The nature of movies as entertainment dictates that, more often than not, we as audiences fully expect the hero to eventually prevail over the villain, because people love to witness good triumphing over evil, after all.
And while there are certainly movies which wilfully buck the trend and hand the win to the antagonist, more common is a film which tries to fake viewers out, by getting the villain as close to victory as possible before allowing the heroic side to pull things back.
These 10 movies, from blood-soaked action flicks to family-friendly animated masterworks, all dared to dupe audiences into genuinely believing that the villain was about to come out on top, only to pull the rug out and deliver some major catharsis at the last minute.
In some cases it was clearly the right call, but in others, it sure would've been refreshing to see the smart or skillful antagonist emerge victorious for all their efforts.
Either way, most of us fell for these near-misses hook, line, and sinker...
10. Billy Bites The Bullet - The Departed
Until its final few moments, Martin Scorsese's remake of Hong Kong thriller Infernal Affairs looks like it's going to follow the original's downer ending to the letter.
In the third act, undercover cop Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio) is killed while attempting to expose corrupt cop Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon), seemingly leaving Sullivan to get away unpunished as his equivalent does in Infernal Affairs.
Except, in the interest of a more crowd-pleasing Hollywood ending, The Departed tacks on an additional final scene where Sullivan is confronted in his apartment by Sgt. Dignam (Mark Wahlberg), who promptly shoots him in the head as he arrives home.
It really did seem like Sullivan had his slippery escape all mapped out, but along came Scorsese with a surprising "happy" ending totally out of nowhere.
While undeniably a concession in remaking the bleaker original movie for a more mainstream global market, it's still an effective ending on its own merits.