From horror movies to indie darlings and Netflix’s productions – this is the summary of the worst films of 2018.
Each year I am inclined to agree with my fellow critics that writing the list of the worst films is giving them a second chance at gaining more exposure.
But just as I come back to “Black Beatles” by Rae Sremmurd (although it’s an atrocious song), I do the same with the worst movies. From time to time my thoughts like to travel to these absurdly bad moments, chew on them over and over again.
Usually, it happens so, because of how mind-boggling these atrocities are. But either way, every year brings a handful of those. The worst films that somehow pass the producers, and find their crooked ways to cinematic distribution or festivals.
Let me begin with films that, regrettably, didn’t make the noble list. Among the Honorable Mentions of 2018, are:
- Happytime Murders – for its depressing humor and the unforgettable scene with a muppet ostopus jacking off a muppet cow in an old-school adult movies VHS store.
- Anon – for turning a great concept into a dragged-out hour of nonsense.
- Siberia – for making sure that Keanu Reeves’ continuity of crap movies isn’t jeopardized.
- Dollhouse: The Eradication of Female Subjectivity from American Popular Culture – for the worst title, worst puppets, worst everything (but it’s too indie to include it in the official list).
- Malevolent – for turning a decent material for a horror movie into a complete schmuck.
- Gotti – for John Travolta.
With the honorable mentions of the worst films of 2018 out of our way, let’s focus on the creme de la creme. The absolute 10 embarrassing, terrible, hideous, unforgivable mistakes. Yay!
#10 Fahrenheit 451
Dir. Ramin Bahrani
Plot: In the dystopian future, the omnipresent government burns down every single book there is. The story follows Guy Montag, a fireman, who begins to doubt the good intentions of the party.
I’ve got only thing to say – if even Michael Shannon fails to deliver a decent role, it really means something. Despite all my love for previous works of Ramin Bahrani, sci-fi flicks are not his deal. “Fahrenheit 451” is an ill-conceived attempt at an intellectual science fiction. As a stranger to the book it’s based on, I feel zero to zero urge of reading it.
Dir. Steven Soderbergh
Plot: A woman, who suffered from a stalker trauma, is voluntarily admitted to a mental ward. Once she’s there, she claims her stalker is one of the employees in the facility.
Steven Soderbergh likes to be playful with form and he often looks for nuances in the structure of his films. In “Unsane” he looked for a modern mix of mobile camera ratios and scenes directed to remind of Snapchat.
The result is a film that looks incredibly amateur, with a weak story. It revolves around a girl in a psych ward and – while the concept is pretty disturbing – the execution is far from exciting. It’s all very loose plot-wise, with multiple, ridiculous plotholes that make one raise an eyebrow.
#8 The Strangers: Prey At Night
Dir. Johannes Roberts
Plot: A comeback of the hooded, creepy family of psychopaths.
I’m a big fan of “The Strangers” with Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman. It was a psychologically driven study of fear, of mental torture.
The sequel that came out in 2018 has been a derivative of the original, and threw all of the suspense out. What’s left is a depressingly boring film, with masked knives losing their sharpness and the victims being as generic as they could be.
#7 The First Purge
Dir. Gerard McMurray
Plot: A prequel to the franchise, which shows the very beginnings of the one-day-for-crime experiment.
The whole franchise of “The Purge” is a flawed concept from the scratch. Instead of going for random murders and letting the steam go off (which is a rather unlikely scenario), the story would be much more frightening if followed an exemplary family that hid a deeply twisted revenge plot to be executed on that special day.
The genesis of it all is a film that tries to be politically engaged, at the same time being a blood-stained thriller. The result is a film that ridicules the problems it touches (you can’t take the neighbourhood dealings seriously) and makes you with its protagonist bravado, who definitely missed the casting for “Black Panther”.
#6 The Cloverfield Paradox
Dir. Julius Onah
Plot: A space mission is sent to verify the source of aliens, who invaded the Earth.
Netflix has incorporated the strategy of shooting out as much content as the company can buy or produce. However, most of their original films can easily be flushed down. “The Cloverfield Paradox” has been a missing link between “Cloverfield” and “10 Cloverfield Lane”, but the plot is more of a plothole itself rather than any kind of clarification.
