As 2018 draws to a close, many people begin to compile their best films of the year – the films that we enjoyed most and that made an impact on us. But in a year of film, not every film can be liked and enjoyed.
2018 saw hundreds of films released in a multitude of genres and sub-genres. Some were met with critical acclaim, some smashed box office records and others were universally loved by audiences. But what about the films that were not so well received? There were many box office flops and critically panned films in 2018. But which films would be considered some of the worst of 2018?
10. Death Wish
After home intruders attack his wife and daughter, Dr Paul Kersey becomes obsessed with delivering vigilante justice to the perpetrators. But as the anonymous killings become the subject of media attention, the public doesn’t know whether to view the slayings as that of a guardian angel or of something a lot more sinister.
Audiences were split with Death Wish, many liked the violence and action whilst others thought that the film glamorised gun crime and using guns as a means to solve all of life’s problems. Consequently, Death Wish’s mixed reception was reflected in its box office earnings.
The film’s main problem stems from its not knowing what its own message is. Director Eli Roth doesn’t see the film as a pro gun film and yet the film often feels like its sponsored by the NRA. We are supposed to feel sorry for Paul, but he becomes a character that it is hard to relate to.
We are lulled in to a false sense of security where we are rooting for the Grim Reaper, but should the audience be cheering him on? Or should we be turned off by his actions? The film is supposed to be about having the guts to do what needs to be done but only comes across as a gutless remake.
9. Fifty Shades Freed
In the third and final instalment of the Fifty Shades trilogy, Anastacia and Christian Grey are embracing their new luxurious lifestyle as a married couple. But their happiness is soon threatened by sinister events. Someone wants the couple to come to harm, but can Christian and Anastacia find the culprits before time runs out?
It is mildly amusing yet highly ironic that a film based on an erotic novel could be so incredibly un-arousing. But yet Fifty Shades Freed can certainly boast that achievement. Everything about the film is kind of just a bit silly really, and you need to leave your intelligence at the door when you watch it.
And whilst you might not expect your brain to stimulated during a Fifty Shades film, you could be forgiven for at least presuming that there might be some interesting sex scenes. But Fifty Shades (a book series which makes a lot of mention of BDSM) has sex scenes such as – having sex in a parked car and having sex on the kitchen table – shock, horror!
However, in spite of the terrible writing and zero chemistry between the actors, Fifty Shades Freed was a big box office success and grossed over $371 million at the box office. In this case, one of the worst films of the year was also one of the most popular with audiences.
8. Slender Man
A group of small-town best friends go online to try and conjure up a tall, thin, terrifying figure known as the Slender Man. When one of the friends goes missing two weeks later, the friends discover that the legend of the Slender Man may be more than just a legend.
The announcement of this film was met with excitement – based on a popular urban legend, Slender Man had the potential to be one of the must-see horror films of 2018. The trailer also teased that Slender Man was going to be a scarefest. So, when the only thing that turned out to be scary about Slender Man was how bad it was, it was all the more disappointing. Filled with tropes and forgettable characters, critics and audiences alike were unimpressed with Slender Man.
The film went on to earn $51.7 million and was considered a box office failure. The film also caused controversy upon its release after many called the film distasteful and said that it was popularising a tragedy. Safe to say, Slender Man will not be getting a sequel any time soon.
In a future Berlin, Leo who is unable to speak due to a childhood accident searches for his missing girlfriend. As he tries to seek the reason behind her disappearance, he finds himself getting mixed up with some of the city’s less than savoury characters.
Mute debuted on Netflix to much anticipation. It was described as the spiritual sequel to director Duncan Jones’ 2009 film Moon and so audiences hoped for another intelligent and engaging sci-fi film. However, Mute turned out to be a very self-indulgent piece of work from Jones.
Mute suffers from a number of issues. The characterisation is weak, the characters are awful, the script is blah, the production design varies from looking like it has a one hundred million budget to a one hundred thousand pound one, it’s too long, it has lots of subplots that don’t come together, it’s almost like two different films have been spliced together, the tones are a mishmash, the main character has absolutely no reason for being mute – it adds nothing to the film and just makes Alexander Skarsgard look like a bad actor (he’s not). And perhaps what audiences disliked most – it has a paedophilic subplot which is not only completely unnecessary but is handled very poorly.
6. Truth or Dare
Whilst on a group trip to Mexico, Olivia and her friends find themselves tempted into a seemingly harmless game of truth or dare with a mysterious stranger. However, it soon becomes clear that the game has unleashed something unnaturally evil – a demon which forces the friends to tell all their deep secrets and obey the rules of the game – tell the truth or die, complete the dare or die.
Truth or Dare had so much going for it. A film based on a game that everyone is familiar with and then given a horror twist – it will be great right? Wrong. Yes, this is pure teen horror and that can be forgiven but that doesn’t mean that teen horror can’t still be intelligent with engaging characters. And that is one of the major ways in which Truth or Dare fails. The characters are vacuous and annoying, and the performances are bland and generic.
The big evil is never really explained convincingly and whilst the digital manipulation of the characters’ faces to instil fear works well to a point, it soon becomes clear that this is the film’s only trump card for affecting scares for the audience. By the time the cop out ending plays, Truth or Dare feels like its all been a bit of a waste of time.
In spite of its less than favourable critical reception, Truth or Dare did well at the box office, grossing over $94 million against its budget of $3,5 million. This has given rumour to a possible sequel – you can decide if that is welcome news or not.