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The Worst Movies Of 2021

We knew when the coronavirus pandemic brought Hollywood to a grinding halt in 2020 that the following year was going to be a pretty unusual one in terms of movie releases. With social restrictions still in place across the United States and around the world, studios were forced to rethink their strategies as 2021 drew near, with many opting to send tentpole pictures that were made for the big screen directly to streaming platforms instead.

Warner Bros. led the charge when it announced that all of its 2021 movies would get a limited theatrical run alongside a digital release on HBO Max. Then, to one degree or another, studios like Disney and Paramount followed suit. With this new way of doing business, most film fans predicted that there would be a period of adjustment as the studios attempted to make sense of Tinseltown's drastically altered landscape. But what we didn't see coming was the deluge of bad movies they had lined up for us. 

Updated on December 30, 2021: Horrible movies are released all the time, and we've updated this list to keep you posted on which flops are the worst of the worst. From long-awaited blockbusters that were met with widespread disappointment to hastily shot pandemic pictures that should've never seen the light of day, these are the worst movies of 2021.


A decade after his film "Another Earth" became the talk of Sundance, writer-director Mike Cahill added another reality-bending sci-fi romance to his resume. Released in February 2021, Amazon's "Bliss" stars Owen Wilson as a man who suffers a breakdown when his marriage and job implode in quick succession. Greg then gets sucked into a world of powerful hallucinogens after falling in with a homeless woman named Isabel (Salma Hayek), who almost convinces him that the place they're escaping to — a place where she's a genius scientist running a simulation and the world's problems have largely been solved — is the one true reality. Those with the required patience will eventually discover that Greg has actually become a homeless addict, or so it seems.

"Bliss" was made available to stream at a time when audiences desperately needed an escape from reality, but the film only succeeds in dumbfounding viewers. "Even the worst simulation would have more clarity than this," said IndieWire in its review, and Chicago's Daily Herald agreed, blaming the "convoluted, minutia-obsessed 'Matrix'-Lite screenplay." Cahill's biggest error is spending way too much time explaining the mechanics of his universe, though exposition overload is far from the only issue here. The truth is, co-stars Owen Wilson and Salma Hayek lack the onscreen spark that "Bliss" sorely needs. Neither seems totally committed, and it becomes increasingly harder to root for them when the only thing that appears genuine is Wilson's look of bewilderment.

Locked Down

A handful of movies have been created and set within the coronavirus pandemic, but for every "Host" (a Zoom-set thrill ride that was among the best horror films of 2020), there's a total disaster like "Locked Down." Part heist caper, part romantic drama, the film follows Linda and Paxton (Anne Hathaway and Chiwetel Ejiofor), a struggling couple whose planned separation has to be put on hold due to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions in London. Holed up together, they decide to plan an audacious jewelry heist that will make them millionaires. Using Paxton's delivery driver job and Linda's access to the Harrods vaults, they'll steal a diamond worth over $4 million and — after giving half the proceeds to the National Health Service — go their separate ways.

Of course, things don't pan out that way — the heist just brings them closer together. Writer Steven Knight ("The Girl in the Spider's Web") and director Doug Liman ("Edge of Tomorrow") imply that Paxton and Linda are going to use the rest of lockdown to fall in love all over again, but unless you're a superfan of either Hathaway or Ejiofor, there's very little to admire here. Both leads put in an admirable effort, but "Locked Down" is too concerned with winks and nods to lockdown life, often ignoring the whole heist plot for long stretches of time. "The entire film, in short, is an abominable mistake," said The Times, and we can't help but agree.

Chaos Walking

The second Doug Liman movie released in as many months during the early part of 2021,the long-awaited adaptation "Chaos Walking" (based on the first book in the YA novel series of the same name) was another bust for the talented director. The property was lauded as the "next 'Twilight'" by Reuters when it revealed that Lionsgate had acquired the movie rights way back in 2011. Liman boarded the project in 2016, and by the end of the year, both Daisy Ridley and Tom Holland had signed on to star. Filming went ahead, but early reactions to the movie were so bad (execs at Lionsgate reportedly called it "unreleasable" after seeing the first cut) that major reshoots were ordered.

