There are bad movies and then there are really bad movies. In the olden days, we didn’t have a way to measure what were the most critically panned. But now, thanks to the magic of Rotten Tomatoes, it’s easy to find out which movies the critics agree stink. So now, I pleased to present to you a list of what are considered by the aggregated critics of Rotten Tomatoes to be the 20 worst Sci-fi and fantasy movies in the last 10 years. The way this list works is I included the two worst reviewed movies of each year. I chose to leave out horror movies and parodies, regardless of whether they had fantasy elements, because the list skewed too heavily towards those otherwise. So sit back, buckle up, and learn about fantasy you should definitely steer clear of.
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)
Michael Bay’s Transformers sequel (adapted from the beloved “robots in disguise” toyline and cartoon) was panned by critics as an incoherent and meaningless mess of explosions and overhyped special effects. It also infamously featured jive talking robots that were basically racist stereotypes. However, enough people like meaningless explosions that it managed to make quite a profit, and is also the highest rated “bad movie” on this page at 19%, so Michael Bay won’t be losing any sleep over it.
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2012)
Brian Taylor and Mark Neveldine’s Ghost Rider sequel fell flat at 17%, despite having the wacky premise of our flaming skeleton hero teaming up with rebel monks to save a boy from Satan. Critics bemoaned its thin characterization and unfunny one-liners like “so, that happened”.
The Watch (2012)
Akiva Schaffer’s The Watch is a Sci-fi comedy that really crashed and burned. It was a tale of four dudebros saving the world from an alien invasion, but critics seemed to think the movie was nothing but an endless string of unfunny penis jokes with occasional moments of gross-out violence. It’s rated at 17%.
Dragonball Evolution (2009)
James Wong’s Dragonball Evolution, an adaptation of the famous action adventure manga starring an alien named Goku raised on Earth, disappointed both fans of the source material and casual viewers. It took wild, adventuring main character and made him a moody American teen in a high school setting, dragging us into boring cliché territory very quickly. Terrible comedy and bad CGI also drag the film down to 14%.
Seventh Son (2015)
Sergei Bodrov’s tale of a knight fighting an evil witch was very poorly received with a 13% rating. Audiences called the movie predictable and derivative. The worst part was that many complained they could not even hear or understand the dialogue clearly.
Jonah Hex (2010)
Jimmy Hayward’s Jonah Hex, based around DC Comics’ disfigured bounty hunter from the Wild West, was panned by critics as an utterly confusing mess, free of character development and basically a cut-and-paste ineptly smashing sci-fi and western together. Also, the southern accents are reportedly pretty bad. The film got a 12%.
Alien vs Predator: Requiem (2007)
The Strause Brothers' Alien vs. Predator: Requiem (AVP 2) was as schlocky and B Movie-ish as its title makes it sound. The sequel was panned for not having any new ideas the first Alien vs Predator didn’t cover and was also criticized for bad editing and lighting. Despite being very gory, the film was labeled boring and rated 12%.
After Earth (2013)
It’s probably no surprise at this point that an M. Night Shyamalan movie didn’t do well (why do they keep giving him chances?). After Earth, the story of a boy who must struggle to find help for his injured father on an earth that’s been abandoned by humanity for 1000 years, earned an 11%. Will Smith called it “the most painful failure” of his career. Critics said the film had a threadbare, illogical plot (it was basically just Jaden Smith fumbling about and trying not get eaten) and very little tension.
Blood & Chocolate (2007)
Katja von Garnier directs Blood & Chocolate, the story of a teenage werewolf girl who falls in love with a human boy. Critics praised the gothic backdrop of the city, but had little else positive to say about the film. The special effects were mocked as cheap and the romance was labeled tedious. The lighting was apparently too dark too. The writing was also accused of being derivative of Romeo & Juliet. Altogether, the movie earned and 11%.
Season of the Witch (2011)
Dominic Sena and Peter Goddard’s Season of the Witch is yet another Nicolas Cage bomb at 10%. It tells the story of a Crusader trying to transport an accused witch to a monastery. One reviewer made fun of the by-the-numbers plot and laughably anachronistic period setting by calling it "Monty Python and the Holy Grail without the jokes”.
