5. The Bay
As said before, thriller and horror are well-represented on this list, as finding a totally-appreciated film in those genres is tremendously difficult. But in the case of The Bay, the fans were not only separated from the critics, but seemed to avoid their approval like the plague.
Speaking of infections, that’s what this found-footage story is about. Simply put, toxic creatures off the shore of Maryland begin to infect the people of the nearest town, this happening around the festivities of July 4th. It may not seem like a new concept at all, but critics were engulfed by the ambience around the film, even if it was using worn found-footage techniques.
Despite the reviews of it being thought-provoking and a mix between old-school storyline and new-school presentation, the movie flopped at the box office. For the few stragglers it brought in, the script was sub-par at best to them, as was most of the acting that failed to elevate it.
A flat-out dreadful 5.6 on IMDb is just a sign of how poorly it was received by its limited spectators. It seemed the found-footage sub-genre of horror was starting to die down by 2012, and this film helped put it to bed. But as tired as the critics were of this style, they still gave it a resounding pass.
A new concept in sci-fi horror, what Splice offered was promising on the surface. Whether it succeeded in diving deeper into its ideas and delivering fear alongside them is something that was argued upon its release.
Not only did the critics feel as if it served as a sturdy addition to the horror genre, but were impressed by Adrien Brody and the rest of the cast. While not being without its imperfections, this movie was properly disturbing and in-tune with its wild intentions. And just to think, the reviewers thought such things despite believing it didn’t even come close to touching its potential.
From the masses who saw it soon after, there was no such love. Those fresh and solid marks across the web were quickly weighed down, as the 37% fan appreciation of the film ran opposite of the experts’ scores.
Many of them were disgusted by the same particular scenes in the film, calling them entirely unnecessary. Even worse, they dogged the character development, saying they were never given much of a reason to care about the subjects involved. Lacking emotional investment throughout a 100-minute movie, only to be grossed out by a rape scene near the end of it, is at least a reasonable cause for not remembering it fondly.
One of the more interesting titles on this list is the action-packed Haywire, a frenzy of a film and the beginning of former MMA star Gina Carano’s acting career.
Though she hasn’t exactly taken off since then, it wasn’t for a lack of authenticity in this movie. At least she passed the critics’ test, as did the surprisingly stacked cast around her. But though we’re used to audiences becoming enamored with tense action, this film was received as middling work without much in mind aside from its choreography.
The look of the fight scenes convinced critics far more than the paying viewers, who thought they looked over-scripted. But that wasn’t their biggest issue with the movie. That problem came in the form of a little thing called plot. There wasn’t anything all that interesting about or within the storyline to grab people, and the performance from Carano wasn’t nearly enough to change that.
The lack of an intricate narrative didn’t do much to sway critics negatively, as they applauded the incredible pace and a tightly-effective script. Carano as a pure action star was the absolute selling point for them, giving the movie the agile centerpiece it needed through each speeding scene.
2. Willow Creek
This barely made the list because of its lack of audience, but there was enough of a reception to determine a massive split.
Willow Creek is built for a specific kind of group, so it’s obvious enough to see why everyone wasn’t too thrilled by it. Its own director called it The Blair-Squatch Project, a found-footage horror film mixed with dark comedy. And yes, it’s about people arguing over the existence of Bigfoot and attempting to find a sasquatch.
Anyone who is trying to decide whether they should watch this movie based on the recommendations or warnings of others, good luck. A shining 86% on Rotten Tomatoes doesn’t mean it’ll suite a wide audience, but a 5.1 on IMDb may consist of many people who thought they were going to be watching a very different-looking movie.
But it unexpectedly worked for critics, partially because of its proper build-up and payoff. Even the acting by was lauded, with great chemistry between them. Considering it was done by Alexie Gilmore and Bryce Johnson, two relative unknowns, was an even greater surprise.
For most of those who made up the slim box office numbers, Willow Creek was nothing more than a bore through the first half, kind of like most found-footage movies. The latter half couldn’t save a film they deemed a waste of time, one that isn’t much of a horror movie at all.
1. Spy Kids
This shouldn’t surprise many as being a polarizing film, it’s just odd that it comes in this manner. There’s a bit of an asterisk here, since there must be thousands of people that rated this movie poorly without having ever seen it.
But even with that in mind, Spy Kids has dreadful numbers on several sites. On the flipside, this peculiar kid-friendly flick has excellent evaluations from critics.
Spy Kids is what the title promises. It’s a movie about two kids setting out to save their secret-agent parents, becoming spies themselves with all the cool gadgets to boot.
An action movie that opens the minds of kids and lets them run, this was a live-action family movie that actually landed firm on its feet. There’s a suitable mix of comedic value and appealing fantasy elements to keep this movie pushing forward and immerse its younger audience.
Luckily for The Weinstein Company, this and the following films were very popular, so they clearly hit the target audience. However, a lot of people saw this movie as so off-the-wall it became a jumbled mess. The special effects looked fake as could be, its creations were ridiculous, and it never failed to be incredibly predictable.
Love it or hate it, but most will agree on one thing: it’s undoubtedly different.