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10 Movies from the 2010s with Extremely Dark Endings


Don't watch these 10 movies if you're expecting a happy ending. They may just ruin your day.

10 Movies from the 2010s with Extremely Dark Endings
OTL Releasing / BH Tilt / Madman Entertainment / A24 / Netflix / Neon / Sony Pictures Releasing International / Stage 6 Films

Movies are supposed to be fun, right? We endeavor on those adventures to get something out of the experience, and sometimes, they'll even leave you smiling after a couple of days. Regardless of the genre, each person has their own preference for "feel-good" films. In some cases, they'll even be considered warm and fuzzy blankets in the form of cinematic moments.

But sometimes, surprises apply. It's all joy and happiness until the film takes a dark turn in its final moments. It could also be an exciting train coming to an abrupt stop that'll leave you questioning yourself and why you thought things would end well. In some cases, these endings are not even surprising. They just represent a final and lethal blow by a storyteller who understands the concept of the story and why it should end on such a gloomy note.

We dug around the bin of the 2010s and carefully compiled some of the darkest and bleakest endings in that period. We don't have to tell you that this didn't exactly represent a fun revisit. In fact, let's correct ourselves: Movies are not supposed to be fun. They're supposed to be good. And occasionally, films need to have an extremely dark ending for that. The following films are definite proof of that.

Uncut Gems (2019)

Uncut Gems
Uncut Gems

Release Date
August 30, 2019

Director
Ben Safdie, Joshua Safdie

Cast
Adam Sandler, Julia Fox, Kevin Garnett, The Weeknd, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Aranbayev

Rating
R

Main Genre
Drama

The Safdie Bros' comedy thriller Uncut Gems is an extremely intense film that features Adam Sandler's Howard, navigating between his jeweler job, a romantic affair, and the need to take hold of a very precious stone. At first, Howard seems to be in control of his frantic lifestyle. High-profile buyers arrive at his shop, and Howard makes ends meet. But his latest purchase won't be easy to retrieve. The very valuable gem represents the cancellation of all his debts, and a fresh start for Howard.

The film portrays Howard's dramatic fall as he turns to desperate measures to get what's rightfully his. In the end, Howard triumphs in his own manner, but his greed is just too powerful. Howard has found a way to pay his debt by placing a risky bet. Sadly, mafia handlers don't exactly trust him and kill him. Howard's girlfriend, Julia, seems to be the only winner in a conclusion that will leave you absolutely drained of energy and optimism.

Rent on Prime Video

Hereditary (2018)

Hereditary
Hereditary

Release Date
June 7, 2018

Director
Ari Aster

Cast
Toni Collette, Gabriel Byrne, Alex Wolff, Milly Shapiro, Ann Dowd, Zachary Arthur

Rating
R

Main Genre
Horror

Ari Aster's modern horror classic, Hereditary, doesn't have a dark ending. The whole film is like that. This exploration of motherhood and twisted family values under extreme circumstances is a genre experience that you will never shake off your mind. It's disturbing, and not only because of its imagery. It's also because its story features an insane character twist and development that just feels more appropriate than what's expected of the film.

In the conclusion, teenager Peter is aware that his family is going through... something. He finds his father's charred remains, and his mother is nowhere to be found in their dark, silent home. However, audiences find a possessed Annie in the background, crawling on the walls, and terrorizing whatever's left of our sanity. Minutes later, Young Peter sees his beheaded mother floating to his final destination: the treehouse, where cult members wait for him to come. When he enters, his mother's remains, and his little sister's head, are part of the scenery that serves as a great throne for him to be crowned as King Paimon, the materialization of the demon in our realm.

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Upgrade (2018)

upgrade
Upgrade

Release Date
June 1, 2018

Director
Leigh Whannell

Cast
Logan Marshall-Green, Rosco Campbell, Richard Cawthorne, Michael M. Foster, Betty Gabriel, Harrison Gilbertson

Rating
R

Main Genre
Thriller

Can we categorize Leigh Whannell's Upgrade as a very dark superhero film already? It only seems appropriate since it's a futuristic rendering of The Six-Million Dollar Man, mixed with powerful visuals and one of the most compelling performances in modern thrillers.

