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15 Feel-Good Movies That Eventually Get Dark

It’s strange to witness films that look to be humorous turn into something lot darker than they appeared to be. Audiences may be thrilled or confused by the abrupt turn, depending on the efficiency of the filming. It’s usually a deliberate plot surprise meant to keep the audience guessing, which can have an even bigger impact if the tonal shifts aren’t mentioned in the film’s promotion.

These films usually start as comedies or romantic comedies, and the direction of these feel-good genres is formulaic and predictable. This is also why a dramatic plot twist that takes the story in an unexpected direction is so stunning. Which funny start led to a shockingly gloomy turn you didn’t expect? Please vote for the most shocking tonal shifts in the poll below.

1. Miracle Mile

Source: Miracle Mile

How It Starts: Miracle Mile opens with Harry (Anthony Edwards) and Julie (Mare Winningham) meeting at the La Brea Tar Pits and making arrangements to see one other again.

When It Turns: When Harry answers a payphone early in the morning, he accidentally learns about an oncoming nuclear war with nukes aimed at Los Angeles.

What It Becomes: From here on out, Miracle Mile is an apocalyptic thriller with frightening violence that escalates until nuclear missiles arrive. Harry rushes to Julie’s aid, encountering all kinds of chaos along the way.

2. Something Wild

Source: Something Wild

How It Starts: Something Wild begins like a standard screwball romantic comedy, complete with a quirky “meet-cute.” It’s the start of an unexpected romance when New York City investment banker Charlie (Jeff Daniels) meets the free-spirited Audrey (Melanie Griffith), who identifies herself as Lulu at first.

Audrey’s wild activities are able to entice Charlie away from his conventional existence. Despite their polar contrasts, the pair begins to fall in love.

When It Turns: Audrey’s ex-husband, Ray (Ray Liotta), finds down the new couple at her high school reunion and forces them to help him in a convenience store heist. In a few brief minutes, Charlie swings from falling in love to getting his nose broken, and the tone of the film shifts along with him.

What It Becomes: As Charlie and Audrey try to flee Ray’s clutches, the screwball romance is replaced with a stalker thriller. When Audrey’s ex-husband finds them down at Charlie’s Long Island house, they are forced to fight for their lives.

3. The World’s End

Source: The World’s End

The World’s End begins as an alcoholic comedy that quickly transforms into an alcoholic sci-fi comedy. Gary King (Simon Pegg) is a 40-year-old guy who persuades four of his boyhood pals (Nick Frost, Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman, and Eddie Marsan) to accompany him on a pub crawl they failed to complete when they were younger.

When they learn that aliens have invaded their neighborhood and are replacing people with superior android technology, the friends must come together to defend mankind.

When It Turns: Gary’s persistence in continuing to drink during the pub crawl, even after learning of the extraterrestrial invasion scheme, reveals his alcoholism. When scars on Gary’s wrists betray his despair and a recent suicide attempt on his buddies, the story takes a serious turn.

The absurdity of drunken robot battles is exchanged for a sobering dose of realism that appears out of nowhere.

What It Becomes: Gary goes on a drunken rant that persuades the aliens that an invasion is more hassle than worth it, but they destroy all of Earth’s electrical power before leaving. Some of the androids remain on the planet, even though most humans distrust them and are welcomed by a newly sober Gary.

Edgar Wright deserves praise for his ability to maintain a sense of humor while addressing Gary’s mental health seriously.

4. Life Is Beautiful

Source: Life Is Beautiful

How It Starts: Life Is Beautiful begins in Tuscany with the romance of Guido (Roberto Benigni), a Jewish waiter, and Dora, a schoolteacher (Nicoletta Braschi). Guido and Dora fall in love, overcome barriers to marry and produce a kid named Giosuè despite their contrasting origins (Giorgio Cantarini).

Even challenges are handled with such fun that it’s difficult to envision Life Is Beautiful becoming a war drama.

Guido and Giosuè are sent to a concentration camp when WWII breaks out. Dora enters the commands intentionally to be near her family, even though they are separated. Although the film keeps aspects of slapstick fun, the joyful romance is lost.

What It Becomes: Even as his kid is being carried away to be shot by a German soldier, Guido crafts a game to disguise his son’s truth about the Holocaust. Giosuè is reunited with his mother after surviving, owing to his father’s devotion.

5. He Loves Me… He Loves Me Not

Source: He Loves Me… He Loves Me Not

How It Starts: He Loves Me… He Loves Me Not is a romantic comedy about an art student named Angélique (Audrey Tautou) who falls in love with a married cardiologist named Loc Le Garrec (Samuel Le Bihan). Angélique is convinced that Le Garrec intends to divorce his wife, and her optimism is compelling – at least until further information about the connection is disclosed.