Unfortunately, Daisy Ridley and Tom Holland were too busy becoming huge names via the "Star Wars" and Marvel movies. The brief obsession with dystopian YA films had long since passed by the time "Chaos Walking" made it to the big screen in March 2021, but even if this intended franchise starter had been released alongside the likes of "The Hunger Games" and "The Maze Runner," it would have struggled. The British co-stars "have all the rapport of two tree trunks," as London's Daily Telegraph put it, while The Guardian quipped that "Chaos Lumbering" would've been a more suitable title. Nobody really expected "Chaos Walking" to be a game-changer after it spent so long in development hell, but it still managed to disappoint.

Breaking News in Yuba County

On paper, "Breaking News in Yuba County" was a surefire hit, but this black comedy about a suburban housewife who strings the news media along with a lie about her cheating husband missed its mark by a considerable distance. With Oscar winner Allison Janney leading the line and a supporting cast that includes Awkwafina, Mila Kunis, Regina Hall, Wanda Sykes, and Juliette Lewis, director Tate Taylor ("The Help") had a chance to do something special. But sadly, "Breaking News in Yuba County" comes off as a derivative version of the films it aspires to rub shoulders with. Unfavorable comparisons to Coen brothers classic "Fargo" were popular among the critics, unlike the film itself, which was panned hard when it was released digitally and in theaters in February 2021.

Besides wasting a talented cast, the biggest sin of "Breaking News in Yuba County" is overindulging in gratuitous violence. "The bursts of brutality, explicit and suggested, land somewhere on a spectrum between Tarantino and 'Looney Tunes,' and not in a good way," said The Hollywood Reporter. Meanwhile, in a no-holds barred review, The New York Times questioned how a filmmaker like Taylor "came to direct this amoral, repellent bag of sick, a movie whose biggest ambition in life is to start a bidding war at a late 1990s Sundance Film Festival and then bomb at the box office." Writer Amanda Idoko ("The Goldbergs") clearly had something to say about tabloid culture, but her message gets bungled badly.

Cosmic Sin

A sci-fi misfire that lives up to its name, "Cosmic Sin" stars a lethargic Bruce Willis as a disgraced general who comes out of retirement to fight a hostile extraterrestrial race. The action takes place in a far-off future (the year 2524, to be exact) where humankind has long since colonized planets outside our solar system. War seems inevitable when one such planet is attacked by a hitherto undiscovered civilization, and the odds are, of course, stacked against humanity. Knowing it's their only shot, Willis and Frank Grillo of "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" lead a preemptive strike on the alien army's home planet.

The film continued a dreadful run of form for Willis, who came under heavy fire in the reviews. "To suggest that Bruce Willis is phoning in his performance in 'Cosmic Sin' would be an insult to telephone communication, which can be an effective means of conveying important information and genuine emotion," wrote Christy Lemire, while the Los Angeles Times noted that the faded action star was "somehow more lackluster than usual." Could a different, more interested lead have saved this film? In short, no. The criticism leveled at Willis was indeed valid, but co-writers Edward Drake (who also directed) and Corey Large are equally guilty — they neglected to flesh-out the supporting characters and lifted a little too liberally from the likes of "Battlestar Galactica." It even fails as a straight-up action film, with choppy editing and uninspired battle sequences.

Tom and Jerry

The relative success of 2019's "Detective Pikachu" and 2020's "Sonic the Hedgehog" proved that there's an appetite for light-hearted live-action/CGI crossovers right now, but 2021's "Tom and Jerry" failed to strike the same chord. While it was just about passable as a mindless kids movie, unlike the aforementioned film,  it gave teens and childless adults no real reason to stick around until the credits. History's most famous cat and mouse duo get up to all the usual hijinks as they collide in New York City, and the animation (delivered entirely by London-based VFX house Framestore) looks fantastic, but the plot is paper thin, and the film's talented actors struggle to get anything from it.

