The Streaming MistakesThe Alphabet Killer (2008)
Much like The Alphabet Killer, After.Life is largely known as a movie where the star is naked. In this case, it is Christina Ricci and she is bare for an overlong portion of the film. It is an example of a movie that is too clever by half in trying to constantly allow for both the possibility that Anna Taylor (Ricci) is dead and that she is alive, but being held captive and being prepared to die by Eliot Deacon (Liam Neeson). Neither version of reality is particularly engaging. The entire tone of the film is too bleak and plodding (too Eastern European?), and when paired with the extremely restrained performances it leaves the audience wondering if writer-director Agnieszka Wojtowicz-Vosloo had decided where to take the story before shooting wrapped. If nothing else, Neeson continues to take roles that make his portrayal of Briar Gates in Next of Kin (1989) seem a career high.
Stan Helsing (2009)
Yeah. Steve Howey made good use of his time on the sitcom Reba (2001-07), but he could do little here. Writer-director Bo Zenga cannot create a consistent tone or find a good pace, nor does he seem to know how to end a scene. Even Diora Baird, normally very attractive, adds nothing here...in any regard. This is a must avoid. Sorry, Steve.
George A. Romeo's Survival of the Dead (2009)
Killer Movie (2008)
I don't want to slam Killer Movie, because it isn't as bad as it should be. It is, however, an incomplete story and cannot decide if it wants to be a hip slasher film or a critique of the ridiculousness of celebrity-driven reality television with a horror background. One of the London brothers (Jason London) – and if you can tell the difference between Jason and Jeremy from just watching them, then you are paying much more attention than I am – plays the local cameraman with a nice watch. Kaley Cuoco (of The Big Bang Theory) plays the celebrity trying to rehab her image by appearing on a reality show about a North Dakota hockey team. Paul Wesley plays the once heralded director reduced to making said show. Everybody else is a victim. Not particularly scary or funny. It isn't horrible. Given the right mood, one might enjoy it. But it is just bad enough to make this list.
George Carlin: It's Bad for Ya (2008)
I would wager that 70 year old Carlin had already said everything worth saying by the time he got around to It's Bad for Ya. He comes off as angry without being insightful. Where his previous assaults against sacred cows were well thought out, he only offers quaint pseudo-philosophy here. I smiled a few times during the performance, but never laughed. Shockingly, this very show won a Grammy for Best Comedy Album. I have to think that was a make good for Carlin having died that year. I recommend Carlin on Campus (1984), Carlin at Carnegie (1982), and Complaints and Grievances (2001) for the HBO specials worth watching. Avoid It's Bad for Ya if you want to remember Carlin as a smart, vibrant voice against unquestioned hypocrisy and conformity.
I can't think that Tom Cruise would have made this movie better, but it couldn't have been worse. And they're making a sequel. Salt is another example of a filmmaker trying to out think the audience. Instead, everything is telegraphed and to little effect. I was kind of rooting for Liev Schrieber to go all Russian Agent on the production team and keep the film from having an ending. No such luck.
The New Daughter (2009)
I've already covered Black Death (2010). And as tempted as I was to include Trick 'r Treat (2007) and The Signal (2007) on this list, neither was bad or boring enough to make the cut.