Some film's endings are heart breaking, some are hilarious, and some are moving in their pure profundity.
Horror films in particular are infamous for denouements which wrap up the action of the film itself nice and neatly, only to then add one last stinging little shock after all seems well. Just look at the endings of classic slasher outings Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street, both of which owe a debt to Scarface helmer Brian DePalma’s 1976 hit Carrie and its explosive closer.
The seventies shocker, adapted from the blockbuster debut novel of horror icon/ The Shining scribe Stephen King, began this persistent trend of throwing one last scare in at the end—even if it didn’t really make much sense in terms of story.
Many of the most enigmatic endings in the horror genre, already infamous for leaving viewers wondering “wait, what?”, fit this mould.
Some of the flicks listed here throw in a shock at the tail end of their tale, even if it doesn’t really add up at first glance, but despite initial appearances, all of them actually have something to say beneath their initially difficult-to-decipher surfaces.
10. The VVitch
So this is potentially a controversial one to start off on, as there are multiple potential readings of this scene and the tone of each interpretation differs wildly.
The Lighthouse helmer Robert Egger's feature debut, 2015 period horror The VVitch, follows the misfortunes of a frontier family who are exiled from a puritan community and left to live on a remote, desolate farm. They soon fall victim to a local witch, or possible ergot poisoning depending on your reading, and are offed one by one until only a lone teenage girl is left.
The enigmatic ending of this 2015 horror sees its heroine leave her destroyed family to live as a witch in the woods, prompting some to read the scene as triumphant escape from traditional life and a daring decision to "live deliciously".
Given the fact that the film's grim tone doesn't fit with this optimistic reading, many critics view the scene as a hallucinatory suicide brought on by her isolated starvation after the deaths and disappearances of her family.
Sorry for anyone who found self empowerment in the first take. Maybe don't search for happy endings in horror?