The 2010s has been an interesting decade for film. Action and science fiction genres have been taken over by the Marvel and DC invasion, and attempts to veer away from superhero narratives have had mixed results for wider audiences. Moviegoers now expect big drama, high tech sequences, and the most insane special effects imaginable.
The stakes are high these days, and so are the budgets. While the past decade has produced some of the best science fiction movies to date, it has also produced some of the worst. Instead of trying to make interesting, nuanced films about technology, fantastical alternative universes, or outer space, the films on this list were ruined by sticking too close to genre tropes, focusing on overdone narratives, and presenting convoluted plots marred by bad character development.
From Aaron Eckhart as the Frankenstein's monster to Keanu Reeves as a modern-day Dr. Frankenstein, these flicks are among the worst released in the past decade, and they have terrible Rotten Tomatoes reviews to back them up.
10 The Last Airbender (2010): 5%
M. Night Shyamalan's live-action adaption of this beloved Nickelodeon cartoon was a total disaster. Critics and moviegoers were unimpressed with every aspect of the film, from plot to acting to 3D special effects.
Shyamalan's portrayal of humanity's only hope, the 12-year-old Airbender, in a world dominated by the four elements, is full of loopholes and poorly executed sequences. It's also problematic that the cast is almost entirely white, as the film takes place in the Asian and Inuit Avatar universe. Despite this, the movie managed to earn 319 million dollars worldwide, double its budget.
9 Season of the Witch (2011): 11%
In this supernatural medieval fantasy, Nicholas Cage plays a crusading knight who returns home from battle to discover an ancient witch is intent upon destroying humanity.
With Ron Perlman as his sidekick, Cage the knight begins an epic journey to track down the witch and bring her to a powerful Cardinal. From its reliance on the "woman as evil creature" trope to its sluggish speed, Season of the Witch was a flop. In a world oversaturated with medieval imagery courtesy of Game of Thrones, Cage's movie does nothing to stand out.
8 After Earth (2013): 11%
If you're M. Night Shyamalan, you can afford to make some real duds. After Earth stars Will and Jaden Smith. In this post-apocalyptic movie that takes place in the 31st century, Will plays a general who, along with his son, finds himself back on Earth, which has been taken over by violent aliens.
As if this familiar storyline isn't enough to make it bomb, there exist many parallels between the movie's events and the tenets of L. Ron Hubbard's Scientology movement. The special effects are awful, and the aliens in After Earth are anything but terrifying.
7 I, Frankenstein (2014): 5%
Mary Shelley is likely turning in her grave over this movie. Aaron Eckhart plays the Frankenstein monster, Adam, who, after killing his creator, is recruited by angelic gargoyles to fight demons from Hell.
Starting in 1795, the film moves through the centuries as Adam slaughters legions of demons. This bogus plot is matched with an even more bogus cast of characters, from a gargoyle queen named Leonore to a demon prince named Naberius. This dull, weird fantasy film has absolutely nothing going for it.
6 The Anomaly (2015): 0%
Boasting a 0% aggregate rating on Rotten Tomatoes, The Anomaly is about as bad as it gets for science fiction. The worst reviewed British film of 2014, it seems even easy-on-the-eyes Ian Somerhalder wasn't able to save The Anomaly from disaster.
This futuristic flick follows an ex-soldier whose consciousness has been co-opted by a secret organization that wants him dead. He must use the 10 minutes of awareness he's been granted to try to figure out how to save his own life. As expected, The Anomaly turns out to be a predictable snooze fest.
5 Vice (2015): 4%
A mix between Westworld and Bladerunner, Vice is a derivative and boring film about a cop and a group of mercenaries pursuing an android who escapes from a resort where the wealthy explore their most depraved fantasies.
Bruce Willis plays the corrupt resort owner, and Thomas Jane is his police nemesis. Instead of trying to dig deep into AI and technology, the film uses its premise as a backdrop for lots of gunfights, cheap action sequences, and dumb dialogue.
4 Max Steel (2016): 0%
The only superhero movie on this list, Max Steel is based on the Mattel doll. The human Max and his alien buddy Steel combine their powers to form the eponymous superhero.
The movie is as lame as it sounds. Lacking vibrancy and personality, it instead relies on recycled genre imagery and plot points. There is nothing fun or exciting about Max Steel's adventures. Considering it's inspired by a toy, the film should probably take itself a little less seriously.
3 Flatliners (2017): 4%
A remake of the 1990 film about medical students who conduct near-death experiments, this 2017 film should not have been made. Despite starring Ellen Page and Diego Luna, Flatliners does nothing to improve upon or revive its source material.
Instead, it comes across as a redundant psychological horror film imbued with science fiction elements. This is another case of filmmakers tapping into remake nostalgia just for the sake of it.
2 Kill Switch (2017): 10%
A deep space, interdimensional hack, Kill Switch stars Dan Stevens as a pilot who must repair an imbalance created by a new, unknown energy source. Like RGP video games, most of the film is shot from a first-person perspective.
It turns out the complex, physics-heavy plot and dizzying camera work didn't do much for audiences, and most critics were left scratching their heads by the end of the film. Fortunately, Dan Stevens has redeemed himself as a science fiction icon via the series Legion.
1 Replicas (2018): 7%
Oh, Keanu. Love him or hate him, he always tries his best to make even the worst film good. Replicas is yet another film inspired by Mary Shelley's genre-defining novel Frankenstein. Reeves plays a scientist who attempts to bring his family back to life after they perish in a car accident.
Instead of galvanism, the scientist uses AI technology and consciousness-rendering software to recreate his wife and children. What has the potential to be an interesting take on the scientist-playing-god trope turns out to be another shallow, bland look into what happens when people tamper with the natural order of things.