News

18 Rotten Movies We Loved from 2018

Not every Rotten movie this year was without its merits, so here are a few worth a second look.

by | December 11, 2018 | Comments

This year has gifted audiences with hundreds of Certified Fresh gems – brilliant indie fare like Leave No Trace and Sorry To Bother You, mainstream smashes like Black Panther and Crazy Rich Asians, and too many super-Fresh documentaries to count. But, as with every year, these Certified Fresh treats were the exception, not the rule. The bulk of movies that landed in theaters and in homes this year earned the big green splat, designated Rotten by Tomatometer-approved critics who proved indifferent to their charms.

And yet, just because a film fails to make the grade with critics, it doesn’t mean that it’s not worth your time. It might have been underappreciated, been so bad it’s good, or featured something – an exquisite performance, an incredible scene – buried somewhere under all the rot. Here, the Rotten Tomatoes staff turns to the Tomatometer and says… “Huh? But we loved that movie.” (Though not unanimously – not everyone on staff could get behind every film on the list).

Behold, the 2018 Rotten movies that we – well, many of us – loved, ranked from almost-Fresh to almost-zero.


Unfriended: Dark Web (2018) 60%

#1So. Close. To. Freshness. We have no idea why this sequel to the low-budget 2015 hit bombed so badly at the box office, because it’s kinda great (if you, er, unfriend, any sense of disbelief you bring to the moviegoing experience). It’s nasty stuff, with some fun twists and a ludicrous use of Bitcoin, and the young cast – including Get Out maid Betty Gabriel – does a solid job of ratcheting up the tension with their increasingly shocked-face cam shows.


Slice (2018) 52%

#2Chance the Rapper has had his issues with Rotten Tomatoes in the past, but we have zero issues with Chance, who is charming as all hell as a pizza delivery boy in this bizarre horror-comedy from A24. The film is definitely a pizza with way too many toppings – Werewolves! Witches! Mozzarella! – but sometimes (say, late at night, when the munchies kick in), that’s exactly what you crave.


The First Purge (2018) 56%

#3First Purge, best Purge? Not according to the Tomatometer, which places The Purge: Anarchy at the top of this franchise heap, with a score of 56%. But this latest film, which focuses on the first experimental Purge, conducted on Staten Island in New York City, is just as good as its predecessors if you ask us. It’s probably the most political of all the films and, while not as scary as some other Purge films, has some killer action set pieces and a star turn by Insecure’s Y’Lan Noel.


Book Club (2018) 54%

#4We could watch this cast – Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, Mary Steenbergen – read the phone book, and let’s face it, the rather rote script for this rom-com isn’t a far cry from that tome. But the women are absolutely spectacular, especially Bergen as a judge trying online dating for the first time. Drink all the Chardonnay and indulge.


Rampage (2018) 51%

#5What have Dwayne Johnson movies been missing all these years? Giant animals – and lots of them. And, in gorilla George, audiences are given a rather charming one, at that. It’s all as fun as it is dumb, and while Rotten, it is, as of now, the highest-rated video game-based movie, according to the Tomatometer.


Tomb Raider (2018) 53%

#6Who would have thunk it? Alicia Vikander: a better action star than Angelina Jolie. This reboot, from The Wave director Roar Uthaug, split critics right down the middle, with half giving it a thumbs up – mostly for the tenacious Vikander – and half giving it a shrug for its indifferent action, its lack of ambition, and for being another origin story. We were feeling the girl power and have our fingers crossed Vikander gets another swing at Croft, without any of those origin-tale burdens.


The Spy Who Dumped Me (2018) 49%

#7It’s no Spy, but it’s a damn good time thanks largely to the work of Kate McKinnon and Mila Kunis, who play two Millennials caught up in an international espionage plot. As she did in Ghostbusters, McKinnon essentially runs away from the film, and makes a strong case to any casting agents looking for a comic lead.


Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018) 47%

#8Fallen Kingdom is essentially two different movies smashed together: an island adventure and a haunted mansion thriller – and it’s the former that we actually liked. The “save the dinosaurs” angle was something we hadn’t seen in the franchise, and director J.A. Boyana delivered genuine spectacle in the volcano-eruption-dino-stampede sequence. If you skip the movie’s second half, pretend the DNA plot twist didn’t happen, and stay for the end-credits sequence, Fallen Kingdom is a blast.


Skyscraper (2018) 48%

#9It’s Die Hard but… with The Rock, and you have not lived until you’ve seen his character’s use of duct tape.


The Meg (2018) 45%

#10The biggest complaint about The Meg was that it wasn’t quite dumb enough, that it should have leaned even harder into its B-movie silliness. Agreed. But there is just enough of that silliness in this long-in-development movie about a 75-foot shark to make it a good enough time – and the gratuitous shots of a shirtless Jason Statham and a fabulous turn by a dog named Kelly push it to near greatness.


A Wrinkle in Time (2018) 42%

#11This completely earnest and extremely ambitious adaptation failed to connect with critics and audiences at the box office, but we’re betting on a long afterlife in home entertainment. Why? Director Ava DuVernay conjures visuals that are like nothing you’ve seen – especially impressive when so many family action adventures seem to crib off of the template set by Tim Burton with Alice and Wonderland – and the father-daughter relationship at its heart is incredibly moving. Rewards come with repeat viewings.