The story unfolds in an upscale Manhattan hotel where Jerry has taken up residence. When his presence puts a planned wedding reception at risk, new employee Kayla Forester (Chloë Grace Moretz) suggests hiring Tom to help capture him, which the boss, of course, thinks is a great idea. They fight, ruin the wedding, and then make up to save it in predictable fashion, all to the backdrop of a jarring hip-hop soundtrack. "The film opens on three rapping pigeons who perform A Tribe Called Quest's "Can I Kick It?" in its entirety, and somehow goes downhill from there," The Telegraph said in its one-star review. Michael Peña, Colin Jost, Rob Delaney, and Ken Jeong all feature in supporting roles, but none of them can save this misfire.


Released in April 2021, action thriller "Vanquish" has plenty of style, though no amount of neon-hued shootouts can cover for the complete lack of substance here. Ruby Rose stars as single mother Victoria, a former drug mule who managed to turn her life around. She got a job as a caretaker for Damon Hickey (Morgan Freeman), a retired hero cop who lives a secret double life as a crime lord. Victoria discovers this too late, as Hickey kidnaps her daughter and demands that she collect some debts for him.

"Vanquish" is essentially a handful of forgettable gunfights, each followed by an equally dull chase sequence. Victoria has to pick up cash at five different locations, and the same thing happens every time. She meets resistance, resorts to force, and then takes off on her motorcycle to deal with the next corny gangster on her list. Ruby Rose does her best to make us care about what she's doing, but the sheer lack of character development makes that a big ask of audiences, who hated the film almost as much as the critics did (a 13% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes vs. a 5% critics' score).

This was the third time that writer-director George Gallo had worked with Freeman in as many years, yet he still hasn't figured out how to write for him. Gallo "burdens Morgan Freeman with stupid lines" said Richard Roeper (via the Chicago Sun-Times), while Peter Travers (via ABC) called Freeman's participation in the project "a form of actor abuse."

The Woman in the Window

After numerous setbacks, Joe Wright (the Golden Globe-nominated director of "Atonement" and "Darkest Hour") finally got to see the release of his psychological thriller "The Woman in the Window" in 2021. The Amy Adams vehicle was originally supposed to drop in theaters in 2019, but the date was moved to 2020 when test audiences were left baffled by the complex plot. Disney (which acquired the film during the Fox takeover) pushed the release back once again when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and eventually sold the film to Netflix, where it debuted to less than enthusiastic reviews.

Adams stars as agoraphobic psychologist Dr. Anna Fox, who lives alone in her New York townhouse following her divorce. She passes the time by drinking, popping pills, and spying on her neighbors, which leads to her witnessing a murder one night. At least, she thinks she witnessed a murder. "The Woman in the Window" quickly establishes Fox as an unreliable narrator, and while that worked in A.J. Finn's hit novel of the same name, it hampered the movie adaptation, eliminating a certain element of mystery too early. What follows is a poor Alfred Hitchcock imitation that's not engaging enough to warrant the required mental energy (despite the extensive reshoots, the film remains a muddled mess).

While Adams is as committed as ever, poor pacing from Wright coupled with a clunky script from Tracy Letts makes "The Woman in the Window" a real chore.


Paramount+ film "Infinite" lives up to its name in that it feels like it's never going to end. Mark Wahlberg stars as Evan McCauley, a man suffering with what he mistakenly believes to be hallucinations. He was diagnosed with schizophrenia as a teen and has been attempting to come to terms with his visions ever since. But everything he thinks he knows about himself is thrown into doubt when a secret group of so-called Infinites seek him out and reveal that he's actually one of them. The Infinites explain that his hallucinations aren't really hallucinations at all — instead, they're memories from countless past lives.

Explaining away a debilitating mental illness as some kind of sci-fi deja vu isn't a good look for any film, and that's far from the only issue here. "Training Day" director Antoine Fuqua does his best to make the film flow, but he's working with a muddled, "Matrix"-lite script that's more interested in world-building than character development. The presence of the miscast Mark Wahlberg certainly doesn't help matters. In fact, he makes them decidedly worse.

"Infinite" was hammered by critics when it dropped on Paramount's streaming service in June 2021, and the leading man was in the firing line. Wahlberg delivers a "doltish performance" said The Observer, while Polygon argued that Marky Mark and sci-fi simply don't mix, asking, "Did we learn nothing from Tim Burton's 'Planet of the Apes' or M. Night Shyamalan's 'The Happening?'"

