How many times have we seen a movie where good prevails over evil and love was here all along and everyone lives happily ever after? Yeah, yeah, those movies are all fine and good but the movies that completely catch you off guard and have the bad guy defeat the good guy are the ones that can really stay with you. There have been quite a few of these movies over the decades and I've been really wanting to create a list of these movies for a while. So here are the top 10 best movies where evil triumphs over good.
***Semi-Spoiler Free, proceed with caution***
10. 'One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest'
Let’s start the list off with a Jack Nicholson classic. One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest follows a the mental patient named R.P McMurphy, played by Nicholson, as he finds himself unable to cope with the strict rules and standards of the oppressive head nurse, Nurse Ratched, played by Louise Fletcher.
No matter what McMurphy does to try to make his, and the other patients, stay at the hospital more pleasant, Ratched is always there to take him down a notch. Nurse Ratched is just the most stuck up, controlling and manipulative witch you could ever come across, which makes her a great opposite to our main hero, the rebellious, carefree and fun-loving McMurphy.
By the end of the film, McMurphy finds that he can no longer defy the manipulative powers of Nurse Ratched, showing us that sometimes you can't beat authority. Sometimes, authority can abuse their power and use that power to get the upper hand... even if they are completely in the wrong.
9. 'Primal Fear'
Primal Fear is a much lesser known movie but is definitely worth checking out. The film stars Richard Gere as a high-priced lawyer and Edward Norton as a scared young altar boy convicted of murder in one his first big movie roles.
Primal Fear is about a weak, frail young man named Aaron (Norton) who is accused of brutally killing a famous public figure/priest. Martin Veil (Gere) is called in to question Aaron and soon doubts that such an innocent and weak young man could ever even think about murder.
As Martin pulls back some of the curtains on the case he finds some truly disturbing and strange revelations that change the course of the trial. Unfortunately, careful lies and deceit beat Martin at the end of the film, showing us that not everything is not always as it seems.
8. 'The Usual Suspects'
A boat is destroyed, people are dead and the only answer is a crippled scared survivor who witnessed to whole thing. The Usual Suspects is told through the narrative of Verbal Kint, a man with a disability, who retells the story of what happened at the docks, why people are dead and what Keyser Söze, the most dangerous man on the planet, has to do with all of this. The actual movie follows five criminals who meet during a random police lineup and join up for a huge robbery.
The robbery is successful and they make a trade-off with man named “Redfoot” who offer them another job to rob from a rich jeweler but they then find out it was drugs they were after. This job came from Keyser Söze who is known to some as just a mythical figure from Turkey who is also a criminal mastermind. The group agrees to work for this strange man but things quickly go sour and Keyser decides that he doesn’t require their services anymore and has them all murdered with only Verbal as a survivor.
The Usual Suspects is very well known for its famous twist ending. Just like Primal Fear, this film shows us to not always trust what we see and hear. Sometimes, things aren't always what they seem. I can't go into much more detail than that, so you'll have the see the movie understand what I'm talking about.
Now I’m putting this on the list strictly because I'm guessing that all of you actually understood and could follow the entire film. Memento follows a man named Leonard Shelby, played by Guy Pearce, who suffers from a brain disorder where he forgets things and events almost instantly. He is on a hunt for the man who raped and murdered his wife, who he believes is his closest friend Teddy, played by Joe Pantoliano. The movie is played in two different sequences where one story is told in reverse and the other story is played in proper sequence, both of which intertwine by the end of the film.
So the film is about a man who gets revenge for the brutal death of his wife and he even gets it at the beginning of the movie, how does the bad guy win in this movie? Well sometimes a film can give a real punch in the gut twist ending because you really sympathize with Leonard for losing so much in his life and constantly battling his severe condition. The film ends on such an out-of-nowhere conclusion that you're just left looking at the screen wondering what you just watched. If you've seen the movie, you know exactly what I'm talking about.
Another great performance from Kevin Spacey to add to the list. Se7en follows two police detectives played by Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman as they try to catch a mass murderer known only as John Doe. John Doe’s style of murdering involves the seven deadly sins, where chains a man to a bed for almost a year (sloth), force feeding a man until he dies (gluttony) and a woman is killed by a guy having sexual intercourse with her with a knife attached to a strap-on (lust). No matter how close the detectives think they are at catching the sick murderer, he always has the upper hand and commits another murder.
