On occasion, a film likes to toy with its audience. Major events occur suddenly and unexpectedly, throwing viewers off their guard. It's become somewhat of a staple of suspense and horror film to axe off a character we've become invested in early in the picture, leaving them on uncertain terrain where no one is truly feels at ease.
At its worst, this is entirely a gimmick. Even films such as Feast, a clear send-up of survival horror that didn't particularly have a well-drawn group of heroes, jokes about this by immediately and gruesomely offing a character officially known as "hero" right after he claims he's the only person who possesses the ability last the night.
So we know the game, and Hollywood knows we know the game, and by that point one would think the game is up. There's still the odd film, however, that manages to make a character's sudden departure not just a shock, but well-deserved and even somewhat rewarding. Here are the better examples through the years.
Life was a little-liked 2017 sci-fi thriller about discovering the first evidence of life on Mars and learning that it's more Alien than E.T. Released to critical derision and audience shoulder-shrugging, it was seen as just another in a long line of Alien clones that would be forgotten in due time, despite a major cast headlined by Jake Gyllenhaal, Ryan Reynolds and up-and-comer Rebecca Ferguson.
The titular life begins as a small, seemingly containable sample to the excitement of the astronauts, but it becomes apparent early on that the creature has the ability to grow into a multi-cell organism; a hostile one at that.
The three leads didn't have any traits that solidified one over the other, but Reynolds' recent success in the Deadpool films and the years he spent living down Green Lantern made the audience imagine he'd at least make it to the late real.
Not so, as once the creature breaks free, he's the first mouth it shoves itself in, emerging from him spewing blood and having grown even larger. Not a flop or really a hit, it's middling sci/fi with a surprising downer ending.