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The average horror movie audience is largely made up of teenagers and young adults for whom Blair Witch is old and classics such as The Exorcist or Carrie are actually unheard of. Increasingly, new movies tend to simply stack a bunch of references copied from their older, superior counterparts. Netflix itself can be a treasure chest of great films (such as The Babadook or The Voices), but for each good movie there’s another fifty terrible ones. To help you separate the wheat from the chaff, VH has put together a list of (arguably) the ten worst horror films currently available on Netflix, in no specific order. You can choose to avoid them, but sometimes everyone just wants to watch Nicolas Cage act the world burn – and who doesn’t love watching a terrible movie every now and then?

 

AMERICAN POLTERGEIST (2015, Dir. Mike Rutkowski)

American PoltergeistI told you not to go into the basement, damn it!

Filmmakers must’ve thought involving the infamous Lizzie Borden would attract some curious viewers. However, there’s nothing to find but a terrible cast and clichés all over. A group of students looking for accommodation think they’ve hit the jackpot when they find a huge house at a very attractive price; not even the coldness of the house owner, abominable décor, strange noises and recurring nightmares are enough for them to move out. One of the girls finds out she survived a 1992 massacre – the 100th anniversary of Lizzie’s (alleged) murders – and now Lizzie’s ghost is out to kill everyone. She tries to convince her friends to leave, but they won’t listen – there’s a good ten minute sequence of her trying to start all three available cars, to no avail; everyone thinks this is perfectly normal and nothing that a mechanic can’t solve, so no one leaves. Besides, it’s someone’s birthday so some more friend-victims can join in as Lizzie and the house owner kill them one by one. Also, the token religious boy-student attempts to perform an exorcism at one point, but to no avail.

Top quote: “Don’t just stand there, officer, do something!” Classic wisdom.

Rating: You’ll be wishing you had an axe by the end of this movie.

 

AMERICAN POLTERGEIST 2 (2013, Dir. Stephen McKendree)

American Poltergeist 2Imagine waking up to those state-of-the-art special effects above your bed.

This series is so awful that its unrelated “sequel” was actually released two years before the “first” film, with the original titles You Will Love Me or The Poltergeist Of Borley Forest. They chose the title well, in that it placed two unbearably bad films under the same umbrella and opened the possibility of creating a whole franchise (let’s hope they don’t). As expected, it’s yet another movie about supernatural revenge, with an evil spirit haunting a group of youngsters. During a party, a teenage girl enters a creepy forest and comes across a creepy tree with a rope: bam!, and the spirit will accompany you home now. In the adventure that ensues, she’ll have the assistance/borderline harassment of some guy and his brother as well as a weird Jarvis Cocker-lookalike professor. With ridiculous performances, my-five-year-old-nephew-could-do-better special effects, terrible direction and horrendous plot, American Poltergeist 2 has literally no reason to exist.

Top quote: “Ghosts do ghost things, and humans do human things”. I’m so glad there’s a professor in this movie.

Rating: Bad to the point of not even being worthy of masochistic curiosity.

 

#HORROR (2015, Dir. Tara Subkoff)

#HorrorBeautiful Sevigny – probably the only redeeming still of this movie.

#Horror is, or should be, a slasher with preteen girls who are actually played by underage actresses, in a world where actors over 30 pretend to be in high school. With distant parents and a lot of money, they’re obsessed with online social media, and their get-together ends as they begin to bully each other. In a movie titled #Horror, it’s ironic that this is precisely the missing ingredient. Only in the final fifteen minutes do things start to get bloody, after we were forced to follow the girls for over an hour; a truly exhausting experience and likely to cause irreversible psychological damage. What could be an interesting concept is presented in a childish manner (what the hell was that Candy Crush meets Instagram app?!), resulting in a pretentious and unidentifiable mess. I was reasonably enjoying the film’s photography with its cold tones and snow-white surroundings transmitting a strong idea of detachment; that is, until the trashy explosion of emoji and cheesy montages which look more like an online casino advert took over. I nearly wet myself when I read Vogue describing these girls as “the new Jack Torrance”.

Top quote: “Being 12 sucks.” #firstworldproblems

Rating: #Horror is an absolutely horror, not out of fear, but because of how awful it is. Not even Chloë Sevigny or Timothy Hutton are able to salvage it.