The Strangers: Prey at Night (2018) 40%

#12Like its Rotten predecessor, we have a feeling genre fans are going to look back on this short-and-brutal (if not especially necessary) sequel as an underappreciated gem. This time, a family of four is stalked by three motive-free masked killers in a caravan resort, and their style of mayhem is decidedly ’80s slasher. Bailee Madison and Lewis Pullman (son of Bill) give standout performances as the kids.


The Girl in the Spider's Web (2018) 38%

#13This stripped-down take on the Lisbeth Salander legend feels like it should have been released 10 or so years ago – and if it had, it might not have bombed so hard with critics and audiences alike. But still, it’s a more than serviceable thriller, a kind of James Bond take on Stieg Larsson’s famed character, with director Fede Alvarez (Don’t Breathe) delivering the set-piece goods, LaKeith Stanfield supplying some wit, and Claire Foy in excellent form as our tough, bad man-punishing protagonist.


Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018) 36%

#14To go by the Tomatometer, Grindelwald is the Cars 2 of the Potterverse – the first Rotten entry in the bundled Harry Potter/Fantastic Beasts franchise, and the first time that people began to question JK Rowling’s Midas touch. And yet, while it’s undoubtedly all a bit stodgy, there are pleasures aplenty here for Potterheads: incredible visuals, inventive beasts, Ezra Miller, and – just as with the similarly groundwork-laying Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1the promise of more exciting adventures to come.


I Feel Pretty (2018) 35%

#15Critics and commentators were split on the movie’s message – was it a celebration of women of all shapes, even as it made jokes at their expense, but also as it was in on those jokes, and was mostly empowering? – and there’s a ton of product porn to turn you on, or off, depending on your bent. But Amy Schumer’s commitment, her smart pairing with up-and-comer Rory Scovel, and a hilariously out-of-her-comfort-zone Michelle Williams as a chirpy-voiced cosmetics CEO, make this a solid rom-com to tide you over between your repeat Devil Wears Prada viewings.


Venom (2018) 30%

#16The Tomatometer says 28%, the Audience says 85% – and well, we’re not picking sides. It’s a trash heap, sure, a total mess, and what even is this thing? But damn if we didn’t get a kick out of it. Most credit must go to Eddie Brock himself, Tom Hardy, who keeps a committed straight face throughout, and makes this bigger-budget Upgrade a dark, twisted, and bizarre treat. Bring on Venom 2.


The Nun (2018) 24%

#17The Rottenest movie so far in the Conjuring Universe – currently 3% more Rotten than the first Annabelle – The Nun is essentially a poorly lit amusement park ride, a jumble of jump-scares and other horror clichés and little else. In certain moods, we’re totally there for that.


Life Itself (2018) 13%

#18OK, “love” might be a slightly strong word for how we feel about this bucket of tears splashed all over us late in the year by Dan “This Is Us” Fogelman. But there are moments and performances in this teetering-on-so-bad-its-essential melodrama that are genuinely strong. And if you feel like a good cry – like, a Beacheslevel cry – Life Itself delivers.