The Unholy

With films like Ken Russell's "The Devils," William Friedkin's "The Exorcist," and Richard Donner's "The Omen," the 1970s was indeed a golden age for religious horror movies. There's been a few standout additions to the subgenre since, but most contemporary faith-based horrors fail to capture the dark magic of the aforementioned classics, and 2021's "The Unholy" is a prime example. It's the story of a hearing-impaired girl named Alice (Cricket Brown), who gets visited by the Virgin Mary. Not only can she hear again following the visitation, she has the ability to heal the sick too. What could possibly go wrong?

In steps disgraced reporter Gerry Fenn (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), who smells a rat. What he actually smells is a witch — turns out poor Alice wasn't visited by the Virgin Mary but the spirit of a woman who was hanged and burned during a Massachusetts witchcraft trial. Before she perished, she bound her life force to a doll, which somehow remained undamaged for over a 100 years until it's crushed by Morgan's down-and-out journalist in modern day Boston. It's Gerry who releases the witch that possesses Alice under the guise of the Virgin Mary, so, naturally, it's up to him to save her.

Morgan and Brown do their utmost to elevate a trope-laden script, but the by-the-numbers plot, predictable jump scares, and substandard special effects make "The Unholy" a pretty unenjoyable experience. The majority of critics had nothing but bad things to say about this Sam Raimi-produced misfire.

The House Next Door: Meet the Blacks 2

Critics didn't warm to 2016's "Meet the Blacks," a Mike Epps-led parody of "The Purge," but the majority of viewers found the wacky spoof had enough laughs to keep them engaged until the end. The same cannot be said of "The House Next Door: Meet the Blacks 2," which was unanimously panned in 2021. In this unexpected and totally unnecessary sequel, the titular family moves to Atlanta and takes up residence in Carl Black's (Epps) childhood home. When they arrive, they learn that there's a pimp named Dr. Mamuwalde (Katt Williams) living next door, and his profession is just the tip of the iceberg — Carl suspects that he's also a vampire.

Deon Taylor's film makes out like it's going to say something about race relations in America with the introduction of Mamuwalde, which happens to be the name of the Nigerian vampire from early '70s Blaxploitation classic "Blacula." A post-pandemic set reboot of "Blacula" is currently in the pipeline, and Taylor has been hired to helm it. We can only assume that he's holding back the good stuff for that project because the writer-director relies almost entirely on flagrant vulgarity and played-out horror movie cliches in "The House Next Door: Meet the Blacks 2."

It isn't remotely scary, the visual effects are jarringly poor, and crucially, it's almost entirely devoid of laughs. If it's a horror-comedy about vampires you're looking for, we recommend watching "What We Do in the Shadows" instead.

Space Jam: A New Legacy

The original "Space Jam" didn't exactly blow the critics away when it hit cineplexes in 1996, but thanks largely to a memorable supporting turn from Bill Murray, it went on to become a cult favorite among millennials. There's no Bill Murray in the 2021 sequel "Space Jam: A New Legacy," and in place of Michael Jordan, LeBron James leads the line. Like his predecessor, James portrays himself in the film, in which he has to rescue a fictionalized version of his son from a villainous artificial intelligence played by Don Cheadle. You might be wondering how such a premise ever got past Warner Bros. execs until you see the film and realize that it's 115 minutes of the studio aimlessly mashing its IPs together.

After his boy is somehow sucked into the Warner Bros. servers, King James must act. He follows him into a virtual reality world created by Cheadle's character (an advanced A.I. software gone sentient), who promptly sends James to Tune World and orders him to create a basketball team made up of its inhabitants. When he arrives, however, they're all missing — all except for Bugs Bunny. James and WB's iconic carrot-chomping rabbit set out to locate the other toons, venturing into worlds inspired by "Games of Thrones," "The Matrix," "Mad Max" and various other Warner Bros. titles. Both James and Cheadle do their utmost to elevate this glorified commercial for WB properties, but it's beyond them both.

