There’s always a moment in a movie where all hope is lost. When the odds are stacked against our hero, it looks like they don't have a chance of coming out on top.
But if you've ever seen... y'know... a movie, we're aware the good guy is usually destined to emerge triumphant. Even if you have no clue how the lead character will walk away from a life-or-death situation unscathed, you're certain they will. Things couldn't have looked more helpless for Luke Skywalker in the climax of The Empire Strikes Back and yet, he brought peace to the galaxy. Frodo succeeded in destroying The One Ring, despite being told his quest was impossible. No matter what threat Superman faces, we never doubt he will save the day.
However, there are times where the viewers can't help feeling like the movie they're watching is going to end in tears. When the protagonist is abandoned, lost, or seconds away from death, with no hint that help is coming, you can't help preparing for the worst.
Although everything worked out in the end, you genuinely believed these heroes were goners.
10. Joe Gardner – Soul
We all thought Joe from Pixar's Soul would die since, well, that was the premise. In fact, Joe meets his demise in the first scene.
As his spirit is about to head to The Great Beyond, Joe flees, causing him to fall into The Great Before, which is inhabited by souls before they've been born on Earth. With the help of a literal troubled soul called 22, Joe finds his way back into his body (after accidentally becoming a cat for a brief time).
Although he was desperate to come back to life, Joe feels unfulfilled, encouraging him to return to The Great Before and help 22 find her purpose. After 22 decides she's ready to be born on Earth, Joe believes he has served his own purpose, and makes his way to The Great Beyond. Because Joe willingly accepts his fate and seems content to go, viewers didn't question that he was really going to die... again.
But just before he ascends to the afterlife, a counselor of The Great Before pops up, and allows Joe to live again as a reward for inspiring 22.