Usually, films end with the good guy standing tall over the villain. Yet now and then, the bad guys will succeed at the end of the day. Here is a list of movies when the bad guy wins. Caution: there may be spoilers below!
The 2018 action thriller follows Grey Trace, who undergoes a procedure to receive a STEM implant following a tragic accident that left him paralyzed. Grey can regain control of his limbs and live a fulfilling life, but by the time the film ends, the STEM has total control of Grey’s body and mind.
Richard Gere plays Defense Attorney Martain Vail, who is best known for winning acquittals for his high-profile clients. However, one case may give him second thoughts about his confidence and ego once Vail realizes he was played.
When the police catch John Doe (Kevin Spacey), his master plan to commit crimes based on the seven deadly sins is still successful. It’s a lesson that David Mills (Brad Pitt) has to learn the hard way.
The 2014 neo-noir thriller stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Lou, who makes a living as a Stringer–a freelance journalist who records footage for the local news. Nightcrawler showcases a descent into madness, proving that the protagonist of a movie isn’t always the good guy.
No Country For Old Men
Javier Bardem gives an unforgettable performance as Anton Chigurh in this award-winning movie from the Coen Brothers. Chigurh can walk away unscathed as Officer Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) realizes this is indeed no country for old men like himself.
There Will Be Blood
Daniel Day-Lewis plays a greedy and conniving businessman in search of oil in this 2007 film from Paul Thomas Anderson. His Oscar-winning performance as Daniel Plainview showcases a descent into madness as Plainview and his villainous tactics come out on top.
Cabin in the Woods
Marketed as a stereotypical slasher film, Cabin in the Woods is anything but. A shadow group attempts to make sacrifices to appease the old gods, but humanity is at risk of extinction when they fail.
The 2010 animated film stars Will Ferrell as the supervillain Megamind. It’s an enjoyable movie, and while the bad guy does end up coming out on top, there’s nothing wrong with that here; it’s a harmless animated feature.
The 1974 classic starring Jack Nicholson is a perfect example of a modern film-noir classic. Nicholson and Faye Dunaway give standout performances, and the script by Robert Towne is in a league of its own.
Zack Snyder adapted the legendary graphic novel to the big screen in 2009. While some changes were made, the story’s ending (for the most part) remains the same. “I’m not a comic book villain. Do you seriously think I’d explain my masterstroke to you if there were even the slightest possibility you could affect the outcome? I triggered it thirty-five minutes ago.”
Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog
Developed during the 2007 Writer’s Strike, the Joss Wheddon web series stars Neil Patrick Harris, Felicia Day, and Nathan Fillion. In addition to its catchy songs, it’s best known for the villain Dr. Horrible succeeding in the end.
Silence of the Lambs
The classic thriller starring Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster dives into the case of Buffalo Bill. While Bill meets his comeuppance, Hannibal Lecter finds a way to escape to freedom.
Directed by Spike Lee, 2006’s Inside Man stars Denzel Washington, Clive Owen, and Jodie Foster. The crime heist pulled off in the film is an example of the perfect crime, resulting in a victory for the villains and the taunting of the good guys.
X-Men: First Class
The reboot of the X-Men franchise dives into the origins of the popular superhero team. It’s a great look into the backstory and friendship of Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr. However, as Erik fully transforms into Magneto, it’s still heartbreaking to witness.
The Big Short
In this case, the bad guys are the big banks. The Adam McKay film dives into the cause and fallout of the 2008 financial crisis and the collapse of the American housing market. A thread inspired this post.
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