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Film

The Worst Films of 2012

When movies are mediocre, they're maddening. But when they are as bad as the selections here, you can't help but question the artform's overall validity.

10 - 6

Film: Silent House

Director: Chris Kentis, Laura Lau

Cast: Elizabeth Olsen, Adam Trese, Eric Sheffer Stevens

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List number: 10

Display Width: 200Silent House

It sounded like a good idea on paper. Silent House cast rising star Elizabeth Olsen in a creepy haunted house movie before she got too big to make these kinds of movies. Using a little-seen but well-regarded Uruguayan horror movie as remake fodder, directors Chris Kentis and Laura Lau set out to make a film that stayed with Olsen (and only Olsen) the whole way through, unfolded in real time, and seemed to be one long take. Our hero, Sarah, gets stuck in a boarded-up old country house with very few sources of light and some very scary noises, and bad things start to happen. But then the cracks in the story start to show. Olsen, though game, couldn't really pull off playing a single emotion, "terrified," for the entire length of the film. Kentis and Lau, it turns out, hadn't made a movie since 2003's mildly well-regarded Open Water. As such, they either didn't have enough clout or didn't have any interest in trying to change the ending, but they should've made the attempt. Although the movie is genuinely unsettling for its first 2/3rds, the last act is full of reveals that come straight from the "annoying horror movie clichés" playbook. Silent House completely blows it when it comes time to show us the tormentor, turning what is a pretty solid horror flick into yet another regurgitation of a plot twist that's doomed several movies in the past decade. Chris Conaton

 
Film: The Raven

Director: James McTeigue

Cast: John Cusack, Alice Eve, Brendan Gleeson, Luke Evans

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List number: 9

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The Raven

So says Edgar Allan Poe (John Cusack) as he pens a new story in an effort to save his kidnapped fiancé from the hands of a serial killer using Poe's own stories as inspiration for his murders. Does that sentence sound convoluted? More so than the quote preceding it? I'd say it's a toss-up, along with my feelings about The Raven. The premise of the movie is so appealing it almost makes up for faulty execution. Parts sound intriguing: like the latter half of the quote and the inspired serial killer aspect of my summary. Others sound ridiculous: how does "regardless of what you think of me" factor into the equation? In context it makes a bit more sense, but when that aspect is further examined it makes even less. Let's do that, shall we? Ben Travers

 
Film: The Devil Inside

Director: William Brent Bell

Cast: Fernanda Andrade, Simon Quarterman, Evan Helmuth, Suzan Crowley

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List number: 8

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The Devil Inside

It's not just the fact that the theatrical version of The Devil Inside ended with a title card directing viewers to the film's website for more information that made audiences howl with disgust. It's bad form, to be sure, especially considering that the website hosted videos that none-too-subtly revealed further twists that would've been obvious had they been in the movie to begin with (and, with a running time of a mere 83 minutes, it's not clear why those scenes weren't included in the first place). No, it's the very idea that The Devil Inside—an obvious and uninspired exorcism tale that treads on the same themes about faith that have been explored since The Exorcist—merited any further investigation into its surface-level plot that's the true insult. Marisa LaScala

 
Film: Gone

Director: Heitor Dhalia

Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Daniel Sunjata, Jennifer Carpenter, Wes Bentley

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List number: 7

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Gone

Far be it from us to rely on an old joke as an introduction, but whatever the person is getting for guiding Amanda Seyfried's career as of late, it shouldn't be 10% -- it should be life. The poor girl, once thought of as the next Hollywood starlet, has been given over recently to the ripe ridiculousness of Red Riding Hood and the tepid In Time. Instead of the intended A-list, she keep falling further down the direct-to-DVD rabbit hole. Gone is not going to help. As a matter of fact, this ludicrous excuse for a thriller is so bereft of anything remotely resembling intelligence, logic, or entertainment value that if it doesn't kill Ms. Seyfried's future employment possibilities, it's only because she's in possession of a substantial amount of blackmail material. Bill Gibron

 
Film: Dark Tide

Director: John Stockwell

Cast: Halle Berry, Olivier Martinez, Ralph Brown, Luke Tyler

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Dark Tide

Apart from a few pretty underwater scenes, there is no joy in watching Dark Tide, about a diver (Halle Berry) who swims with sharks for passion and profit. The story is uninvolving, with threads that dead-end never to be picked up again and people who make stupid choices for reasons that are never explained. The characters are spoiled—a thrill-seeking businessman coerces Berry's character to take him on a free-dive that they both know is dangerous, and he spends the entire film throwing his weight around while she pouts about it—and spend most of their time arguing, all to serve an emotional arc that never materializes. Even the visuals become murkier and murkier, with the main characters blending into the background as an impending storm, opaque water, and people indistinguishable from either (or each other) all flood the screen. You're better off with the sharks. Marisa LaScala

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