It would be an understatement of epic proportions to say that 2020 has been a year, unlike any other, and one that will stick in the memory for all of the wrong reasons. The movie business spent months on its knees, with things only recently returning to any semblance of normality, with the majority of high profile releases either sent to streaming or delayed until next year. There’s been plenty of great titles released over the last ten months, but as always there’s also been a fair share of terrible ones, and it wasn’t too difficult to narrow things down when deciding which efforts merited inclusion as the 25 worst movies of 2020.
Vin Diesel loves nothing more than starring in a franchise as his continued associations with the Fast and Furious, Riddick, XXX and Marvel Cinematic Universe brands has more than proven.
However, the chrome-domed action star’s attempt at headlining his own superhero series failed at the box office and was dismissed by critics as derivative and uninspired.
The CGI was like something straight out of the 1990s, while Diesel stuck rigidly to type and grumbled his way through a convoluted plot packed with one-note characters and dull set pieces.
24. The Grudge
Any horror franchise that runs out of steam inevitably gets rebooted eventually, and The Grudge’s muddled mythology saw it acting as a sidequel to the first three Americanized movies.
The concept was already well past the sell-by date, and director Nicolas Pesce brought absolutely nothing new or of note to a rote tale of standard jump scares and things that go bump in the night.
One thing The Grudge does have going for it is a rare reliance on practical effects, but that was far from enough to elevate the finished product to anything above sheer tedium.
Jessica Chastain is widely regarded as one of the finest actresses of her generation, so the idea of her starring in an old school action movie instantly piqued some curiosity about Ava.
Chastain also produces, but she really should have lent her talents to something much better, with the thriller and action elements having been seen and done a thousand times over in much better movies.
Ava wastes a phenomenal cast that includes an epic scenery chewing battle between John Malkovich and Colin Farrell, but the plot is riddled with cliches and nonsensical twists.
22. Brahms: The Boy II
Any horror movie that turns a profit is guaranteed a sequel, and returning director William Brent Bell delivers a follow-up that’s vastly inferior to an original that was mediocre to begin with.
Katie Holmes takes the lead role as a mother trying to protect her son from the malevolent forces that apparently dwell within a creepily lifelike doll they find in their new home.
Brahms: The Boy II runs for less than 90 minutes but feels like it goes on forever, and there’s not a shred of imagination to be found throughout a standard entry in the supernatural chiller canon.
21. Coffee & Kareem
Netflix have been on a hot streak of original movies throughout 2020, but the laugh free Coffee & Kareem marked a blot on an otherwise largely impressive copybook.
Despite the collective talents of Ed Helms, Betty Gilpin, Taraji P. Henson and a breakout turn from Terrence Little Gardenhigh as the latter of the title duo, the premise steadfastly fails to sing.
A kid-centric comedy dripping with foul mouthed humor is a difficult balancing act to pull off, and director Michael Dowse fails resolutely in what amounts to a lazy stop at buddy comedy.
20. The Tax Collector
The most notable thing about The Tax Collector is that Shia LaBeouf got his entire chest tattooed for real in order to get into character, which is the only impressive thing about the movie.
David Ayer returns to the street-level crime genre in which he made his name, and proves that he’s failed to further himself as a filmmaker in what amounts to a rehash of his previous work.
LaBeouf is as watchable and committed as always, but the rest of the movie feels as though it arrived a decade too late to the party in terms of both script and style.
Inheritance sees the head of a wealthy family die suddenly, leaving behind a mysterious will, and the division of his estate threatens to destroy his entire family.
The premise is a unique and interesting one, but the execution is botched spectacularly in a mashup of different genres that tries almost everything and fails to settle on any of them.
There’s a glaring opportunity for a knowingly trashy B-movie, but director Vaughn Stein plays everything with such a straight face that the preposterous twists and turns end up becoming laughable.
18. Like a Boss
Like a Boss was created solely as a star vehicle for Tiffany Haddish, but failed to use the comedienne to her best and wasted a star-studded supporting cast for good measure.
There’s plenty of mileage in the concept of small business owners being driven apart by the lure of financial security, but you can telegraph the punchlines to most of the jokes from a mile away.
