22nd Dec2014

Phil’s Ten Worst Movies of 2014

by Phil Wheat

If you’ve read my Top 10 Movies of 2014 list, you’ll know I proclaimed the vast amount of really good movies released this year but for all the good movies, there has to be some bad… And the bad were REALLY bad this year. From unfunny comedies to weird vanity projects that were seemingly made just for friends and family of the film makers attached, to some truly awful horror movies it seems that 2014 will be marked by some truly terrible films – some of which made it to the big screen!

The criteria is the same as my “best of” list: it has to be a movie I’ve seen this year, one that was released this year, i.e. making its UK debut, or a new movie that I’ve seen at a film festival that might not necessarily have been distributed as of yet. Also, the cut off date for this list was December 15th.

So here it is, my list of the Top 10 Worst Movies of 2014:

THE WORST (in chronological order):

  1. The Colony

    The-Colony
    Forced underground by the next ice-age, the inhabitants of Colony 7 struggle to survive below the world s frozen surface. When they mysteriously lose contact with Colony 5, the only other known settlement, Briggs (Fishburne) decides to lead a dangerous mission into the frozen wasteland determined to discover their fate. When he and his team reach their destination, they discover a threat much worse than nature and must battle to save themselves and protect their fellow colonists in what might be humanity s last stand.

    A new horror film, starring Bill Paxton and also featuring Laurence Fishburne? Has to be on to a winner right? The Colony was advertised as a “The Thing” style horror, with plenty of snow bound terrors within. Instead we get a badly paced, poorly acted, sub-par Ghosts of Mars rip-off set in a post-apocalyptic ice age. More action than horror, more laughter than terror… And a complete waste of all the talent involved.

  2. Scavengers

    Scavengers
    Scavengers follows the crew of the Starship Revelator, who survive in the dark depths of space by keeping out of trouble, until they stumble across the mechanics of ultimate destruction and cross paths with a rival ship, and an old enemy, who also has it in their sights, and they will stop at nothing to master a power that could destroy the universe. The fight for the future is on – a battle against oblivion. To the victor goes untold power; to the vanquished, death, devastation and the cold dark emptiness of space…

    The one thing you can definitely say about Scavengers is that it really does feel like a product of the 1990s. And not necessarily in a good way. You often get movies that have vibes of a different era – but in this case it literally looks like this film has been left on the shelf for a couple of decades and revived for the DVD market. Seriously, Scavengers wouldn’t have look out of place as a possible TV movie-come-pilot for a Syfy channel series back in 1993 but two decades later and it just feels incredibly dated.

  3. Awful Nice

    Awful-Nice-cast
    Awful Nice tells the story of Jim and Dave. Two brothers who haven’t seen each other in years, but when their father unexpectedly dies, they are forced to travel down to Branson together to redeem their inheritance; the family’s lake house. Upon arriving, they find that the house is in terrible condition, and worse-yet, they’ll have to fix it themselves before they can sell it and receive their money. What follows is a series of hilarious mishaps and costly misadventures that ultimately help the two brothers rebuild their strained relationship as they attempt to restore the house they grew up in.

    There’s seems to be a trend in current US cable TV comedy for antisocial, often obnoxious lead characters (see the likes of Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Wilfred) but when a film follows suit and is ONLY about it’s antisocial obnoxious leads it makes for a hard slog; even moreso when the film is little more than a one-joke comedy. Combine the two and you have a film that does it’s best to make you hate it. And in the case of Awful Nice it succeeds. It succeeds epically.

  4. Don Peyote

    Don-Peyote-Movie
    Stoner comedy Don Peyote tells the story Warren Allman, an unemployed graphic novelist who finally finds a purpose in life after an unpleasant encounter with a homeless man preaching the end is near. Fueled by vivid apocalyptic dreams, Warren becomes obsessed with 2012 doomsday theories and decides to make a documentary on the subject while his fiance is busy planning their wedding.

    Seemingly a labour of love for co-writer, co-director and star Dan Fogler, Don Peyote plays out like a wannabe Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, only without any of the style and visual flare of Terry Gilliam. I can certainly see why Fogler would want to produce such a movie – after all the majority of his most famous roles see him playing the “fat funny sidekick” to whomever is playing the lead – yet here he takes centre stage, really showing his versatility as an actor. Only, even as I fan of Fogler, I kind of wish he’d left this particular tale on the shelf.

  5. Jay & Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie

    JASBSGCM-banner
    As a fan of Kevin Smith and his Clerks “universe” I was eagerly awaiting the UK release of Jay & Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie. Having seen the original Clerks animated series (which was criminally axed way before its prime) I had high hopes for another round of animated fun. Sadly there’s not much fun to be had here. The animation borders on the amateur and the script feels like it was written by a Smith wannabe, not Smith himself…

    Based on the Bluntman and Chronic comics which themselves were inspired by Smith’s two stoner anti-heroes Jay and Silent Bob, Jay & Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie is one of Kevin Smith’s SMODCast productions – you know, those that Smith and his cronies have total control over. And it shows here. With no one to reign in Smith and co. the jokes hit – and miss – every target under the sun; some aimed at Smith and his characters, and some aimed at Hollywood (and celebrities) at large – a number of which are, even now, already dated.

