Uwe Boll is often referred to as “the worst director in the world”, both in inflammatory forum or blog posts and in mainstream press articles. But that’s patently untrue – it’s lazy writing, lazy arguing, lazy thinking, and it’s also just plain unfair. There are a lot of things you could accuse Boll of, but being the worst director ever? That’s one hell of an allegation. I’m in the minority with liking House of the Dead, I know, but Postal and Seed are both good films, with lots to recommend them.
And even if every single one of his films was on a par with Alone in the Dark, which is pretty bad, he still wouldn’t be the worst director in the world. There are lots and lots of directors making films that are on a par with Boll’s – there are also lots and lots of directors making films that are far, far worse than Boll’s. Let’s put the myth of “Uwe Boll: worst director in the world” to bed, shall we? Here are some possible successors to that particular title:
Paul W. S. Anderson Anderson is an easy target, and for people who’ve never seen an Uwe Boll film, he’s probably the one they’d plump for. I’d argue that there are a lot of people worse than Paul W. S. Anderson working as directors, but he’s pretty bad. The films most people hate him for are Resident Evil (easily as “bad” as House of the Dead); Event Horizon (painful) and Alien vs Predator (quite bad). It’s hard to argue, even if you really hate Boll, that Paul W. S. Anderson is a better director. Because you’d be wrong, if you argued that.
Chris Sivertson The only thing I Know Who Killed Me has over a Boll film is Lindsay Lohan. And let’s face it, she didn’t film that at the height of her career, talent, or indeed life – she looks miserable the whole time, and for good reason: it’s a shit film. Sivertson should have been good – he used to work with Lucky McKee, who’s done some brilliant work – but he went on to make a horribly off-putting Jack Ketchum adaptation, then I Know Who Killed Me. What a waste.
Chris Stokes He directed You Got Served, and a slasher movie called Somebody Help Me. He’s primarily a music producer, but he has nonetheless unleashed a couple of terrible movies into the world at large, which means he qualifies for this list. He’s a terrible director. And since he also wrote You Got Served and Somebody Help Me, I can deduce that he’s also a terrible writer. Definitely worse than Boll.
Claudio Fragasso This is the guy who directed Troll 2. Troll 2 is shit. I don’t care if people now think it’s somehow clever or funny to “ironically” celebrate and pretend to love shitty old films – it’s shit. Uwe Boll has never made anything this bad. Claudio Fragasso is a far worse director than Uwe Boll.
Michael Bay This one, like Paul W. S. Anderson, feels kind of like a cheap shot, but Michael Bay has been responsible for some spectacularly bad films. They’re expensive and glossy, but ultimately shit; he’s also responsible for producing some right crap, and for ushering in wave after wave of copycats who tried, for some inexplicable reason, to emulate his utterly unimpressive style. Fucking hell. Transformers really isn’t a lot better than BloodRayne, when it comes right down to it.
Scott Thomas This guy directed a film which, if you’re lucky, you’ve never even heard of. Called Flight of the Living Dead: Outbreak on a Plane, it’s basically trying to cash in on Snakes on a Plane, except it appears to have been made by someone who has never been on a plane, seen a zombie film, or met a person in his life. Nothing makes sense in this film. The guy has no sense of location or space or dialogue or acting or logic – or filmmaking. He is a million times worse than Boll.
Neil LaBute Any remake of The Wicker Man was going to be a bad idea, but casting Nicolas Cage and introducing some wacky wacky gender politics? It’s mind-boggling. The Wicker Man remake straddles the legendary line between “terrible” and “so bad it’s awesome”, but only because Nicolas Cage is so enjoyably comic. Otherwise, it’s a colossal failure of a film. And that’s because LaBute sucks.
David SladeDavid Slade isn’t exactly a bad director; he’s just a bad film director. I’m sure he’s quite a good music video director – Hard Candy looked good, for a music video, but was slightly too stylised and vaguely sickening as a movie, while 30 Days of Night was formulaic, point-and-shoot nonsense. I’m sure his music videos are good, though.
James Wan And we might as well lump Leigh Whannell in there, too, because the two seem to be joined at the hip. Whannell and Wan are responsible for the never-ending Saw franchise, and while the first one was kind of okay (though the concept was stretched rather too thin; it would’ve made a dazzling short) the rest are utter dross. Wan has also directed Kevin Bacon in the execrable Death Sentence, in which he demonstrated his inability to frame a shot properly or even maintain a shot for longer than 3 seconds, and the less said about Dead Silence the better. These guys are in a whole other league than Boll, but somehow their movies make money, so no-one says so.
So don’t let me hear you calling Boll the worst director in the world, ever again… or I’ll have to write part 2 of this article, and possibly pull all my hair out, too. There are worse directors out there even than these guys (Tomm Coker springs to mind) but with any luck, we won’t have to worry about watching any of their movies ever again because they just won’t get released. If there is any justice in the world, at all. Which there probably isn’t.