These past two years have been a turbulent period, thanks to the dreaded pandemic era. And while COVID-19 is far from over, things seem to be improving here with daily lives returning to normal. The same also goes with the movies, where we get to see more of them released in cinemas other than the ones available on streaming platforms. With 2022 coming to a close, it’s time to rank the worst movies of the year. Having seen and feeling disappointed with many of them, I wish I could add every movie here but there is only room for ten. Ten movies that were either financially successful but narratively questionable or uninspired, boring and whatnot — here are my Top 10 Worst Movies of 2022.
10. Where the Crawdads Sing
Delia Owens’ debut novel of the same name may have been a huge bestseller and the film adaptation itself was a big hit in the US. While I do love its beautiful cinematography and some of the performances, notably Daisy Edgar-Jones and Garret Dillahunt, Where the Crawdads Sing suffers from an awfully protracted storyline that tries to blend a murder mystery, courtroom drama and YA romance. And don’t get me started with the twist at the end of the film — a slap-in-the-face reveal that left me screaming silently, “what the heck am I watching” in the darkened cinema hall. (Read my full review here)
Watching Morbius feels like I am being transported back to the 2000s era when Hollywood used to churn out inferior superhero movies. The story is forgettable and so do the characters, notably Jared Leto’s bland lead performance as the titular vampire anti-hero. The CGI is uneven and at times, a huge pixelated mess (the final fight between Morbius and Matt Smith’s Milo immediately comes to mind). Then, there’s Daniel Espinosa of Easy Money and Safe House fame, whose largely uninspired direction ended up making Morbius the worst superhero movie I’ve ever seen in 2022. (Read my full review here)
8. Deep Water
An erotic thriller from Adrian Lyne, the genre specialist who gave us Fatal Attraction and Unfaithful. And not to mention the star-studded pairing of Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas. I was expecting a lot from Deep Water, given the director’s much-anticipated comeback to the familiar territory. Too bad the film is shockingly bland even with all the obligatory sex and nudity. A nearly 2-hour slog that drags on and on and by the time the third act comes to life, it was all too late and too little. It doesn’t help either when Ben Affleck feels like he’s showing up just for the sake of a paycheck while Lyne wasted the otherwise alluring Ana de Armas in a disappointingly underwritten role. (Read my full review here)
7. Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Dear Hollywood, stop bleeding the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise once and for all. The 2017 nobody-asked-for-the-prequel — Leatherface — was already bad enough and now, the so-called legacy sequel? David Blue Garcia and screenwriter Chris Thomas Devlin look as if they might get it right by bringing back Sally Hardesty, the sole survivor from the iconic 1974 original while ignoring the previous sequels and prequels. Besides, it was a legacy-sequel formula that proved to be successful for David Gordon Green’s Halloween four years ago. Except that Texas Chainsaw Massacre suffers from a banal screenplay while the film misses the opportunity to make good use of Sally Hardesty returning to the franchise. The legacy sequel did try to stay relevant by throwing in the Gen-Z characters and cancel-culture reference but none of them really matters anyway. Not even the copious amount of blood and gore can save this rusty chainsaw of a legacy sequel. (Read my full review here)
No, it has nothing to do with The Prodigy’s iconic song of the same name, even though looping it over and over again is infinitely better than spending excruciatingly 94 minutes watching Firestarter. If the title sounds familiar, that’s because it was previously adapted from Stephen King’s novel back in 1984 featuring then-9-year-old Drew Barrymore in the title role. The 2022 remake is best described as a dumpster fire — bland performances from Ryan Kiera Armstrong and Zac Efron, dull storytelling and barely terrifying for a horror genre. The fire effects are decent for a US$12 million film but it remains baffling that Keith Thomas, who did an effective job in The Vigil botches the opportunity to make a potentially scary horror film about a girl with a pyrokinesis ability.
Suspension of disbelief matters a lot if one were to enjoy Roland Emmerich’s disaster film. Well, adopting that mindset did work for some of his past blockbusters such as Independence Day (1997) and The Day After Tomorrow (2004). But his recent effort, Moonfall is just… too much. The title and the premise itself are laughably dumb to the point I questioned my own sanity upon watching it: a story about the moon mysteriously drifting out of its orbit, causing disaster of epic proportions — tidal waves, earthquakes, you name it — threatened to wipe out mankind?
Sure, we have the usual popcorn-worthy CG-heavy destruction scenes. But those big special-effect moments aren’t enough to overcome how insanely far-fetched the story turns out to be, particularly when it delves further into the backstory. Among the biggest mistakes that Emmerich shouldn’t have done in the first place: taking the film seriously rather than turning it into a guilty-pleasure B-grade entertainment. (Read my full review here)
Well, I was hoping that David O. Russell would make a great comeback after the so-so effort of Joy seven years ago. I mean, look at the cast he has assembled here in Amsterdam: Christian Bale, Margot Robbie, John David Washington, Rami Malek, Anya-Taylor Joy and Robert De Niro among others. Even the story, which mixes a period murder mystery with historical comedy with quirky undertones sounds potential enough.
Other than the film’s promising start and some decent performances from Christian Bale and Margot Robbie, Amsterdam is such a tedious slog to sit through. It’s overlong, it’s boring filled with largely unfunny comedy moments and a drawn-out flashback that feels like an eternity. (Read my full review here)
3. Crimes of the Future
David Cronenberg returns to his sci-fi body-horror territory. This is something that I have waited for so long since eXistenZ back in 1999. On paper, Crimes of the Future sure reads like a quintessential Cronenberg film: a dystopian future-set storyline about the drastic transformations of the human bodies, synthetic environment and radical performance-art public shows of live organ removals.
But the execution is a different story altogether. The otherwise high-concept premise barely matters since everything here is shockingly hollow while Cronenberg’s familiar clinical direction doesn’t work in his favour. Lacking both emotion and character arcs and flat performances all around, despite the would-be promising cast of Viggo Mortensen and Lea Seydoux, Crimes of the Future is sadly a colossal misfire coming from David Cronenberg. (Read my full review here)
2. The Bubble
At first glance, it looks as if Judd Apatow’s The Bubble scored a winner here. A potentially hilarious combination of a movie-within-a-movie style and showbiz satire that pokes fun at the strict working procedure during the pandemic era. The Bubble may boast a promising cast from Karen Gillan to Pedro Pascal, Keegan-Michael Key and David Duchovny, who are all no strangers to comedy movies. But their roles are underwritten and forgettable while Apatow and Pam Brody’s insipid screenplay doesn’t help either. The jokes fall flat and what’s even worst about The Bubble is the 126-minute runtime that hardly justified such a length. (Read my full review here)
Joseph Kosinski had a great year, soaring high with the huge success of Top Gun: Maverick which made nearly US$1.5 billion worldwide. But 2022 also happened to be the worst year for the director with the dreadful Netflix release of Spiderhead. He may have been familiar with the sci-fi genre, as evidently seen in Tron: Legacy (2010) and Oblivion (2013). But he’s obviously not the right guy to make a sci-fi film that is as cerebral as Spiderhead. Problem is, he seems clueless about what kind of movie he wants it to be. Not even enlisting Deadpool screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick can help to salvage the overall feeble screenplay. And what is Chris Hemsworth doing here anyway? Because he’s hardly convincing in the role of a mad scientist. (Read my full review here)