Film Flops: Top 5 Worst Horror Movies, According To Fans

In our humble opinion, there is no greater genre to fumble in than the horror genre. One can only hope these films live on in cult classic history if anything. From cheesy special effects to overly predictable plotlines, the worst horror movies truly embody the epitome of bad filmmaking. Yet, there is something strangely captivating about watching these train wrecks unfold on screen. Whether it’s the laughable acting or the absurdity of the monsters, these films have managed to carve a niche for themselves in the hearts of dedicated horror fans. While they may never be considered masterpieces, there is no denying the cult following and enduring legacy these movies have created within the genre.

But what is the attraction of the horror genre? A study finds fear has a “sweet spot” that can actually cause pleasure for humans. However, it’s a fine line with too much frightful stimuli turning fun into an unpleasant time very easily. This arousal would include a quickening pulse and a release of hormones in the frightened person’s brain. So, it’s not strange if you enjoy the safety of watching a scary movie or walking through a haunted house; it turns out our brains are wired that way. 

Despite the many heart-pounding fright flicks that have spooked moviegoers in recent years, you’ll have to turn back the clock for the scariest films ever. The survey of 2,000 American adults had few surprises, though. Americans agreed that the most terrifying film ever created was “The Exorcist,” followed by the first iterations of “Halloween,” “Friday the 13th,” and “A Nightmare on Elm Street.” Rounding out the top five, perhaps unexpectedly for some, was the 2013 haunted house nightmare “The Conjuring” — the only horror film made in the past 30 years to make the top five. 

Now, with all these great horror movies in mind, it’s only right that we completely ruin it with the worst of the worst, right? Or the best of the worst, depending on how you look at it. As always, we at StudyFinds have researched across multiple expert sources to bring you today’s list of the worst horror movies of all time. Don’t agree with our list and think you’ve seen some stinkers? We would love to hear your recommendations in the comments down below!

red cinema chair
Cinema (Photo by Felix Mooneeram on Unsplash)

The List: Worst Horror Movies, According to Experts


1. “Jaws: The Revenge” (1987)

The first spot on our list goes to the fourth installment of the “Jaws” franchise. With a questionable plot and even more eyebrow-raising special effects, “How low can you go is the name of the game in this abominable third sequel to arguably the best suspense film ever made. Michael Caine famously missed an Oscars ceremony where he won for ‘Hannah and Her Sisters’ to film ‘Jaws: The Revenge.’ Film critic Roger Ebert famously knocked him for it. ‘The Revenge’ is mostly unwatchably boring and unpleasurable, but there are so-bad-it’s-good accents, like the roaring shark. Yes, a roaring shark,” says Collider.

"Jaws: The Revenge" (1987)
“Jaws: The Revenge” (1987)

“Ebert called ‘Jaws: The Revenge’ ‘not simply a bad movie, but also a stupid and incompetent one.’ He was absolutely right. The more you see this one, the more ridiculous stuff you will find in it. The special effects, Michael Caine’s performance, and the physical abilities of a marine mammal are only part of an equation that will never make sense as a follow-up to Spielberg’s masterpiece,” writes MovieWeb.

“Talk about diminishing returns. ‘Jaws 2’ was a solid meh, and ‘Jaws 3-D’ was one big gimmick that nobody asked for, but ‘Jaws: The Revenge’ was a different beast entirely. Sheila Benson of the Los Angeles Times called it ‘dumb beyond belief, hollow, bloody and nonsensical, it’s Universal Studios’ vanity movie, a way of providing employment yet again for its Great White icon,'” describes Insider.

2. “Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2” (2000)

The second spot belongs to “Book of Shadows,” the follow-up film to “The Blair Witch Project”. “The story is simple enough as far as sequels go. The characters are interested in the story of what happened to the three filmmakers that went missing, so they set off to investigate. They take a ‘Blair Witch’ tour and end up camping out in a house for the night. The plot is incredibly thin, and the actors are mediocre at best,” notes Reel Rundown.

“Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2” (2000)

“One year after ‘The Blair Witch Project’ took audiences by storm and birthed the found footage genre, Artisan Entertainment put the sequel ‘Book of Shadows’ on the fast track. The movie follows a group of ‘Blair Witch’ fanatics as they venture out to the Black Hills to explore the legend first-hand. Chaos eventually ensues — but it was ultimately tough for audiences to give a damn,” explains Looper.

“As irritatingly incomprehensible as the first film was, this scripted follow-up was much, much worse. Though famed documentary director Joe Berlinger would argue that excessive studio interference would ruin his original vision, it is hard to imagine how any initial ideas could make this movie work. It seems purposely lost inside its own insular devices. On the plus side, this completely crappy follow-up more or less killed the ‘Witch’ franchise for good. Thank heaven for small miracles,” reports PopMatters.