Haddish, Rose Byrne, Jennifer Coolidge, Lisa Kudrow and Salma Hayek deserved much better than a laugh free studio comedy that fails to use any of them to anything approaching their best.
17. The Wrong Missy
As a David Spade comedy produced for Netflix by Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison outfit, The Wrong Missy is clearly marketed towards one demographic in particular.
Fans of Sandler’s extended roster of regular collaborators will have no doubt enjoyed the tale of a man inviting the wrong woman to a romantic island getaway, but everyone else was left cold.
Lauren Lapkus tries her hardest and gives her all in a winning performance, but everyone and everything else in The Wrong Missy is far too content to coast by on autopilot.
16. The Turning
A nanny takes a job looking after two young orphans who live in a lavish Gothic mansion, and The Turning is every bit as uninspired as the standard synopsis makes it sound.
Based on Henry James’ classic novella The Turn of the Screw, it didn’t help The Turning that Netflix’s The Haunting of Bly Manor came along later on in the year and showed how to do justice to the author’s chilling supernatural story.
The cast are admittedly solid, but there’s absolutely nothing memorable about the movie, which is a huge disappointment given the presence of Steven Spielberg as an executive producer.
15. The Jesus Rolls
The Big Lebowski is one of the greatest postmodern movies ever made and is as widely quoted today as it was over 20 years ago, but you might not have even known a sequel existed.
John Turturro directs as well as reprising his role as bowling alley lothario Jesus, who celebrates his release from prison with an evening of partying and debauchery.
The Coen brothers had absolutely nothing to do with The Jesus Rolls, which is pretty evident from the lackluster script that proved the title character was much better off as a supporting player.
A Bonnie and Clyde story for the social media age, Joshua Caldwell’s Infamous follows a couple who livestream their robberies and become internet sensations in the process.
There’s some attempts at subtext that try and rally against the younger generation’s obsession with influencers, but for the most part the movie adheres to the standard crime thriller formula.
Bella Thorne gives it her all in the lead role and is the undoubted highlight, but as a whole Infamous is just as forgettable as the viral sensations that come and go online on a daily basis.
13. Darkness Falls
After his wife commits suicide, a detective convinces himself that she’s actually been murdered, before discovering that a father/son duo of serial killers are the ones responsible.
The plot of Darkness Falls makes it sound like a B-level potboiler, and on that front director Julien Seri definitely delivers, but the rest of the movie is a cack-handed allegory against the dangers of misogyny.
Shawn Ashmore’s wooden lead resolutely fails to generate any interest from the off, and the bizarre combination of standard procedural and male bonding through murder never really lands.
12. Force of Nature
Low budget action movies love being set during a deluge, but Puerto Rican thriller Force of Nature is one of the lesser efforts, which isn’t glowing praise given the subgenre includes The Hurricane Heist.
A gang of thieves come to collect their bounty from an apartment building being evacuated during a storm, and the rest of the plot and character beats you could probably guess without even seeing it.
Mel Gibson is the highlight of the movie as he brings his grizzled charisma and a weird accent into the mix, but the rest of Force of Nature accidentally devolves into a parody of better titles.
11. The New Mutants
After years spent sitting on the shelf gathering dust, The New Mutants was finally dumped into this summer with little fanfare, where it was received completely apathetically.
At least the X-Men spinoff lived up to a reputation as being cursed, because if this is the best they could come up with after such extensive reshoots then the first cut must have been a disaster.
There’s clearly two different movies stitched together to form a largely incomprehensible whole, one that brought the once formidable X-Men franchise to a limp and whimpering end.
10. The Secret: Dare to Dream
In an outcome that shocked absolutely nobody, a movie based on a best-selling self-help book was relentlessly cloying and saccharine, but will at least appeal to those who own the source material.
A young widow struggles to raise her three children, before a storm brings a handsome stranger into her life, where he proves to be a calming influence on the struggling family unit.
Of course, there’s a secret at the center of the story, but despite the best efforts of Katie Holmes and Josh Lucas they can’t distract from the fact the movie is a cynical ploy to get people to buy the book.
9. Disturbing the Peace
For some reason, Guy Pearce has become a regular fixture in the sort of awful bargain basement movies that even Nicolas Cage would turn down, and Distrubing the Peace is one of his worst.
