Hidden Treasures: 25 Outstanding Movies That Defy Their Low Ratings

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Beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder in certain movies. One user on a popular internet forum asked for recommendations of the best films with the lowest Rotten Tomato scores. Movie lovers took to the comments with their opinions.

1. Saw (2004)

Saw Leigh Whannell
Image Credit: Lionsgate.

This famous horror movie is known amongst fans as a spooky masterpiece. It's a crime horror film about an intelligent, mysterious villain who traps his victims in terrible games. The only way to survive is to escape the traps and win the games. However, Saw only rates 50% on Rotten Tomatoes.

2. Step Brothers (2008)

Step Brothers John C. Reilly, Will Ferrell, Mary Steenburgen, Richard Jenkins
Image Credit: Sony Pictures Releasing.

What many describe as a “comedy masterpiece” only received a 55% score on Rotten Tomatoes. This hilarious film follows two entitled adult children who live with their parents. When their single parents start a relationship and move in together, the two men begin a ridiculous rivalry.

3. Speed Racer (2008)

Speed Racer Emile Hirsch
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures.

This exciting action movie is wildly underrated, with only 41% on Rotten Tomatoes. It's about a young race car driver who enters a rigged competition in order to prove he can win fair and square. 

4. Hook (1991)

Hook, Dustin Hoffman
Image Credit: TriStar Pictures.

This creative twist on the classic story of Peter Pan only scores 29% on Rotten Tomatoes. It follows a grown-up Peter (Robin Williams) who opted out of everlasting youth and instead returned to the real world to start a family. But when Captain Hook (Dustin Hoffman) abducts his young kids, he must return to Neverland to save his family.

5. 8mm (1999)

8MM Nicolas Cage, Joaquin Phoenix
Image Credit: Sony Pictures Releasing.

With a low Rotten Tomatoes rating of 23%, 8mm deserves better. This mystery thriller starring Nicolas Cage follows a detective on a mission to uncover the truth behind a snuff film discovered among a dead man's belongings.

6. Hocus Pocus (1993)

Hocus Pocus Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy
Image Credit: Buena Vista Pictures Distribution.

Who would have guessed that this family-friendly Halloween classic only has a 38% score on Rotten Tomatoes? Hocus Pocus is about a group of evil witches from Salem on a mission to become immortal. But the kids who accidentally released the witches from their confines will do everything it takes to stop them in their tracks.

7. Sister Act 2: Back in The Habit (1993)

Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit Whoopi Goldberg
Image Credit: Buena Vista Pictures Distribution.

While the original Sister Act (1992) received a solid 75% score on Rotten Tomatoes, its equally as hilarious and compelling sequel only earned 18%. Whoopi Goldberg is back at it, and her character Sister Mary Clarence is needed to help a school's music program flourish again.

8. Brother Bear (2003)

Brother Bear Rick Moranis, Joaquin Phoenix, Jeremy Suarez, Dave Thomas
Image Credit: Buena Vista Pictures Distribution.

Brother Bear is a fantastic story with tragedy, unlikely friendships, and heartwarming character development. So why does it have a 37% rating on Rotten Tomatoes? It's about a young Inuit boy who loses his brother in a bear attack. When he seeks revenge against the bear, he magically transforms into a bear.

9. National Treasure (2004)

National Treasure Nicolas Cage, Diane Kruger
Image Credit: Buena Vista Pictures Distribution.

This iconic Nicolas Cage film features impeccable action-packed storytelling and fantastic performances from each cast member, despite its 46% score on Rotten Tomatoes. It's about historians searching for a treasure linked to the Declaration of Independence, and it's one wild ride.

10. Man on Fire (2004)

Man on Fire Denzel Washington, Dakota Fanning
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.

This heartwarming action film isn't well-loved on Rotten Tomatoes, with a 38% score. It's about a security guard who protects a young girl. When the girl is kidnapped, the guard realizes how much he loves the child and embarks on a journey to save her. 

11. Home Alone (1990)

Home Alone, Macaulay Culkin
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.
Home Alone is a hilarious family holiday classic, so why does it only get a 66% score on Rotten Tomatoes? This slapstick comedy is about a young boy whose family accidentally leaves him alone in the family home for the holidays and defeats two bumbling burglars attempting to break into his home.

12. Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994)

Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
Image Credit: Warner Bros.
This hysterical family-friendly mystery film stars Jim Carrey as a wacky animal private investigator tasked with an intense job: to track down the abducted mascot of the Miami Dolphins. The film only received a 48% score on Rotten Tomatoes, yet 88% of viewers liked the movie.