3. “One Missed Call” (2008)

Next is the psychological horror film “One Missed Call.” We wish we had something better to say about it, but alas, “With a zero percent rating from critics and a 29 percent rating from audiences, 2008’s ‘One Missed Call’ might just be the worst horror movie out there. The movie was given scathing reviews at the time of its release, with The New York Times’ Jeannette Catsoulis commenting that ‘One Missed Call’ ‘sacrifices coherence for atmosphere at every turn,’ and The A.V. Club’s Scott Tobias said it made ‘the shortlist for least essential movie of the decade,'” writes BestLife.

“One Missed Call” (2008)

“The storyline follows a group of people who get mysterious phone calls about the day they’ll die. (Spooky idea, sure, but bad execution.) Among the critiques is that it was boring, not scary enough, the acting was bad, the script was bad, and, overall, it was ‘one big mess of a horror movie,'” describes CafeMom.

“If it seems as if studios were scrambling to remake Asian horror cinema in the 2000s, that’s because they were, and largely thanks to the success of ‘The Ring’ in 2002. Make no mistake, however: ‘One Missed Call’ is absolutely not in the same company. The film can’t even compare with the American remake of ‘The Grudge,’ it’s that bad. It wasn’t even screened for critics prior to release, and the reception by fans and horror writers after the fact was almost universally negative,” notes WatchMojo.

4. “House of the Dead” (2003)

The second to last spot goes to “House of the Dead.” If this film can teach you anything, it’s that not every video game franchise should be made into a movie. “Uwe Boll is responsible (or maybe to blame) for ‘House of the Dead,’ in which a group of ravers have their drug-aided island dance party interrupted by all sorts of monsters looking for blood,” explains Stacker.

"House of the Dead" (2003)
“House of the Dead” (2003)

“Uwe Boll has made a reputation as a director who makes incredibly awful video game flicks. It’d be easy to pick apart his other releases — the ‘Bloodrayne’ movies and ‘Alone in the Dark,’ for example — but we’re sticking with ‘House of the Dead,’ based on the popular arcade game where the player uses a light-gun to shoot an onslaught of slow-walking zombies. Boll’s movie takes this concept and completely obliterates it with a flimsy plot and a group of one-dimensional characters,” describes Looper.

“When Uwe Boll attempted to bring the uber-popular Sega game ‘House of the Dead’ to theaters, it totally bombed, despite such seemingly failsafe elements as an island rave, several love triangles, and a house full of zombies. Despite its terrible reception, however, it actually spawned a sequel, ‘House of the Dead II,’ released in 2005,” adds Refinery29.

5. “The Happening” (2008)

Our last spot is dedicated to “The Happening.” A failure all around, “M. Night Shyamalan’s 2008 flick ‘The Happening’ is so mysterious that even its stars — an A-list cast that includes Mark Wahlberg, Zooey Deschanel, John Leguizamo, and Betty Buckley — don’t seem to know what’s going on. A natural disaster strikes the United States, and people panic. Tense scenes fall flat, the dialogue is mediocre, and in the end, it turns out that the natural disaster is spurred by a bunch of angry flora trying to send an environmental message to Earth’s inhabitants. Not a surprise that Shyamalan received several Razzies nominations that year,” says Refinery29.

"The Happening" (2008)
“The Happening” (2008)

“If it wasn’t so pathetic, it would be laughable. Former wunderkind M. Night Shyamalan finally spent the last bit of his ‘Sixth Sense’/Next Spielberg credentials making a movie in which plants went on a rampage against mankind. No, not in a Day of the Triffids kind of carnage. No, our friendly neighborhood vegetation decided to release a neurotoxin, which caused humans to kill themselves. Huh? Anyway, with questionable scripting and even more specious acting, this was a truly terrible attempt at terror. Leave it to the freefalling filmmaker to make things even more unintentionally hilarious by touting this as the scariest movie ever,” writes PopMatters.

“M. Night Shyamalan’s star began to fade when ‘The Village’ turned out not to be the terrifying horror film that trailer watchers expected. Then came ‘Lady in the Water,’ which swam its way to 25% on Rotten Tomatoes.’ The Happening’ was strike three. The eco-horror thriller stars Mark Wahlberg as a high-school science teacher who becomes the de facto leader of a group trying to survive a mysterious event that is causing people to suddenly and violently kill themselves. Tim Grierson and Will Leitch of The New Yorker wrote, ‘It’s the strangest big-budget thriller to come out in the last 25 years. It also might be the worst,'” concludes Insider.

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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.

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