Buy or rent the 2018 Rotten Movies We Loved

Tag Cloud

LGBTQ posters CNN mutant Nat Geo Infographic golden globes Amazon Prime Video quibi mockumentary Paramount Network hist Nominations sitcom what to watch streamig IFC Films Comedy Central doctor who Tumblr teaser Ghostbusters YouTube boxing green book Columbia Pictures leaderboard zombie french FX comedies WarnerMedia action-comedy Fox News police drama new zealand children's TV Peacock cancelled TV series DC Universe Rocketman Acorn TV HBO Go technology Mary Poppins Returns VOD HFPA romantic comedy art house BBC America romance E! Comic Book New York Comic Con Fox Searchlight crime drama Discovery Channel harry potter NYCC movie Quiz golden globe awards child's play Television Critics Association high school Instagram Live dogs streaming movies Marvel crime thriller Lucasfilm telelvision psychological thriller LGBT ghosts The Purge Sundance Now independent interviews game show rt archives 71st Emmy Awards Comics on TV Reality christmas movies cooking Musicals Animation Ovation diversity 1990s a nightmare on elm street Arrowverse Avengers IMDb TV Esquire talk show YouTube Premium Family 4/20 The Walt Disney Company Sci-Fi slashers stand-up comedy Amazon Studios 90s Exclusive Video NBC RT21 NBA indie vs. toy story First Reviews South by Southwest Film Festival comic archives USA comics comiccon rotten TNT Crackle scene in color film series Fargo 2019 laika Toys 21st Century Fox scary screenings Hulu Opinion Film Festival political drama Valentine's Day saw foreign anthology biography HBO Holiday award winner fast and furious war cops king arthur nbcuniversal ID black Trophy Talk movies spain science fiction CBS All Access National Geographic cancelled TruTV Heroines comic books FOX blockbusters olympics worst movies San Diego Comic-Con stop motion halloween Calendar RT History Pacific Islander Red Carpet Best and Worst 72 Emmy Awards Food Network Emmy Nominations docuseries The Walking Dead Certified Fresh SXSW 2022 History Countdown gangster women BBC Trivia Television Academy Amazon Sony Adult Swim 73rd Emmy Awards Hear Us Out italian pirates of the caribbean venice blockbuster Rock godzilla 2021 Trailer indiana jones A24 Western sequel festival true crime Chernobyl Podcast robots BET Super Bowl Star Trek Box Office Best Picture Amazon Prime unscripted Disney The Arrangement Oscars composers Sundance TV Fall TV Tags: Comedy social media australia documentaries breaking bad sequels VICE sopranos Paramount Plus best Summer blaxploitation scary movies Cartoon Network hollywood 93rd Oscars CMT films Ellie Kemper razzies Pop 24 frames DC streaming service Paramount Pictures Superheroe MTV prank cancelled TV shows renewed TV shows Wes Anderson superhero The CW dramedy Extras ABC young adult debate Shudder HBO Max Turner Anna Paquin Christmas Oscar aliens reviews ABC Family Disney Plus Pride Month jurassic park dragons Focus Features feel good TCM Universal Pictures El Rey space DGA Native franchise 2020 Action halloween tv justice league Star Wars Disney+ Disney Plus video Mindy Kaling Freeform superman elevated horror Alien Lifetime Christmas movies mission: impossible revenge Pirates DirecTV trophy summer TV critics Rom-Com spider-man rotten movies we love Mary poppins Best Actress legend PaleyFest football hispanic heritage month Video Games FX on Hulu miniseries Prime Video marvel comics target crime Polls and Games live action sag awards summer preview boxoffice monster movies directors DC Comics Year in Review Grammys singing competition spanish name the review politics Apple japan PBS Travel Channel Dark Horse Comics 2018 MSNBC Emmys Pop TV serial killer royal family free movies lord of the rings werewolf Awards Tour Apple TV Plus Rocky psycho suspense IFC period drama documentary Epix animated 99% screen actors guild book Women's History Month TV movies asian-american sports Tubi The Academy BET Awards television BBC One james bond Tokyo Olympics Best Actor Sundance criterion Pet Sematary chucky thriller Syfy Superheroes FXX SXSW universal monsters natural history A&E supernatural Interview Mudbound Brie Larson Hallmark Christmas movies new york concert game of thrones tv talk ITV cars Song of Ice and Fire casting remakes zombies mob facebook TCA Awards vampires new star wars movies critic resources reboot Cosplay ABC Signature versus OWN Mystery canceled Vudu zero dark thirty anime dreamworks cinemax TCA 2017 PlayStation Music Starz Captain marvel Paramount obi wan Baby Yoda die hard spanish language Neflix scene in color series deadpool kaiju Disney Channel Funimation adaptation Photos Broadway Martial Arts dark WGN hispanic slasher know your critic Creative Arts Emmys Black Mirror Teen Comic-Con@Home 2021 nfl Universal spy thriller 94th Oscars Horror batman Drama strong female leads Logo mcc Walt Disney Pictures king kong The Witch cancelled television discovery Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Marvel Television Character Guide fresh Masterpiece latino heist movie TCA joker popular X-Men Country Classic Film 45 First Look biopic ViacomCBS dexter MCU Lifetime 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Sneak Peek finale rom-coms Legendary cartoon hidden camera Spike GIFs twilight YA YouTube Red broadcast book adaptation Geeked Week 2015 series Britbox Netflix Christmas movies SDCC APB American Society of Cinematographers nature Stephen King Biopics aapi Thanksgiving witnail adenture 79th Golden Globes Awards TV One international Cannes festivals Lionsgate Bravo Sony Pictures wonder woman OneApp Image Comics news Premiere Dates CW Seed 20th Century Fox toronto Nickelodeon rt labs critics edition live event Film TV renewals Kids & Family TCA Winter 2020 cats Pixar Showtime Holidays Black History Month Hallmark obituary travel marvel cinematic universe satire 2017 MGM 2016 cults Shondaland video on demand spider-verse basketball scene in color TV Land worst CBS target scene in color docudrama classics Tomatazos Indigenous Marathons Election Spectrum Originals dc historical drama Best Director medical drama ratings Spring TV Academy Awards E3 Set visit Warner Bros. all-time AMC Plus Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Musical Watching Series 007 Winners VH1 Fantasy Endgame Mary Tyler Moore comic book movie Schedule TIFF black comedy GoT Binge Guide comic book movies TLC AMC SundanceTV adventure canceled TV shows kids Netflix parents Star Wars Celebration japanese Marvel Studios jamie lee curtis Writers Guild of America Elton John Awards ESPN spinoff USA Network transformers GLAAD crossover based on movie Reality Competition Winter TV trailers summer TV preview TV emmy awards streaming Apple TV+ kong dceu Turner Classic Movies TBS stoner BAFTA richard e. Grant See It Skip It Hollywood Foreign Press Association rt labs genre disaster Crunchyroll binge Disney streaming service scorecard Comedy south america theme song President Tarantino