Top 10 Worst Films of 2015

Another year gone and sadly, it was really easy to pick the Top 10 worst films for 2015. I guess when you know you’ve seen a really good film; you also know when you’ve seen an absolute stinker. And these are my worst of the worst.

Just like my Best-Of list, only films I’ve reviewed will be eligible for the list, so no Taken 3 on this list (even though I actually enjoyed it enough that it would not even appear on the list even if I had done a review of it). But let’s get on with it. This is going to be therapeutic for me. First though, some honorable, or in this case dishonorable mentions;

A Royal Night Out

Ruth And Alex

Spooks: The Greater Good.

Okay then. Let’s get started!


The first review that I really gave a negative mark to, it’s The Gunman. I went back and watched The Gunman again just to see if it was as bad as I remembered and sadly it was. With a cast list of Sean Penn, Rat Winstone, Mark Rylance and Idris Elba, it’s sad that The Gunman was such a poor film.


I didn’t want to watch this film. Every other reviewer and their mother had already said their piece on Pixels and with all the negative press around it, I wasn’t feeling too thrilled to actually spend money on it. But in the name of journalistic integrity I went, and I was thoroughly bored. I didn’t have the same reaction as everyone else (that of wanting to spit venom at the screen) but it wasn’t a good movie by any stretch of the mind.


Keanu Reeves is one of those actors who has a tendency for choosing really odd roles. I mean, look at his filmography, The Matrix, Point Break, Man Of Tai Chi, it’s an eclectic mix. So when he teamed up with Eli Roth for B-Movie horror film Knock Knock, it was an interesting proposition. Sadly, all the good will in the world wouldn’t have been able save this utter flop, with some of the worst acting in the world and script that seems to have been written by a 12-year old who’s just learnt what sex is.


Novel-to-film adaptations have been a staple of Hollywood since the dawn of the medium. I had managed to read a small amount of Child 44 before I had seen the film and I was disappointed that director Daniel Espinosa had managed to turn a thoroughly riveting book into a snooze-fest. Tom Hardy is totally off his game as wooden officer Leo Demidov, with only Gary Oldman being the shining light in a cast of duds. You might find enjoyment if you’re a fan of the book, but I wouldn’t hold your breath.


Vin Diesel is one of those actors that manages to get pet-projects pushed through the machine of Hollywood. He did so with Riddick back in 2013, and did so with The Last Witch Hunter, which is my number six. A Dungeons And Dragons style fantasy film set in modern day New York, it doesn’t do anything interesting or new with what is a pretty good set-up. A note to screen-writers, immortal characters aren’t exciting, the fact that they can’t be beaten is boring.


If a comedy film isn’t up to scratch, then it quickly becomes a tragedy. Spy is one of those types of films. Many of the best jokes were given away in the trailer, and the ones that weren’t were stolen from director Paul Feig’s earlier films with Melissa McCarthy, with most revolving around “Ha-ha she’s fat and that’s funny”. Add Peter Serafinowicz as a borderline-rapist character (which again, we are meant to find funny) and Spy becomes a toe-curlingly, cringe worthy film.


I wanted to love this film so much. One of my favourite game series that had already being messed around with back in 2007, Hitman: Agent 47 is the film I’m most disappointed in this year. Awful characterisation, horrible action and the bare minimum of relation to the source material, all of it can be traced back to screen-writer/hack Skip Woods. The only good thing about Hitman: Agent 47 is the endless sweeping shots of Singapore.


This one is a surprise. A film that has been garnering top marks from all of the prominent critics and has been hailed by some as the best film of the year. For me though, Carol is one of the most boring and over-hyped films of recent memory. A film about an adulterous lesbian relationship in the 1950s, Carol tries to be this year’s Blue Is The Warmest Colour but just doesn’t have anything of merit to make it worthy of a place on a Top 10 list. Stay away, this film doesn’t deserve your attention.


M. Night Shyamalan. I could literally stop my review of The Visit there and it would be a sound enough argument for it to be number two on the worst of the year list. But I’ll keep going. Found Footage. Jump Scare Horror (that doesn’t even work half the time). Continuity Errors. Ageism. A stupid little teenager rapping throughout the film and over the end credits. That’s it, I don’t want to think about The Visit anymore.


