As 2015 comes to a close, we've had a chance to champion our Top 5 Favorite Movies of 2015 - celebrating our favorite cinematic experiences of the year. However, every year, we also take a moment to reflect on the films that elicited the opposite feeling - specifically the Worst Movies of 2015.
Film is a subjective medium, so choosing the worst movies in any year is a crude task. Every outlet has a different approach to defining "Worst of the Year" and many focus their picks on the biggest misfires and disappointments - films that failed to make use of sizable budgets, talented actors, and intriguing scripts (example: Jupiter Ascending).
However, at Screen Rant, we populate our "Worst of the Year" list with films that we genuinely believe were the worst mainstream releases of the year - the intolerable bores that failed to deliver on even the most basic levels. These are the unfunny comedies, the not-very-scary horror movies, the superficial dramas, and the snooze-inducing actioners.
Our picks are certainly not all-inclusive. So, once you've read our choices, share your own selections in the comments! NOTE: Films are listed in order of release - and not in order of terribleness.
20. The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death
Release Date: January 2, 2015
Stars: Phoebe Fox and Jeremy Irvine; Director: Tom Harper
From our Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death review: The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death is yet another example that not all successful horror movies have what it takes to become successful horror franchises.
Overview: Thanks to a quality post-Harry Potter performance from Daniel Radcliffe and a spooky setup, the original Woman in Black was a solid entry among 2012's horror offerings. However, its sequel sacrificed clever scares and a good story in favor of trying to connect a new installment to an otherwise standalone tale. On it's own, the WWII setting depicted in Angel of Death could have been fertile ground for a fresh horror movie; instead, Tom Harper only delivered bland jump-scares while, at the same time, convoluting The Woman in Black's mythology.
19. Taken 3
Release Date: January 9, 2015
Stars: Liam Neeson and Maggie Grace; Director: Olivier Megaton
From our Taken 3 review: Taken 3 takes the franchise past the point of absurdity – purely for the sake of selling a third series installment.
Overview: While Taken remains a great action-thriller experience, Taken 2 attempted to stretch an otherwise standalone story into a franchise - a thin premise that became increasingly strained in Taken 3. Abandoning the series' reliance on kidnapping as a central plot point, Taken 3 tried to close-out the Mills family saga but strained to connect the dots - while falling short with the series' biggest draw: memorable action.
Release Date: January 16, 2015
Stars: Chris Hemsworth; Director: Michael Mann
From our Blackhat review: Blackhat is a boring and visually-disappointing entry from Michael Mann, and a film perfectly suited for the January dumping ground
Overview: From the talented director of Collateral, Ali, Heat, and Last of the Mohicans, Blackhat not only stumbled as a starring vehicle for Chris Hemsworth outside of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Michael Mann's latest was a surprisingly cliche tale of modern cyber terrorism. Full of nonsensical computer babble and downright dubious technological logistics (especially for a film about hackers), Mann's movie was so milquetoast that audiences largely ignored its release (earning the film only $1.7 million opening weekend).
Release Date: January 23, 2015
Stars: Johnny Depp, Ewan McGregor, and Gwyneth Paltrow; Director: David Koepp
From our Mortdecai review: Mortdecai lacks the wit and charm that would’ve been necessary for this farcical pastiche to work, resulting in another disappointment from Johnny Depp
Overview: Eccentric characters have been Johnny Depp's speciality for most of his career, though his offbeat performances of late have attracted more criticism than praise (see: Dark Shadows, The Lone Ranger). Director David Koepp's film adaptation of Kyril Bonfiglioli's Mortdecai novels features Depp as yet another over the top caricature, but the movie's attempt to recapture the zany spirit of movies like The Pink Panther rings as hollow as its star's comical turn. Mortdecai ends up being a rather (painfully?) boring comical caper, as a result.
16. Fifty Shades of Grey
Release Date: February 13, 2015
Stars: Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan; Director: Sam Taylor-Johnson
From our Fifty Shades of Grey review: Unfortunately for the Fifty Shades of Grey movie, a solid cast, good director and unique premise only help to expose the inherent weaknesses of the source novel – leaving this film (like its central romance) doomed from the start.