Midnight in the Switchgrass

Based on the real-life crimes of the Truck Stop Killer, cliche-ridden thriller "Midnight in the Switchgrass" follows two FBI agents played by Bruce Willis and Meghan Fox. Karl Helter and his partner Rebecca Lombardi become aware of a serial killer at work after their investigation into a sex trafficking ring takes them deep into Florida's underworld. When Lombardi is kidnapped by the man they're hunting, Helter teams up with Florida Department of Law Enforcement agent Byron Crawford (Emile Hirsch) to get her back and catch the killer.

Despite featuring prominently in the promotional material, Bruce Willis appears in precious few scenes, as is the norm with his films nowadays. Modern Willis movies also tend to get a real hammering from the critics, and "Midnight in the Switchgrass" is no exception. "The atmosphere is thoroughly sleazy without being distinctive, and everything about the movie — the emotionless line readings, the half-baked backstories — exudes a terse functionality," said The New York Times. When the dust had settled, this thoroughly lazy thriller was left with a damning score of just 9% on Rotten Tomatoes.

The only people who might gain something from "Midnight in the Switchgrass" are fans of Megan Fox and Machine Gun Kelly. Their relationship began on the set of the movie, but they're apparently under no illusions about its quality. The couple pulled out of the premiere, and Kelly (real name Colson Baker) appeared to call the film "trash" in a tweet days later, per Us Weekly.

Naked Singularity

By all rights, "Naked Singularity" should've been one of the best movies of 2021. Produced by Ridley Scott and featuring the likes of "IT" star Bill Skarsgård, "Bates Motel" alum Olivia Cooke, and "Star Wars" sequel trilogy lead John Boyega, this unconventional comedy-drama had all the makings of a modern classic. Boyega stars as Casi, a New York City public defender going through a moral crisis. After learning that a client is involved in a $50 million drug deal, Casi decides to steal the money from right under their nose.

He does this with the help of former client Lea (Cook) and an underhanded lawyer named Dane (Skarsgård), both of whom help him come to the realization that stealing from bad people doesn't necessarily make you a bad person yourself. Their advice (coupled with the fact that his pothead neighbor Angus, played by Tim Blake Nelson, has warned him that the universe is going to be sucked into a black hole at any moment) gets Casi on board, but things get complicated when members of a Mexican cartel arrive in the city.

There are plenty of good ideas here, but sloppy execution lets "Naked Singularity" down. Threads that were fully fleshed out in Sergio De La Pava's novel, "A Naked Singularity," go nowhere, and writer-director Chase Palmer doesn't seem to know what genre his adaptation belongs to. As The New York Times puts it, this highly disappointing film "welds legal drama and science fiction into a misshapen crime caper." 


When a film has a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes a month on from its release, it's safe to say it's not going to be remembered as a classic. And "Habit," the debut feature from writer-director Janell Shirtcliff, probably won't be remembered by anyone but diehard fans of Bella Thorne. The former Disney Channel actor stars as a Los Angeles socialite who pays the bills by selling drugs for a washed-up Hollywood star (Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale). When a drug deal goes sour and some cash is stolen, Mads (Thorne) and her hard-partying pals go on the run. Dressed as nuns. For some reason.

It seems as though Shirtcliff woke up one day and thought to herself, "I bet a bunch of L.A. girls beating the hell out of a guy while dressed as nuns would look cool on camera," and proceeded to build an entire movie around that idea. There was some backlash to the film when it was announced (particularly after Paris Jackson joined the cast as Jesus), but the final product was more of a crime against cinema than anything else. While "Habit" tries very hard to be edgy (the press release actually described it as being "reminiscent of early Tarantino"), the plot is paper-thin, and there's next to nothing in terms of character development.

Variety deftly summed up this (mercifully short) film with a single sentence in its review, calling it a "candy-colored dress-up excuse for a bunch of slumming models, rock musicians, and miscellaneous scenesters."


Where did it all go wrong for Neill Blomkamp? At one stage, the South African director was in line to take charge of a new "Alien" movie, but his stock has fallen significantly in recent years. "It's possible that Ridley [Scott] watched 'Chappie,' and he was like, this guy can't do 'Alien' so let's just go ahead and move on," Blomkamp joked during an interview with The Guardian. He was speaking to the British newspaper to promote his 2021 supernatural horror flick "Demonic," which, unfortunately for Blomkamp, got panned even worse than "Chappie," the disappointing sci-fi flick he helmed in 2015.

