A collage featuring some of the worst movies of 2023 (clockwise from top left): 'Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey,' 'Johnny & Clyde,' 'Confidential informant,' 'Dead Man's Hand'

The Worst Movies of 2023—According to Rotten Tomatoes

As we participate in the time-honored tradition of looking back on the best media we consumed this year, it’s important to hold space for the worst media we consumed as well. What were the worst movies of 2023? In terms of cinema, there’s no better abstract metric by which to measure a film’s quality than its Rotten Tomatoes score.

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Of course, whether or not a movie is good is up to the individual viewing it, but the Rotten Tomatoes score—which aggregates reviews by (mostly) professional critics—can give us a general idea of where a movie stands in terms of quality. There is something irresistible about a movie so bad that it holds a 0% rating on RT. Instead of deterring me, a low rating tends to have the opposite effect: I must see this pile of trash at once.

In compiling this list of the worst movies of 2023, I decided to choose only those that were released theatrically. There are a lot of very small, low-budget films with titles you’ve never heard of that aren’t released in theaters and sometimes wind up with low critics scores, and it seems unfair to kick them when they’re already down. Also, if you’re a lil raccoon like me, you’ll have an easier time finding and rolling around in these trash piles if they were given a proper release.

Freelance – 7%

Alison Brie and John Cena in 'Freelance'
(Relativity Media)

John Cena and Alison Brie deserve better than this. Directed by Pierre Morel (Taken), Freelance stars Cena as a former Special Forces operative who takes a gig protecting a “washed-up” journalist (Brie) on her trip to interview a notorious dictator (Juan Pablo Raba) in Paldonia—a fictional country invented by the filmmakers so as not to offend any particular culture. “When a military coup breaks out,” the synopsis explains, “the unlikely trio must figure out how to survive the jungle AND each other in order to make it out alive!” Sounds like a wacky time!

Life Upside Down – 5%

Bob Odenkirk and Radha Mitchell in 'Life Upside Down'
(IFC Films)

It bums me out to add a movie starring Bob Odenkirk to this list. Filmed during COVID lockdown, Life Upside Down is a romantic drama starring Odenkirk as an art dealer, and made just $4,600 at the box office. “In this undercooked tale of middle-aged romance, there is nobody to root for and nothing of interest,” writes Lena Wilson for The Wrap.

Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey – 3%

A man in a scary Winnie-the-Pooh mask in 'Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey'
(Altitude Film Distribution)

Honestly, it’s impressive that Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey has anything above 0% on Rotten Tomatoes. When classic properties enter the public domain, as A.A. Milne’s beloved Pooh bear stories recently did, it’s a matter of months before they become stars in a cheap, crass horror flick looking to capitalize on nostalgia in the most edgelord way possible. Dude, it’s Winnie the Pooh but—get this—he KILLS people. Sick!

Confidential Informant – 0%

Dominic Purcell and Mel Gibson in key art for 'Confidential Informant'

Confidential Informant is about “two narcotics agents hunting for a cop killer during a crack epidemic.” When you’re making a piece of copaganda as sensitive and clearly unproblematic as this, there’s only one man for the job: Mel Gibson. But this movie stars three men—Gibson, Dominic Purcell (whose entire career is starring in garbage like this), and Nick Stahl (who really can do better).

Dead Mans Hand – 0%

Jack Kilmer, Stephen Dorff, and Cole Hauser in 'Dead Man's Hand'

I just discovered that reading the plot synopsis for Dead Man‘s Hand is the fastest way to enter a dissociative fugue state: “Gunslinger Reno (Jack Kilmer, The Nice Guys) is headed west for a quiet life with his new bride. But when their stagecoach is ambushed, he kills an outlaw in self-defense. In a nearby town, Reno learns that the man he slayed is the brother of the corrupt mayor, Bishop (Stephen Dorff, Blade), who vows revenge. After their card game turns into a bloody shootout, who will be left standing? Cole Hauser (Yellowstone) appears as a U.S. Marshal who becomes Reno’s ally in this pulse-pounding Western.” Oops I just woke up in a riverbed surrounded by disfigured sock puppets, what happened.

The Donor Party – 0%

Jerry O'Connell and Malin Akerman in 'The Donor Party'

After reading the plot summary—a woman whose entire personality is “ME WANT BABY” concocts an elaborate plan to steal a friend’s sperm—I’m still not sure why this movie is called The Donor Party. Yes, it’s obviously a pun based on the Donner Party, but what does a Malin Akerman sperm-heist movie have to do with 19th century pioneers who got stuck in the mountains all winter and experimented with cannibalism? I will not be finding out.

Johnny & Clyde – 0%

Megan Fox in 'Johnny & Clyde'
(Screen Media)

Starring Avan Jogia and Ajani Russell as serial killers in love, Johnny & Clyde is a few decades too late to ride the Natural Born Killers wave. Still, it’s hard not to be morbidly curious about any movie starring Megan Fox as a crime boss protected by a “demonic warrior.”

Mercy – 0%

Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Leah Gibson, and Jon Voight in key art for 'Mercy'
(Paramount Global Content Distribution)

In Mercy, Leah Gibson plays a former military doctor who must call upon her very specific set of skills to defend the hospital where she now works when the Irish mafia takes everyone hostage—including her son! This sounds like a really solid Ashley Judd thriller from the ‘90s. I was confused by the 0% rating until I saw Jon Voight’s name in the cast. Also, everyone in the key art looks like they’re obviously high and trying to hold it together for a family photo.

Righteous Thieves – 0%

Cam Gigandet and Jaina Lee Ortiz in 'Righteous Thieves'
(Gravitas Ventures)

Here’s a tip: if a movie’s synopsis describes it as the “ultimate thrill-ride,” it’s probably best to approach as an over-the-counter alternative to Ambien. Righteous Thieves stars Cam Gigandet (who I will always remember fondly for his involvement in Marisa’s death on The O.C.) and is about art thieves stealing priceless art back from the Nazis. It’s the same plot as The Monuments Men, which starred George Clooney and Matt Damon. You don’t remember The Monuments Men? The 2014 film about guys stealing art back from Nazis? Bill Murray? That’s weird. I could swear that movie exists.

Shrapnel – 0%

Key art for the action film 'Shrapnel'
(Saban Films)

Shrapnel stars Jason Patric and Cam Gigandet (he’s back, baby!) as a couple of former Marines who go to war with the Mexican cartel that kidnapped Patric’s daughter. This is what we call a RedBox special.

(featured image: Altitude Film Distribution / Screen Media / Lionsgate)

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Britt Hayes
Britt Hayes (she/her) is an editor, writer, and recovering film critic with over a decade of experience. She has written for The A.V. Club, Birth.Movies.Death, and The Austin Chronicle, and is the former associate editor for ScreenCrush. Britt's work has also been published in Fangoria, TV Guide, and SXSWorld Magazine. She loves film, horror, exhaustively analyzing a theme, and casually dissociating. Her brain is a cursed tomb of pop culture knowledge.