 

JESSABELLE (2014, Dir. Kevin Greutert)

JessabelleBathtub ghost. Classic.

This movie is stuffed with cheap scares, occasional tension and even a catchphrase at the end (how original!) and one could almost place it in the glass-half-full section, but in the end it’s just full of the same old clichés as every other movie out there. Anyone with even the smallest knowledge about horror films can find at least half a dozen scenes copied from other movies: Jessie is a girl traumatised by the recent death of her boyfriend (!), who moves to her old alcoholic father’s house (double whammy!) after being confined to a wheelchair (!); the house is old and decrepit (!) and located in the bayou (!). She starts to have visions of children (!) and finds a box with VHS tape recordings of her mother (!) who’s into tarot and vodou (!), and tells her a terrible secret that’ll change her life forever (!). Need I go on? There’s old furniture, VHS tapes, the traditional southern house, coffins, skulls…that’s pretty much it.

Top quote: “I might just send me some tapes to that Mr. Hugh Hefner”. If only they’d done that instead of releasing this movie.

Rating: Lazy, poorly written film, that despite the occasional fright just makes the viewer realise they’ve already seen it before in a better movie.

 

LUDO (2015, Dir. Qaushiq Mukherjee )

LudoIndian shopping centre horror, or American Black Friday gone terribly wrong?

At first glance, this Indian horror film sounds like Jumanji with a Pachisi board. It tells the story of two teenage couples who go out partying one night and look for a hotel. Since they can’t find a room (is it 24th December already?!), they go to a shopping centre and wait for it to close so they can have sex there instead…as you do. Unfortunately, they find a mysterious elderly couple who wants to play a deadly board game. The second half of the film pretty much consists of a flashback that is meant to contextualise the game, but it’s soporific, too long and doesn’t really contribute anything to the story. Despite its intriguing premise, Ludo runs out of ideas pretty quickly; the plot is erratic and seems to come out in small narrative spasms, topped off by a ridiculous final scene.

Top quote: Difficult to pick from translations of lyric song pearls such as “drool spills from my lips”, “crooked words dirt and turds” and “there’s a heatwave in my body, I’m so so hot my burning bad”. Sounds like something out of the Benny Lava music video.

Rating: I wish they’d done this with Monopoly; at least then the killing would be justified.

 

THE CURSE OF SLEEPING BEAUTY (2016, Dir. Pearry Reginald Teo)

The Curse Of Sleeping BeautyDidn’t I say she looked a bit like a peacock’s tail? There you go.

Another one of those “sexy fairy tale” movies, this time about a young painter living a lonely existence following the death of his wife, and having recurring dreams about a beautiful, sleeping woman whose feathery clothes resemble a peacock. This modern day Picasso inherits an old family mansion that hides an ancient curse dating back to the Crusades; impressive, nonetheless, since I really doubt many American mansions were around during 11th-13th centuries. The movie attempts to blend aspects of the classic tale, gothic and religious elements in a modern setting, rendering the story far less epic than the fairy tale, which is pretty weird to begin with. Any starting threads become frayed as the story progresses, rendering it poorly written and lifeless. The worst part is how it closes the story line – or rather, doesn’t, leaving room for a possible sequel (note to the producers: please don’t create a sequel of this monstrosity).

Top quote: “I figured out that if you use a very powerful lens and you open the shutter for a really long time, that you can pick up on that”. Paranormal photography 101: photographers beware.

Rating: If you too want to enter a hundred-year sleep state, watch this film.

 

THE OUIJA EXPERIMENT (2011, Dir. Israel Luna)

The Ouija Experiment 2: Ouija ResurrectionThe “there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this guy and his fondness of the little child” still.

Some describe this as “independent cinema”; I see it more as “filming with drunk friends”. One of those guys who films everything and sticks it on YouTube decides to record a ouija session at a friend’s house, together with his girlfriend and sister (surprisingly, not the same person), but they fail to say goodbye to the spirit; apparently, this is a bad thing. The rest of the movie is just as pathetic, with a plot so bad not even Film4 would air it at 3pm, together with a display of terrible special effects and scares which are about as frightening as playing peekaboo with a 3-year-old. They even throw in an orange YouTube ouija board expert and a weird naked little girl in the bath. They can’t even pronounce ouija. Jesus. Best thing about this movie: it’s not too long. Worst thing: it gets very, very long.

