There’s nothing more humiliating than when a football player fumbles the ball at the one-yard line. Okay, there’s one thing: when an otherwise perfect horror movie is ruined by its own ending.
The only horrifying thing about this particular list is the amount of spoilers we’re going to drop, so if you plan on watching any of these titles, you have two options: scroll past the title you want to watch for yourself or save yourself a couple of hours by reading what we have to say about it and moving on with your life.
A solid horror movie is only as good as its ending, and as we compile this list, we just want to let you know that we’re not mad. We’re just disappointed.
The Village (2004)
M. Night Shyamalan has always wowed us with his ability to surprise with crazy twists at the end of his films. But The Village is a horror movie in which he completely missed the mark. When we find out that the mysterious 19th-century village is actually a modern-day ruse, we’re left with more questions than answers.
First off, how much money did Edward Walker spend paying off the government to make the Walker Wildlife Preserve a no-fly zone? You’re telling us that every government administration for over two decades? What’s more, we find it incredibly hard to believe that some overzealous hiker or tourist never once happened upon the community during this time frame.
The Village is a perfect example of a horror movie that’s better if you duck out after the second act, and leave the finale to your imagination. The human mind can only suspend so much disbelief before they’re taken out of the film, and that’s exactly what happens in The Village.
We’re not trying to throw too much shade at the brilliant mind that brought us The Sixth Sense, and we promise that this is the last M. Night Shyamalan horror movie we’ll bring up on this list. But we have to talk about Signs for obvious reasons.
If the invading aliens‘ only weakness is water, then why did they decide to show up on planet Earth, a planet made up of 71 percent water?
Are we to believe that the aliens are only harmed by water when it’s splashed on them? What about humidity? The only terrifying thing about Signs’ final reveal is the lack of consistency we face.
28 Weeks Later (2007)
Okay, just hear us out on this one. 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later made fast zombies popular, which really took this kind of horror movie to the next level. But given how 28 Weeks Later ends on a cliffhanger, we’re wondering why the franchise didn’t continue.
In other words, both films are perfect horror movies, but as the years continue to pass with no additional follow-up, we can’t help but think they should have ended 28 Weeks Later with a less open-ended ending. So the only reason 28 Weeks Later loses points is because we so desperately wanted to see 28 Months Later.
But who knows? 28 Days Later came out in 2002, meaning that we’re only a few years away from 28 Years Later, which there have been somewhat recent talks about.
So while we’re upset over how 28 Weeks Later left us hanging, we’re still holding out hope that Danny Boyle and Alex Garland will one day give us the third film we’ve all been waiting for.
The Uninvited (2009)
2009’s The Uninvited is a perfect horror movie if you’ve never seen a horror movie before, and this was how you were introduced to the genre. The story centers on a troubled girl named Anna Ivers who was discharged from a psychiatric institution 10 months after the violent death of her mother, who burned to death in the boathouse behind her residence.
Anna and her sister, Alex, have reason to believe that the live-in nurse, Rachel Summers, murdered their mother so she could start a relationship with her father, Steven.
But in the third act, we learn that Alex actually was responsible for murdering her mother, and the fire killed Alex as well. We learn that Anna suffers from schizophrenia and dissociative identity disorder and that most of what she’s experiencing is happening inside her own head.
Make no mistake, The Uninvited, and A Tale of Two Sisters, the South Korean horror movie it was based on, are both solid films. In fact, Roger Ebert even gave The Uninvited a three our of four, and praised Emily Browning’s performance.
If you’re a horror movie super-fan you’ll probably find this film to be derivative because you’ve likely seen this kind of reveal play out in the past.
As a standalone horror movie, The Uninvited will get under your skin. If you’re a seasoned horror movie veteran, you’ll probably scoff at the ending.
Orphan is one of those horror movies that you have to see to believe. Though the big reveal that Esther isn’t actually a 9-year-old girl, but rather a 33-year-old psychopath is superbly done, it happened too soon, and the third act is rife with unnecessary gore before its violent resolution.
Orphan boasts a run-time of 123 minutes, but if this horror movie was in the 90-minute territory, the reveal would have been so much more impactful because everything would have felt infinitely more immediate.
That being said, Orphan boasts a terrifying premise, and Isabelle Fuhrman clearly knew the assignment when she was cast as Esther. Her manipulative facial expressions, and her ability to shift her demeanor from sweet and innocent to ferocious and sadistic at the drop of a hat is commendable.
But in the case of Orphan, we got too much of a good thing, and most of the third act felt overdone and unnecessary.
Halloween Ends (2022)
It goes without saying that John Carpenter’s Halloween is the horror movie that put the slasher genre on the map. But after 13 films, the franchise went out with a whimper rather than a bang.
In Halloween Ends, Michael Myers is violently eliminated, which is to be expected, but we were left unsatisfied with the Corey Cunningham storyline.
In an ideal world, Corey Cunningham, who had Myer’s mask in his possession at one point, could have escaped and lived to kill another day.
Overall, it just feels like the narrative spent too much time developing Corey’s character just to have him killed off by Michael, who would have simply had more screen time in this final installment of the legendary franchise.
Dawn of the Dead (2004)
Zach Snyder’s remake of George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead was the modern update of the classic horror movie that we all wanted to see.
When compared to the original 1978 film, everything in the 2004 version was dialed up to 11. Both films end with their central surviving protagonists riding off into the sunset toward an uncertain future.
But where the 2004 version of Dawn of the Dead fell short was its ending. While Romero’s film ended on a somewhat optimistic note with Fred and Fran flying off in a helicopter, Snyder’s version of the horror movie ends with Ana, Kenneth, Nicole, Terry, and Chips fleeing the zombie outbreak on a yacht.
Through a series of found camcorder footage, we learn that they all arrive on an island overridden by the undead, and the camera drops, leaving us wondering what happens next.
Just like the ending of 28 Weeks Later we’re left wanting more, but we never got it in the form of a sequel. In other words, Dawn of the Dead would have been better served by having its ending a few minutes earlier, borrowing from the spirit of the film that inspired it.