This isn’t a film you’ve probably heard of. As I said in my Best-Of list, I’ve had to watch a lot of films that I would have normally seen since doing this. Some have been absolute gems, but this is one of the most appalling films I have ever seen, not just 2015. Phantom is not just a bad film, it’s a film that hates its audience and doesn’t give a crap who knows it. Billed as a Zero Dark Thirty set in India, Phantom tries to be an action film and ends up coming off as Team America but lacking all self-awareness and humour that Team America had. Please, do not seek this film out, just read the review and leave it at that. I don’t want to give this film traffic.

That’s it for 2015! I’m Tom, The Student Film Critic and I’ll see you in 2016!

Read the contrasting post on the Top 10 Best Films of 2015!

Knock Knock Review

When I first heard about Knock Knock, I was pretty excited. One of my favourite actors ever, Keanu Reeves, teaming up with renowned horror film director Eli Roth to create a low budget home invasion horror film, what could go wrong?

Knock Knock stars Keanu Reeves, Lorenza Izzo and Ana De Armas and is directed by Eli Roth. When his wife and children leave on holiday for the weekend, Evan (Reeves) is terrorised by a pair of femme fatales, Genesis and Bel (Izzo and De Armas respectively) after he let’s them into his house.

With Eli Roth as the director, I was hoping for some over-the-top violence and skin-crawling moments of savagery. His best-known films are the two horror masterpieces Cabin Fever and Hostel, with the latter one of the films that was considered in coining the phrase “torture porn”. While Knock Knock has an 18 certificate, Eli Roth doesn’t bring any of his trademark violence to the film. There are only really two moments of “violence” in the film and neither one is that visceral. One is making Reeves listen to a high-pitched feedback loop, which doesn’t really work since the sound effect that we get in the cinema isn’t anywhere near high enough.

The 18 certificate according to the BBFC is for “sustained and sadistic threat, sex, sex references and nudity.” The sadistic threat is what provides the bulk of the film, and is actually done pretty well. There were moments where my stomach churned as Izzo and De Armas explain to Reeves what sadistic torture method they are going to do to him, their sultry accents somehow making it seem even more despicable. The sex, nudity and references however seem pretty childish and awkward in their execution. The dialogue about sex feels like a 12 year old trying to write how he thinks adults talk, and the sex scenes look pretty cheesy with clichéd imagery such as hands grasping at bed sheets and lingering symbolic imagery of the rain pouring down outside.

The story would have been a interesting take on the home invasion genre, if it wasn’t just copied straight from the 1977 exploitation film Death Game. I won’t go too much into the story as I have the policy of no spoilers, but just to say that the way the whole plot is put in motion will leave you with no characters to root for. Despite Reeves’ insistence that he is a “good person” you know that he is anything but, leaving us as the audience cold since we have no one to project onto. The story however does allow for some subtle exploration into the themes of rape, consent as well as some subverting of gender tropes and an end scene about trial by social media, but all of it is just fluff and isn’t really explored apart from a few lines of throwaway dialogue and imagery.

The acting by all is bad, and I mean REALLY bad. While Izzo and De Armas play their roles of Genesis and Bel with more than a healthy dose of unhinged madness, it falls into pantomime fairly early on. Keanu Reeves meanwhile is overacting to the highest degree. Maybe I’m asking for more than a schlocky B movie can provide, but there were many times that I was laughing silently in the cinema because of Reeves’ acting. It’s mostly due to his overacting, enough to challenge Nicolas Cage in The Wicker Man, that the film falls flat at any of the home invasion horror that Eli Roth wanted to film.

By the end I was thoroughly appalled and amazed at how bad everything was, but was then stunned by the emergence of the song Where Is My Mind by The Pixies, the exact same song that is at the end of the excellent Fight Club. At that point I just couldn’t contain it any longer and began laughing my head off while the credits rolled.

The only real merit I can give Knock Knock is including the very talented Francisca Valenzuela in the soundtrack of the film, as Reeves plays the two girls one of her songs. Much how the excellent John Wick (which oddly enough also stars Keanu Reeves) introduced me to the female duo KALEIDA, Knock Knock introduced me to the work of Valenzuela, and for that I thank the film for bringing a brilliant musician to the forefront.

In conclusion, Knock Knock is just another throwaway horror film that fails to produce anything that is actually scary. It had the potential to become a cult classic, but weak acting and a daft and disappointing ending spoil what could have been a B Movie guilty pleasure.

Score: 3/10 Nothing of merit to recommend it.