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 Visit Review

Note to the reader: I always try and leave out spoilers in my review, but you may guess M. Night Shyamalan’s signature dumb twist from my review (I guessed it ten minutes into the film and it’s a staple of his films so I’m not spoiling the fact that it’s in there). Therefore, reader discretion is advised.

M. Night Shyamalan was once one of the most promising new directors in Hollywood. His debut film, The Sixth Sense is still regarded as one of the best suspense thrillers of modern times. His later works however include such awful films such as Avatar: The Last Airbender, The Happening and After Earth. With a reputation so tarnished by big budgets, when I heard that Shyamalan was going back to a low-budget thriller I was actually thinking, “This could be a return to form”. Does The Visit mark the often maligned director’s transition back into the forefront of Hollywood?

The Visit stars Olivia DeJonge, Ed Oxenbould, Deanna Dunagan and Peter McRobbie and is directed by M. Night Shyamalan. The film follows siblings Becca (DeJonge) and Tyler (Oxenbould) as they go visit their elderly grandparents for a week for the first time.

The short answer to the question I asked at the end of the introduction is no. No, The Visit does not show us that Shyamalan is a good horror director. It doesn’t even show us that he is a competent director. The Visit shows a writer/director that has moved from an outside auteur with a new approach to storytelling to a man so high on his own hubris he cannot tell when his own creations are cinematic abominations. Nobody wants to hear that their work is bad, but someone needs to tell Shyamalan straight to his face that he is not destined to become a filmmaker, slowly take the camera off him and move him away from whatever film set he is on.

The film, like many horror films recently uses found footage to tell its story. The eldest sibling, Becca, is an aspiring film director, so at least the film has a coherent reason for looking the way it does, rather than the usual reason of “we have no money, so this is the best we can do.” This sadly falls apart pretty soon, as there are some scenes when all characters are in frame, but the camera is still following them, showing that Shyamalan couldn’t even stick to a single style of filmmaking, instead just deciding to make the camera a floating deity in the middle of the scene.

As well as directing, M. Night Shyamalan also has a writing credit on the film. And just like his ability to direct a film, the writing falls flat at every turn. The Visit is filled with several “jokes” that would make even the most easily amused man in the world groan at the sheer idiocy on display. Along with the tired jokes are several pop culture references which even now are starting to feel a bit dated, such as a protracted dig by the younger brother Tyler at One Direction. Tyler is also a wannabe-rapper, who at several moments in the film turns to camera and starts to rap. It’s incredibly cringe-worthy to watch, and feels like Shyamalan thought “Rap music is what the children love these days, let’s put it in!” The young actor even raps over the end credits, in a bid to beat Mickey Rourke’s rap at the end of Rogue Warrior as the most out-of-place rap in the history of the world.

The worst writing in the film though is how the two elderly characters are written. Remember the film Ruth and Alex that came out a few months ago? (It’s alright if you didn’t, it wasn’t that good). That film’s central idea was “Screw young people”. The Visit has the opposite idea, and views elderly people as horrible. Small common quirks of senior citizens, as well as how they try and keep their dignity while trying to live without assistance is exploited in the film to no end, including a supposed big dramatic scene involving a used adult diaper. The beginning of the film, both the elderly characters are lovely and friendly, but the film changes tone so quickly that the final reveal of the secret about the house and its inhabitants has no build up.

The majority of the apparent scares in the film come from the odd behaviour of the grandparents, which makes the film seem a little bit ageist for the sake of scares. The rest of the scares are of the loud bang variety, which become tiresome and annoying after the first one since you can see them coming from a mile off. During these moments I would put a hand in front of my eyes and look at the floor, not through a sense of the film being scary, but because I didn’t want to be agitated by the film drawing out a sense of danger.

I hate being startled, it don’t seek it out for entertainment. Some readers might be thinking, “But that’s what you get from a horror film,” but that’s not true. Films like When A Stranger Calls, Psycho or The House At The End Of Time, they know how to create a sense of fear equal or greater to The Visit but they don’t signpost it, making the scares better. Even when these three films do jumps scares, they are complemented by another type of horror, be it a sense of isolation (When A Stranger Calls) or an upending of movie tropes (Psycho). These films know how to scare right, The Visit just tries to startle you when it can.

In summary, you should not watch The Visit. I would maybe only recommend it if you’re an aspiring film director and you wanted a great example of an absolute mess of a film, but that is a very big MAYBE.

Score: 1/10 A very good contender for worst of the year.