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intro - best of 2008 - worst of 2008


Chris Hartley (Head Honcho)

Return To Sleepaway Camp
In a year filled with bad sequels, Return To Sleepaway Camp takes the cake. From its conception, all you ever really heard about this film was how the production was troubled and how the people making it didn't seem to have much control of the set. Pushing these things aside, this is still an awful movie. It's the only movie writer-director Robert Hiltzik has made since the original and he didn't even try for much new, as the basic plot is the same only without the memorable shock ending. It's amateurish all the way and there are truly no redeeming qualities I can think of during this films entire 86 minute running time.

Lost Boys: The Tribe
This is laziest sequel in recent memory as they didn't even bother to attempt to do much more than mildly tweak the story of the original while attempting for irony by casting Kiefer Sutherland's half-brother, Angus, in the title vampire role. There's literally nothing here for fans of the original as it's a badly made rehash meant to cash-in on the now grown-up audience that loved the first one back when they were teenagers.

Rest Stop: Don't Look Back
A few years ago, Rest Stop was Raw Feed's inaugural effort and stunk its way onto my "worst of" list for that year. So it's really no surprise its sequel shows-up here. It's not quite as bad as the original and is a bit more focused story-wise but it's buried, like the original, by its utter stupidity and the fact it feels like they're just tossing out gore and torture to keep you awake. Raw Feed's output has been very erratic but none of them hit the level of nadir this series has.

Anaconda 3: Offspring
When David Hasselhoff is the best thing about your movie, you know you're in trouble. The first two Anaconda movies weren't anything special but at least the second one was a mildly entertaining mix of a creature feature and adventure movie. That's not the case here as they've decided to ditch any subtlety and pile on the gore, which is all fine and dandy until you realize most of it is badly rendered CGI. And don't get me started on the giant anaconda effects. There's a reason this premiered on the Sci Fi Channel and there's more to come as they filmed a fourth film, with co-star Crystal Allen returning, back-to-back with this.

The Happening
M. Night Shyamalan continues his downward slide here. After making a handful of fairly interesting and entertaining movies, his stock with me has gotten less and less with each subsequent movie he's made. The Village wasn't the stinker most critics said it was and Lady In The Water was a poor attempt at mixing fantasy, horror, and offbeat humour but The Happening is a complete misfire. Shyamalan still can stage some all right shock moments but once you focus on the script here that's where things go horribly wrong. The premise itself is completely ridiculous, the dialogue is constantly unrealistic sounding, and there are a few subplots that are entirely unnecessary. It's one of the sloppiest written big studio films I've seen in recent memory and it doesn't bode well for me even being interested in his next effort.

Josh Pasnak (Staff Writer)

Lost Boys: The Tribe
This one was clearly a bad idea from the start but I would not have imagined that it would turn out as bad as it was. I am not a fan of the original and I couldn't care less about what the two Coreys are up to. The acting and writing are atrocious across the board and this is one of the more uninspired sequels in recent memory. In a pathetic attempt to cash-in on original villain Kiefer Sutherland's fame, the producers cast his younger half-brother as the leader of the vampires who spouts terrible dialogue and is trying so hard to be cool that it works against him. In all honesty, I ended up doing other things as I was watching this as my attention was constantly diverted away from the screen. On a final note, I just found out Corey Haim is set to marry b-movie starlet Tiffany Shepis - how the hell did that happen?!

Anaconda 3: Offspring
I am almost at a loss for words as to how terrible this movie is. Not event The Hoff could save this disaster which makes the CGI in the original look like it should be in the Louvre. As I was enduring this, I kept wondering who actually watches this crap? I mean seriously, aside from genre reviewers looking for the worst movies of the year, do people in the general public actually rent this? Why would someone put up the money for this? It is really a shame because I thought the second movie in the series was a lot of fun. This franchise is now officially dead to me. This also was a disappointment because Sallah is in it and man, he is looking old. I hate that.

Day Of The Dead
My annual list of the worst movies of the year would not be complete without the latest disaster from either Ana Clavell or James Dudelson. These two used to work together when exploiting George Romero's work and doing their best to destroy the reputation of the originals. Thankfully, it appears as though Clavell has stopped making movies (hopefully she has made a conscious decision to do this). Dudelson, on the other hand decided to remake another Romero classic with director Steve Miner and throw out any reference to the original aside from a few character names. This is capitalism at its worst as it is yet another pure money grab with no artistic integrity or scares whatsoever. Even if you want to see Mena Suvari in army duds, it is not worth it. It looks like Dudelson is now planning to remake Creepshow; I guess I already have a title for next year's list.

The Happening
This movie is so terrible that I actually gave into the temptation of calling it "The Crappening" on a number of occasions. Although I have heard others use this unoriginal nickname for the film, it is a fitting title for this pile of cheese. Rather than the interesting plot I was hoping for, all I got was further proof that M. Night Shamalayan suffers from Rob Zombie syndrome. You can see he has some good ideas but he doesn't have the writing chops to pull it all together. Maybe he should hire Larry Cohen or Paul Schraeder to give his next movie the edge it requires or maybe he should just be satisfied that The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable were pretty cool and leave it at that. There is nothing worse than seeing a director slowly ruin his own legacy.

Dark Floors
This reminded me a lot of Silent Hill with all of its creepy abandoned building footage and the presence of a little girl in the cast. Visually, there are some nice moments but the writing is atrocious with plot holes abounds and some of the worst dialogue of the decade. There is also a token black victim who has an unnaturally deep voice that sounds like he really wants to be Morgan Freeman. I have never heard anyone talk like this in real life. My hopes were high for this movie as it features rock band Lordi who are the Finnish version of Gwar. They appear as monsters and look pretty cool but I expected this to be a lot more entertaining than it is. Instead of the rip-roaring good time I anticipated, I got every horror movie cliche imaginable (except for naked girls) rolled into a monotonous 90 minutes.