Five Great Science Fiction Movies With Mean Endings

Illustration for article titled Five Great Science Fiction Movies With Mean Endings

The Mist hit theaters last week to extreme audience apathy, but one part of the movie did get people riled up: its hopeless, mean ending. As far as we're concerned, that's the best part. Some of the best scifi flicks have endings that make you want to slit your wrists. Either the main character(s) have sacrificed everything for no gain, or you realize that the entire world is going to become evil/be destroyed and no one can stop it. For those of you who aren't afraid to face the bleakness, here are five terrific movies whose endings are a like a slap in the face (don't worry, I won't spoil everything).

28 Days Later
A virus called Rage spreads rapidly through England, turning nearly everyone into zombie-like creatures who eat human flesh. A small band of uninfected humans escape London, only to find themselves in an even worse situation when they encounter a military unit whose madness has nothing to do with the virus. Ends on an ambiguously dark note. You won't be reaching for the cyanide capsules, but you may not be able to sleep.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978 version)
This dark remake of the 1950s communist-scare story takes place in San Francisco and stars Donald Sutherland as a Sensitive New Age guy who discovers all his buddies have become pod people in their sleep. Made very soon after the Watergate scandal, the movie is a satisfying homage to conspiracy paranoia. The ending will make you want to never sleep again.


The Quiet Earth
This New Zealand indie is about a guy who wakes up one morning to discover he's the last guy on Earth . . . until he meets two other survivors. Sometimes having people around can be worse than being the only guy on the planet. Especially when the fabric of space-time keeps getting shredded. The ending is one of the most beautiful and frightening things I've ever seen.

Terry Gilliam's mid-1980s dystopian masterwork holds up beautifully, and people a century from now will still be watching this sad tale of a dreamy bureaucrat who gets mixed up with political forces he doesn't understand. Set in a gloomy, fascist nation forever at war with nebulously-defined terrorists, Brazil is about how a little guy who dreams big can fight the system. But the ending — which Gilliam fought the studios tooth and nail to retain — will make you cry, rip your hair out, and question whether there is any hope left in the world.

Night of the Living Dead
There have been sequels aplenty, but none hold a candle to this 1969 speculative classic in which the recently-dead suddenly start walking around eating the living. Though it plays with horror themes, this black-and-white movie has almost a documentary feeling. There's nothing supernatural about government officials trying to explain and suppress information about the risen dead. When a group of strangers get stranded in a zombie-beseiged house, they have to work together to fend off the hordes of dead people. But director George Romero wants to be sure you know that heroism never pays off in late-60s America. The ending will make you want to chew people's arms off just like a zombie would.

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Too bad you didnt mention Silent running.