In all of my years as a film enthusiast, I’ve run into more than a few bad films, but every once in a while, I seem to run into a film that’s so bad that talking about it is almost as much of a chore as sitting through it. The films I’m talking about are some of the worst films ever made, and if you’ve watched any of them, you’re probably already familiar with the unequivocal suffering those “films” have brought (at this point, I’m amazed these films even got released).
To put it bluntly, these are the films that are so unspeakably awful that I wouldn’t even wish them on my worst enemies. By the end of this post, you’ll probably see why, and when you do, you’ll probably lose a bit of your faith in humanity in the process.
#10 – Season of the Witch
At this point, I’m totally convinced not only that Nicolas Cage is one of the worst actors ever to grace the silver screen, but that Nicolas Cage is incapable doing any good films (in my humble opinio, Face/Off is a very overrated film). Released four years ago, Season of the Witch is perhaps the worst possible example of a bad Nicolas Cage film.
What exactly did they do wrong? Well, for starters, the producers put the already terrible Nicolas Cage in a role that he wasn’t exactly ideal for in the first place. If that wasn’t enough, the film’s story was lazily written, as though the writers assume that the audience is absolutely willing to suspend their disbelief. For me, two things in particular killed the suspension of disbelief. First, it was the assertion that the Black Plague was caused by witches and demons. Second, it was the fact that everybody is speaking fluent American English in Medieval Europe.
For a fantasy film, it’s incredibly bland, and looks quite poor for a film with a $40 million budget. With dull visuals, a near absence of colour, and a hopeless attempt at sticking to a Medieval setting, I can’t even see how they could have made it any worse, especially since, by the end, it seems as though they gave up, and slapped a random demon into scene for the protagonists to fight.
#9 – Reign of Fire
This is a film that could have been far better if it weren’t set in a post-apocalyptic setting, but the way this film’s concept was written and executed makes suspension of disbelief virtually impossible. This is one of those films that’s so bad that there’s nothing to say that isn’t howlingly obvious.
Everything about that movie was an affront to common sense, from the film’s plot, to the astoundingly poor visuals, and the extremely bland and forgettable characters (with stupid names). To put it bluntly, this is perhaps the worst movie involving dragons you could possibly have the misfortune of seeing, and that to me is the worst part. How do you take a film about dragons and make it horrible? This sounds like the kind of film a bunch of frat boys suggested while drunk.
How Reign of Fire was even approved for production will forever be a mystery, but there’s one thing I can say for an absolute certainty – I never want to see Christian Bale in a bad Mad Max rip-off again.
#8 – The Giant Claw
Eerily similar to Reign of Fire, but much older, this is a prime example of an extremely low-budget monster movie from the days when cutting corners was extremely common among film-makers. In fact, the sheer number of low-budget creature features from the 1950’s alone is proof enough that back then, cutting corners must have been a sport.
I know that back in 1957, special effects were very different, but let me be frank. The special effects in The Giant Claw were outdated even for the time it was made. The special effects aren’t even the only problem. The story was so nonsensical that it could make Dan Brown blush, and the film was littered with what could clearly be identified as stock footage. The film also has an overabundance of narration, which kills and mercilessly mutilates all suspension of disbelief. Even the titular monster is just a puppet on strings, and in an orgy of rushed editing, the film-makers repeated previously used shots of the monster in order to save time and money.
The Giant Claw was so badly made that it’s beyond a joke, but apparently this is one of those films that was so bad that everyone involved in it hated it with a passion, including the lead actor, who reportedly left the premiere early out of embarrassment. For me, however, there are films that are much worse. After all, at least The Giant Claw was only 75 minutes long.
#7 – Armageddon
Michael Bay’s Armageddon, on the other hand, was twice as long as The Giant Claw, and felt like a self-indulgent marathon of jingoist sentiment, complete with an overdose of CGI that makes Independence Day look modest.
