It’s no secret that the 2010s saw some incredible science fiction movies. Between crowd-pleasing blockbusters, like Edge of Tomorrow and Avengers: Infinity War, and more thought-provoking movies, like Arrival, Blade Runner 2049, and Ex Machina, the 2010s had a lot to offer.
For every great sci-fi movie that came out of the decade, however, there were countless terrible ones. Every single year of the decade saw more than its fair share of critical disasters, with movies as awful as Jupiter Ascending, Independence Day: Resurgence, and Serenity not even making this list. This calls into question exactly what the worst sci-fi movies of the decade actually were.
10 Skyline (2010) – 4.4
The directing duo responsible for 2007’s truly abysmal Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, The Strause Brothers’ somehow managed to find their way back behind a camera for 2010’s yawn-inducing alien invasion movie Skyline.
Following a group of friends trapped in a condo as the cataclysmic invasion hits, the movie’s lifeless characters and uninspired plot didn’t stop it from making bank at the box office, resulting in the production of two entirely pointless sequels – one of which is currently in development.
9 The Darkest Hour (2011) – 4.9
Another movie to throw onto the ever-increasing pile of disposable and shoddily made alien invasion movies, The Darkest Hour somehow managed to assemble a halfway decent cast, nonetheless, including the likes of Emile Hirsch, Olivia Thirlby, and Joel Kinnaman.
Unfortunately, having been written by John Spaihts of Prometheus, Passengers, and The Mummy fame, the movie is about as frustrating and nonsensical as you might expect. Bland, unimaginative and painful to sit through, The Darkest Hour was panned by critics upon its release.
8 Area 407 (2012) – 3.6
Who’d have thought a sci-fi-horror found footage film released in the year 2012 could possibly be a critical failure? Believe it or not, that’s exactly what Area 407 turned out to be.
Arguably the most obscure movie on this list, the fact that barely anybody saw this one is likely no accident. The film was reportedly shot without a script, being entirely ad-libbed by its actors during the movie’s suspiciously lean five-day shoot. Whether or not this was down to sheer laziness or a failed attempt to recapture the magic of classic found footage movie The Blair Witch Project is up for debate – but the movie is terrible, regardless.
7 After Earth (2013) – 4.8
Continuing director M. Night Shyamalan’s critical spiral that began with 2004’s The Village, After Earth is widely considered one of the worst movies of his entire career – with the bafflingly ill-conceived The Last Airbender being the only movie of his with a lower IMDb rating.
The film follows Cypher and his son Kitai – played by real-life father and son duo Will and Jaden Smith – as they crash-land on a post-apocalyptic Earth and are forced to traverse its deadly terrain in order to get help.
6 Left Behind (2014) – 3.1
Frequently cropping up in the conversation surrounding the worst movies ever made, 2014’s Nicolas Cage-starring post-apocalyptic movie Left Behind may initially look like your regular, run-of-the-mill sci-fi thriller, but it doesn’t take long for the movie to reveal itself as an obnoxiously preachy Christian rapture story.
It’s about as subtle as a sledgehammer, but it’s not just the movie’s religious themes that make it so widely mocked, with its awful writing and direction making it a miracle the movie was ever released in the first place.
5 Vice (2015) – 4.2
While Bruce Willis appears to have checked out completely in a great deal of his more recent movie projects, he really can’t be blamed for looking so bored throughout Vice, with the movie just about edging out Josh Trank’s disastrous Fantastic Four reboot as the worst sci-fi movie of 2015.
Playing against type as a villain, the movie sees Willis play the cold Julian Michaels – whose bizarre resort allows its patrons to force their most twisted fantasies upon a series of sentient androids. Sure, the concept could be remotely interesting in the right hands, but Vice does and says absolutely nothing worthwhile with it, making it one of 2015’s most instantly forgettable movies.
4 Cell (2016) – 4.3
Although Cell is hardly one of author Stephen King’s most beloved novels, 2016’s awful movie adaptation fails to capture any of the fear and nuance that makes the book worth reading. The movie chronicles the aftermath of a deadly phone signal that’s turned most of the population into vicious, mindless monsters.
Almost every deviation the movie makes from its source material is for the worse, with its ending feeling insultingly hollow – making its previous 90 minutes of run time feel retroactively even worse than it already was.
3 Transformers: The Last Knight (2017) – 5.2
It’s no secret that Michael Bay’s Transformers series has long overstayed its welcome at this point. Fortunately, while Transformers: The Last Knight is still a terrible movie, it’s also an indicator of the franchise’s diminishing returns. While its previous entry, Transformers: Age of Extinction, made a staggering $1.1 billion at the box office, The Last Knight made almost half that number – bringing in a total of $605 million.
What’s more, The Last Knight is also the most critically panned movie in the series, with its Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic, and IMDb scores all reflecting this.
2 Future World (2018) – 3.2
Directed, produced by, and starring James Franco, 2018’s direct-to-video flop Future World is as bad as its title would suggest, boasting one of the lowest IMDb scores of any sci-fi movie in the past decade.
The movie follows a prince who travels across the deadly post-apocalyptic wasteland to find a cure-all medicine for his sick mother, only to be captured by the nefarious Drug Lord, whose plans threaten to destroy the remainder of humanity. While the movie aims for sprawling, post-apocalyptic epic, it ends up feeling like a farcically bad Mad Max rip-off, with the likes of Milla Jovovich and Snoop Dogg populating its bizarrely assembled cast.
1 IO (2019) – 4.7
Starring Once Upon A Time in Hollywood’s Margaret Qualley, as well as the great Anthony Mackie and Danny Huston, IO may seem appealing on paper, but the movie was ultimately met with harsh criticism when it was quietly released on Netflix in 2019.
Qualley plays scientist Sam Walden, who’s torn between her potentially planet-saving research and companionship when she’s given the choice to leave a post-apocalyptic Earth, alongside Mackey’s charismatic Micah.
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