"Chappie" and "Demonic" are beset by similar issues, they're just a lot more apparent in the latter. Filmed during the COVID-19 pandemic, "Demonic" is a far more contained movie and therefore can't always hide behind its VFX. It follows a young woman (Carly Pope) who gets the chance to go inside the mind of her comatose mother — accused of killing 21 people — via new technology. She enters a simulation, but instead of answers, she finds a demon. It turns out her mother was possessed, and the scientists overseeing the whole thing are actually priests from a Vatican black-ops unit.

If it all sounds a bit unbelievable, that's because it is. What's worse is that the director seems unwilling to fully commit to the bonkers premise. As Brian Tallerico of RogerEbert.com put it, Blomkamp's comeback "feels like a film made by someone who's scared of his own ideas and his own limitations."

Die in a Gunfight

People who saw "Romeo Must Die" back in 2000 probably thought they'd never see the day that an even worse contemporary retelling of William Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" hit cineplexes, but on July 16, 2021, that's exactly what happened. "Die in a Gunfight" stars Diego Boneta and Alexandra Daddario as Romeo and Juliet — well, Ben and Mary, star-crossed lovers from powerful families that have been at war since the 1860s. Their families are determined to keep them apart, but as you've almost certainly figured out by now, they disregard the long-running feud and follow their hearts. "Vikings" star Travis Fimmel shows up as a typically intense hitman, and the film is narrated by Billy Crudup, for some reason.

Upon seeing it, it becomes clear why this movie spent over a decade in development hell. Zac Efron was all set to star in and produce "Die in a Gunfight" in 2010, Deadline reported. Variety later claimed that Josh Hutcherson and Kaya Scodelario had agreed to play Ben and Mary, but that also fell through. Would any of those actors have been able to save the movie? Boneta and Daddario don't exactly shine (RogerEbert.com described the couple as "beautiful and rebellious but deadly dull"), though their characters are so thinly written that it's little wonder so many actors passed on the project beforehand. They certainly weren't helped by director Collin Schiffli, who opts for action movie clichés and excessive neon lighting over exploring the protagonists in any depth.

The Addams Family 2

If you've already forgotten about the 2019 animated feature "The Addams Family," you're not alone. Despite boasting an impressive voice cast — Oscar Isaac as Gomez, Charlize Theron as Morticia, Chloë Grace Moretz as Wednesday, Finn Wolfhard as Pugsley, Nick Kroll as Uncle Fester, Bette Midler as Grandmama Addams, and, for reasons we still don't understand, Snoop Dogg as Cousin Itt — the kid-friendly reboot of the classic property wasn't exactly a hit with the critics, though low production costs meant it was still able to turn a healthy profit. A second film was announced pretty much immediately, and the A-list voice cast all signed on to reprise their roles. Unfortunately, their combined talents were not enough to save the flat and equally forgettable follow-up.

"The Addams Family 2" is the kind of film that could only be enjoyed by an Addams — because it's torture. This painfully unfunny sequel follows the titular family on a campervan trip organized by Gomez, who fears the Addams clan isn't as tight-knit as it once was. Dan Hernandez and Benji Samit (best known for their work on the far superior "Detective Pikachu") were among the numerous writers who contributed to the script, which is paper thin, extremely light on laughs, and nowhere near kooky enough for longtime "Addams Family" fans. "Ironically, given the mantra for its main characters is about embracing the weird, 'The Addams Family 2' does little that is out-there or different, delivering a safe, stale 93 minutes," said Empire magazine.

Dear Evan Hansen

Sometimes, something that works perfectly on stage just doesn't make the same impact on screen. This is definitely the case with "Dear Evan Hansen," the story of a high school loner who gets swept up in a lie after a classmate dies by suicide. On the advice of his therapist, Evan writes letters to himself, some of which mention his crush, Zoe (Kaitlyn Dever). Connor, Zoe's brother, snatches one of his letters before taking his own life, which leads everyone to assume the letter is Connor's last missive to Evan. Instead of coming clean, Evan manufactures a fake friendship between him and Connor. This puts Connor's parents' minds at ease and allows him to get closer to Zoe.

