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!

The Gunman Review

The Gunman had so much potential. With a cast list that contains Sean Penn, Mark Rylance, Ray Winstone, Javier Bardem and Idris Elba and with the man behind the camera being Pierre Morrel, the director of Liam Neeson’s (possible) masterpiece Taken, it would seem that The Gunman has all that it needs to be a fantastic action flick. Think again.

The Gunman is about James Terrier (played by Penn), a mercenary working in the Congo, protecting aid workers when he gets an assignment to kill a senior politician. After a successful kill, Terrier is forced “into the wind” leaving behind the girl he loves, until he is attacked by a hit squad himself years later.

Just a quick question before the bulk of the review, what is it with the recent trend of “Dad Cinema”? The type of film that has a retired older gentleman beating seven shades out an assortment of bad guys, proving he’s “still got it”? I wouldn’t have known there is a market for this type of film, but somehow these films keep getting made. But while Neeson and Washington, two of the bigger names to come out of “Dad Cinema” actually dish out swift and brutal punishment, Sean Penn just can’t deliver. He definitely looks the part, as most of the film Penn is shirtless, showing off his stone-chiselled abs and pectorals, but the camera cuts away just before we see any impact from punches, leaving us with a comedy thwack sound effect. It was almost as bad as Quantum Of Solace, and any film that reminds me of Quantum Of Solace is doing something wrong.

Penn does however deliver his character with some much needed humanity to the role, looking genuinely like a man who is haunted by the demons of his past, culminating in some post concussive syndrome flashbacks. He’s a character whose altercations with foes leave him worse for wear; he’s not being able to just take punches and bullets like most of the other actors of “Dad Cinema”, which makes him a much more interesting character. Unfortunately Penn seems to be the only one who plays his role seriously, with all the other actors are floundering. Javier Bardem is especially off his game, acting like a third rate Bond villain, as well as Mark Rylance, who looks cartoonish in his actions next to Penn. Idris Elba is thankfully much more grounded, but his time on screen doesn’t add up to more than three minutes, leaving Penn once again to try and keep the film realistic. But even those PCS flashbacks that gave Penn some character soon turn into a gimmick, happening right at crucial moments in the film to ramp up the tension.

The film also fails in bringing us any visual flair or stunning scenery as its main selling point either. While the film may start in the Congo and move quickly to London, the main part of the film is spent in Barcelona and Gibraltar, but The Gunman decides to just devote it’s time to alleys and backstreets, not showing off the cities that it’s set in. Even the film’s finale, set in a bull ring and stadium, feels weak and empty. The only set that feels worthy is a stunning Spanish estate owned by Javier Bardem, but due to the action scene that then takes part in said estate, we hardly get to see any of it.

The problem with The Gunman is that it has no idea what type of thriller it wants to be. Without the aforementioned gritty violence it isn’t a pulpy action film, and even though it mentions ideas such as political corruption and morality they are soon dropped, meaning it doesn’t have enough weight to make it a cerebral thriller. It’s just bland, and that is one of the worst mistakes a film can make.

Score: 3/10 With a cast list so noteworthy, it’s a shame this film is so forgettable.