  6. The Killing Season

    kill-season

    Emil Kovac (Travolta) is a former Scorpions soldier based in Serbia on the assignment of his career: find and capture Colonel Benjamin Ford (De Niro). Wanted for being a former NATO operative, Ford has now retired from war and lives a reclusive lifestyle in the Appalachian mountains. Determined to finish what his people started, Kovac poses as a friendly European tourist and tracks Ford to his secret hideaway. As Kovac gets all the evidence he needs, he pursues Ford in a brutal game of cat and mouse, intent on bringing him to justice.

    First Blood, The Most Dangerous Game, Hard Target… Those are good cat and mouse, hunter vs hunted movies. This? This is like being teased with pieces of a much better movie that aren’t IN a much better movie. In all fairness, knowing The Killing Season was penned by Snow White and the Huntsman‘s Evan Daugherty I should have known not to expect much. And after hearing Travolta’s frankly bizarre accent I guess not even he thought this film needed any semblance of a decent performance – I’m sure Travolta put on that accent just to take the piss out of the awful script.

  7. You Are Not Alone

    you-are-not-alone-cast
    Apparently based on a true story, You Are Not Alone (aka House Swap) sees a young California screenwriter and his composer girlfriend exchange their Echo Park home for a sprawling Tudor mansion near Glastonbury, England, in the hope of finding creative inspiration. Thinking they have the best of the bargain, they soon learn that the house comes with a stalker who seems able to enter through locked doors. Driven beyond endurance by the continual harassment, the screenwriter sets a trap to exact his revenge.

    I hate, no hate is too strong a word, I dislike found footage movies. Why? Because of movies like this. Movies that use the format as a lazy way of telling a story. Movies that use the format AS the story. Don’t get me wrong, there are some great found footage movies. There are some SUPERB ones too. You Are Not Alone is as far removed from even a good found footage movie as you can imagine.

  8. The Mirror

    the-mirror-cast
    There is a long-held belief that mirrors act as gateways to another dimension. Some also believe the looking glass plays host to a world filled with evil spirits. Such superstition has been the basis for ancient folklore legends about haunting and possession; and one tale about a supposedly haunted mirror was picked up by the media in 2012. Both the Daily Mail and Huffington Post reported on how the owners of a recently purchased antique mirror left them dogged by bad luck, financial misery, strange sightings and death-defying illness. The Mirror is apparently inspired by that story…

    A shockingly bad found-footage flick that thinks watching three friends piss about in a flat whilst “weird shit” happens around them makes for a scary movie (it doesn’t), The Mirror is an example of how NOT to make a found footage movie. Whilst films like The Den and Open Windows push the envelope, and the boundaries, of what you can do in this increasingly over-populated horror genre, this is an example of how to rip off every crappy found footage film you’ve ever seen, and even the opening of Halloweeen(!) and make a movie that wants its audience to switch it off and go and do something more interesting. Which I almost did. Almost.

  9. Halloween Haunting

    hayride-cast

    On paper Halloween Haunting sounds like a great idea for a horror flick, blurring the lines between fact and fiction, urban legend and reality: Steven Summers returns home to southern Alabama from college with his girlfriend Amanda to attend his uncle’s annual Halloween hayride. Unaware that an escaped killer is on the loose, Steven will soon face the real life embodiment of Pitchfork , a character his uncle created for the Hayride and Steven’s childhood tormentor. Steven will soon realize that not all childhood fears are imagined when the legend of Pitchfork suddenly becomes dangerously real…

    Yeah, that’s not quite what we get in the finished product. Instead this is a jumbled mess. Flitting back and forth between the escaped killer and Richard Tyson’s “Captain Morgan” who is setting up for the Halloween festivities at his farm-come-theme-park, there’s no real cohesion to the film – not even when the two “halves” of the movie finally come together and all-hell (supposedly) breaks loose. I say supposedly because the majority of this wannabe-slashers kills are either a) off screen; b) are shot in almost darkness so you can’t see a bloody thing (pun intended); or c) consist of little more than characters reacting to “something” then blood dribbling from somewhere. Filmmakers take note: If you’re going to make a slasher movie make sure that there’s some “slashing” actually going on!

  10. Saving Santa

    saving-santa-blitzen

    Once upon a time, Santa operated with just a small workshop and a few elves. But, as Christmas has grown ever bigger, Santa has been forced to innovate! Now his cleverest elves develop amazing technology, including a hologram to hide the North Pole and a time machine to allow Santa to deliver presents to every home in the world, in just the one night. Bernard is an elf who dreams of creating such inventions, but his job is to clean the reindeer stables! Yet when he creates an amazing Christmas memory machine, his luck might be changing. But Bernard’s invention is broken by a curious elf, causing the North Pole’s power to fail and the hologram hiding it to disappear. Now exposed to the outside world, it is spotted by Santa s enemy, Neville Baddington, who is determined to steal Santa’s secrets for himself. The only person who can stop them is Bernard…

    Every year there seems to be an inordinate amount of new CGI Christmas movies thrust upon unsuspecting supermarket shoppers – after all, most folks buy theses types of titles on impulse whilst browsing in the likes of ASDA, Tesco et al. Titles that are watched once or twice and then sit on the shelf for the most of the next year or, even worse, are tossed in to the “get rid” pile (I know you all have one). Saving Santa is one such film.

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