Overview: Fifty Shades of Grey is packed with talent (stars Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan, as well as director Sam Taylor-Johnson); yet, the thin source material was too unruly for the assembled crew - resulting in a finished product that was more awkward than it was tantalizing. The adaptation even struggled to please many Fifty Shades of Grey book fans, while failing to intrigue viewers outside of the book's established audience. Instead, the movie proved that Twilight fan-fiction turned erotic romance novels may be better experienced as guilty pleasure reading.
15. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2
Release Date: April 17, 2015
Stars: Kevin James, Raini Rodriguez, and Neal McDonough; Director: Andy Fickman
From our Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 review: Die-hard Kevin James fans will get additional mileage from it, but Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 is a pretty easy pass for everyone else.
Overview: Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 hit theaters six years after its predecessor, and yet the Kevin James action/comedy (unsurprisingly) was still as slapdash and lazily thrown together as you would've expected had the sequel been released back in 2010, instead. Director Andy Fickman and his screenwriters (which include James) double-down on the uninspired mean spirited humor and slapstick in the Paul Blart sequel too, resulting in yet another Happy Madison Productions release that barely even reaches the low bar for brainless laughs that it originally set for itself.
14. Hot Pursuit
Release Date: May 8, 2015
Stars: Reese Witherspoon and Sofía Vergara; Director: Anne Fletcher
From our Hot Pursuit review: Hot Pursuit will provide some moviegoers with a few easy laughs, but others are likely to find it just boring and unfunny.
Overview: Hot Pursuit stars Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara as a mismatched duo on the run, and the pair do seem to be having fun acting together in the movie. It's too bad then that watching Witherspoon and Vergara crack bad jokes - while director Anne Fletcher serves up one tired comical scenario after another - is nowhere near as much fun. The final result is a piece of lazy action/comedy filmmaking that fails to deliver on what it promised to do: make the audience laugh, not just its stars.
13. The Gallows
Release Date: July 10, 2015
Stars: Jason Blum and Guymon Casady; Directors: Travis Cluff and Chris Lofing
From our Gallows review: No review available.
Overview: Packed with found-footage movie cliches and uninventive jump scares, The Gallows was another low-risk, low-reward release from Blumhouse Productions - who has made a fortune on small-budget horror movies (including the Paranormal Activity series, among others). Despite contrived high school melodrama, one-note teen stereotypes, and a second-rate supernatural baddie, The Gallows still managed to earn $42 million for the studio on a $100,000 budget.
Release Date: July 16, 2015
Stars: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Michelle Monaghan, and Peter Dinklage; Director: Chris Columbus
From our Pixels review: Despite a solid premise and talented supporting cast, Pixels is another shallow addition to Adam Sandler’s product line
Overview: Fans of Patrick Jean's 2010 short film were cautious when it was announced that Sandler would be adapting the clever premise (also featured on Futurama) into a feature film. Sadly, in spite of slick 8-Bit effects, Sandler framed his movie as the next half-baked Happy Madison product (the second of the year), squandering the potential of Jean's setup with unfunny gags and cheesy performances. Instead of celebrating 8-bit culture with fun for kids and nostalgic-parents alike, Pixels is little more than a big and dumb cash garb - and one of 2015's biggest missed opportunities.
11. The Vatican Tapes
Release Date: July 23, 2015
Stars: Olivia Taylor Dudley, Kathleen Robertson, and Michael Peña; Director: Mark Neveldine
From our Vatican Tapes review: No review available.
Overview: The next installment in a steady stream of stale exorcism movies, The Vatican Tapes features a number or recognizable names - including one-half of directing duo Neveldine/Taylor as well as supporting parts for Michael Peña, Djimon Hounsou, and Doughy Scott. Still, the supernatural horror movie does little to differentiate itself from superior tales of demonic possession on film, in both theme and visual spectacle - undermining any effort to thrill or scare with overly-familiar ideas and visuals that have been done before (and done better).
10. Fantastic Four
Release Date: August 7, 2015
Stars: Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara, Jamie Bell, and Toby Kebbell; Director: Josh Trank
From our Fantastic Four review: All the pieces were in place for a refreshing entry in the superhero genre, but Fantastic Four completely unravels at the halfway point.
