue the usual loud bangs, horrible noises in the dark and some hideous CGI ghost and everything adds up to a totally forgettable film experience, desperate to become something it is not. Only babies would be scared by it, and only virgins to the found footage genre would find anything to like about it.



2- Back From Hell: Director Leonardo Araneo

Found footage “horror” Back From Hell really pissed me off because it made me question my love of the found footage genre, and that in itself angers me. I still love the found footage genre, and when you see my top horror films of 2013, you will see the format is still high on my list. But insulting, lazy films like Back From Hell continue to put a damper on the genre, degrading it and taking away its power. Back From Hell was simply awful, with bad acting, bad timing, bad found footage filming and totally unlikeable characters. The story was not even engaging, and felt forced, and the idea of people being possessed in the country sunk into new depths of disaster. The actors screamed, shouted and shook the camera around as if their life depended on it, and my head began to hurt very early into the film. Please, please, please stop destroying a genre of horror that used to be so strong, so inventive, and very scary. The found footage genre is being murdered by idiotic, crap films like this, and I hate them!



1-      Apartment 1303: Director Michael Taverna

Oh my, this was a remake of a fairly decent Korean horror, it was in 3D, and it had an above average cast with Rebecca De Mornay and Mischa Barton. So what exactly went wrong? I’ll tell you what went wrong: this was without a doubt the worst horror film I have seen in years. I cannot believe how bad this film was, and it was almost as if the makers set out to intentionally make the worst horror film in history. The dialogue, oh my Jesus Christ the fucking dialogue was just awful, the special effects (if you can call them ‘special’) were crap, and the scares NEVER worked. Apartment 1303 was an abomination, one of those films that was scarier based on how rubbish it was, rather than how creepy it was. The cast had nothing to work with, the script gave them no hope of redemption, and to call this a horror is an insult to our beloved genre. Apartment 1303 is quite possibly the worst horror film I have seen in decades, an embarrassment, a film that makes you shudder and want to hide behind a rock because you ever bothered to watch it, a film that not even those new to the horror genre can enjoy. This is crap on an altogether different level, this is crap in a league all of its own. This is worse than crap, Apartment 1303 is the sort of film to cause nausea, sleepless nights and a possible fuck you to the film industry in general, it is THAT bad. You have been warned my dear friends.

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About Matt Wavish 598 Articles
A keen enthusiast and collector of all horror and extreme films. I can be picky as i like quality in my horror. This doesn't necessarily mean it has to be a classic, but as long as it has something to impress me then i'm a fan. I watch films by the rule that if it doesn't bring out some kind of emotive response then it aint worth watching.

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