10 Movies With The Most Disappointing Endings

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There’s an old adage in the moviemaking business: “Wow them in the end and you’ve got a hit.” Unfortunately, this piece of sage advice isn’t always observed as faithfully as it could or should be. Hollywood history is littered with flicks that were solid, or even fantastic, up until it came time for the filmmakers to wrap up the story, leaving moviegoers frustrated and critics scratching their heads.

While enjoyment of a movie is necessarily a subjective experience, some scripts just don’t deliver in their final moments. Here is a list of 10 notoriously disappointing endings for movies that could otherwise have been much better and more memorable than they were. Note: spoiler alert! Details of these movies’ endings are about to be revealed.

10. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

Yes, the final chapter of Peter Jackson’s epic adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic saga took home a lot of hardware at the 2004 Academy Awards. Yes, it is among the most brilliantly realized book adaptations in Hollywood history. And yes, it goes on far, far, far too long. The story seems to be wrapping up when Frodo makes it off Mount Doom, but wait! Aragon has to marry his elf queen. Oh, and the hobbits have to return to the Shire so Sam can marry his lady love. Then Frodo has to pick up his pen to start writing down the details of his adventure. But hold on — Frodo has to join Bilbo, Gandalf and a group of elves on a boat so they can sail away. Three simple words Jackson forgot: CUT TO BLACK.

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9. The Mist (2007)

This 2007 sci-fi thriller reunited the team of director Frank Darabont and horror guru Stephen King, who hit gold in 1994 with The Shawshank Redemption. In The Mist, a small town is invaded by terrifying creatures following a creepy and mysterious storm, leaving residents to scramble for their lives. The movie’s opening act is atmospheric and engaging, moving into a middle with many great scares and intense moments. Unfortunately, when the story reaches its conclusion, viewers are left frustrated by a strange and unsatisfying creative choice: everybody dies. Why spend two hours watching this if we’re going to be the only ones to live to tell about it?