Here are seven movies where the villains win at the end. Most people go to see a film so we can escape into another world for a while, distract ourselves from our own lives, and our own problems and just enjoy two hours of something different. Usually, this escapism means we as an audience want to see the good guys win, the bad guys fail, and get a happy ending come the credits. Thankfully there are a few examples where the opposite happens.
Funny Games (2007)
A more obscure entry on a list of films where the villain(s) win at the end, an American remake by Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke based upon his own film some ten years previous, the film follows a couple of unhinged teenagers as they beat, torture and kill a family of three. The film ends with the family dead, and the two teenagers knocking on their next victim’s door.
Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
The most recent and by far the most surprising example of movies where the villains win at the end, Thanos has spent the previous two and a half hours amassing the Infinity Stones in an attempt to erase half the universe. Going into the film most of us didn’t expect him to succeed, especially being a Marvel film, and we certainly didn’t expect a cliffhanger we’d wait a year to resolve, but he succeeds, and we waited.
A fantastic criminal thriller surrounding a serial killer murdering his victims in a way that’d be linked to the seven sins, from one victim being force-fed spaghetti representing Gluttony to a man being handcuffed to a bed for a year, slowly starved to death, representing Sloth. Culminating in one of the most famous endings of a film in recent years, it’s a good example of one of the movies where the villains win at the end.
A film set almost entirely in space, it follows a crew of astronauts who’ve come across proof of alien life, and are attempting to do some research/experiments on it. Things quickly go wrong, and the alien life-form picks the astronauts off one-by-one, before an ominous twist at the end.
The Usual Suspects (1995)
Regarded as one of the best films with a twist ending, The Usual Suspects will keep you on your toes throughout, as we listen to Kevin Spacey’s Verbal describing the events of a theft and a shoot-out. Too good to spoil, you’ll need to watch it if you want to know how the villain wins.
Mostly set in a single dank and dirty bathroom, the story of the two chained inhabitants unravels as it’s shown they’re more connected than first thought. Struggling to remove their restraints, it’s eventually revealed the key to their locks was with them at the start, and the dead body in the middle of the room isn’t so dead.
In the last entry on the list of movies where the villains win at the end, we have another film mostly set in one place. As the title suggests, the entire film is centered around one man in a phonebooth played by Colin Farrell, kept there by a mysterious voice with a sniper, played by Kiefer Sutherland. Forcing Farrell’s character to reflect and admit his mistakes, both to himself and his loved ones, the film closes with the thought the sniper is dead and the threat has gone… until Sutherland turns up to gloat to Farrell’s character one last time, before leaving.
There we have it, that’s seven movies where the villains win at the end. There are countless more, so what others would you have included?