Image via Searchlight Pictures
Anyone who is a horror fan has watched an entire flick and has been moved by the entire show only to get to an ending that barely does justice to the overarching story and is very disappointing., to say the least. Unfortunately, many horror films are marred by this particular monstrosity. But what about the ones that deliver at the end?
One such surprising entry on the list is The Menu which came out in 2022 and nailed its ending perfectly. Anya Taylor-Joy, who rocked the house in The Queen’s Gambit in 2020, plays the role of Margot who is on an intriguing date with Tyler (Nicholas Hoult). They go to a restaurant that is on a private island owned and operated by Chef Slowik (Ralph Fiennes) who soon reveals that he has invited everyone so he can kill them along with the staff. That’s enough of a setup to know that the story is going not headed for a safe ending, and that means good news for horror fans.
Not to ruin the ending, but despite the chances of a rather inevitable death ready to snap its jaws, Margot manages to the last laugh in the most extreme way. It is a stellar ending to a perfectly made horror film. It’s the kind of ending that viewers deserve and it’s far from the 70s and 80s trope of the dimwitted character who finds a strategy to get away, one that they had all along.
The Redditor invoking The Menu‘s name was enough for other horror diehards to add their own picks to the list.
Misery is another great one from 1990, starring Kathy Bates and James Caan with the notable mention of Lauren Bacall playing the part of Marcia Sindell, and tells the story of a writer who needs medical assistance and basically gets held hostage by his number-one fan.
The ending of the film is so fine that it makes space for a deeper subtext and makes one think beyond the final credits.
One of the best ways to write an ending to a horror film is to give a surviving character hope and then take it away. Let the audience leave the theater in absolute despair. That’s what happens in the 1968 classic Night of the Living Dead.
Of course, Saw has to be on the list. Its ending was phenomenal and that’s not up for any dispute.
The 2011 flick The Cabin in the Woods also gets a top-notch review, starring Kristen Connolly and Chris Hemsworth with Bradley Whitford, Sigourney Weaver, and Richard Jenkins rounding out the cast nicely.
Who can deny that 1974’s The Texas Chain Saw Massacre belongs on this list? It is a horror movie that did both — it made history by setting the standard by which other horror films would be judged. Many films have tried to emulate its formula and have failed badly with their cheesy attempts.
To those filmmakers who went the extra mile to make sure the ending left a lasting impression, horror aficionados salute you!
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