A sad ending to a movie is a bold creative choice. Often, audiences expect films to end on a note that, while not necessarily a sugar-coated fairytale ending, is ultimately positive and shows the protagonists to be successful. As a result, when a filmmaker chooses to take the opposite route and create an ending where the protagonist fails, or the costs far outweigh the gains, it can take audiences by storm and uplift a film.
However, unfortunate endings must be carefully prepared. In order for audiences to feel satisfied, they usually need to be well foreshadowed, consistent with the themes of the film, or poignant enough to foster discussion. Being awkward or blunt with an unhappy ending to a movie can seem immature, cruel, or gratuitous.
ten Cheap: Alien 3 has Ripley infected … at one point
Alien 3, although it is not considered the worst of Extraterrestrial franchise, is generally seen as a disappointing follow-up to its two acclaimed predecessors. It tries to bring the series back to a story closer to that of the original Extraterrestrial, he has Ripley and other survivors in a private penal colony.
Opening already in a way that has disappointed many, with all the other survivors of Aliens dead, Alien 3The ending takes a turn when it is revealed that Ripley was imbued with an alien queen embryo, which prompted Ripley to take his own life. A potentially poignant ending, but which lacks foreshadowing before the revelation of the embryo, and therefore looks like a shocking swerve that does not make sense.
9 Well done: the godfather shows the rise of Don Corleone
The Godfather, the first part of the trilogy, shows the rise of Michael Corleone as “Don Corleone” and the head of the Mafia crime family, following a vicious gang war between the five families of New York and the eventual death of his father. In the end, Michael has the Dons of the other families murdered in a general assault.
Confronted with Kay, his wife, to whom he has promised to legalize the “family business”, Michael denies the murders. However, he is then greeted by Corleone’s capos, who are there to pledge allegiance to “Don Corleone”, and the last shot is of the door closing on a horrified Kay. This is the natural end of Michael’s rise in the family.
8 Cheap: Moulin Rouge orchestrates an overly choreographed twist of the knife
red Mill, a beloved musical by Baz Luhrmann, tells the story of struggling bohemian writer Christian, and the actress and prostitute he falls in love with, named Satine. This follows their attempts to continue a secret relationship while they work on a play, keeping it a secret from the Duke of Monroth, who also desires Satine. Throughout, Satine suffers from increasingly severe tuberculosis.
At the climax of the film, Satine succumbs to her tuberculosis, but only after she, Christian, and their theater company dodge an attempted murder of the Duke, allowing her and Christian to have a happy time before his death. . Although foreshadowed throughout, it all feels too contrived to concoct a sad ending.
7 Bravo: Thanos does exactly what he promises
Avengers: Infinity War follows the Avengers and their allies as they attempt to stop the Mad Titan Thanos from gathering all the Infinity Stones and wiping out half of all life in the universe. At the film’s climax, he does just that, weaving his way through two separate Avengers teams to collect the last two stones and surviving a last-minute attack from Thor.
The ending stunned fans and quickly became an icon in popular culture. It relies on the constant foreshadowing of Thanos’ power and determination, which pays off, and also gives the opposing Thanos heroes time to shine, making sure not to weaken the heroes or cheat to let Thanos win. .
6 Cheap: The Deathly Hallows Part I Brings Dobby Back Just To Die
In the Harry potter books, Dobby is a recurring character from Book 2 through Book 7, who undergoes a character arc where he is given his freedom, then slowly adapts to it and bonds not only with Harry, but also with his friends. In the movies, Dobby only appears in the second and seventh movies and, like in the books, is killed during a confrontation at Malfoy Manor.
This confrontation is the culmination of The Deathly Hallows, Part I, and, coupled with Voldemort obtaining the Elder Wand, is used to twist the tragedy. However, denying his character in the books and bringing Dobby back as just a slightly popular character to kill was seen by many fans as free.
5 Bravo: The Cabin in the Woods emphasizes the protagonist’s choices
The cabin in the woods is a deconstruction of the Slasher movie genre, where the protagonists are forced to occupy the archetypal roles of such films to perform a ritual aimed at appeasing the evil gods. At the end of the film, the ritual has failed and the gods prepare to destroy the world as the two surviving protagonists watch.
That ending might be too much, but instead, the ending serves to emphasize the agency of the film’s main character, Dana. After the ritual strips her of all agency, forcing her to act as the archetype of the “virgin” and “last girl,” she finally recovers her agency and refuses to kill her friend to save the world.
4 Cheap: color out of space has no respite
Color out of space (2019) is a movie based on the famous HP Lovecraft story, where a farm is threatened by an alien color that distorts the reality around it. In the film’s ending, all but one of the main characters died, and they were totally unable to stop the color. Plus, it probably infected the water supply for miles around.
While a depressing ending on this scale suits a Lovecraft story – which deals with entities so beyond human that they cannot comprehend humanity and humanity cannot stop them – the film changes the color so that it is much more malicious, rather than indifferent. This takes it away from the themes of the original story and just leaves the ending grim.
3 Bravo: Se7en completes its motive and devastates the public
Crime drama Se7en follows Detectives Mills and Somerset as they attempt to apprehend a serial killer named John Doe, who kills based on a Seven Deadly Sins theme. They arrest him after five murders when he unexpectedly surrenders, the mystery remains as to who the other two victims are and whose blood Doe is covered.
Doe manipulates detectives into following him to a remote location, where a delivery driver leaves them a box. Both mysteries are solved, the blood revealed to come from Mills’ wife, whose head is in the box. Mills kills Doe, who claims to represent Envy’s sin, turning Mills into Wrath and ending the film on a devastating but deserved note.
2 Cheap: A Clockwork Orange completely defeats the theme of the book
A clockwork orange is considered by many to be a masterpiece of cinema, from its history and cinematography to everything else. However, its ending is based on the US version of the book, which omits the last chapter.
In the book, droog Alex recovers from the classic forced conditioning “Ludovico Technique” he has been subjected to, but considers voluntarily refraining from crime and violence. In the film, Alex recovers in the same way, but immediately resumes harboring thoughts of sexual violence. While this is a poignant ending, it suggests that Alex can never regain his free will and will always be in control.
1 Well done: Mist Grounds viewers in a horrible twist
The climax of Frank Darabont’s adaptation of Stephen King Mist causes the Drayton family to lose any hope of survival when their car runs out of gas, leaving them at the mercy of the creatures that inhabit the titular mist. Making the difficult decision, Father David shoots the other survivors, including his son, in a compassionate murder.
In a minute, the US military arrives, exterminating the beasts and rendering their sacrifice unnecessary. Act in a similar way at the end of Lord of the flies, with a sudden restoration of order rendering previous actions ridiculous, all David can do is cry out for the needless murder of his loved ones. The ending has since become iconic.
NEXT: 10 Classic Technicolor Movies That Still Hold Up
The Lord of the Rings: 5 characters at Elrond’s level (and 5 nowhere near)
About the Author