Ambiguous endings can be poetic and benefit stories by creating plots or characters that are necessarily open-ended… But more often, they are just pompous. This is not a condemnation of filmmakers who choose to leave us wanting more, this is a calling out of movies that simply leave us hanging, and ineffectually at that. Twists that make no sense and are only there to “shock us”, the insertion of convenient characters or plotlines to explain away a hole the filmmaker dug (but a pass can be given to sci-fi here since it makes its own rules, frustrating as that may sometimes be). And then there are those that are just too abrupt, leaving too many holes because apparently the filmmaker just didn’t want to deal with it. So we, the viewers are left, scratching our heads, terribly, terribly confused.
The issue with this otherwise awesome 1978 superhero flick is plain and simple. As fun a ride as it is, one can’t help but wonder what is with the cop-out finale. It turns out there actually is a way to turn back time, just fly around the world really fast. Um, ok… But just to be clear, there is no scientific evidence to support this awkwardly abrupt and questionable happy ending.
8. The Moth Diaries
After losing two of her closest friends, and being betrayed by her English teacher and confident, it’s fair that Rebecca is losing it. She knows the creepy new girl is behind it all, and she’s also pretty sure she knows her darkest secret. When no one will listen, Rebecca decides to take matters into her own hands and burn the vampire-ghost-thing. But that’s an awfully big step, so she should probably be super sure – or just burn her alive on a whim. That could work, assuming the body will completely disintegrate. And it does. So basically, Rebecca is a supernatural expert – but then she probably should have burned Ernessa before she killed everyone. Oh well, what’s done is done.
7. The Descent
This thriller is not appropriate for those with a fear of claustrophobia. When a group of friends find themselves trapped in a cave, things just keep getting worse. Unless of course, there was a way out this whole time. It’s a good thing she found it so easily at the very end of the film – who knows what would have happened. For the record, the Australian release did show this miraculous escape to be a hallucination, but the U.S. release stuck with it for some reason.
6. Perfect Stranger
The protagonist is the killer, yawn. What’s more disappointing is how obviously thrown in it is, in the last moments of the plot. Throughout the film, never once does she deliver a glance or a smirk that might suggest something is going on. The film is seemingly a great demonstration of running out of time, patience, creativity – or all of the above.
5. The Dark Knight Rises
It is fair to say that the film itself is pretty great, but the swapping of the antagonist at the end is a bit of a puzzler. Suddenly, Bane is no longer the bad guy, Miranda is. It’s a confusing decision on the filmmakers part because so much time is spent developing the feud between Batman and Bane, and then it’s just ripped away. And with Bane gone, you can’t help but wonder why you’re watching anymore.
4. The Number 23
In Jim Carrey’s first crack at serious acting, he plays a man who is troubled by an obsession. From what he can tell, there are too many connections in life to be a coincidence, and all seem to have to do with the number 23. As he continues to explore further, he comes to rely on a book that seems to know everything about him. By the end, it turns out to be because he is the one who wrote the book. Well, it seems everyone is entitled to memory lapses now and again…
3. World War Z
Recently, a sequel to this film has been announced which will hopefully make up for the frustrating ambiguous ending. In a post-apocolyptic world, the most urgent task becomes to find a cure and of course, Brad Pitt needs to be the one to do it. Called away from his family, he is forced to commit to a treacherous journey, only to find that the cure is to inject oneself with a fatal contagion. Perhaps most annoying is that the resolution provides zero resolution – prolonging the inevitable (slow suicide, as it were) is not a valid solution. Maybe it will make more sense in the sequel.
Japan has been extremely famous for its original and creepy horror movies for quite some time now. Hollywood has made a habit out of remaking them, ever since the major success of The Ring (based on Ringu). The film franchise did really well in both Japan and America, but the fourth “unofficial” instalment, Sadako, is a major disappointment. The curse of the viral video that kills viewers is somehow broken by the smashing of a phone screen at the very end. Since the cell phone was not the source of the video, it’s safe to say that it really makes no sense.
1. The Devil Inside
This has got to be one of the worst movie endings of all time. Unresolved, open-endings, have absolutely nothing on this paranormal thriller which at some point, simply cuts to a black screen. The screen then directs viewers to refer to an online website for more on the story. That means, someone made a conscious decision not to bother finishing this one… sigh.