By the end of the film, you feel the sadness and remorse of our characters because after all their investigative work, they still managed to lose everything. Some lost much more than others.
5. 'Rosemary’s Baby'
Rosemary's Baby is a really creepy and uncomfortable movie from beginning to end, and it's done in such a brilliant way that it is definitely a must-see. The movie follows a couple moving into the Brampton apartment building to start a new life, but seem to have some trouble with some nosy and eccentric neighbors. After a little while of settling in she learns that she is suddenly pregnant.
However, the neighbors seem to become too involved with her pregnancy and want her to visit their certain doctor and use their weird methods of birthing the baby and so forth. During her pregnancy, she suffers from unusual side effects such as severe weight loss, abdominal pains, pale skin and suddenly craves raw meat and chicken liver. She does soon learn the horrifying truth.
The film ends on a very dark and unpleasant note as we know our protagonist is stuck in difficult and even terrifying position. The ending of this movie shows us that sometimes parents will do anything for their children... anything.
4. 'The Vanishing a.k.a. Spoorloos'
This movie has one the most intense and, quite possibly, unfair endings of any movie I've ever seen. Spoorloos follows a couple named Rex and Saskia who are on a romantic getaway in Paris. The couple stop at a service station, and Saskia goes into the station and just disappears without a trace. Rex spends three years endlessly and tirelessly searching for her.
Much like the film Se7en, sometimes the villain will just have the upper hand and have a much more sick and devious plan. The film ends with one of the most terrifying things that could happen to a man when Rex finally figures out what happened to his beloved. Your own mortality is the ending of Spoorloos.
3. 'Fight Club'
Fight Club follows two men, an unnamed narrator (Edward Norton) and Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) as they create a fight club for men who want to release stress and anger by beating the crap out of each other. It's a pretty basic plot that you can relate to because sometimes people really do need to release some of their pent up anger and frustration. Fight clubs are a way for people to be that without releasing it on innocent people with deadly consequences.
However, the film makes a quick and sudden detour in plot and also into the psyche of our main protagonist that really catches you off guard. You won't believe where this film will take you on your first viewing of it. It's downright insane to be quite honest. This film can easily show us that sometimes, we, ourselves, are the bad guys without even knowing it.
2. 'American History X'
Hey, another Edward Norton movie and probably his best one to date. American History X follows a skin-head racist named Derek Vinyard who recounts his time as part of a neo-Nazi group, his time in prison and his redemption to become a better person. As a new person, he tries to stop his younger brother, Danny, from following the same path of hatred and racism that he did. Danny has been picking up some bad habits from Derek and his skin-head buddies, even by picking fights with some black kids at school.
American History X portrays the journey of Derek's redemption from a man who is full of hate into someone who can learn to live peacefully with his fellow man. However, the film has showed us that sometimes you can influence people in a completely wrong fashion and that we should be careful about what we teach the next generation of adults who will soon run the world... because we can teach the wrong values.
1. 'The Mist'
The Mist, on the outside, is just a basic monster movie but on the inside it is something much more. While nowhere near the best movie on this list, it has one of the biggest punch-in-the-gut endings I've ever seen.
The film is about a movie poster artist named David Drayton who goes to the store for supplies after a huge storm causes some damage to his house. He goes to the store with his 6-year-old son and estranged neighbor, Brent Norton. When they arrive at the store, a strange mist starts to form around the town and kill anyone who gets trapped in it. To make things worse, one of the townspeople stuck in the store is Mrs. Carmody, religious fanatic who loves to preach the “true” word of God.
The Mist's ending is considered one of the most depressing and out-of-nowhere conclusions to a movie ever. Some people love it, some people hate it and I can understand both. I like it because it has a very important moral at the end of the movie. That moral is that you must never lose hope in your life. Always keep fighting for your survival and freedom. Unfortunately, David Drayton learned this the hard way.
Did I forget one? Are there any other films where evil triumphs over good? Leave a comment below.