Movies That Took a Dark and Unexpected Turn

Most movies these days adopt a shade of gray, walking the fine line between light and dark. But some films start out delightfully sunny only to suddenly plunge into darkness with an utter tonal U-turn.

Just when you least expect it, these films take a turn for the macabre, morphing from happy-go-lucky entertainments to bleak, twisted nightmares without breaking a sweat. Whether for shock value or to reflect some “life lesson.” Here are 12 movies that swapped cheer for chills in the blink of an eye.

Mother! (2017)

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures, Protozoa Pictures.

Darren Aronofsky’s religious drama Mother begins like the usual love story. At first, it seems like the movie is solely about a poet and his wife living in a tranquil – if somewhat derelict – cottage. However, things turn bizarre rather abruptly as the movie begins its descent into madness and religious imagery, concluding in a series of severely disturbing scenes involving war, violence, and cannibalism. Yep, fun for the whole family.

Hereditary (2018)

Photo Credit: Reid Chavis, PalmStar Media.

The only reason why Hereditary ranks so low in our list is because the film is dark from beginning to end – but things indeed take an unexpectedly morbid turn early on in the movie, even for a horror flick.

Though most of the film’s marketing centers on Milly Shapiro’s character, Charlie, the young girl meets a grisly end before the film’s midpoint. It catches anyone off guard and sets the tone for the madness unfolding in the movie.

The World’s End (2013)

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures / Focus Features.

Although Edgar Wright’s “Three Flavor Cornetto Trilogy” would rarely be seen as dark, that doesn’t mean that the films can’t take some seriously bizarre turns. In the case of The World’s End, things get pretty terrible for a group of drunken friends trying to recapture the excitement of their youth.

The movie begins rather inoffensively, with Wright’s characteristic humor and some lighthearted jokes here and there. Then, as the group reaches the final bar of the night, we learn that aliens have been killing everyone in town and turning them into duplicates. The film ends with the extinction of most humans on Earth – a rather drastic end to a night out with pals.

Click (2006)

Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures, Revolution Studios, Happy Madison Productions.

Most Adam Sandler movies can be pretty dark – especially because audiences must endure terrible attempts at “comedy.” However, what makes Click so unique is that the film begins like another carefree comedy but suddenly ends as a full-on tearjerker.

Sandler’s character learns that his magical remote has been causing him to age rapidly, missing out on some crucial moments of his kids’ lives. Unexpectedly, Sandler’s character even dies in the film – and even if he returns to life a few seconds later, this dark twist wasn’t something we’d expect from one of his movies.

Miracle Mile (1988)

Photo Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.

Miracle Mile begins as your run-of-the-mill “boy meets girl” flick. Harry meets Julie at a Los Angeles cafe, and the two immediately hit it off. The film then takes us through their adorable relationship – but suddenly, a phone call interrupts this episode of Days of Our Lives and turns it into Armageddon.

Harry learns that an imminent nuclear attack will wipe out most of civilization, and he only has a few hours left to live with his beloved. A bit of a downer as far as romantic comedies go.

Coraline (2009)

Photo Credit: Focus Features.

Coraline starts as a quirky adventure, following a brave girl who discovers a magical doorway to an alternate world: colorful characters, creative production design, and subversive wit surround this animated fantasy’s playful spirit.

Little do we suspect the eldritch terrors that lurk beneath its whimsical surface. The Other World grows dark and sinister, attempting to trap Coraline forever in its sinister clutches. What began as a mischievous fable transforms into a surreal nightmare from which there may be no waking. Add to that the fact that there are dead kids in this children’s story, and what you get is an effective recipe for childhood trauma.

Okja (2017)

Photo Credit: Kate Street Picture Company, Lewis Pictures, Plan B Entertainment, Netflix.

At first glance, Okja starts with all the whimsy and wonder of a children’s adventure film. A giant pig-like creature and his young caretaker embark on a heartwarming odyssey in a colorful, idyllic world known as “South Korea.”

Director Bong Joon-ho had audiences cozy with Okja’s charming traits, then pulled the rug out from under them. Cute as she is, Okja is merely livestock raised for the slaughterhouse. What begins as an adventure film suddenly devolves into a criticism of overt consumerism and inhumane breeding practices with livestock – which shouldn’t be too surprising coming from Bong Joon-ho.

