Christmas is over, and 2018 is drawing to a close. Before we focus on the best movies that this year had to offer it’s time to complete our list of the worst of 2018. Find the first part here.
The Cloverfield Paradox
Before the release of this surprise Netflix Original movie, the Hollywood Cloverfield experiment was a surprise success. The original movie is still one of the best found footage movies of all time, and the subsequent surprise, let’s call it a sidequel, appearance of 10 Cloverfield Lane consolidated JJ Abrams approach to this burgeoning cinematic universe. The Cloverfield Paradox brought the entire endeavour crashing back down to a monster-filled Earth. Originally titled The God Particle, which had nothing to do with Cloverfield, this poor excuse for a movie relied on its cynical promotion as part of the inherent value of the Cloverfield brand, and we all got duped into watching a disaster of a movie that bungled its attempts at body-horror, cerebral science fiction, and even basic storytelling. And provided firm proof that a talented group of actors can’t elevate a bad script. Approach the next Cloverfield movie with caution.
The Open House
2018 has been a treasure trove for horror fans ,with the likes of Hereditary, The Quiet Place, and Mike Flanagan’s masterful adaptation of The Haunting of Hill House, but you don’t have to look too hard for an absolute clunker. Mainly because Netflix will abuse you with half-decent trailers on the menu screen. The Open House is a riff on the home invasion story that confuses boredom with subtlety. It’s a by-the-numbers story of a mother and son trying to piece their lives back together after the death of their husband and father, but it’s so dull and so devoid of personality that you will be praying for some bloodshed to break the monotony.
Ant-Man and The Wasp
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has knocked it out of the park in 2018, celebrating its ten-year anniversary with the release of the brilliant Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War, two movies that easily measure up to classics of the past. The same cannot be said for Ant-Man and the Wasp. I’ve already covered how I feel about both Ant-Man movies in my MCU Retrospective series, but my opinion of this inessential sequel hasn’t lessened over time. It’s still boring, uninspired, and offensively unengaging.
I feel a little harsh for including Venom on this list, as I enjoyed Tom Hardy’s performance as Eddie Brock, but in spite of this obvious strength, Venom still sucks. The story is a plodding mess, the tone feels like a family movie has been possessed by the Symbiote of a gory horror, but the movie’s biggest crime, apart from the CGI cluster-fuck of a finale, is that it wastes it’s truly talented cast, especially Michelle Williams and Riz Ahmed.
Mute is my worst movie of the year, due in equal measure to how bad it actually is, doubly so measured against my own high expectations for what it could have been. I’ve been a fan of director Duncan Jones ever since Moon (Source Code is also a great watch, even if the end doesn’t make any damn sense), and I wasn’t put off by the relative failure of his blockbuster debut, Warcraft. Mute is the movie that Jones has always wanted to make, a sci-fi noir with themes of trauma – physical, psychological, and hereditary – but Blade Runner 2049 got there first and with much more artistic success. It didn’t help that Mute arrived at the point where our appetite for cyber-punk stories that didn’t offer a new perspective (see also: Altered Carbon) had begun to abate. Because of this, Mute felt derivative. Its world was another Blade Runner copy/paste job, it didn’t feature any good female characters, and the ones who did appear were either killed, abused, or both, and, despite solid performances, Paul Rudd and Justin Theroux were completely miscast in the role of the main villains. Mute had nothing new to say, feeling more derivative than original, and is easily the nadir of Jones’ already-patchy career.
By Kevin Boyle
(header image via ComingSoon.Net)