13. The Punisher (2004)

The Punisher (2004)
Image Credit: Lions Gate Films.
The Punisher is a thrilling action film about an FBI agent who begins a revenge plot after a group of criminals murders his beloved family. Despite being a fan favorite, this film only has a 29% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

14. The Strangers (2008)

The Strangers (2008)
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.
This chilling horror film earned 48% on Rotten Tomatoes, but many believe it deserves more credit. It's about a couple who plan a relaxing vacation only to face a group of terrifying masked intruders with plans to torture the couple until they die. Can the two escape with their lives, or will they never return home from their holiday?

15. The Beach (2000)

The Beach
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.
The Beach is an adventure film about a group of American backpackers in Vietnam who hear about the myth of an idyllic beach. The group embarks on an adventure to reach the legendary beach, but not everything is as it seems when they do. The gorgeous scenery and compelling plotline deserve better than a 21% Rotten Tomatoes score.

16. Weird Science (1985)

Weird Science (1985)
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.
This clever and quirky sci-fi comedy follows two geeky teenage boys who design their ideal woman on a computer program. When strange events cause the woman to come to life, the boys enjoy the female attention but must keep the bubbly woman a secret from their families. But strangely enough, Weird Science only earned a 56% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

17. Tomb Raider (2018)

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
Image Credit: Warner Bros.
Tomb Raider tells the story of a daring woman on a mission to find her father, who previously left for a dangerous and mythical mission to a tomb on a legendary, uncharted island. You would think this high-stakes adventure film would have gathered better reviews, but Rotten Tomatoes rates it at 53%.

18. Jersey Girl (2004)

Jersey Girl
Image Credit: Miramax Films.
Many fans include Jersey Girl in their list of underrated rom-coms, and for good reason. The film only received a 43% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It's about a love story between a workaholic music producer and an eager New York City book editor and also tackles the man's tense relationship with his daughter.

19. G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009)

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009)
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.
 Fans were astounded to learn that G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra only ranked 33% on Rotten Tomatoes. In this edition of the G.I. Joe franchise, the high-stakes spy team takes on an evil arms dealer and his criminal organization.

20. Legion (2010)

Legion (2010)
Image Credit: Sony Pictures Releasing.
With a 20% score on Rotten Tomatoes, this horror fantasy film is wildly underrated. When a violent woman attacks people in a diner, a series of terrifying events keep the customers trapped inside as hordes of people possessed by demons descend upon the restaurant. Only the archangel Michael can hope to protect the people and save them from a horrific fate.

21. Lady in the Water (2006)

Lady in the Water (2006)
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures.
While most of M. Night Shyamalan's films are well-received by critics, Lady in the Water received a dismal 20% score on Rotten Tomatoes. It's a creative fantasy film about a mysterious woman who turns out to be a character from a fable. As she desperately searches for a way to return home, her neighbors realize they might be part of the mystery.

22. Hudson Hawk (1991)

Hudson Hawk Bruce Willis
Image Credit: Tri-Star Pictures.
Hudson Hawk rates at 31% according to Rotten Tomatoes, but many of the film's fans disagree. It's a hilarious action film about a man who is released from prison. He soon begins a stint with a criminal couple who task him with incredible heists, like stealing precious artwork by Leonardo Di Vinci.

23. Billy Madison (1995)

Billy Madison Adam Sandler
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Billy Madison is a hilarious Adam Sandler movie, but despite being a fan favorite, it only scored 40% on Rotten Tomatoes. The movie is about a man-child who needs to repeat all of his education in order to inherit his father's hotel empire. Fans still love this movie though, and the audience score on Rotten Tomatoes is 79%.

24. Event Horizon (1997)

Event Horizon (1997)
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.
This deep space sci-fi horror film is about the crew on a rescue mission to uncover what happened to the passengers and crew on board the Event Horizon spaceship. But as the rescue team investigates the situation, they realize it's more horrible than they ever imagined. This suspenseful and imaginative film only scored 33% on Rotten Tomatoes.

25. A Night at the Roxbury (1998)

Image Credit; Paramount Pictures
Despite the comedic musical numbers and the fact that it's based on a terrific Saturday Night Live skit, A Night at the Roxbury only ranks 11% on Rotten Tomatoes. When two low-achieving brothers have a chance encounter with a celebrity, they're invited to a fancy nightclub. There, they dream of a life they've always wanted.
Source: Reddit.
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Maya (she/they) is a queer entertainment and culture journalist from Worcester, MA with bylines in publications like Pulse Magazine, HorrorPress, CM Pride, Fangoria, and TransLash News & Narrative. They cover interviews, reviews, roundups, news, and more in the entertainment and lifestyle space. She loves horror, LGBTQ+ representation, and creativity. They hope their writing both entertains readers and inspires them to think critically.