Sure, there's plenty of extreme horror out there with deeply upsetting moments all the way through, but it's those that deliver a truly horrible finale that so often stay with us as viewers. So here's our countdown of Film Gutter's Top Five Most Harrowing Endings.
Please note the following list contains spoilers.
Five: Landmine Goes Click
An unflinching rape revenge movie, featuring an American backpacker in Georgia stuck stood on a landmine and unable to move as his friend is abused and assaulted by an unhinged local. But when our backpacker turns up at the house of his friend's rapist, we're treated to a tense, unnerving finale with a brilliant moment at its finale. Our lead threatens to shoot the man's daughter in a game like Russian Roulette, but when the bullet actually goes off its a genuine moment of shock that has great impact. Everybody in the scene looks stunned, and that absolutely transmits to the viewer.
Four: The Woman
The arrival of a feral woman into a young family living in the countryside brings a host of issues among them to the fore. Tied in a shed, and with attempts to 'civilise' her failing, The Woman finally breaks free of her bonds and destroys the hideous mysogny that exists at the heart of this seemingly wholesome family. There are plenty of dark moments all the way through, but when you realise the depth of hatred and dysfunction at the heart of the story it's hard not to be taken aback.
Three: Requiem For A Dream
For what is a relatively mainstream movie – with a fine cast including Jennifer Connelly, Jared Leto and Ellen Burstyn, as well as being directed by the superb Darren Aronofsky – this has what has become renowned as one of the most depressing final sequences of any film ever made. Following a group of people all troubled in some way by the challenges of life in the inner city, this crunching montage show all four of our lead characters suffering the nadir of their character journeys. The composite effect is not likely to leave you quickly, if at all.
One of the hardest movies we've ever had to watch at Film Gutter – and one we won't be coming back to in a hurry, if at al. Following one woman's hideous journey as her body and mind decompose, coinciding with a desperate increase in her sexual appetite, Thanatomorphose is visually grotesque and comes to a screeching, nightmarish crescendo in its final scene. To quote the original review, “When the final scene concluded I had my hands on my ears asking myself 'Is it over? Is it over?'. Because I honestly thought I couldn't survive another minute.”
One: Megan is Missing
So what tops that? Well, it's the movie that left a genuine sense of depression and malaise for the days that followed, the movie that without exaggeration took a week or more to get over. Megan is Missing follows two friends, Megan and Amy, and as implied on the title Megan vanishes when she goes to meet a young man she chats to online. Amy sets out on a quest to find her, but what she discovers is even darker than her worst imaginings. The final twenty minutes of this are just disheartening, destructive cinema. I mean, the final ten minutes are literally a still camera shot of a teenage girl trapped in a barrel pleading for her life while her captor digs her grave outside. It's both brutal and brutally effective, and left an indelible mark for a long time.