10 Terrible Movies That Wasted A Truly Brilliant Concept

A masterclass in how to turn gold into sh*t.

The Purge Mask
Universal Pictures

Whether it was a trailer, plot synopsis or promotional image that did it, we've all come across that one movie that makes us drop everything, gaze blankly into space and think "that idea is genuinely 'effing brilliant".

Unfortunately, a good idea is just that; a good idea. Movies are tough to make and sometimes, even the most golden premise in the entire world can be executed with all the style, flair and confidence of a four-year-old child let loose with a crayon. In a plain white room.

Or, to put it another way, a brilliant concept can easily be turned into a complete mess of a movie.

Sometimes, that great concept can disappear altogether under a garbage pile of terrible acting, shoddy special effects and awful dialogue, with everything else around that great hook making you forget that the movie had limitless potential.

There are plenty of examples here, and in many cases, you may have forgot that that movie you hate with a burning passion could have turned out very differently if the quality of the execution matched the quality of the premise.

10. Next

The Purge Mask
Paramount Pictures

The Concept: Cris Johnson (Nicolas Cage) can see into the future - but only two minutes into the future.

As you'd expect, his powers make him a target, and throughout the movie, he's pursued by nuclear weapon-wielding terrorists as well as the FBI, who wish to work with Cris so he can help them stop said terrorists.

The core concept of limited clairvoyance is a fantastic one, and gives the protagonist just enough power so that they're still a threat, but not so much power that the movie becomes a cakewalk.

Why The Movie Failed: Back in 2007, Nicolas Cage wasn't known for those sh*tty, direct-to-DVD movies he regularly deals in today, so Next was looked at as a high-concept blockbuster with a strong leading man, whose involvement was cause for excitement.

But for most, that's where the excitement ended, because Next has a ton of glaring problems.

The special effects look like they were done in one weekend by a chimpanzee, the characters are one-note - and some, like Jessica Biel's Liz, feel frustratingly unfinished and archetypal - and the ending is a giant middle finger to anyone who's just invested their time watching the movie that came before it.

That ending - with Cris realizing that the last third of the movie was just an extended vision/dream - is essentially a cheat, and it's lazy, lazy writing. Next has a great basic outline, but everything else is just embarrassing.

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Video editor and writer WhatCulture/WhoCulture. Bought a 4K copy of The Martian in 2016 and still haven't watched it.