The Voices (2014)

Photo Credit: 1984 Private Defense Contractors.

The Voices begins as a quirky comedy about a likable but awkward man with schizophrenia and his talking cat and dog. Ryan Reynolds charms us as the well-meaning Jerry, just trying to please his coworkers, score a date, and silence the constant chatter of Mr. Whiskers and Bosco.

But when Jerry stops taking his meds, his furry “friends” convince him of a sinister plot. Before you can say “medicate immediately,” poor Jerry has descended into a disturbingly gory madness. The whiplash shift from lighthearted to chilling is what gives The Voices its venomous bite.

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

Photo Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures.

The whimsical world of The Grand Budapest Hotel masks a poignant sadness. Beneath the eccentric characters and ingratiating charm lurks a painful loss. While the characters may be larger than life, their struggles with loss and mortality are all too human.

First, the lovable Monsieur Gustave is killed in an altercation with hostile soldiers, and then, Zero’s lovely wife and young kid die of the flu. It’s a reminder that, no matter how rose-tinted the past might seem, there’s always a tinge of melancholy to ensure we remember it was real.

Bridge to Terabithia (2007)

Photo Credit: Walden Media, Hal Lieberman Company, Lauren Levine Productions Inc., Walt Disney Pictures.

Bridge to Terabithia’s delightful fantasy world makes the gut-wrenching ending piercingly poignant. When Jess and Leslie turn their backyard woods into an escape from suburban drudgery, they craft an idyllic realm of wonder and adventure.

Their cherished sanctuary transforms into a chasm of sorrow when Leslie unexpectedly dies trying to cross a creek with a rope. The irreversible loss of childhood’s eternal summer casts a sobering shadow over most of the film, even if it has an “uplifting” ending.

Bambi (1942)

Photo Credit: Disney.

Responsible for traumatizing entire generations of infants since 1942, Bambi is the textbook example of a film that suddenly becomes nightmare fuel. We all remember how Bambi begins as yet another innocent Disney flick about life in the woods and the sheer excitement of a baby deer discovering the world surrounding him.

However, things change when a hunter spots Bambi’s mother, shooting her dead. Seeing Bambi hopelessly look for his mother in the middle of a snowstorm – and the deafening silence that answers his pleas – is a total whiplash of a tonal shift that still sends shivers down audiences’ spines to this day.

Parasite (2019)

Photo Credit: CJ Entertainment, Barunson E&A.

Surprisingly, Bong Joon-ho is the only filmmaker that features twice on our list. Parasite is perhaps his most famous film, and for a good reason. Anyone with even a passing interest in scriptwriting should see this film at least once, as its dark twist marks a clear “before and after” for the entire plot.

It all begins when the wealthy Park family’s ex-housekeeper arrives and finds Kims living in the lavish mansion. Cue the insanity that ensues after this event. From then on, Parasite‘s edgy comedy becomes a downright spiral of bitterness, greed, and violence. If one thing is clear, Bong Joon-ho doesn’t pull any punches.

Actors Who Suffered Unimaginable Trauma After Filming

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Prepare to be shocked as we uncover the harrowing tales of actors pushed to their mental and physical limits as they brought their characters to life.

Actors Who Suffered Unimaginable Trauma After Filming

10 Movies With Plot Twists No One Saw Coming

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When done correctly, a plot twist can elevate the film’s overall quality to new levels of complexity. Some movies are even remembered for their surprising endings rather than for everything that preceded them. That’s why, on this list, we’ll go over eight of the most astonishing plot twists ever seen in a film – the kind of revelation that makes you see flicks with an entirely new perspective.

10 Movies With Twists No One Saw Coming

Terrible Movies Ever Made in the History of Cinema You Should Actually See It (Or Not)

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

We all enjoy watching movies, but let’s be honest —not all films are made equally. Some films are considered timeless masterpieces, while others should have never been made. There is no doubt that these kinds of films leave an impression on the viewer, but not for the right reasons. Let’s look at some of the worst movies of all time.

Terrible Movies Ever Made in the History of Cinema You Should Actually See It (Or Not)

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