The last scene of a movie holds tremendous power.
A spectacular conclusion can go a long way to redeeming a film that has been middling in terms of quality up to that point in time. However, it is worth noting that the opposite also holds true. The offering might be absolutely incredible until the closing sequences begin, but an ending that fizzles out like somebody jamming a lit sparkler into a blocked toilet is what will ultimately form the viewer's lasting impression of the piece as a whole.
This is something particularly relevant to the horror genre; a genre which typically reserves its pièce de rèsistance for the final scene. The goal of a horror film is to elicit feelings of fear and disgust in its viewers, meaning that the genre's endings often serve as macabre capstones on whatever form of messed up proceedings the audience has been treated to upon this occasion. Fortunately for the fervent fright fans amongst us, these stunning final scenes often have the effect of elevating the movie from "good" to "great" - a state of affairs exemplified perfectly by the inhabitants of this list.
The following entries represent the gold standard for a closing scene within a horror film; an unforgettable climax where the foundations for success are built on what is already a masterful piece of filmmaking.
10. Drag Me To Hell
2009's Drag Me To Hell is iconic director Sam Raimi at his chaotic best.
The supernatural horror follows the unenviable circumstances of Christine Brown, cursed by a mysterious woman after Brown denies her a bank loan. This does not sound great to begin with, but it gets infinitely worse - Christine is to be subjected to all manner of supernatural torment for a period of three days, before being dragged off to Hell for an eternity of suffering and damnation.
The mysterious Romani lady, Sylvia Ganush, sets off proceedings by cursing a button she rips from Christine's coat in the film's early goings. After a nightmarish series of events, Christine believes she has found the way to lift the curse; digging up the now deceased Ganush and cramming an envelope into her mouth. That's one way to do it!
Unfortunately for our endlessly misfortunate protagonist, the film's final sequence sees Christine realize that she has delivered the wrong envelope after Justin Long's Clay hands her one that he found in his car. As such, the chilling twist reveals the curse was never lifted, and time is up. Christine has just enough to time to scream in horror before a nightmarish chasm appears in the earth, and she is dragged into the bloodcurdling depths by a sea of gruesome looking demons.
It's an iconic sequence and a worthy ending to one of the 2000s finest horror offerings.