It’s a dreadful kind of entertainment – one that reaches for “Alien”, but wastes its enormous budget on special effects (which aren’t anything spectacular either). If you are looking for lessons on how to waste money on a costly film that makes no sense, here’s a decent example.
#5 The Titan
Dir. Lennart Ruff
Plot: Upon the inadvertent destruction of the Earth, humans need to find a new place to inhabit. When a planet called “Titan” is found, scientists begin altering our DNA to prepare the civilisation for the new life.
There was a time when Sam Worthington was designated to become a Hollywood star. However, if even “Avatar” couldn’t kick his career off, then the problem must have been elsewhere (although “Unabomber” was actually great)
“The Titan” is not his most terrible work (and he had some astonishing parts in 2018), but his lack of charisma hurts the already bleak film more than it normally would have. There is a smell of body horror, there is sci-fi and even a kind of family drama. None of these truly resonate enough to make you care.
Dir. Luca Guadagnino
Plot: A young dancer from America arrives at the German ballet academy only to find that the teachers of the school are secretly witches.
Most of the bad films are just bad. Badly performed, uninspired in the visual form. “Suspiria”, however, is on another level.
It’s an auteur effort at remaking a cult classic. Directed by Dario Argento, the old “Suspiria” has been severely tested by the time, but the sheer amount of visual aesthetics sustain its unbeatable position among classics.
Guadagnino’s film washes off the neon, vibrant colors, artificially develops the plot by nonsense historical background and imbues the whole story with an unbearably naive philosophy of emancipated women at the edge of feminism. It’s a wet dream of a pretentious fan of artistic razzmatazz, but people who appreciate rational thinking will most likely find “Suspiria” delirious at best.
Dir. Paolo Sorrentino
Plot: The film depicts the story of a young, ambitious entrepreneur, who tries to reach Silvio Berlusconi – the most influential, eccentric politician in Italy.
Sorrentino might have won an Oscar for “The Great Beauty”, but he proved himself to be a terrible storyteller in “Loro”.
The film was originally shot as a 4-hours long feature, divided into two separate parts. But in order to be in the awards competition, it had to be “shrunk”.
This caused “Loro” to be an incredible sort of mayhem. A mash-up of semi-intellectual, cinematic monologue about the ugliness of frivolous life. Sorrentino flashes with naked female bodies, flashes with beautiful images of Sicily, but there is an almost painful lack of depth in “Loro”. It’s a failure on just too many levels.
Dir. Diego Cohen
Plot: A bunch of teenagers go to camp in the woods. This is definitely going to be their last trip (if you didn’t expect it from a slasher you dingus).
This Mexican “indie darling” has managed to include so much badness in just 75 minutes, it’s almost incomprehensible.
The acting is wooden, the plot doesn’t make sense (even for such a cliche as it is) and almost every scene causes the viewer physical pain. You know you got yourself a heavy caliber of a movie when a dead body still breathes in front of the camera.
Dir. Duncan Jones
Plot: A mute bartender’s girl is lost after a party in the futuristic Berlin. The man begins his search party, which leads him into the strangest places of the city.
While “Romina” is probably worse in the technical terms, I didn’t have any doubts about “Mute” to be the #1.
It’s the single most out of place, worst science fiction and worst film of the year and quite possibly a frontrunner over the entire decade.
“Mute” is the definition of an ill-conceived delusion of grandeur – a belief that a talented director (Duncan Jones for that matter) is enough to make a good film.
Alexander Skarsgard is laughably bad as the silent protagonist, Paul Rudd tries to fit in, while Justin Theroux literally craps all over his extraordinary talent by becoming a fiendish gay/rapist weirdo. “Mute” feels like a ripoff of too many classics, aims for cyberpunk and provides nothing but a monotonous, mute guy walking around the techno-infused and neon-bathed Berlin.
A big, just enormously big nope.
There you go – the 10 films I found most terribly executed, directed, acted or whatever other reason.
Share your least favorite movies in the comments!