Making even a simply good movie is extremely challenging, especially given that audiences have a tendency to be finicky about the smallest things, and putting one creative foot wrong in the final stretch can easily sour the entire experience.
Last impressions count for a lot, and so the final sight that viewers set their eyes upon before the end credits roll will largely define how they regard the whole movie.
Indeed, delivering a satisfying ending to a film - regardless of its wider quality - sure is tricky, and as such it's little surprise that so many films fail to do so despite their "best" efforts.
These 10 films released over the past year all fell short of the mark where their climaxes were concerned - taking the easy, lazy way out, getting a little too "clever" for their own good, or teasing sequels we all know aren't ever coming - despite the clear potential for a more dramatically satisfying denouement.
Granted, not all of these movies were great in the first place, but each nevertheless rode spectacularly, irredeemably off the rails with that offensive stinker of an ending...
10. The Witches
Though expectations weren't exactly high for Robert Zemeckis' re-adaptation of Roald Dahl's beloved dark fantasy novel The Witches, the director at least had the opportunity to deliver a more provocative ending than in the 1990 Nicolas Roeg movie.
Despite pushing the boundaries of kid-friendly entertainment with its uniquely disturbing story and grotesque practical makeup effects, the '90 adaptation ultimately deferred to a glorified deus ex machina, by having young Luke (Jasen Fisher) transformed back from a mouse into his human form by the suddenly heroic Miss Irvine (Jane Horrocks).
While the ending to Zemeckis' new film is indeed more faithful to the downbeat climax of the book, it still ends up hitting a sour note due to the movie's overall candy-coated, saccharine tone.
Like Dahl's book, The Witches 2020 wraps up with the young protagonist (Jahzir Kadeem Bruno) permanently retaining his mouse form and never being turned back into a human.
However the film also tiptoes around the grimmer implications of this ending, that the boy and his unwell grandmother (Octavia Spencer) will therefore die around the same time, instead suggesting that we have no idea how long they both will live.
And because it's apparently a bit gauche to end a family film like that these days, it all wraps up with a toe-curlingly embarrassing song-and-dance number set to Sister Sledge's "We Are Family." Oof.
Though the ending at least commits to the boy remaining a mouse for the rest of his life, between the doubt it casts on his and grandma's lifespans and that wholly unnecessary final needle drop, it ultimately feels pretty lacking in dramatic backbone.