Fantastic Four (2015)
Director Joshua Trank’s 2015 Fantastic Four movie got an abysmal 9% at Rotten Tomatoes. The movie was an attempt to translate the famous Marvel superhero team onscreen, but the majority of viewers agreed it was dour, listless and just not fun. The lowest point for many? The reveal that the beloved catchphrase of The Thing, “it’s clobberin' time” was something his abusive brother said while beating him. Because that makes sense.
The Host (2013)
Based on Stephenie Meyer’s novel, Andrew Niccol’s The Host failed to impress, earning an 8%. The movie focuses on the aftermath of an Invasion of the Body Snatchers-type plot where aliens have taken over humanity by possessing their bodies. Critics agree that despite being a romance, there was an utter lack of passion in the story. It was also mired with the clichés you’d expect from Meyer, like tedious love triangles and endless internal monologues.
Babylon A.D. (2008)
Mathieu Kassovitz’s Babylon A.D. follows a mercenary in dystopian future. But the film’s reception was just as dismal as the world it was set in, and it earned a 6%. Critics had a lot to say about the movie, accusing the actors of speaking “as if they learned their lines phonetically” and the film seemed to have so many things cut it was left hollow and disjointed. Even the director wasn’t happy with it.
The Last Airbender (2010)
The infamous M. Night Shyamalan adaptation of the beloved cartoon about a world where people have elemental powers earned ire from early on in production for whitewashing the characters, but the scorn only multiplied at the final product. The movie featured horribly wooden acting, characters drained of all their charm, unintentionally hilarious nonsensical fight scenes and lines like “We have to show them that we believe in our beliefs”. It earned a 6%.
In The Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2008)
Uwe Boll’s story of a simple man named Farmer (really) and his quest to rescue his wife and his king was as standard as it sounds. It was based on the Dungeon Siege video game series, but many critics accused it of being a Lord of the Rings rip-off and also ripped on the CGI, dialogue, set and action scenes. It got a cringe-worthy 4%.
I, Frankenstein (2014)
Stuart Beattie’s I, Frankenstein shows good ol’ Frankenstein’s monster in a dystopian future dealing with gargoyles and demons. A campy premise is ruined by the film taking itself way too seriously, audiences say. This is what earned it a 3% rating.
Uwe Boll’s Bloodrayne, based off the hack and slash video game of the same name, lived up to its title in terms of campiness. However, the tale of a vampire girl name Rayne searching for her vampire dad wasn’t enjoyably campy, as critics slammed it for its poorly edited action sequences, cheap set and plodding pace. The consensus for Bloodrayne was deathly at 3%.
Passion Play (2011)
Mitch Glazer’s Passion Play, a tale of a washed-up jazz musician rescuing an angel from a gangster, was blasted as pretentious and soddenly sentimental, earning it 3%. Audiences reportedly laughed a lot at the film, despite it not being a comedy.
Peter Hewitt’s Zoom was failed attempt at a family superhero flick in the vein of The Incredibles, focusing on a retired superhero Jack tracking a bunch of kids how to be superheroes. It’s aggressively cliché with protagonist fighting his evil twin, but too listless to be a campy comedy.
The movie earned 3% and a New York Times reviewer noted the only thing that stands out about the movie was its oblivious racist undertones- when auditioning for the superhero academy there were four white kids and four people of color. By an amazing coincidence, the four people of color were rejected and the white kids were accepted, sending a heartwarming message to children everywhere.
Left Behind (2014)
Vic Armstrong’s Left Behind (based on the book series and fronted by Nicolas Cage) has a stunning 2% rating and audiences seem to agree, regardless of their religion, that it’s the worst kind of propaganda film- the dull and infuriating kind. The movie shows the aftermath of the Rapture and deals with those horrible souls who were left behind (for reasons like being a really nice Muslim, or not believing hard enough despite being a pious priest). The movie has no real plot aside from “Shame on these people for not being Christian enough!”