Pearce is a fantastic actor with a stellar back catalogue of roles, and he always does a decent job, but he really needs to find a new agent if these are the best projects that wind up landing on his desk.
A smalltown marshal has refused to pick up a gun after being involved in a tragic shooting, but when rogue bikers invade his town, he winds up shooting them all. That’s basically the movie.
8. After We Collided
Literary adaptation After wasn’t a particularly big hit with critics, but it did solid business at the box office so a feature film version of the following book was rushed out a year later.
The second time around the taking were even lower and reviews immeasurably worse, proving once again that cobbling together a sequel to cash in on a hot brand is never a good idea.
Romantic dramas with beautiful people dealing with the trials and tribulations of love are everywhere that you look, but few of them are as abjectly dire as After We Collided.
7. The Last Thing He Wanted
A Netflix thriller with Ben Affleck and Anne Hathaway in the lead roles sounds like a guaranteed success, unless of course the movie is terrible, which The Last Thing He Wanted very much is.
A reporter helps her father broker an arms deal and winds up becoming far too involved in a story she’s trying to break, set against the backdrop of the 1984 Presidential election and the Iran-Contra affair.
Willem Dafoe, Toby Jones Rosie Perez and Edi Gathegi are also on board in an unmitigated disaster that wastes all of the impeccable talent involved in one of the worst political thrillers in recent memory.
6. John Henry
Dwayne Johnson is still attached to star as the titular folk hero in a Netflix movie, and all he’d have to do is raise his eyebrow for 90 minutes and it would still be better than this year’s effort.
A modern day twist on the fable, Terry Crews’ John Henry is put into action when he crosses paths with a young immigrant girl fleeing from gang-related violence in Los Angeles.
Terry Crews has charisma for days, but John Henry suffers from such tonal uncertainty that the leading man never gets a chance to shine in a project that was ill-conceived from the ground up.
5. Fantasy Island
Reinventing the beloved TV show as a standard horror movie was a risky decision, and while it worked on a commercial level, from a creative standpoint Fantasy Island was far from a success.
Blumhouse can churn these sort of genre efforts out in their sleep, which is probably what happened based on how flimsy the plotting is and how telegraphed all of the scares are.
Michael Pena is as watchable as ever, but the whole thing is so contrived that it fails as a homage to the series, a horror movie and what was clearly designed as the first film in a franchise.
4. A Fall from Grace
One man multimedia conglomerate Tyler Perry took his talents to Netflix for the first time, and A Fall From Grace turned out to be an ironic title for what could be his worst movie yet.
The only thing that could have made it worse would have been a cameo from Madea, but as it stands A Fall From Grace isn’t just boring but also very shoddily made.
Boom mics appear in shot, extras can be seen looking directly into the camera and there’s a shocking sense of amateurism coming from a self-made billionaire directing his 21st movie.
3. The Last Days of American Crime
Olivier Megaton’s name alone is enough to guarantee bombast, without even mentioning his reputation as the director of countless mid-budget and entirely predictable actioners.
The Last Days of American Crime stakes a real claim to being Netflix’s worst original movie ever, and matters aren’t helped by an inexplicable running time that drags it out to 149 minutes.
Edgar Ramirez deserves much better than starring in an action thriller that was messy, incoherent, poorly-times, morally questionable and simply a very bad movie whatever way you look at it.
2. Artemis Fowl
Artemis Fowl was originally set to get a theatrical release before Disney pulled it from the schedule and sent it straight to their streaming service, presumably because they knew they had a bomb on their hands.
Kenneth Branagh is infuriatingly inconsistent as a director, and the literary adaptation shows that when he’s given a big budget the results are either solid or completely woeful.
Artemis Fowl fall very much into the latter camp, and was so bad that it alienated both fans of the book series, critics and Disney Plus subscribers in one fell swoop.
Robert Downey Jr.’s first acting role in six years where he wasn’t playing the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Tony Stark may have had him regretting his decision to bow out as Iron Man.
Plagued by production issues that saw the budget balloon to $175 million, Dolittle wastes some admittedly impressive visuals on a lightweight story and bottom of the barrel humor.
The star-studded voice cast will be grateful they never had to appear on the screen themselves, while the scene where the good doctor performs a colonoscopy on a dragon has already gained a level of notoriety and infamy.