Some possible causes of DarknessInducedAudienceApathy:

Movies and TV shows with DiabolusExMachina and KillEmAll {{Downer Ending}}s can have this effect for cynical viewers, since it means that [[DespairEventHorizon all hope for the characters is lost]] when they were doomed to their fates.

Even shows where the heroes win a PyrrhicVictory can devolve into this, especially if the heroes are whiny, [[FailureHero ineffective or too slow to act]]. Sure the villain gets defeated at the end, but his death seems small compensation for all of the havoc and death ''he'' caused. And if the villain corrupted the heroes or turned them against their ideals during the course of the story, [[ShootTheShaggyDog the heroes' victory seems even MORE meaningless.]]

Works that use JokerImmunity and CardboardPrison heavily can often fall into this. This is especially the case if every time the villain comes back from the dead/breaks out of jail he kills people. It can make it seem like the hero isn't really making a difference and that [[KarmaHoudini the villains will never truly be brought to justice]].

Throwing in controversial scenes or topics such as rape (either for [[BlackComedyRape comedic]] or [[RapeAsDrama dramatic]] purposes), ColdBloodedTorture, discrimination (even on the [[FantasticRacism fictional races]]), genocide, or any form of FateWorseThanDeath can also invoke this trope; particularly if the said scenes or topics were gratuitous, executed poorly, or cause a lot of UnfortunateImplications.

Abusing the HumansAreBastards trope too much can easily result in DarknessInducedAudienceApathy. Aside from the tendency of being [[{{Anvilicious}} overbearing]], the end result is just another kind of EvilVersusEvil, and at that without any differentiation between them (since, well, all of those sides act as humans). Even variants with a few sympathetic characters can fall into the trap of making [[BeingGoodSucks their failure on account of being good]] a ForegoneConclusion.

In general, DarknessInducedAudienceApathy was a common criticism with the NinetiesAntiHero craze back in UsefulNotes/TheDarkAgeOfComicBooks. Many of these "[[DesignatedHero heroes]]" (particularly the ones from independent publishers) were so evil that it was hard, if not impossible, to care whether they would come out of their adventures alive.

Games that provoke this reaction may still get their player base, mostly consisting of players that are perfectly happy to [[PlayTheGameSkipTheStory play the game and skip the story]]. For example, if the game requires the player to pick a faction to play as, they would simply choose sides with no interest other than the technical or aesthetic interest of playing one side or the other (or, such as in [=MMORPGs=], the interest in teaming with real-life friends).

If the work in question is a comedy, it can avoid this trope even if it has EvilVersusEvil; the viewer doesn't have to care too much for the characters to enjoy watching them, and can have a fun experience watching entertaining villains. Weirdly enough, this is a trope that is actually ''[[TropesAreTools encouraged]]'' in the horror genre, particularly in a CosmicHorrorStory. There's a common (though not ubiquitous) school of thought that says that despair is one of the critical components of a horror story. Therefore, giving the protagonists any hope of a happy ending will take away from the [[TrueArtIsAngsty essential bleakness]], and ruin the entire point of a horror story. That said, this tactic is a double-edged sword because giving up and not caring about the characters sucks a lot out of the fear factor and tension that the genre is based on. Dystopian fiction, particularly of the AfterTheEnd variety, is another genre that's quite vulnerable to this trope for largely the same reasons.