In the film, Grey survives a brutal assault that leaves him paralyzed and his wife dead. Grey has no other choice but to participate in an experiment where he will have his brain implanted with a chip that will give him back his ability to move freely. This turns him into an enhanced version of a vengeful man. After ridding the world of evil dudes, Grey decides to shoot himself, ending STEM, the entity that has taken control over him. The man wakes up in a hospital, and his wife is beside him, telling him he's been unconscious. But this only exists in whatever's left of Grey in his brain. STEM has taken full control and replaced the man. Evil wins.

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We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011)

We Need To Talk About Kevin
We Need To Talk About Kevin

Release Date
September 28, 2011

Director
Lynne Ramsay

Cast
Tilda Swinton, John C. Reilly, Ezra Miller, Jasper Newell, Rock Duer, Ashley Gerasimovich

Rating
R

Main Genre
Drama

Throughout We Need to Talk About Kevin, many questions arise. Is Kevin alive? Or is he dead? Did he finally cause his own end while trying to terrorize his mother? Surely, Eva is alone because his husband and daughter left her, after she had enough and got tired of Kevin's shenanigans. Who knows, maybe Kevin is also with them, and Eva's destined to be alone for the rest of her existence. Motherhood is questioned thoroughly.

Actually, as the film's horribly dark ending confirms, Kevin started a massacre in his school, and killed a bunch of people. Not only that, but then he went home and killed his own father and his sister, in an act that can only be described as the ultimate attack on his mother, the only one left alive. Eva's only emotional escape comes from her visits to Kevin, who's actually locked up in a detention center. It's an enigma whether she goes to visit him to be a mother above everything, or to try to comprehend that she may have given birth to the most evil person in the history of the world.

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Midsommar (2019)

midsommar
Midsommar

Release Date
July 3, 2019

Director
Ari Aster

Cast
Florence Pugh, Will Poulter, William Jackson Harper, Jack Reynor, Julia Ragnarsson, Björn Andrésen

Rating
R

Main Genre
Horror

Aster again, only this time with a distinctly different film. In Midsommar, Dani and her boyfriend and his friend travel all the way to Sweden to participate in a summer festival in a remote community surrounded by nature. It's always daytime in Aster's film, but that doesn't mean horror can't occur on a sunny day.

Dani is undoubtedly going to become the queen of the festival. Her destiny has already been written. Two of the boys have been massacred by the folks, and only Dani's boyfriend remains alive when he impregnates another woman in a very disturbing ritual. Meanwhile, Dani's cathartic wailing with her new sisters becomes the film's pivotal scene. As she's crowned the May Queen, Dani chooses Christian to be the ultimate sacrifice for the community's cleansing. Christian is stuffed inside the carcass of a bear, completely paralyzed, and then the structure he's placed in is completely burned by commune members. Outside, Dani smiles eerily while wearing a crown of flowers during a beautiful sunset in the Swedish countryside. Talk about dark during the day.

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The Witch (2015)

The Witch
The Witch

Release Date
January 27, 2015

Director
Robert Eggers

Cast
Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie, Harvey Scrimshaw, Ellie Grainger, Lucas Dawson

Rating
R

Main Genre
Horror

In The Witch, a family of settlers is cast out of their community because of the corruption of religious values. Something happened that we're not familiar with. But a remote location may be enough for William and his wife Katherine, their young daughter Thomasin, their young son Caleb, and baby twins Mercy and Jonas, to start over again. Only an evil entity thinks otherwise.

We won't spoil what actually happens to the family (the slow-burn folklore horror film is based on a great script worthy of study). Just know that young Thomasin's fate is completely twisted, when, in the end, she's left standing as the newcomer in a coven of witches. Thomasin's beautiful and deadly smile only gets bigger, when she floats in the dark woods and joins the family she's meant to be part of.