When It Turns: At the midway point of the film, the narrative shifts from Angélique to Le Garrec, revealing the reality of their relationship. Angélique’s illusions are rapidly revealed, and she proves to be an untrustworthy storyteller. Angélique was stalking a man she had no personal contact with, which she mistook for a romance.

What It Becomes: As the events unfold a second time, from Le Garrec’s perspective, the romantic comedy transforms into a terrifying stalker thriller.

6. Colossal

Source: Colossal

After the end of the romance, Gloria (Anne Hathaway), an unemployed writer, returns to her homeland of New Hampshire, where she gets work at a small pub with a childhood chum, Oscar (Jason Sudeikis). Initially, it looks that Colossal would unavoidably be about Gloria and Oscar’s romance.

When they both find a unique power to materialize kaiju (giant lizards and huge robots) in South Korea while standing in a local playground at a specific time of day, a fantastical element is introduced.

When It Turns: Oscar becomes tyrannical, threatening to destroy South Korea with the robot until Gloria drinks with him. With Oscar’s manipulative character revealed, what begins as a conventional romantic comedy idea between the two actors turns uncomfortable and off-putting.

What It Becomes: Instead of being a monster fight, Colossal becomes a film about fleeing a terrible relationship. Oscar follows through on his threats, enraged by Gloria’s reunion with her ex-boyfriend (Dan Stevens). Gloria rushes to South Korea to thwart him, conjuring the gigantic monster in New Hampshire to look after Oscar.

7. Sorry to Bother You

Source: Sorry to Bother You

It all starts with apologies for bothering you. You start as a wacky social parody of the corporate world. With a near-dystopian future, Cassius “Cash” Green (LaKeith Stanfield) starts working in telemarketing and learns that speaking in a “white voice” (supplied by David Cross) helps him make more sales over the phone.

As Cash’s career progresses, he becomes increasingly aware of the company’s unethical tactics.

When It Turns: What starts as a satire on corporate racial prejudice quickly shifts when Cash learns that his corporation is conducting experiments on its employees, transforming them into human-horse hybrids known as “Equisapiens.”

What It Becomes: The comedy gradually devolves into a body horror nightmare, especially after Cash discovers he’s consumed the mutation-causing medicine and begins to transform into an Equisapien.

8. Downsizing

Source: Downsizing

How It Begins: Shortly, an experimental process is developed that allows individuals to reduce their bodies to a five-inch height to address overcrowding concerns and mitigate the consequences of global warming.

Paul and Audrey Safranek (Matt Damon and Kristen Wiig), a young couple, sign up for the treatment, but Audrey cancels at the last minute, leaving Paul alone and tiny. Because of Paul’s enormous stature, even the divorce procedures between the married couple have a comical tone.

When It Turns: Many people use the process to enjoy a life of luxury in the experimental town of shrunken humans, but Paul finds that the colony employs underprivileged inhabitants. Unlawful regimes downsized some people against their consent, and Paul encounters a Vietnamese refugee who lost her arm while being smuggled into the US.

As a result, the film’s basic notion of comedy loses way to the pathos of a scenario with real-world connections.

What It Becomes: The humor about the protagonist’s size is dropped, and the film instead focuses on the tiny village as a metaphor for larger-scale dynamics. Paul foregoes the chance to live a self-centered existence.

9. Click

Source: Click

When It Turns: What starts as a satire on corporate racial prejudice quickly shifts when Cash learns that his corporation is conducting experiments on its employees, transforming them into human-horse hybrids known as “Equisapiens.”

What It Becomes: The comedy gradually devolves into a body horror nightmare, especially after Cash discovers he’s consumed the mutation-causing medicine and begins to transform into an Equisapien.

What It Becomes: The remote keeps skipping forward, showing the gloomy truth of Michael’s existence each time. Michael is fat and alone after a ten-year time jump. Michael gets injured and slips into a coma after realizing his wife (Kate Beckinsale) has remarried. Before Michael is granted a second chance and returns to the department store before he is handed the remote, the future reveals a cancer diagnosis and two heart attacks.

10. Swing Kids

Source: Swing Kids

Swing Kids begins as a musical comedy about a North Korean soldier named Ro Ki-soo (Do Kyung-soo) who falls in love with tap dancing when an American soldier (Jared Grimes) is tasked with putting together a company made up of prisoners of war, even though it is set in the Geoje prison camp during the Korean War.

When It Turns: Early sequences at the prison camp lighten the mood with humor and colorful musical pieces, but this is quickly replaced by the terrible reality of wartime. The film shifts from a cheerful musical to a military drama when the Korean soldiers fight out against their oppressors.