Top quote: “First of all, you don’t play with the Ouija board, you play with a deck of cards or a Nintendo.” The first rule of Ouija Club.

Rating: At least it’s not too disappointing, since you already know it’s going to be awful – but it still manages to be worse.

 

THE OUIJA EXPERIMENT 2: OUIJA RESSURRECTION (2015, Dir. Israel Luna)

The Ouija Experiment 2: Ouija Resurrection
“I’m panicking because my phone screen is dead! OMG!”

Also known as Theater of Death, its premise is that the first movie was an actual movie, and now the actors are playing themselves in a marketing horror show; too bad their ouija board was real. There’s a really annoying guy trying to be the ultimate player; he’s chubby, weird and pedantic, wears a ridiculous comb in his hair, and eventually gets sucked into a vortex of ghostly energy. There’s also the leading actress, Ms. Willis – I’ve checked and she’s not related to Bruce, but her bio states “she almost completed a degree in Biology”; always good to know. She has a gay friend, so stereotyped and ridiculous the LGBT community should ask for this movie to be destroyed. As for the special effects, well, they’re more like special defects. The story doesn’t make any sense; first a spirit is haunting the place, then it turns out that the good sheriff (actually evil) has a bloodthirsty relative (daughter?) hidden in the basement, but then it’s a ghost again. I can only assume the scriptwriter was pretty drunk.

Top quote: “Well, Mr. Only Male in Home Ec class, people think you’re weird and I still hang out with you”; he then replies that he’s “totes fab”. Just in case you didn’t think he was gay enough.

Rating: This movie is perfect for you to suggest to your worst enemy.

 

THE TRAVELER (2010, Dir. Michael Oblowitz)

The Traveler
If only this officer had pulled the trigger there and then, it would’ve saved everyone else 96 minutes of their time.

Also known as Mr. Nobody, a third-rank inconsistent and predictable script and unjustified gore abound in this supposed mystery film. Filled with characters that despite being faced with what seems like certain death, continue to scream and manage to stay alive defying the laws of biology, in order to showcase violent deaths that drag over several minutes which seem more like hours, because of how tedious and absurd the scenes are; in this regard, even the Saw franchise makes more sense than this movie. A frankly declining Val Kilmer must have been short of money to agree to star in this film, although he looks far from malnourished in his role as Mr. Nobody, overacted yet more expressionless than a block of cheese. The other characters, mostly policemen, come across more like a bad parody of a cop show, illiterate and rude.

Top quote: “I laid in that coma for a year and all I dreamed about was vengeance”. Definite proof that comatose patients have dreams. Must’ve got boring though.

Rating: Mr. Nobody is certainly the perfect title for a movie that’s essentially worthless.

 

WHITE SETTLERS (2014, Dir. Simeon Halligan)

White Settlers
“Oh wow, you look so delightfully Scottish! We’re in Scotland, aren’t we darling?”

Also known as The Blood Lands (ironic, since there’s very little in the way of blood or even violence), this British film is a cross between The Strangers and You’re Next. The story itself is nothing new: a young couple buys an isolated house to escape from the big city and start a new life. On the very first night they’re awakened by strange noises and it soon turns out that a group of individuals wearing pig masks is trying to kill them. Many chasing scenes ensue, which get tiresome quickly. Somewhere in the background, it’s possible to perceive some level of political criticism, but the ending is so badly executed that it spoils any chances of the film being good; it doesn’t bring anything new to the genre, nor does it try to. I was nonetheless amused by the constant audience reminders that they were in Scotland – the real estate agent is a ginger woman wearing a tweed suit, there are Scottish signs and flags, tartan fabrics galore and the protagonists must say “Scotland” at least a hundred times.

Top quote: Difficult to pick between “Yeah, in Scotland, where the weather is shit, the food is shit, the football is shit” and “Yeah, he’s probably going home to shag his sister”.

Rating: Sarah and Ed should’ve just stayed in London, really.

One thought on “Don’t Go Into The Basement: Netflix’s Worst Horror Movies”
  1. Solid list! I’ve wasted time on quite a few of these sadly. I think of them all, #Horror was the one I found the most disappointing and pretentious to the extreme.

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