How To Tell A Film's Awful Before You've Even Seen It


Is it me or are good films becoming harder and harder to find?

These days I find myself paying £20 to go to the cinema (London ticket prices are a joke) and I end up coming out feeling completely unsatisfied with an all too familiar feeling that I’ve seen it all before.

Decidedly uninspiring stuff.

As a film fanatic though, over the years I’ve noticed certain common features that all bad films seem to have. If you know what you’re looking for, you needn’t see a bad film ever again, so as a money-saving piece of advice from me to you, here’s how to tell a film is going to be awful before you’ve seen it.

It’s a horror sequel

I’m acutely aware of the fact that a large proportion of The Hook’s audience enjoy horror movies. For the record – I have no problem with that at all – but what I do take issue with is people who go on about horror films like they’re transcendent pieces of cinema like: 2001: A Space Odyssey, Interstellar, or Wedding Crashers (the best film ever).

They’re really not; the plots and acting are usually non-existent, with directors covering up both inadequacies with amateurish cinematography and cheap ‘scare’ tactics. And that’s just the originals.

As for the sequels, don’t get me started. There’s literally way too many god-awful horror sequels to mention, but The Ring Two, The Hills Have Eyes II and any of the Paranormal Activity films will give you a flavour of how terrible these things really are. Horror sequels are scary alright, scary bad.

It’s a remake of a film that wasn’t even that good in the first place

Hollywood’s running out of original ideas, I get it. But why – when there’s a plethora of good movies out there – would anyone give the go-ahead to remake a film that was pretty average in the first place?

No amount of big-budget action or CGI is going to make them any better; conceptually, they’re just pretty naff.

An example of this? The Mummy and Kong: Skull Island – both remakes of films that were barely watchable the first time around – yet somehow managed to surpass the originals’ dismal standards.

Adam Sandler has been anywhere near it

It pains me to write this because I really used to like the 90s version of Adam Sandler who made fairly entertaining films like Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore.

As I came to accept a number of years ago though, that Adam Sandler is long gone, instead being replaced by the anti-Christ of modern day cinema, who seems hell-bent on reducing the movie world to painfully unfunny spoofs, pathetically written characters, and plots that a sea urchin could come up with.

If you value having fun and laughing, don’t go and watch an Adam Sandler film. You have been warned.

R.I.P Adam Sandler 1993-2004.

It has the word ‘movie’ in its title

If ever there was a sign that a film is going to be as enjoyable as getting a punch to the crotch, then look no further.

Disaster Movie, Epic Movie, Scary Movie 5, Date Movie, Paranormal Movie: it’s like a nightmarish conveyor-belt of never-endingly terrible films.

In fact, I have a little challenge for you: IMDB list about 50 films with the word ‘movie’ in them – name five that are genuinely decent and well-received by critics – and I’ll take my proverbial hat off to you.

The Lego Movie – there’s one you can have for free.

The trailer uses the same jokes over, and over, and over again

‘Haha, that new Tom Cruise film sure does look funny. Usually they’re anything but, but in the latest trailer he actually makes a few witty jokes.’

Hang on a minute – a Tom Cruise film that actually seems funny –  that’s a bit suspicious.

Well, your suspicions are merited, because as the second and third trailers start to get released, you notice they all contain the same two jokes that have now lost what little humour they once had.

This usually means they are the only two funny moments in the entire film and the filmmakers are hoodwinking you into thinking it’s a better movie than it actually is. Don’t fall for their dirty tricks.

It’s the third film or higher in a series

If it’s difficult to name a sequel that’s worthy of the original, then it’s nigh on impossible to find a third, fourth, or fifth film in a franchise that holds up to its predecessors.

Captain America: Civil War, Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban and Toy Story 3 are all films you could make an argument for being the best in the series, but even then it’s debatable. The point is that quality threequels and fourthquels (?) are few and far between, and generally films get worse as they go on.

Just watch Transformers: The Last Knight or Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales if you don’t believe me.

It’s a remake of a classic film

There should be an embargo on remaking classic films, such is the outright disrespect and disservice that many modern day versions do to their originals.

Ben-Hur, Dirty Dancing, The Wicker Man, Clash Of The Titans, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory – just leave them the hell alone, Hollywood.

If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

It’s CGI’d to within an inch of its life

You can tell a film is going to be rubbish if the trailer looks like something from a video game.

If CGI is being overused, it usually means that the film has little to no plot and they are overcompensating with pointless action sequences.

Do they really think audiences go to the movies to watch two hours of explosions and fighting? We don’t.

It’s in 3D

This is a real pet hate of mine when it comes to modern cinema.

Firstly, lets get the obvious out of the way: I have to wear glasses when I go and watch a film, so putting another pair on top of that is not only ridiculous but extremely uncomfortable.

Secondly, is it me or is it really tough to tell what’s actually going on? The action is always really blurred and I can’t concentrate on what’s happening. What’s left is just a visual mess.

Thirdly, they clearly just do it for the sake of it and the fact that they can. Did that floating piece of rock really need to come out of the screen at me? Probably not.

3D is a novelty, it adds absolutely nothing to a film, and it needs to stop. Now.

It’s directed by Michael Bay or M. Night Shyamalan

Ok, so The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable are pretty good films, but apart from that, M. Night Shyamalan couldn’t make a good film if his life depended on it.

The 15 time Golden Raspberry nominee – and 6 time winner – has made a career of making appalling films, with his penchant for twist endings becoming painfully predictable and mundane.

Seriously, what the hell was The Village?

I’m not even going to talk about Michael Bay, he’s just hot garbage.

It’s a DC film (apart from The Dark Knight Trilogy)

With source material as extensive and rich as DC Comics, you think a good film would write itself, but time after time directors have continually failed to live up to expectations with their take on some of the most beloved superhero’s of all time.

Batman vs Superman, Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman: they’re like the same damn film, do they just have some kind of movie template that their frightened to deviate from?

All of the aforementioned films have the most abysmal villains you could ever imagine, and I’ll always maintain that a superhero film is only ever as good as the baddy.

The only man to ever get a DC film right was Christopher Nolan with his Dark Knight Trilogy, which is a modern day masterpiece. And you know what they all had in common? Compelling bad guys.

If you want to good superhero film, save yourself the hassle and go and watch something of Marvel.

So there you have it. If you spot any of these early warning signs it’s probably best to avoid said film and go and do something else instead. Like a walk around a park, or a spinning class.

Both profoundly better ways to spend your time then sit through any of these films.

Images via GIPHY/iStock

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