It's not easy to get behind a character who would do such a thing, though Ben Platt made it possible on Broadway. He reprises the title role in the 2021 film adaptation, which keeps the tunes but lacks the offbeat charm. Without an audience to feed off of, Platt's performance falls flat. As far as the music is concerned, the songs just "don't land the way they did onstage, their wistfulness now registering as listless," said the Boston Globe. The Chicago-Sun Times summed things up nicely: "Upbeat tunes and a heavy storyline about teen suicide make a cringey combo."

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Halloween Kills

The "Halloween" franchise got a fresh start in 2018 when a new installment from writer-director David Gordon Green blew up the box office and scored rave reviews. This new "Halloween" ignored all the forgettable films that followed 1978's "Halloween" and continued the story of Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) decades later. The critics loved it ... though the same cannot be said of 2021's "Halloween Kills," the shockingly bland second entry in a planned sequel trilogy.

"Halloween Kills" begins immediately after the conclusion of the previous film, in which Laurie locked escaped killer Michael Myers in the basement of her house and set it ablaze. We soon discover that responding firefighters released him, and he's coming for Laurie once again. He's eventually — spoiler alert — set about by an angry mob, taking a beating that no mortal man could survive. Yet he does. After being shot and stabbed multiple times, Michael gets up and proceeds to slaughter the now-terrified townsfolk.

The ending caused confusion and disappointment in equal measure, seemingly confirming that Michael Myers draws power from supernatural sources. "The more he kills, the more he transcends into something impossible to defeat," Laurie says from her hospital bed. Previous "Halloween" sequels have taken this path, but nobody expected Green to follow suit. Making Michael truly immortal was a major cop-out that only served to set up the final installment. "Halloween Kills" is a pointless stepping stone of a movie, doing nothing to advance the overarching story and failing to generate any real scares.

South of Heaven

We love it when a comedy actor surprises us with a serious performance, but for every "Good Will Hunting," there's a film like "South of Heaven," an uneven and painfully predictable Texas melodrama starring Jason Sudeikis. The Emmy-winning actor plays Jimmy Ray, an affable everyman who got in with some bad people. He's spent over a decade behind bars for armed robbery when he learns that the love of his life (Evangeline Lilly) has cancer. She's been told she has a year left, and Jimmy vows to make it the best year of her life after being paroled, but his dirty parole officer (Shea Whigham) has other plans.

Despite the interesting setup, "South of Heaven" quickly descends into a by-the-numbers thriller. Jimmy is blackmailed back into a life of crime, and before long, there's a local gangster (Mike Colter) after him. When said gangster threatens his dying fiancee, Jimmy dispatches a seemingly endless stream of faceless goons to get her back, all with a twinkle in the eye and a cheeky Sudeikis grin. The New York Times called it an "aw-shucks performance, all twitchy, tiny smiles that demand the audience's love even as Jimmy makes one ludicrous choice after another."

The script (co-written by director Aharon Keshales) is more at fault than any single performance, however. Lilly's character is inexplicably cheery despite her dire predicament, the plot relies on ridiculous coincidences, and tonally, the film is all over the place. This one is way south of heaven

Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City

"Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City" arrived with little fanfare in late 2021 — perhaps a sign the studio knew it wasn't going to make any waves. Speaking to Polygon, director Johannes Roberts said he wanted to "make [Resident Evil] scary again." And yet, while his film is more of a traditional horror flick than any of the Milla Jovovich-led "Resident Evil" movies, its thrills feel forced. This reboot is based on Capcom's first two "Resident Evil" games, and anyone familiar with those will likely see the scares coming a mile away — particularly the big Licker reveal. Roberts also revealed to IGN that he mimicked the classic '90s games' "fixed angles." This approach may score nostalgia points, but it isn't going to get pulses racing in 2021.