I’m very sure that somewhere out there, Bruce Willis isn’t too proud of this film. It’s basically a horribly padded disaster movie with every major Hollywood star the producers could get a hold of. The film is a prime example of mainstream Hollywood filth that tries to pander to an undemanding audience. Overlong, over-edited, and soulless are the three words that are the three words that would be best to describe this embarrassment of a film, but that’s not the whole picture.
The film’s plodding two-and-a-half hour runtime is made even worse by the fact that the film wastes every minute of it on pointless filler scenes. If that wasn’t enough, the film has one of the most shallow endings in movie history, complete with cultural stereotypes wherever the writers could fit them. Everything about this hellhole of a movie made me want to switch it off as soon as possible, but as sad as that sounds, it’s not the worst film on this list.
#6 – 21 Jump Street
This entry might be a little difficult to justify. For some strange reason, everyone who’s seen the film except me seems to like it. I find this to be quite baffling, because when I saw the film, all I could see was a blatantly shambolic parade of old jokes repackaged with Ice Cube, who literally announces some of the stereotypes that the film unashamedly parades. It wouldn’t be so much of a problem if it were actually funny, or if they made a genuine attempt to subvert them.
Every moment of the whole film made me want to cringe without fail. The completely formulaic dialogue and personalities took me right out of the film. Also, the film tries to subvert high school stereotypes, but ultimately revels in them without any sense of dignity whatsoever. The whole film felt like it could have been written straight from a book written for amateurs, and the public just ate it up like it was nothing.
I’ll probably never know how a horrible film like this got to be so popular, but one thing’s for sure. This is a film that didn’t need to be made at all.
#5 – Shark Tale
Why is it that nearly every film with talking animals always has to have horrible writing? That aside, we probably should have known that Shark Tale would have been awful. It was made and released only a year after Disney’s box-office smash Finding Nemo. In fact, this movie continued Dreamwork’s tradition of making rip-offs of Disney films, and in that regard, Shark Tale was definitely the worst, and it ranks up as possibly one of the worst memories from when I was ten years old.
The fact that they apparently decided to make the fish look and act more human-like isn’t the most uncomfortable thing about the film. The real cringes came from the terrible writing and acting, which is a terrible shame since the film uses a whole host of actors that I know for a fact have done much better films. Every character is one blatant stereotype after another, and if this is a kid’s movie, then it’s obvious that the producers hated children with a burning passion.
I guess you could say it was Finding Nemo, except with blatant Italian-American stereotypes, derivative (and terrible) pop culture jokes, and the uncanny sensation of your brain melting. I know this was intended for kids, but it’s been a decade since I was a kid, and I don’t know anyone who ever enjoyed it when it was new. Ironically, this is the only family friendly film on this list, though I highly doubt that the term “family friendly” even applies to something as offensive to eyes as Shark Tale was.
#4 – Paranormal Activity
After this film came out, several horror films began adopting the “found footage” format, whereby a film pretends to be based on actual footage, but in reality it was all faked by the film’s producers. My big problem with this film is that it relied on people not knowing whether it was real or not. Unfortunately for the film’s producers, I wasn’t convinced at all.
In fact, this is one of the least convincing films I’ve ever seen in my life. The characters acted like complete morons, and throughout the film, all they did was shout at each other, to the point that it took up practically half the film, maybe more. Not content with being a flagrant assault to the senses, the film wastes its time on outdated horror clichés, and a display of a total lack of knowledge on demons and spirits (which, I’m sad to say, is common in horror films).
All in all, Paranormal Activity is the worst horror film ever made, and the producers did a terrible job at hiding blatantly poor production values (due to the good old “found footage” excuse), terrible acting, and a clearly unscrupulous amount of mind-numbing self-satisfaction from the film’s stars. What’s even more disturbing is the fact that a film this awful somehow spawned a whole line of films which, to my understanding, are basically the same exact film if it had a bigger budget. Surely this film is the ultimate proof that low-budget movies usually aren’t very good.
