Top 10 Worst Disaster Movies

Written by Q.V. Hough

Disasters summarizes these movies perfectly, as they portray epic amounts of destruction and are incredibly bad films! WatchMojo presents the Top 10 Worst Disaster Movies of All Time! But what will take the top spot on our list? Poseidon, Metor, or Pompeii? Watch to find out!

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Big thanks to Brody Nicholas Eiffel Jay for suggesting this idea, and to see how WatchMojo users voted, check out the suggest page here: http://www.WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Worst+Disaster+Movies
Top 10 Worst Disaster Movies

These movies were supposed to be epic, but they were cinematic disasters instead. Welcome to, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Worst Disaster Movies.

For this list, we’re focusing on the most dreadful disaster movies, dating all the way back to the ‘70s.

#10: “San Andreas” (2015)

Even though this film (literally) rocked it at the box office, that doesn’t make it a top-notch disaster flick. There’s plenty of entertainment value in “San Andreas,” yet it’s the lack of heart that makes it meh. The visual effects do pop, and The Rock, Carla Gugino and Alexandra Daddario provide star power. Unfortunately, that’s simply not enough to salvage the saggy plot: the film’s big-time $110 million budget was clearly aimed to produce basic popcorn fun rather than than a script with some emotional heft.

#9:“The Day After Tomorrow” (2004)

If this is indeed the “highest grossing Hollywood film made in Canada,” then Canada needs to do better. Directed by Roland Emmerich, the man behind “Independence Day” and “Universal Soldier,” “The Day After Tomorrow” is thrilling, but very preachy. And that preachiness isn’t even that useful: it’s a movie that provokes more than it educates, as evidenced by criticism from actual scientists. It’s steeped in post-9/11 fright, and just doesn’t hold up alongside other disaster movies that give the audience much more bang for their bucks.

#8: “2012” (2009)

Five years after “The Day After Tomorrow,” Roland Emmerich gave it another go with a new disaster movie: this time, with no shame whatsoever. Hey, it’s not an entirely unappealing epic, what with its apocalyptic Mayan overtones and an appropriate atmosphere of cataclysmic doom. The movie did capitalize on a lot of anxiety about the then-upcoming (supposedly) cursed year 2012. And to be fair, the film was a worldwide hit. But John Cusack in the lead role just doesn’t quite cut it, and its lack of true star power is painfully clear. Then, there’s the 158-minute running time that, let’s be frank, is itself kind of a disaster of time management.

#7: “Left Behind” (2014)

As both an adaptation of a polarizing novle and a reboot of the original Kirk Cameron franchise, this production seems like it was doomed from the start. After all, mainstream disaster flicks typically need a budget higher than a paltry $16 million. Plus, Nicolas Cage’s acting, though always possessing a certain je ne sais quoi, just isn’t strong enough to carry the film. Some critics feel this even marks the unofficial end of his wide box office appeal. Overall, everyone tries hard in the apocalyptic “Left Behind,” only they try way hard to make a fundamentalist Christian polemic, rather than a movie that won’t make viewers cringe.

#6: “Volcano” (1997)

Released just after “Dante’s Peak,” which is a much better volcano eruption film, this Mick Jackson flick suffers from Hollywood-itis. “Volcano” is based in Los Angeles and holds lots of potential with its La Brea tar pit setting, but the lack of character depth sinks it. The main baddie, of course, is actual lava, which doesn’t have the same zingy shock appeal as more visually innovative disaster films. On paper, “Volcano” seems like a winner, but it’s a bore from beginning to end; a classic example of Hollywood producers placing more value on contrived drama rather than visceral thrills.

#5: “The Core” (2003)

With its $85 million dollar budget, this movie had enough financial flexibility to produce something special. Unfortunately, the derivative molten core, journey-to-the-center-of-the-earth premise was overly convoluted, and pooh-poohed by actual scientists. The fault-y script is just too big a hurdle to overcome. It’s a disaster flick that teases viewers with Hollywood appeal, but there’s just not a lot going on deep inside. The cast, including names like Aaron Eckhart, Stanley Tucci and Hilary Swank, also feels empty when they really should have been “the core.”

#4: “The Happening” (2008)

By 2008, director M. Night Shyamalan was at the cinematic crossroads, and he badly needed a mainstream hit to jumpstart his moribund career.. But “The Happening” is not your typical mainstream disaster flick. It doesn’t possess the bold and shocking allure of previous Shyamalan movies, nor is it even that scary, unfortunately. It’s just reflective of a struggling director trying something different, (even more different than usual), and with boring results. Even star Mark Wahlberg admitted that it was “a bad movie.”

#3: “Pompeii” (2014)

Directed by “Event Horizon” filmmaker Paul W.S. Anderson, this Neapolitan disaster movie is ambitious. But where “Pompeii” does succeed with technical accuracy, it fails with its weak central love story (or is that “lava story”?) and supporting characters. Based on the famous Mount Vesuvius eruption, there’s plenty of terror and wreckage. And that’s good. But the lack of character nuance waters down the drama, as there’s just too much going on plot-wise, and not enough focus on developing interesting emotional connections. The real Pompeii event was most memorable, but this movie is eminently forgettable.

#2: “Meteor” (1979)

Given the names attached to this Hong Kong-American sci-fi production, including Sean Connery, Karl Malden and the late Natalie Wood, it seemed to have star power (pun intended). But the cast of “Meteor” was past its collective prime, and the political Cold War themes just haven’t aged well. Of course, the special effects haven’t either, which is an equally major problem. As a whole, “Meteor” fails with cluttered narrative, poor acting and even worse direction. It’s a mashup of science fiction tropes, a victim of its era and an example of what NOT to do when producing a disaster film.

#1: “Poseidon” (2006)

To be fair, this loose remake of the 1972 original features amazing visual effects. But this otherwise laudable emphasis on technology actually makes “Poseidon” a hollow film. Director Wolfgang Petersen understands the appeal of an ocean-based disaster flick (“Titanic,” anyone?). Yet, his CHARACTERS, you know, actual human beings, are merely supporting players here for the underwater carnage. For some viewers, that works. But the complete lack of heart is painfully obvious, proving that a production team with big concepts can easily sabotage a big budget. Ironically, this movie just doesn’t hold water.