Wasn't 2011 a ghastly year for movies? There were plenty of candidates for the Worst List: it's honestly been difficult narrowing it down to a mere ten titles. Many of the potentials were merely mediocre rather than outright objectionable or imbecilic, though, and the final selections are films I've really hated, or films I've been massively disappointed by, rather than ones I've merely not liked very much. The list is slightly skewed to start with: there aren't any romantic comedies or digimations on there as I don't go and see them (not being a professional salaried film reviewer for whom Adam Sandler films are part of the job); these are films I went to see wanting to like them, rather than ones I knew in advance (or strongly suspected) were likely to stink.
As with the Best Of 2011 list, the film must have received a regular commercial UK cinema release in 2011 (as listed on Launching Films), so the tiresome A Horrible Way To Die and the atrocious Inbred don't qualify as they only had festival screenings and didn't show up at local Odeons, Vues or Cineworlds. Thank goodness.
Anyway, the list:
10. THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO
Sneaking under the wire at year's end comes this entirely pointless English language restaging of the perfectly good Swedish original. There's nothing in it that's half as impressive or interesting this time around, and it's mainly notable for being yet another duff Daniel Craig movie, the third of the year after the nonsensical Cowboys And Aliens and the tiresome Dream House. A crashing disappointment, particularly coming from David Fincher who really should be better than this.
9. CONAN THE BARBARIAN
They didn't have Schwarzenegger or Milius, Von Sydow, James Earl Jones or Sandahl Bergman, a Basil Poledouris score or an Oliver Stone script. What did they have? Marcus Nispel, some muscled bloke with bigger hooters than the female lead, and converted 3D. Awful.
8. SUCKER PUNCH
Heavily fetishised jailbait fantasies for the undiscriminating pervert (the bit where someone says schoolgirl Emily Browning is actually 20 years old is basically "start your engines, boys"). None of it makes a blind bit of sense, the whole thing is CGId into oblivion and the absurdly inappropriate 12A suggests the BBFC are giving these ratings away in packets of cornflakes.
7. THE RESIDENT
Hammer are nominally back, but this is a Hammer movie in the way that Police Academy 6 is a Warner Brothers movie, i.e. not really. It's a crashingly dull and ordinary thriller in which the psycho is blatantly obvious (there being only four significant speaking roles, it's scarcely a mystery worthy of Miss Marple), nothing much happens and Sir Christopher Lee has a couple of scenes (including yet another deathbed exit).
6. SLEEPING BEAUTY
Another chance for dirty old men to pleasure themselves over Emily Browning in the dark, but this one is Art, so that's okay. Pretentious and tedious "erotica" that's basically porn with dull talking bits in between. Look: if you want porn, go watch some porn. We won't think any less of you than we do already.
5. PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3
A prequel detailing the early hauntings when the heroines of the first two movies were terrorised as children (but not explaining why they'd forgotten all about it by the time they were adults). Incredibly dull, stupid, completely unscary and can we please stop with this lame found-footage gimmick now, please? It doesn't work and it's visually ugly.
4. THE WOMAN
I missed this at FrightFest so only caught up with it on DVD and for a while I genuinely thought it was going to suddenly top the year's list. It's a stupid, tiresome and thoroughly obnoxious piece of mean-spirited sadism; it's incredibly boring and entirely unbelievable, and the debate about whether it's misogynistic simply isn't worth having. My overriding question is what the hell was the point of this film? It's horrible.
3. TRANSFORMERS 3: DARK OF THE MOON
Oh, for God's sake.
2. APOLLO 18
Nope, apparently we can't ditch the lame found-footage gimmick yet. Yes, they've gone to a lot of effort to make it all look like 16mm and videotape of the period, but it would have been easier, quicker, probably cheaper and certainly less visually annoying to actually make a film, rather than feebly pretending they haven't. Stop it.
1. HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN
Not counting midnight shows where I've fallen asleep and have missed great chunks of the action, I've only ever walked out of one film (Zombie Women Of Satan). This tedious and diseased parade of cheap atrocities and sub-Troma taboo-busting would most probably have been the second if I'd been on an aisle seat. Genuinely the vilest and most misanthropic film I've seen in years. Yet everyone else - literally everyone else - loved it, and I don't think I'll ever understand that.
There were plenty of other below-par offerings on show: Justice, Abduction, Dream House, Immortals, The Green Hornet, 30 Minutes Or Less, Wake Wood, Cowboys And Aliens (it really wasn't Daniel Craig's year), Attack The Block, the Fright Night remake: all of which should have been far better.