What It Turns Into: By the movie’s conclusion, just a few characters are still alive. Despite its upbeat opening, Swing Kids quickly devolves into a tragedy. Because of the abrupt tone shift, this resolve has an even greater effect.

11. Stranger Than Fiction

Source: Stranger Than Fiction

Stranger than Fiction begins as a comedy before introducing a hefty amount of romanticism, despite being more sincere than most of Will Ferrell’s previous work. Until he hears the voice of acclaimed novelist Karen Eiffel (Emma Thompson) narrating his life, IRS agent Harold Crick (Ferrell) lives a life of perfectly scheduled routines.

After being thrown off by the ongoing commentary in his brain, Harold abandons his routines and begins a romance with Ana Pascal (Maggie Gyllenhaal), a baker he is evaluating.

When It Turns: Harold meets his author after learning that she has a habit of killing off the protagonists in her stories and realizes the fate she has plotted for him. The IRS agent must choose whether or not to follow the route laid out for him, including sacrificing himself to save the life of a small kid.

The comedy of Harold’s reaction to the ridiculousness of the scenario gives way to the drama of seeing him distraught by the moral problem.

What It Becomes: Harold gladly walks in front of a bus to save the child, even though it will endanger him. But Eiffel can’t bear the thought of killing off such a noble figure, so she modifies the conclusion, enabling Harold to live.

12. Observe and Report

Source: Observe and Report

Ronnie Barnhardt (Seth Rogen) is the chief of security at the Forest Ridge Mall, and he has comedic illusions of grandeur as he supervises a motley crew of personnel attempting to apprehend a serial flasher. Ronnie chooses to register for the police academy because he is dissatisfied with the limited control he has in his current position.

Observe and Report’s focus on a mall officer who feels he can be a hero makes it feel like a darker take on the same idea as Paul Blart: Mall Cop from the same year.

When It Turns: Ronnie breezes through the physical and background checks required to become a police officer, but he fails the psychological exam after disclosing that he suffers from bipolar illness, for which he has stopped taking medication. The film’s tone shifts dramatically from juvenile comedy to something considerably darker due to this unrealized goal.

What It Becomes: After losing his job due to a violent outburst, Ronnie refuses to leave the mall and confronts a group of cops who arrive to arrest him. When the flasher returns to the mall and Ronnie uses a gun to stop him, the transition from humor to violence becomes more severe.

13. La La Land

Source: La La Land

How It All Begins: As unusual as their “meet cute” in Los Angeles traffic may seem, it’s evident from the start that jazz musician Sebastian “Seb” Wilder (Ryan Gosling) and aspiring actress Mia Dolan (Emma Stone) will fall in love. The opening half of La La Land is packed with vibrant music and dancing representations of this love.

When It Turns: During a dinner scene between the couple, the colorful and joyful connection gives way to a sad film about growing apart. Each person realizes that their dreams are causing problems in their relationship, and the impending end is hinted at.

What It Turns Into What began as a musical romance transforms into a film about letting go. The film moves forward five years to a time when both have achieved their objectives at the expense of their relationship. The quick jump forward shatters any hopes of a happy conclusion, which is made more painful by a dream scene depicting a world in which they hadn’t split.

14. The Break-Up

Source: The Break-Up

When longtime couple Gary (Vince Vaughn) and Brooke (Jennifer Aniston) divorce, neither of them wants to leave their shared condominium, which leads to a hilariously immature war between the sexes. Even while the pair are arguing, The Break-Up feels like a fairly standard romantic comedy at first, primarily because the tone indicates they will finally reunite.

As It Turns: The sitcom-style setup gives way to serious drama when Brooke makes a genuine effort to repair the relationship, only to be turned down by Gary.

What It Becomes: The picture’s tone transforms once Brooke’s heart is crushed by Gary. Gary matures enough to see how much he has undervalued Brooke, but this realization comes too late. The audience is left with a sorrowful message on the lessons we learn from loss after the coupling segment.

15. Kajillionaire


Kajillionaire begins as a comedy about a unique family of con artists, with 26-year-old Old Dolio (Evan Rachel Wood) aiding her parents, Robert (Richard Jenkins) and Theresa (Debra Winger) is enjoying a life devoid of attachments. Initially, these efforts are presented with visual humor and a slapstick sensibility.

When It Turns: After the family encounters a young woman named Melanie (Gina Rodriguez) on one of their con jobs, Old Dolio is heartbroken to see that her parents are more attentive to the stranger than her. Theresa refuses to offer her daughter even a basic token of affection, and Old Dolio abandons them for the first time in her life.

What It Becomes: The previous scenes’ playfulness is exchanged in for Old Dolio’s devastating lesson about her parents’ selfishness. Despite their attempts to make apologies, Theresa and Robert cannot change their ways.

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