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The Lodge (2019)

The Lodge
The Lodge

Release Date
January 16, 2020

Director
Severin Fiala, Veronika Franz

Cast
Richard Armitage, Alicia Silverstone, Riley Keough, Jaeden Martell, Danny Keough, Lia McHugh

Rating
R

Main Genre
Horror

The Lodge, by the horror duo Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala, is a dread-filled journey into the darkest corner of human psychology. A film so bleak and void of light, that feels unnatural. It tells the story of a young stepmother, forced to take care of her fiancée's children from another marriage. Their mother has died by suicide after finding out there was another woman. Of course, the kids blame Grace for their mother's death.

They get isolated in a remote cabin during a winter storm. Then strange events start taking place, and it all points to a supernatural entity invading their minds. However, it was all actually a prank. The kids have been gaslighting Grace all this time, but they reveal their master plan to emotionally torture her too late. Grace's past is actually part of her present, and in the film's conclusion, she falls deeper into a rabbit hole of religious extremism that had lain dormant all this time. When the children's father arrives, she kills him while under the spell of her own beliefs, and in the final scene, things don't look good for the children as they find themselves having a last supper before their new mommy literally punishes them for their sins.

Stream on Kanopy

Kill List (2011)

Kill List
Kill List

Release Date
September 2, 2011

Director
Ben Wheatley

Cast
Neil Maskell, MyAnna Buring, Harry Simpson, Michael Smiley, Emma Fryer, Struan Rodger

Rating
R

Main Genre
Horror

Ben Wheatley's fascinating drama, Kill List, is the perfect definition of a descent. Ethics are non-existent, and all the characters run on is based on something primal. The need to survive, defend oneself, and protect what's ours. In the film, a contract killer and his partner, decide to take a risky job. It's probably their last, and it pays well. The problem is the mystery that surrounds the following events.

Everything leads up to Jay's encounter with a violent cult. They're related to his latest acts of malice, and unknowingly, he becomes a big player. In the very last scene, Jay is the star of a ritual in which he unwillingly must battle another figure, the Hunchback, a deformed humanoid covered with a cloak and wielding a knife. Jay wins the fight, as he repeatedly stabs the creature all around until it falls. When the cloak is removed, it's revealed that the figure was actually his wife, Shel, and had their son strapped to her back, representing the creature's hump. Jay watches as his wife laughs during her last breath and the cult members remove their masks and applaud and crown their new leader.

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Melancholia (2011)

melancholia
melancholia

Release Date
May 26, 2011

Director
Lars von Trier

Cast
Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Alexander Skarsgard, Brady Corbet, Cameron Spurr, Charlotte Rampling

Rating
R

Main Genre
Drama

Science fiction drama Melancholia isn't exactly jolly. The film revolves around a depressed woman who marries in a cold and dark ceremony, stumbling her deeper into an unrevealed depression. Right after the ceremony, humans discover a planet is going to collide with Earth, and all life will cease to exist. This is a Lars Von Trier film, and he way the continues the film is extremely bleak and dark.

But the problem isn't exactly the marriage. The bride Justine's relationship with her sister Claire becomes the center of the film, as their duality is deconstructed and puts them exactly as opposites during the end of mankind. The third act is cryptic, sad, and emotionally unanswering, and simply portrays two sisters who come together at the very last minute because of inevitability. The dark ending, of course, consists of the planet known as Melancholia crashing into Earth and destroying everything.

Stream on Tubi

Shutter Island (2010)

shutter island
Shutter Island

Release Date
February 14, 2010

Director
Martin Scorsese

Cast
Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Max Von Sydow, Michelle Williams, Emily Mortimer

Rating
R

Main Genre
Drama

Martin Scorsese's horror thriller Shutter Island is a modern noir that heavily relies on the rules of the whodunit subgenre. In the film, US marshals arrive at a remote island where an asylum is located to investigate a patient's disappearance. To call this place uncanny is an understatement.

In the film's conclusion, Teddy discovers the horrible truth behind the mystery: this is actually a role-playing game, and his alternate persona is a form of therapy that will allow him to objectively see what really happened. The ending shows Andrew, the real person behind Teddy's persona, as he's subjected to a lobotomy when his psychiatrist realizes it was all for nothing when, in Andrew's body, Teddy seems to be in control.

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