The 5th Wave (2016) - Rotten Tomatoes

The 5th Wave2016

The 5th Wave (2016)



Critic Consensus: With unimpressive effects and plot points seemingly pieced together from previous dystopian YA sci-fi films, The 5th Wave ends up feeling like more of a limp, derivative wriggle.

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Movie Info

16-year-old Cassie Sullivan tries to survive in a world devastated by the waves of an alien invasion that has already decimated the population and knocked mankind back to the Stone Age.

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Chloë Grace Moretz
as Cassie Sullivan
Nick Robinson
as Ben Parish, Ben Parish/Zombie
Alex Roe
as Evan Walker
Liev Schreiber
as Colonel Vosch
Ron Livingston
as Oliver Sullivan
Maria Bello
as Sergeant Reznik
Maggie Siff
as Lisa Sullivan
Alex MacNicoll
as Flintstone
Marc John Jefferies
as Boy on the roof (uncredited)
Nadji Jeter
as Poundcake
Terry Serpico
as Hutchfield
E. Roger Mitchell
as White House Spokesman
Charmin Lee
as Ms. Paulson
Zackary Arthur
as Sam Sullivan
Tara Jones
as Co-Anchor (uncredited)
Derek Roberts
as Private Parker
Hunter Denoyelles
as Cheerleader (uncredited)
Devin McGee
as Confused Man
Justin Smith
as Armed Man
Adora Dei
as Exam Room Tech
Kevin L. Johnson
as Sniper in Woods
Courtney Munch
as Helicopter Soldier
Kendrick Cross
as Situation Room Soldier
Chelsea Hayes
as Tech Soldier
Michael Beasley
as Major Bob
Matthew Zuk
as Crucifix
Andrew Cunningham
as Football Player
Robert Hendren
as Military Commander
Geoffrey Kennedy
as Soldier by Adults
Tyrone D. Shaw
as Co-Anchor
Mary Hulbert
as Wilson family daughter
Dave Maldonado
as Soccer Coach
Paul Ryden
as TV News Anchor
Madison Staines
as Teary School Kid
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Critic Reviews for The 5th Wave

All Critics (143) | Top Critics (47)

With a terrific cast and a director who at least is making an attempt to shake up the literary dystopian status quo, there's really no reason for this one to be as outright terrible as it ultimately proves to be.

August 16, 2016 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…

The 5th Wave is simultaneously boring and cringingly overwrought, with a bland protagonist, a completely nonsensical story, and another teen love triangle.

August 2, 2016 | Rating: 1.5/5 | Full Review…

The 5th Wave, which has echoes of Divergent and The Hunger Games, both of which have strong female protagonists, is too obviously just the introductory chapter.

June 21, 2016 | Full Review…

Too often, characters feel the need to tell us exactly what they're doing and why. And then they take an awfully long time to get there.

February 23, 2016 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

I didn't know anything about The 5th Wave before seeing J. Blakeson's film and assumed it would be a dystopian action thriller. It is, and a solid one at that, but it's also consciously comic.

February 12, 2016 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

"What's the point of any of this?" asks Cassie. I kept hoping, but no such luck. It's a question that is never answered.

February 4, 2016 | Rating: 0/4 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The 5th Wave

It's like someone read The Road and went "Oh hey, that was pretty good, I know how I can ruin it!". It's a worse Hunger Games movie than even the last Hunger Games movie was. It's the kind of film where after the opening scene, there is a 40 minute flashback sequence of pure awkward exposition. It's the kind of film that manages to avoid being "offensively bad" by by the skin of its teeth, only because it is instead "embarrassingly bad". It's the kind of film that thinks it's going to get a sequel, so it resolves NOTHING, but that sequel will never happen. I terms of acting? Look, Liev Schreiber was okay, but his role is both minor and beneath him. Chloe Grace Moretz has never been worse. Even Maika Monroe who was amazing in It Follows and The Guest is absolutely awful in this. Everyone else was terrible. There are so many moments in The 5th Wave that had me shaking my head, and the acting, dialogue and plot are all equally to blame. Oh. And the CGI fuckin' sucks.

Gimly M.
Gimly M.

Super Reviewer


See more reviews like this at The plot, I have to admit, is messy. Throughout the film scenes cross between perspectives of Cassie and Sammy. It proved difficult to identify that Cassie was intended to be the main character as more screen time was given to Sammy's experiences in the army which was far more interesting, albeit absurd, than Cassie meeting an untrustworthy older love interest played by Alex Roe. Viewers would be pleased to know that this is another movie adapted from a critically acclaimed young adult book trilogy written by Rick Yancey. The ending does leave breathing room for a sequel which is yet to be announced at this stage. This film very much reminds me of the Divergent series, and makes it very unoriginal even to the extent where it becomes tacky. The possibility of the actions committed in this film occurring in a real-life reciprocation of this situation is highly unlikely. This may seem like an unimportant detail, but it does increase the believibility of the script and therefore will engage the audiences' emotions more effectively (for example, training children in the army in an apocalyptic environment). The decision to make the extra terrestrial to appear in human form was risky, and paid off in terms of secrecy, suspense, and plot twists, but it could also be seen as lazy not to physically bring the aliens to life using CGI. The opening sequence did hook audiences presenting a scene from later in the film. This is hardly an all-star cast, but there may be a few faces you would recognise. People such as Chloë Grace Mortez, Nick Robinson, Live Schreiber, Maika Monroe, Alex Roe, and Ron Livingstone star in the film. None of the acting is stand-out, with much of the cast using their aesthetic as their primary asset. WARNING: Several love triangles ahead. As for the characters themselves; aside from the enigma behind each one, I didn't find most of them very interesting. The only individual character which interested me was Ben (Nick Robinson); Cassie's high school crush. Being forced to step into a leadership role,-an abrupt transition from ordinary high school student- falling in and out of love, acting as a mentor to many, and then becoming a renegade. I'm intrigued to see where his character goes next. I also was intrigued by the chemistry between him and Cassie's little brother Sammy (Zackary Arthur) as co-soldiers without realising their respective relationships with Cassie. Genres include science fiction, action, adventure, romance, and mystery. That is a mixture of genres perfect for a cliché young adult movie. That's exactly what this movie delivered. Mediocrity. But it must be commended that the theme at this film's core is the importance of family; surprising for an apocalyptic movie. To conclude, this film can be missed. The CGI and special effects are fantastic, but the incredibly slow-moving plot with no clear direction that doesn't make sense isn't to be congratulated. It's just another cliché, but there are some plot twists that kept me preoccupied.

Christopher Breen
Christopher Breen

Super Reviewer


In the film, "The 5th Wave" refers to the fifth stage of attacks made on humans by alien invaders. It may also refer to the successive waves of nausea induced by this insipid bit of big budget YA drama-teen claptrap. For those who delight in sci-fi alien destruction movies -- despair. "The 5th Wave" joins the ignominious ranks of alien films that never actually depict the aliens on screen. (The ship shows up for 15 seconds in the sky, but no one ever seems to disembark.) It also may sire an entirely new genre of disaster films that do not actually depict any disaster. Although "The 5th Wave" is marginally entertaining, one cannot resolve the nagging question posed by such an unfulfilling film: "What was the point of that?"

Christian C
Christian C

Super Reviewer

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