Overview: Following Josh Trank's Chronicle, the young filmmaker seemed like the perfect person to bring nuance and realism to 20th Century Fox's other Marvel Comics property. However, Trank's sci-fi/horror vision proved to be at odds with the studio's wishes for a blockbuster Fantastic Four reboot - resulting in a movie that lays an nuanced foundation, only to divert into a cliched superhero tale that (in addition to muddling established characters and drama) is short on memorable super-power action, culminating in one of the least satisfying climactic battles in comic book movie history.
9. Hitman: Agent 47
Release Date: August 21, 2015
Stars: Rupert Friend, Hannah Ware, and Zachary Quinto; Director: Aleksander Bach
From our Hitman: Agent 47 review: Hitman: Agent 47 is a second missed opportunity to translate one of the more adaptable video games into a satisfying movie experience.
Overview: After the original Hitman, starring Timothy Olyphant, failed to connect with mainstream moviegoers, fans hopeful that the reboot, Hitman: Agent 47, would make-up for past mistakes with a game adaptation that paid-service to the franchise's origins while also delivering a quality film. The project was struck by a tragic setback with the death of intended star Paul Walker; however, seeing the final film, it's hard to imagine that Agent 47 was destined to be anything other than a bland spy movie, and the second misfire for Hitman as a film franchise, regardless of who starred.
8. No Escape
Release Date: August 26, 2015
Stars: Owen Wilson and Lake Bell; Director: John Erick Dowdle
From our No Escape review: Despite some competent suspenseful filmmaking, a thin story and xenophobic overtones make No Escape an unpleasant movie to watch.
Overview: Owen Wilson's action/thriller No Escape arrived near the end of Summer 2015, and for some it delivered on its promise of schlocky B-movie thrills. For others, however, the film's retrograde worldview and arguably xenophobic portrayal of a coup breaking out in some unnamed Asian country was near-impossible to stomach, while the Dowdle Brothers failed to deliver enough compelling human drama and decent B-grade action as a counter-weight. No Escape fails to offer a terse thrill ride and instead winds up simply being an unpleasant viewing experience, for those reasons.
7. The Cobbler
Release Date: September 11, 2015
Stars: Adam Sandler, Dan Stevens, Dustin Hoffman, and Steve Buscemi; Director: Tom McCarthy
From our Cobbler review: No review available.
Overview: The third of four Adam Sandler-starring movies in 2015, The Cobbler was the actor's latest attempt at indie drama - working under Spotlight writer/director Tom McCarthy. Still, despite McCarthy's talent as a storyteller and above-average (albeit still tense) effort from Sandler, The Cobbler was uneven and tone-deaf - a rare misfire for McCarthy that comes across as an attempt for Sandler to prove that he's capable of more than juvenile comedy hijinks, only to be crushed under the pressure of a high-concept comedy premise.
6. Jem and the Holograms
Release Date: October 23, 2015
Stars: Aubrey Peeples; Director: Jon M. Chu
From our Jem and the Holograms review: What good intentions Jem and the Holograms has are weighed down by its cheap aesthetic and thinly-drawn storyline.
Overview: The Jem and the Holograms 1980s cartoon series has fans across multiple generations, but the live-action film adaptation by Jon M. Chu carries over little from the original animated TV show - instead providing an "origin story" for the eponymous band that bears little resemblance to its predecessor (or the real world for that matter). The final result is a cheesy and cliched movie about a band's rise to fame that feels (and looks) very much like the hollow and cheaply-made (failed) studio cash grab that it is.
5. Rock the Kasbah
Release Date: October 23, 2015
Stars: Bill Murray; Director: Barry Levinson
From our Rock the Kasbah review: Rock the Kasbah is a lazy comedy and outdated political farce that wastes Bill Murray’s comedic talents.
Overview: Bill Murray comedies generally manage to please the actor's longtime fanbase, but Rock the Kasbah wastes its star's talents on a lazily constructed script (set in the Middle-East) that feels very outdated and is otherwise lacking in memorable jokes and comedy sequences. Director Barry Levinson attempts to craft a worthily redemption story around Murray as a self-absorbed musical manager who helps a talented aspiring singer from Afghanistan, but an uninspired narrative, uneven filmmaking, and weak supporting characters make this particular Murray vehicle a real misfire.
4. Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension
Release Date: October 23, 2015
Stars: Chris J. Murray, Brit Shaw, and Dan Gill; Director: Gregory Plotkin
From our Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension review: In spite of connections to the ongoing series saga, Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension could easily be mistaken for an Asylum B-movie knockoff.
Overview: Like several other entries on our list, the Paranormal Activity series started as a refreshing one-off movie experience that, in an effort to build a franchise, is now a shadow of its former success (both critically and financially). With the The Ghost Dimension, Paramount Pictures attempts to keep the aging brand alive through gimmickry (now in 3D) and a last-ditch effort to close-out Toby's serialized story; however, like the Marked Ones and Paranormal Activity 4 before it, The Ghost Dimension simply isn't very scary.
3. The Ridiculous 6
Release Date: December 11, 2015
Stars: Adam Sandler, Terry Crews, Jorge Garcia, Taylor Lautner, Rob Schneider, and Luke Wilson; Director: Frank Coraci
From our Ridiculous 6 review: No review available.
Overview: The Ridiculous 6 is another misstep in Adam Sandler's ever growing repertoire of lazy movies. The western comedy film stars Sandler, Jorge Garcia, Terry Crews, Taylor Lautner, Rob Schneider and Luke Wilson as the six bastard sons of notorious outlaw Frank Stockburn attempting to rescue their estranged father from his former gang. The laughs are few and forced in this film that can't decide if it wants to be a parody or an action western - so it ends up being neither. Putting it frankly, the movie's tone and quality can best be summed up in a scene of Schneider's burro violently defecating on a wall.
2. Point Break (2015)
Release Date: December 25, 2015
Stars: Édgar Ramírez, Luke Bracey, and Teresa Palmer; Director: Ericson Core
From our Point Break (2015) review: Bigger set pieces do not make for a better Point Break, and director Ericson Core fails to improve upon the original film in any meaningful way.
Overview: Kathryn Bigelow's original Point Break remains a cult-favorite action-thriller movie experience. 25 years later, director Ericson Core updates the Ex-Presidents in a bigger, globe-trotting tale of self-discovery. Unfortunately, the 2015 remake epitomizes forgettable remakes that fail to capture the success (both commercially and critically) of their original at every turn. Core's clumsy philosophizing would be forgivable but, with a heavy reliance on uninspired extreme sport set pieces, Point Break fans would be better-off watching two hours of Go-Pro video on YouTube instead.
1. Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip
Release Date: December 25, 2015
Stars: Jason Lee, Tony Hale, and Kimberly Williams-Paisley; Director: Walt Becker
From our Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip review: No review available.
Overview: The first Alvin and the Chipmunks film, while definitely not for adults, mostly succeeded in offering kids a cheesy comedy sing-along - much like the original cartoon serviced prior generations. Yet, every successive installment has strayed into basic cash-grab territory where the cover tracks performed by The Chipmunks and The Chipettes take precedent over thoughtful storytelling. Chipmunk movies might be harmless but, in an industry where films like Inside Out can entertain and challenge kids (as well as adults alike), The Road Chip is still a lazy product - and tedious viewing.
0. (Dis)Honorable Mentions
A few films that barely missed the (dis)honor of our Worst Movies list:
- Strange Magic (read our review): Strange Magic may be a pretty picture that the kids can sing along to, but within the larger spectrum of animated features it is pretty forgettable.
- Aloha (read our review): Aloha has elements of Cameron Crowe’s best work, but poor storytelling results in a film that’s more perplexing than charming.
- Lazarus Effect (read our review): With a tight runtime, it’s not that much of a chore to sit through, but The Lazarus Effect is one of those horror films where lack of character logic makes it hard to root for the bodies that are inevitably going to pile on the floor.
- Unfinished Business (read our review): Unfinished Business is a perfect storm of unfocused – mostly unfunny – mundane comedic filmmaking.
- Gunman (read our review): Those hoping for the next Taken will be disappointed by the slow-burn character piece that is The Gunman.
- Pan (read our review): Pan falls short at being either an imaginative origin story for Peter Pan and/or a satisfying standalone big-budget fantasy adventure, when all is said and done.
We're interested to hear what films were on your "worst of the year" lists, so make sure to share your own choices in the comment section! Liked this list? Make sure to check out our 25 Worst Movies in Film History.
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