The Worst Horror Movies of All Time, According to Critics

From killer tomatoes to human centipedes. Newsweek

As clever and artistic as some horror movies may be, they ultimately have one core purpose—eliciting fear in their audience.

Because of this, they can be tricky to get right. Jump scares can fall flat, actors have to tread the fine line between convincing and hammy, and costumes can go from terrifying to campy with just one blood splatter too many.

Metacritic, a film review aggregator site, has a ranking of every horror movie on their database, and the top movies show how powerful the genre can be when it’s done right. At the top is Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 masterpiece Psycho, which laid the foundations for the modern horror flick by steering away from the gothic and towards psychological manipulation.

However, the movies at the very bottom of their list represent the wreckage that can ensue when a horror flick goes wrong.

The 35 very worst movies all have a score of 16 out of 100 or less. That score comes from an average weighted score of all the critic reviews that the film received. An average score of 16 is the equivalent of less than one star. The very worst film has a score of just one. Yikes.

These movies are so bad that they’re unlikely to even gain the elusive status of cult favorite, with plots are so ridiculous you wonder how they could ever get made. Murder-Set-Pieces (2005) follows a German fashion photographer with a thirst for female flesh that goes far beyond the darkroom; the New York Post called it a “low-rent exercise in misogyny.”

Zombie! vs. Mardi Gras (2001), in which zombies terrorize the New Orleans festival, also failed to woo critics— The New York Times said its $5,000 micro-budget was misspent, calling it “tedious, crude-looking, crudely contrived.”

A number of sequels of horror classics—Jaws, Friday the 13th, Blair Witch—appear on the list, sullying the reputation of once-promising franchises.

Perhaps some of these movies succeed on a meta level—what is more horrifying than shelling out $15 to sit in a dark room, bored out of your mind? If that’s the very specific thrill of awfulness you’re after, these are the movies for you.

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35. Silent Hill: Revelation 3D (2012). Metacritic score: 16.
Director: Michael J. Bassett. Summary: In Silent Hill: Revelation 3D, Heather Mason and her father have been on the run, always one step ahead of dangerous forces that she doesn't fully understand.
Open Road Films
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34. FeardotCom (2002). Metacritic score: 16.
Director: William Malone. Summary: A brash young police detective (Stephen Dorff) joins forces with a beautiful, ambitious Department of Health researcher (Natascha McElhone) to find the answers behind the mysterious deaths of four people who each died 48 hours after logging on to the Internet site Feardotcom.
Warner Bros.
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33. Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985). Metacritic score: 16.
Director: Danny Steinmann. Summary: Still haunted by his past, Tommy Jarvis - who, as a child, killed Jason Voorhees - wonders if the serial killer is connected to a series of brutal murders occurring in and around the secluded halfway house where he now lives.
Paramount Pictures
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32. ClownTown (2016). Metacritic score: 16.
Director: Tom Nagel. Summary: A group of friends get stranded in a seemingly abandoned town and find themselves stalked by a gang of violent psychopaths dressed as clowns.
ITN Distribution
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31. Darkness (2004). Metacritic score: 15.
Director: Jaume Balagueró. Summary: When a family moves into a seemingly quaint country house they discover that their new home has a horrifying past that may threaten them.
Dimension Films
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30. Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000). Metacritic score: 15.
Director: Joe Berlinger. Summary: Students at a Boston college become fascinated by the missing filmmakers, so they decide to go into the same woods and find out what really happened.
Artisan Entertainment
29. Piranha Part Two: The Spawning (1982). Metacritic score: 15.
Director: James Cameron and Miller Drake and Ovidio G. Assonitis. Summary: A scuba diving instructor, her biochemist boyfriend, and her police chief ex-husband try to link a series of bizarre deaths to a mutant strain of piranha fish whose lair is a sunken freighter ship off a Caribbean island resort.
Columbia Films
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28. Jaws: The Revenge (1987). Metacritic score: 15.
Director: Joseph Sargent. Summary: Chief Brody's widow believes that her family is deliberately being targeted by another shark in search of revenge.
Universal Pictures
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27. Eloise (2017). Metacritic score: 15.
Director: Robert Legato. Summary: Four friends break into an abandoned insane asylum in search of a death certificate which will grant one of them a large inheritance.
Vertical Entertainment
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26. House of the Dead (2003). Metacritic score: 15.
Director: Uwe Boll. Summary: Based on the best selling video game from Sega, House of the Dead tells the story of a group of college students who go to a rave on a mysterious island and get more than they bargained for.
Mill Creek Entertainment
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25. Evidence (2013). Metacritic score: 14.
Director: Olatunde Osunsanmi. Summary: A detective hunts down a killer using video footage shot by the victims of a massacre at an abandoned gas station.
Image Entertainment