Disaster movies have become a cinematographic genre by themselves. I don’t know what it is about a highly violent end of the world that makes it so fascinating to watch, but we sure keep buying it. Nowadays, disaster movies receive mixed reviews. This is because pretty much all of them follow a similar pattern. Life is good, suddenly nature hits us right where it hurts. Life gets bad and people try to outrun the calamity (literally, in the case of 2012). There are just so many hazards that could potentially wipe us all off the face of Earth, right? Well, if done right, they can be some thrilling experiences. If done not so right, you get the films included in this list of the 10 Most Terrible Disaster Movies Of All Time.
1. Beyond The Poseidon Adventure (1979)
What’s a worse idea than making a clumsy sequel to a movie that was never supposed to have one? Making a clumsy sequel to a disaster movie that was never supposed to have one. The Poseidon Adventure was a critically acclaimed movie, which unfortunately spawned a sequel that became a definitive career low for director Irwin Allen. A bunch of people scavenging the shipwreck in search for gold and money can be hardly considered thrilling and exciting. Not even the impressive cast consisted of Michael Keaton and Sally Field could save this ship from sinking.
2. The Concorde… Airport ’79 (1979)
Just how many sequels are too many? Airport is a definite cult classic, and one of the names that helped the disaster genre become popular in the 70’s. When the movie makers kept adding new titles to the franchise, it was only a matter of time before one of them would set the series on fire. And not the good kind of “setting on fire.” Some people even said that the only interesting part about this unintentionally hilarious cringe-fest is watching the actors and wondering why they’re there.
3. Daylight (1996)
In this movie, many innocent New Yorkers get trapped inside of a collapsed tunnel together with some diamond thieves, cops, and Sylvester Stallone. There’s really nothing more to say about this flick and that is saying something. Daylight is a web of convenient plot devices, dull characters, and a tone that’s neither thrilling nor particularly amusing.
4. Earthquake (1974)
Movie makers have been putting characters in the heart of earthquakes for as long as 30 years. Charlton Heston, Ava Gardner, and Richard Roundtree star in this disaster movie that gave audiences the first taste of what it’s like to witness the earth crumbling from the safety of a theater. The movie may have received mixed critical reviews, but it managed to cash in around $80 million. Try releasing this movie today, and I doubt it’d rank anywhere higher than The Room.
5. The Happening (2008)
The only noteworthy thing “happening” in this movie is that it basically features the downfall of M. Night Shyamalan’s career. I don’t think he needs any explanations. Believe it or not, despite many deeming him as one of the worst directors today, after the release of one flop after another, Shyamalan was actually critically acclaimed once. The Happening is just one of the many movies where his otherwise praised unique style spawned a cluster of confusion and headaches. Even if the idea of angry trees wasn’t as strange sounding as it is, there are many other wrong things in this film.
6. Hard Rain (1997)
It seems that one thing all these movies have in common is the unfortunate presence of A-list actors starring in them. Morgan Freeman clashes with Christian Slater in this flick which combines the thrills of some cops-and-robbers action with the suspense of torrential rain. Except there is no thrills or suspense. This just comes to prove that it’s not always guaranteed that a combination of two genres is going to be successful.
7. Meteor (1979)
This movie was released during a time when the Cold War was a contemporary reality. The movie makers sought out a way to mend relations between the USA and U.S.S.R. and found the perfect one: a meteor. When this astral threat endangers the lives of all of Earth’s inhabitants, Sean Connery’s character must learn how to work with Brian Keith in order to eradicate it. The formula is incredibly generic, and thrown in the context of the Cold War, it’s simply awkward.
8. Poseidon (2006)
It seems that every movie that somehow has anything to do with Poseidon Adventure is doomed to fail. The streak of failed 2010’s remakes was kicked off by Poseidon, which proved that it’s possible to get wrong even a concept as simple as “people try to survive on a sinking ship.” Kurt Russell and Richard Dreyfuss are the A-list stars caught in this mess of the movie, and it goes without saying that they couldn’t do much to save it.
9. The Swarm (1979)
If you thought Beyond The Poseidon Adventures was the only hit-and-miss of Irwin Allen’s career, then you haven’t seen The Swarm. Alfred Hitchcock proved that it’s possible to make even something as seemingly harmless as a bird dangerous. Allen tried to compress this idea into the movie, except it replaced birds with bees. Even though it should have been fairly easy to pull off a bee disaster film, given that they’re more widely feared than birds, the outcome was disappointing.
1o. When Time Ran Out (1980)
With When Time Ran Out, Irwin Allen practically tied an anchor around his own neck and took a swan dive into the ocean. He destroyed his own career, by creating a movie founded on one of the most common and successful natural disasters: the fury of a volcano. The effects were bad, a paradox given its $20 million budget, the storyline was messy, and not even the eruption scene lived up to expectations. How do you get a volcano eruption wrong?
Many people say that movies of the likes of 2012 and San Andreas were bad, but did you give any of these entries a look? They aren’t considered the 10 Most Terrible Disaster Movies Of All Time for no reason.