Top 10 Worst Movies of 2023

2023 has finally come to an end and like any other year before, there are always plenty of worst movies mushrooming throughout its 12-month period. It doesn’t matter whether it was a horror or other genres like action, sci-fi and thriller. After going through the rotten ones that I have watched all year on the big screen and streaming online, here are my Top 10 Worst Movies of 2023.

10. Haunted Mansion

Top 10 Worst Movies of 2023: "Haunted Mansion"

Here’s a sad case of failing twice, beginning with the ill-fated Eddie Murphy-led Haunted Mansion twenty years ago and now, Justin Simien’s expensive reboot suffers the same fate. The reboot does give us some spookily fun moments. Still, Simien’s erratic direction spends too much time with humdrum backstories and unnecessary storytelling detours of the characters leaving the mansion now and then. (Read my full review here)

9. The Pale Blue Eye

Top 10 Worst Movies of 2023: "The Pale Blue Eye"

This period 1830-set murder mystery is sure as pale as the title. Writer-director Scott Cooper does manage to capture the movie’s icy and atmospheric visual palette. But the movie drags miserably with a drab screenplay mistaken as a deliberate slow-burn, where it feels like an eternity streaming this 2-hour-plus Netflix movie. Cooper even reunites with Christian Bale for the third time after Out of the Furnace and Hostiles but the latter’s performance devoted to heavy brooding sucks the life out of this already-dour movie. (Read my full review here)

8. Reptile

Top 10 Worst Movies of 2023: "Reptile"

Reptile may feature a stellar cast including Benicio Del Toro, Alicia Silverstone and Michael Pitt. But what could have been a promising mix of David Fincher-style methodical thriller, whodunit and police procedural suffers from slack pacing. Grant Singer’s monotonous direction doesn’t help either, making the movie’s 134-minute runtime feel like a chore to sit through. (Read my full review here)

7. Pet Sematary: Bloodlines

Top 10 Worst Movies of 2023: "Pet Sematary: Bloodlines"

This failed Pet Sematary prequel may give us a worthy, period-set backstory of the titular old burial ground. But the movie falters just about everything else. Lindsey Anderson Beer, who made her feature-length directorial debut, fails to establish the story’s familial bonds, friendship and emotional struggles revolving around the characters in Pet Sematary: Bloodlines. In the meantime, the horror elements lack genuine scares, and the underwhelming third act puts the final nail in the coffin that — to quote from the voiceover — sometimes, dead is better. (Read my full review here)

6. Rebel Moon: Part One – A Child of Fire

Top 10 Worst Movies of 2023: "Rebel Moon: Part One - A Child of Fire"

The elevator pitch for Rebel Moon sure sounds promising: a mix of Star Wars and Seven Samurai. But Zack Snyder’s grand attempt to turn his two-part movie event (the other one would be Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver) into an epic space opera is a huge letdown. His once-cool, signature stylised slow-motion moments are as annoying as ever. The effects-heavy action set pieces lack the emotional and dramatic punches and the central protagonist played by the otherwise physically-fit Sofia Boutella is disappointingly personality-free. The movie’s typical rebels-against-the-tyrannical-empire plot simply coasts along and just about everything here is curiously uninvolving. (Read my full review here)

5. Ghosted

Top 10 Worst Movies of 2023: "Ghosted"

Casting Chris Evans and Ana de Armas in a mix of rom-com, action-comedy and espionage thriller sounds like a fun idea. But their onscreen chemistry is practically non-existent while Rocketman‘s Dexter Fletcher is more of a work-for-hire here. Not even enlisting Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick of Zombieland and Deadpool fame can do much to come up with an entertaining comedy. The movie does benefit from a thrilling Khyber Pass chase sequence and the hilarious celebrity cameo appearances playing bounty hunters. But too bad they are barely enough to offset most of the shortcomings of this expensive Apple TV+ movie fiasco. (Read my full review here)

4. Expend4bles

Top 10 Worst Movies of 2023: "Expend4bles"

The fourth Expendables hits an all-time low with a limp B-movie that even the return of 18 (R)-rating barely matters. The story is as listless as it gets and the action is incomprehensibly edited with lots of queasy shaky-cam style. Even the franchise’s main man Stallone is relegated to a small role and promoting Jason Statham to a new lead doesn’t do much to save the movie. Franchise newcomer Scott Waugh, who gave us Act of Valor and Need for Speed, certainly hits a double whammy in 2023 with this one and the Jackie Chan-starred Hidden Strike. (Read my full review here)

3. Retribution

Top 10 Worst Movies of 2023: "Retribution"

Placing Liam Neeson in a race-against-time, Speed-like action thriller should have been a cinematic thrill ride. Besides, with Nimród Antal of Vacancy and Predators fame directing Retribution, what could go wrong? As it turns out, a whole lot of them. The movie lacks palpable tension with mediocre action set pieces while Chris Salmanpour’s screenplay is insipid and superficial. And Liam Neeson? He does display his usual no-nonsense charisma but he pretty much phoned in his performance that we have seen countless times before since his late-career resurgence in Taken fifteen years ago. (Read my full review here)

2. The Exorcist: Believer

Top 10 Worst Movies of 2023: "The Exorcist: Believer"

As if botching the misguided Halloween Ends wasn’t enough, David Green Gordon’s attempt to revive the Exorcist franchise resulted in a shockingly dull legacy sequel. He even goes as far as emulating the late William Friedkin’s slow-burn direction but ultimately lacks the atmospheric dread, matter-of-fact realism and terrifying imagery that made the 1973 original such a one-of-a-kind horror experience. The movie’s bland characterisation and over-reliance on jump scares are part of the bigger problems here. And so does the wasted potential of bringing back Ellen Burstyn from the original, only to function merely as a fan service while the multiple-belief angle on the rite of exorcism falls flat with an underwhelming third act. (Read my full review here)

1. Knights of the Zodiac

Top 10 Worst Movies of 2023: "Knights of the Zodiac"

It’s Dragonball Evolution nightmare all over again and not even the involvement of Toei Animation helps to salvage this unforgivable mess of a live-action Saint Seiya movie. Tomek Baginski’s pedestrian direction, coupled with the painfully generic origin story and Mackenyu’s stilted, personality-free lead turn as Seiya are among the main reasons that ruined Knights of the Zodiac. While it’s nice to have Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings‘ Andy Cheng on board to choreograph the action scenes, the movie barely raises the pulse. (Read my full review here)