#3 – Mortal Kombat: Annihilation
Even after the hated Super Mario Bros. movie, nobody learned that making video games into movies is always a terrible idea. In fairness, the first Mortal Kombat movie was fairly decent. It wasn’t good, but it was at least watchable, and it did have some campy throwbacks to the original games that might have been somewhat enjoyable. The only question is, how do you ruin a film that wasn’t so great in the first place? Unfortunately, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation did just that, by replacing all but two of the actors from the original film, and cursing the whole film with truly atrocious production values.
Despite the increased budget, the producers cut corners everywhere. The writing was even lazier, the fight scenes were choppy and terribly choreographed, the special effects were simply unwatchable, and the acting was terrible. If you ever wanted to feel bad about watching a movie, then this is exactly the film that will make you embarrassed to have watched it. Just like with Reign of Fire, you’ll mostly likely be baffled as to how this disaster of film-making even got made.
I know that it should probably be expected that video games never translate into good movies, but Mortal Kombat: Annihilation set the bar so much lower than any of those other movies possibly could (even Street Fighter: The Movie was more watchable, and that says a lot). Beyond any shred of a doubt, this is perhaps the worst game-to-film adaptation ever made, but alas, there are at least two movies that were worse.
#2 – The Stepford Wives (the 2004 remake)
The original 1975 film (itself based on a novel by Ira Levin) was an underrated piece of art that made incisive stabs at traditional gender roles, while offering sharp social commentary on what was a chiefly patriarchal society. The 2004 remake is what happens when you take all of that and put it through a campy sitcom filter, remove all of the social commentary, and turn it into a neurotic housewife’s fantasy.
The film starts off by establishing it’s version of the original main character using awful in-universe reality TV shows (the I Can Do Better made me want to cringe instantly), and then proceeds to establish Stepford in the most biased way possible (wherein all the male characters are unforgivable). It definitely felt more like a trashy American sitcom than an intelligent sci-fi thriller, but every character in it was simply cringeworthy. What’s even worse is that this version attempted a more comedic take, but it failed miserably. None of the so-called “jokes” were funny, and the acting was so unenthusiastic that it could be seen from an aeroplane.
It least this film went more in-depth with its take on how a “Stepford wife” is created, but they also used it for perhaps one of the most ridiculous endings imaginable. The whole film felt extremely artificial, to the point that it felt like it was made of plastic. This also happens to be one of those films that was rife with production troubles, to the point that everybody involved screwed up. The worst part is that I still can’t stomach the fact that they tuned an intelligent sci-fi film of the 1970’s into one of the most shameless Hollywood failures imaginable.
#1 – Blades of Glory
Say what you will, but I have to be honest here. I REALLY hated this movie. In fact, of all the bad movies I’ve had the misfortune of watching, this film was the absolute worst. It tried to parody sports films, but failed miserably. The end result is the equivalent of an over-priced hair metal music video stretched out for 93 minutes.
I hated everything about this glitzy monstrosity of a film, from the lazily constructed plot, to its unlikable cast, to the excessive costumes, which I would say are among the most appalling things I’ve ever scene in film history. This is a movie that tries so hard to play everything for laughs, but in my opinion, this film may as well have been over as soon as the endlessly irritating Will Ferrell entered the stage (and I’m not just saying that because I despise him with a passion).
The whole film felt like a marathon of self-indulgence that puts the rest of Hollywood to shame, and not a minute of this film was enjoyable at all. To me, it was a putrid mess that symbolized everything shallow about not just Hollywood, but also popular culture itself, all in one rancid package. I’m honestly surprised how this film did so well, but the real reason I hate this movie is because it stands for everything I don’t stand for, at least from a cultural point of view.
I’m aware that there are plenty of people out there how like this movie. Say what you will, but I hate this movie with so much of a passion that I can’t even try to explain it. It’s simply the worst film I’ve ever seen in my life.
To this day, I’ve never seen any film that I could possibly hate more than Blades of Glory. Still, the impossible search continues.