In the film world, there are tons of movies with disappointing endings or climactic scenes. For this list, I will be looking at some of the worst endings out there, which in some cases are so bad that they ruin the entire film, regardless of whether the film was relatively good up to the end.
10. The Matrix Revolutions (Lilly & Lana Wachowski – 2003)
Many would agree that “The Matrix” (1999) is one of the most influential blockbusters of all time. It went on to inspire comedy with countless sketches copying Neo’s famous bullet dodge scene. It also influenced video games, spawning many games such as Max Payne (2001) implementing a ‘bullet time’ feature which is clearly influenced from “The Matrix.”
Above this, however, the film is widely regarded as one of the greatest blockbusters ever made, earning itself a spot on the list of IMDb’s top 20 highest rated movies of all time. Because of the first film’s high reputation, fans were excited to see where the sequel would go and how the story would continue.
Unfortunately for fans, the sequel “The Matrix Reloaded” (2003) is widely regarded as being subpar compared to the original, despite having some cool sequences such as the motorway chase scene with the Twins.
Although the sequel was seen as subpar, many people still enjoyed it; however, the third film is regarded by many fans and critic to be a failure. The climactic scene of the final film lacks the clever philosophy established in the original, and the exciting cliffhanger of the sequel. Instead, what we get is an ending that felt slapped on at the last minute and also rather silly.
The film ends with the hero Neo being turned into an Agent Smith clone after losing his battle, and following this, the machine leader shoots a bolt of energy into Neo from the real world destroying all the Agent Smiths.
The film then ends with Zion being saved and the Matrix being rebooted. It seems from this ending that the Wachowskis themselves didn’t really know how to end this mammoth of a franchise they created, so instead they opted to tie everything together in such a half-hearted and unorganised way.
9. Halloween (David Gordon Green – 2018)
2018’s “Halloween” remake completely missed the mark on what made John Carpenter’s classic so scary. It featured a weak and paranoid Laurie, who felt entirely one-dimensional. A weak cast of teenage characters carries out the modern horror convention of poorly written teenage characters doing stupid things that eventually lead to the majority of them being killed.
Not only that, but the actual sequences of Michael Myers stalking and killing his victims lacks even a semblance of the suspense present in the original. The film was at its best when it was copying the original, with the scene of Michael walking around the town of Haddonfield in a POV long take, which makes the audience wish they were watching the original.
The ending at first has potential with Laurie and her granddaughter having a cat and mouse chase with Michael around Laurie’s house. However, it ends up devolving into a really disappointing cliffhanger, as many horror films seem to do. It ends with Michael being trapped in a burning basement, seemingly being burned alive whilst Laurie and her granddaughter escape on a truck. However, when we see the burned-out basement, there is no sign of Michael.
This ending seems to denote that there will be an endless barrage of Halloween sequels. This ending is not just a problem with the new “Halloween,” but with horror films in general. So many end up following the same cliffhanger ending staple so that we can be struck by an endless barrage of sequels. This is a very subpar ending to a very subpar movie.
8. Glass (M. Night Shyamalan – 2019)
M. Night Shyamalan is a director who seems to attempt a twist ending in all his movies. Sometimes he strikes gold with this philosophy toward moviemaking, as seen in classics like “The Sixth Sense” (1999); however, this relentless pursuit of twist endings can often take away from his work and make his endings feel confusing and unnecessary. This has never been more apparent than with his most recent film “Glass.”
In all fairness, Shyamalan had a really tough job trying to connect his past movies “Unbreakable” (2000) and “Split” (2016) into one superhero extravaganza. The movie is promising at first with its interesting look at superhero culture, its origins, and how it affects society today. James McAvoy’s portrayal of all the personalities is as cartoonishly brilliant as it is in “Split.”
However, when it comes to the climax of the movie where the Beast and David are engaging in combat, suddenly a random organisation kills the Beast with a sniper and then drowns David in a puddle. These deaths feel extremely anti-climatic, especially the puddle drowning segment. It is then revealed that there is an organisation that hunts down super beings and kills them because they fear that they would rule over humans.
Following this, it is revealed that Mr. Glass released footage of superhumans on a private network, which is then posted online by the side characters of both movie franchises. The problem with this ending is the fact that this evil organisation is just slapped on at the end without any real pre-establishment.
Also, the side characters, maybe with the exception of David’s son, are extremely boring and poorly written, especially Casey Cooke, who was equally terrible in “Split.” Leaving these characters as the only ones alive was a bad idea, as Shyamalan ended up killing off all the interesting characters, so by the film’s end, we have no one we really care about.
7. The Man With the Golden Gun (Guy Hamilton -1974)
The James Bond filmography has always been a mixed bag, with some exciting classics and some that are silly and absurd, such as “Die Another Day” (2002) with its invisible car. It’s a shame that the only Bond film featuring the late great Christopher Lee ended up being such a disaster.
The story starts off really strong with a masterful hitman pursuing Bond. However, the plot slowly becomes overly silly, a staple of many of the Roger Moore-era Bond movies. The story feels like an absolute mess from start to finish, splicing elements from a martial arts film and a comedy with the ‘007’ spy movie staple.
The ending itself was by far the worst part of the film. The film hypes up the upcoming gun fight between Bond and Scaramanga from the start, making it extremely exciting when they finally show down. You would expect the final confrontation to be a tense and epic event akin to the final showdown in “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” (1966); however, it fails miserably as an final duel scene.
Instead of it being a tense face off, we are treated to Bond chasing Scaramanga through a cheesy villain’s lair, featuring a model of James Bond. He is quickly gunned down in an extremely anti-climatic fashion. Following this, we have a slapped-on plot about solar energy that isn’t mentioned until the very end. Altogether, the ending feels truly lacklustre and just makes you wish the film was a more interesting spy vs. assassin story.
6. 13 Cameras (Victor Zarcoff – 2015)
“13 Cameras” is a horror film that has a very creepy premise. A warped, ugly landlord spies on a couple that has just moved in, and begins acting in a perverse and unnerving manner. For the most part, the film is delightfully disturbing, with scenes of the landlord watching the female tenant undress, and using the female tenant’s toothbrush for his own sexual gratification. However, the climax of the movie is just downright annoying.
The tenants end up having a final confrontation with the landlord, and instead of them managing to kill him or them escaping at the end, the landlord kills the husband then kidnaps his wife. The film ends with the wife being locked away in a room (probably to be abused by the landlord) and the newborn baby being stolen by the landlord. To rub salt in the wound, the landlord calls the cops a few weeks later to say that the family staying there had gone missing.
This ending is just ‘the bad guy wins’ for the sake of it. Endings where the bad guy wins can be great, but there has to be an important idea that the director wants to get across, such as the philosophy of “the ends justify the means,” as seen through the character of Ozymandias in Alan Moore’s “Watchmen” (1986). Or they have to at least be likeable, like with Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the Joker in “The Dark Knight” (2008).
However, this movie fails in both areas. It feels like Zarcoff made the villain win just to be controversial, or just so he could write the sequel “14 Cameras” (2018). Not to mention the villain is one of the most despicable and repulsive characters in all of cinema. This film had the potential to be a solid horror film, but it is completely ruined by its rage-inducing ending.