Moviegoing in 2021 was a mixed bag: While the COVID pandemic ebbed and flowed, audiences returned to theaters when they could, but many preferred the safer (and cozier) choice to stream at home. The offerings were varied, and there were plenty of standout films. As is the case every year, however, there was also plenty of garbage. So, what were the worst movies of 2021?
To find out, we took a look at review aggregator site Metacritic’s ranked list of every 2021 release, then headed straight for the bottom to find the films with the lowest scores. These are the movies that, on average, got the worst reviews from critics. They include major blockbusters alongside little-seen indies, and plenty of movies in between. Read on to find out how many of these films you suffered through this year—and if you agree with the critical consensus.
“Certainly among the worst films of the year considering the reputable talent involved, this inspirational drama stains [Denzel] Washington’s directorial filmography,” writes Carlos Aguilar for The Wrap.
“Demonic isn’t just a low-budget supernatural–sci-fi thriller; it’s also a shallow one, a boring one, a poorly conceived one—and the characters stink too,” writes William Bibbiani for The Wrap.
“Indeed, the strangest thing about Mainstream (and it is a strange, strange film) is just how out of touch it feels,” writes Rory O’Connor for The Film Stage.
“He’s All That is, yes, a nightmarish, joyless commentary on influencer-beholden adolescence told through the crutch of nostalgia and starring a charisma-less TikTok star,” writes Brianna Zigler for Paste.
“Space Jam 2‘s desire to tap into the nostalgia associated with its predecessor leaves the sequel feeling unoriginal and predictable,” writes Abrar Al-Heeti for CNET.
“If the devil did exist then surely he’d have the power to destroy films as dull as this,” writes Benjamin Lee for The Guardian.
“In the face of icky writing, limp directing, awful pacing, horrific green screen, and terrible jokes, star Joey King spent three film adaptations of Beth Reeckles’ YA novels injecting heart and humor into her Elle Evans. Still, King’s charm isn’t enough to save the series,” writes Kate Erbland for IndieWire.
“Naked Singularity isn’t a typical courtroom drama. It’s a heist flick, a sci-fi romp, and a message film all rolled into one. And it’s a pretty terrible example of all three genres,” writes Robert Daniels for Polygon.
“How can a movie this visually glossy be so devastatingly uninteresting and dull?” writes Odie Henderson for RogerEbert.com.
“It’s difficult to imagine a high-concept thriller that coalesces around its one-line conceit less convincingly than director Mark Raso’s Awake,” writes Pat Brown for Slant.
“Home Sweet Home Alone is a very odd duck—a movie that basically replicates the three-decades-old Home Alone template, but in a way that feels slightly weird and ill-conceived,” writes Brian Lowry for CNN.
“The trailer for the film is way better than sitting through it. It’s a tedious mess to endure and seemed like way more fun making than watching,” writes Mark Kennedy for the Associated Press.
“There’s a lot of walking and talking, but this thing never really moves fast enough, not even during its action scenes,” writes Simon Abrams for RogerEbert.com.
“The Blazing World falls short narratively and visually, not leaning hard enough into its stylistic possibilities to leave an impression past its opening credits,” writes Monica Castillo for RogerEbert.com.
“Sam Claflin is best in show, but his performance is undercut by the film’s inability to escalate or explore the ramifications of its premise,” writes Chuck Bowen for Slant.
“Tom & Jerry is five to ten minutes of action that might have worked in one of the cartoon duo’s shorts, surrounded by an inordinate amount of unimaginative, unfunny human-based conflict,” writes John DeFore for The Hollywood Reporter.
“Full of action without thrills, comedy without laughs, noise without meaning and violence without reason (or even any cool combat choreography), it’s a headache with a Hollywood marketing budget,” writes Cary Darling for the San Francisco Chronicle.
“This isn’t an unwatchable movie, just an underachieving and forgettable one, and somehow that’s more irritating than a disastrous swing for the fences would’ve been,” writes Matt Zoller Seitz for RogerEbert.com.
“Every implausible scene, every unconvincing character, every contrived dollop of symbolism, every toe-curlingly misjudged and unearned emotional climax seems as if it has been concocted in some secret bio-warfare lab for assaulting your mind with pure, toxic nonsense,” writes Peter Bradshaw for The Guardian.
“The film left me shaking with anger more than fear,” writes Cath Clarke for The Guardian.
“This is not a considered look at someone’s life; it’s a cash-in that just wants to get to the tragic end, hoping that the audience will convince themselves that they felt something along the way,” writes Richard Lawson for Vanity Fair.
“Infinite feels like a depressing fable about the movie industry,” writes Alison Willmore for Vulture.
“Completely miscast with uninspired production, this remodeling of Blithe Spirit is a faint shadow of its [Noël] Coward roots, a resurrected retired poltergeist without its same purpose or vigor,” writes Jenny Nulf for The Austin Chronicle.
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“The characters are bland, the dialogue is atrocious, the action is mediocre, and even the heist is a boring bust,” writes Brian Tallerico for RogerEbert.com.
“It’s the kind of movie that seems to suck your soul out while you’re watching it, variably crass and slapstick humor landing with a bloody thud,” writes Ryan Lattanzio for IndieWire.
“Infuriatingly manipulative and insufferably preachy, American Skin examines the cultural issues tearing apart U.S. society and reduces them to cheap theatrics,” writes Tim Grierson for Screen Daily.
“Although the film’s narrative is passable at best, it struggles to maintain any momentum due to uninteresting characters and predictably bad writing,” writes Ferdosa Abdi for Screen Rant.
“[Anthony] Hopkins isn’t awful in The Virtuoso, but the movie that surrounds him is,” writes Peter Debruge for Variety.
“An old-fashioned piece of shameless hokum, Sia’s Music might be hilarious if it weren’t so offensive,” writes Bilge Ebiri for Vulture.
“The fighting is unsatisfying, and renders the film a failure,” writes Johnny Oleksinski for the New York Post.