One quest Roberts succeeded in is painting Raccoon City as a "rotten character." Unfortunately for him (and everyone who sits through all 107 minutes of this movie), the titular city also ends up being the most interesting character. Chris and Claire Redfield, the franchise's famous zombie-slaying siblings, are portrayed by Robbie Amell and Kaya Scodelario. Both do their best to get us invested in their efforts to expose the shady Umbrella Corporation, but a lazy script does them no favors. Once the novelty of seeing Raccoon City brought back to life on the big screen wears off, there's very little to get excited about.


"Twist" isn't the first cinematic reimagining of a Charles Dickens work that Michael Caine has been in (see: "The Muppet Christmas Carol"), but it's definitely the worst. This updated version of the author's classic novel "Oliver Twist" features Lena Headey as a gender-swapped version of Bill Sikes. The former "Game of Thrones" star is undoubtedly the best thing about this Guy Ritchie knock-off, but her efforts are ultimately in vain. Writer-director Martin Owen seems more interested in making his young cast (led by Rafferty Law, son of Jude Law and Sadie Frost) run around doing parkour than he is in developing their characters, which are far too one-dimensional for modern London.

The plot of the film is a simple one: Law's Oliver Twist (who goes by just "Twist," so you know he's cool) is a graffiti artist who bumps into Dodge and Batesey (Rita Ora and Franz Drameh as the film's versions of the Artful Dodger and Charles Bates) while evading the police one day. They decide to take Twist to meet Michael Caine's Fagin, and together, they begin hatching a plot to rob the art dealer Dr. Crispin Losberne (David Walliams), who apparently bankrupted Fagin many years earlier. The movie really drags en route to the inevitable showdown between Twist and Sikes, and, honestly, by this stage, you might find yourself rooting for the latter. "Twist" scored a woeful 9% critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and the viewers were even less impressed — the film has a 0% audience score on the website.


No matter which way you look at it, 2021 wasn't a good year for Bruce Willis. The aforementioned flops "Cosmic Sin" and "Midnight in the Switchgrass" registered single figure ratings on Rotten Tomatoes when they were released in March and July respectively, but November's "Apex" went one better, scoring a flat zero on the Tomatometer. The "Die Hard" star sleepwalks through another half-baked genre movie, this one about a former cop who's been jailed for a murder that he didn't commit. Thomas Malone is offered a way out of his life sentence in the form of Apex, a sick game played by wealthy hunters who descend on a remote island and set their sights on human prey. When regular participant and top marksman Rainsford (Neal McDonough) begins to complain about the hunts not being challenging enough, the management ships in the notoriously wily Malone.

Of course, Malone gives the hunters more than they bargained for. Years of solitary confinement appear to have taken no toll on him, as he outwits and outguns half a dozen younger adversaries, sending them to their graves with lines like, "Good? I'm better than good, I'm bacon and eggs on Sunday morning." It's a lot of Bruce Willis creeping around in bushes while the instantly forgettable bad guys argue amongst themselves. The film's near-future setting seems like more of an afterthought — the Apex company speaks to the islanders via an inexplicably British hologram named West, simply to tick that sci-fi box, we're guessing.

The Last Son

Though Machine Gun Kelly won praise for his work in 2019's "The Dirt," the rapper (real name Colson Baker) has generally struggled with the critics since he began his transition from music to acting. He stars opposite Sam Worthington in the drab, meandering Western "The Last Son," which dropped to poor reviews in December 2021. Worthington plays ruthless outlaw Isaac LeMay, who sets out to kill all the sons he's fathered after learning he's fated to be murdered by one of them. But Baker's Cal, a son of LeMay and a known outlaw in his own right, won't go down without a fight. Sadly, the film does exactly that.

"The Last Son" is overly long, and the small amount of tension it does manage to build leads nowhere. Baker gives his all in the role, but his presence is more of a distraction than a stroke of genius. "In a truly eye-rolling move, his character actually fires a machine gun not once but twice," RogerEbert.com noted. Baker addressed this during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, admitting that it sounded gimmicky. "I mean, sure, there's the obvious, which is, 'Oh, he has a machine gun and there's 'Machine Gun' in his name,'" he said. "But if you look at that character, he's tortured in his own, unique way." Baker seems serious about making it in Hollywood, but swagger alone doesn't make a star.