9 Directors Who Only Made One Good Movie

One-hit wonders surrounded by blunders, these directors went from mic drop to mic fumble.

donnie darko
Newmarket Films

To state the obvious, movies aren't easy to make. Good or bad, the planning and organisation required to get a film off the ground and on to screens is a logistical nightmare. Along the way, the amount of things that can go wrong are innumerable. That's why when a director known for their consistent quality drops a clanger, it's hardly surprising. Disappointing, sure, but not surprising.

What's more intriguing, though, are those one-hit wonders. The directors who drop a bona fide masterpiece in the middle of their mediocre resume. Those who explode on to the scene with a bang before limping out with a whimper. How can it be that a filmmaker can create something truly spectacular before repeatedly failing to recapture that spark?

Unfortunately, it happens - surprisingly often. Rather than lamenting wasted potential, sometimes it's better to celebrate those anomalies. To look at the lightning in the bottle and be thankful we ever received it. Here's to that one-hit wonderment.

9. Neill Blomkamp (District 9)

donnie darko
Sony Pictures

District 9 is a movie that displayed such aptitude that nobody could have expected Blomkamp's career to go the way it has. A well-known fact to moviegoers, as sure as the sky is blue, Blomkamp's latest will likely be disappointing. It was always going to be difficult to follow District 9. A funny, horrifying and painfully clever look at xenophobia, audiences fell for this deeply entertaining movie instantly.

Elysium came four years later and, while not bad, was a marked step down from his previous movie. Dubbed predictable, messy and decidely less smart than it could've been, fans were concerned that District 9 was lightning in a bottle. These fears were mostly confirmed with the release of 2015's Chappie. Accused of not having a single original bone in its body, Chappie served as a further step down before, last year, we reached ground level.

Demonic released to little fanfare and those who did watch it cited it as being boring, rote and full of one-dimensional characters. Blomkamp has repeatedly spoken about District 10, a sequel to his original work that's underway. Whether that's a good or bad thing remains to be seen but here's hoping for a return to form.


The fourth best writer living in Bristol named Alexander Erting-Haynes. When not writing, found shamelessly gushing about Majora's Mask, The Office (UK) and Shaun of the Dead.