— by CAM SMITH —
We previously offered you The The Worst 10 Films of 2009: Part I — No. 10 to No. 6 (read it by clicking here). And now for the rest of the list …
But first, here are the movies from 2009 that didn’t quite make the bottom 10, but are deserving of a Dishonorable Mention: “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian,” “Surveillance,” “New in Town,” “Observe and Report,” “The Final Destination” and “Couples Retreat.”
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5. “Underworld: Rise of the Lycans”
A stale prequel to 2003’s clunky vampires vs. werewolves smack-down extravaganza “Underworld,” “Rise of the Lycans” attempts to mine dramatic gold from the Jesus Christ-like sufferings of wolf-leader Lucian (a pay-check cashing Michael Sheen), but draws only snores and the listless eye-rolls. Seemingly shot on a single, small, under-dressed soundstage, the film is a tacky-looking, talky supernatural groaner that forsakes any attempts at creativity in favour of half-heartedly aping “Spartacus,” “Gladiator” and “Braveheart.” By the way: that sucking noise you hear isn’t coming from the movie’s vampires. Nope, it’s the sound of Screen Gems pictures draining every last possible cent from their insipid flat-lining franchise.
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Not content to stick to their absurd “Crank” franchise, creative duo Neveldine/Taylor instead turned their ADD-riddled attentions to this fractured and thin attempt at social commentary, which would be laughable if it weren’t so damn grating. Pulling from their now-tired bag of tricks — which includes random blasts of graphic sex and nudity, dripping gore, epilepsy-triggering action, and general perversity — the directorial dunderheads attempt to viciously criticize their general fan-base while alternately following the adventures of Gerard Butler’s character, a prisoner taking part in a real-life video-game. Light on excitement and fun, long on deafening obnoxiousness, “Gamer’s” plug should have been pulled during the script-phase.
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3. “The Unborn”
Intended to be a Jewish variation of “The Exorcist,” the relentlessly dour and dull “The Unborn.” written and directed by David S. Goyer, feels like a potpourri of out-dated, recycled ideas. Creepy-crawly bugs? Check. Spooky, wide-eyed children? Check. Nightmarish nocturnal visions of sinister animals? Check. Twitching, sputtering victims of demonic possession? Check. A frequently underwear-clad young woman (possible Real Doll© Odette Yustman) with a mysterious past? You know it. The fact that none of these venerable-if-ill-fitting elements add up to a single memorable moment of genuine fright? Now, THAT’S scary!
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2. “Sorority Row”
I personally guarantee that viewing this mean-spirited slasher picture will leave you desiring a shower well before the drawn-out, tawdry conclusion. Director Stewart Hendler has created a truly hateful, sleazy slice of nasty misogyny with “Sorority Row,” a mind-numbing murder mystery featuring a band of repulsive, racist, venom-tongued, alcoholic super-sluts attempting to figure out the identity of a cloaked, tire-iron-wielding executioner. Making up his female cast like Hastings Street hookers and eagerly searching for new methods of degrading them, the pervy helmer ignores building intensity or terror in favour of killing their dignities on-screen in as gruesome a fashion as possible.
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1. “Halloween II”
If Rob Zombie’s remake of John Carpenter’s 1978 original was uninspired and hackneyed, his sequel is an utterly embarrassing catastrophe; a wildly miscalculated attempt at creating an artsy slasher film through hokey pop-psychology, tin-eared humour, migraine-inducing surrealism and chaotically-edited, emotionless brutality. Despite the best efforts of a game, if stiff, cast, the once-promising director drags this project through the sordid muck and grime every chance he gets, producing an excruciatingly ugly exercise in banal cruelty without momentum or a glimmer of intelligence. “Halloween II” proves that even the formidable Michael Myers is no match for a feverishly crazed Zombie.
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Follow Cam Smith on Twitter at http://twitter.com/camspcepisodes.