As the year ends, it’s time to take a look back at the cinematic events of the year. It has been a good year for blockbuster films with The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises and The Hunger Games all doing excellent business. However, there are a number of films that have made such a bad smell they stink out the cinema. I’ve listed the ten worst below, so that you know to avoid the DVDs like you would the bathroom after The Hulk.
10. The Possession
One of a number of 2012 horror films to try and replicate the success of The Exorcist, this was a particularly repellent attempt. With horror legend Sam Raimi co-producing, I went into this with high expectations and was thoroughly disappointed. Every time The Possession tries for scares, it hits humour, and that’s as much from its hugely derivative plot as from its lack of genuine tension.
It doesn’t help that the film tries to shake things up by using a Jewish exorcist for the inevitably shouty climax. For some reason, this exorcist seems to think a bizarre hip hop dance routine is the correct way to rid a possessed child of a demon.
The Possession also forgets one of the first rules of horror filmmaking: don’t show the monster unless it’s really good. Unfortunately, this monster looks like Voldemort… before his return to power.
9. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
In a year where comic book films ruled the roost, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance proved to be a forgettable and downright disappointing entry. It takes a special kind of film for Nicolas Cage to play a man with a flaming head who sucks out souls and it to still be really really boring.
With so much potential, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance should have been the edgy and crazy cousin to the rubbish first film. Instead, chasing the 12A certificate that has scuppered several films this year, it becomes a neutered waste of time that I forgot the minute I walked out of the cinema.
8. Silent Hill: Revelation 3D
Beasties! Monsters! CGI! 3D! Are you not entertained!
Above is the maxim of so many modern horror flicks. Silent Hill: Revelation 3D is a blinding example of this. It’s strategy is merely to throw as many elaborate CGI beasts at the screen (in eye-popping – which here means “barely noticeable, just darkening and irritating” – 3D) in order to distract the audience from one of the most incoherent plots of the year. Anyone who can explain what happened in this film and, most importantly, why it happened deserves a medal.
All of the acting is terrible and Silent Hill: Revelation 3D limps horribly towards a climax that barely deserves to be called one. Also, I have no idea what the revelation the title suggests was.
Boring, dull, insipid, tedious… pointless.
7. This Means War
More of a spreadsheet than a movie, This Means War is probably the most cynical entry on this list. It casts bankable stars and blows stuff up as if designed solely through focus group, working out a formulaic love triangle plot and hoping the talented actors will carry it through. They don’t.
Hardy, Pine and Witherspoon spend the entire film looking like they’d rather be just about anywhere else as they spout the awful script. There isn’t a single laugh here that wasn’t already worn out by the omnipresent trailer and even the ones that were publicised are far less funny in context.
That’s without saying the horrible premise of the girl here basically having no choice who she wants to be with. It’s all about the blokes. Typical McG.
6. John Carter
From the moment Disney insisted on annoyingly changing the title to Andrew Stanton’s epic, John Carter (not of Mars) was doomed to fail. It has gone down as one of the biggest box office flops ever and, when you sit through its turgid two hour runtime, it’s easy to see why audiences stayed away.
At the centre of the film’s problems is Taylor Kitsch. He is the human anchor amidst all the – admittedly gorgeous – CGI mayhem and he just isn’t good enough. I found myself reminded of how Sam Worthington sucked all of the charisma out of Avatar. Kitsch’s central love plotline is silly and he only really seems worth his existence when he’s flailing around in one of the 5000 CGI fight sequences.
I think Andrew Stanton should go back to animation. Preferably Finding Nemo 2. Taylor Kitsch should consider alternative employment.
5. The Sitter
Quite high up the list for a film released right at the start of the year, The Sitter was one of those hideous post-Apatow productions that makes you question whether any American should ever tell a joke. The Academy Award nominated Jonah Hill (I know, crazy) is back to his old frat boy awfulness in a plot that sees him play the worst person ever created.
Children who act like no human being ever would, Sam Rockwell in a deeply depressing role and Jonah Hill. Jonah Hill. It’s absolutely terrible.
4. Rock of Ages
Jukebox musicals do not make good films. Moulin Rouge proved that. But frankly, Moulin Rouge is a masterpiece compared to this turgid, awful waste of over two hours.
Any film that expects viewers to believe that almost every great rock hit of the 70s and 80s was written by Tom Cruise is automatically laughable. Cruise’s irritating performance is coupled with a pair of teens so vapid that they make the cast of Glee look as talented as Michael Fassbender. The plot makes no sense and a number of great musical numbers are tortured brutally to death as if placed in a Saw trap.
I know I’d rather be captured by Jigsaw than sit through Rock of Ages again.
3. The Devil Inside
I may have thought The Possession (see earlier) was awful, but it was never going to be the worst Exorcist rip-off of the year because I had already seen The Devil Inside.
Presented in the increasingly annoying found footage style, it follows a girl searching for the truth about her mother and, for some reason, making a documentary about it. There are no scares… at all. In fact, during the possession scenes, the obscenities the central character spews are more like a comedian’s heckle put-downs than the brutally chilling lines delivered by Linda Blair in the sub-genre’s high watermark.
It then doesn’t bother with an ending. The film just stops and offers a web address… “we can’t think of an ending, so can you guys have a go please?”
2. Jack and Jill
Adam Sandler became even more annoying than usual this year. He capped it off though with Jack and Jill where he played his own twin sister. Two Sandlers for the price of one.
It’s a hideous affair, full of terrible attempts at humour and Adam Sandler being just as irritating as I have come to expect from him. However, the worst sin of Jack and Jill is that they threw money at Al Pacino, he took it and then they destroyed him… completely. Watch the film, then you’ll see.
1. Keith Lemon: The Film
I don’t know where to start here. It is difficult to sum up my hatred of Keith Lemon: The Film without wanting to kill things.
The plot is that Keith Lemon has no money, until he puts a lemon on the back of a rubbish phone. He then becomes a rich businessman. That is genuinely the plot. This is dragged into 90 minutes of film somehow. There are no jokes, just misogyny and racism, as well as lots of Leigh Francis gurning as if his life depends on it.
The absolute nadir is when he goes to get a penis enlargement and then, as Kelly Brook undressed in front of him, his newly enlarged genitals ejaculate all over his own face for what felt like an hour.
Keith Lemon: The Film is definitely the worst film of 2012 and is in fact probably the worst film ever made.
My full list of the 20 worst films of 2012 is available over on Letterboxd here. Do you agree with me? Let me know in the comments section.