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A 2003 French horror movie directed by Jean-Baptiste Andrea and Fabrice Canepa.
On his way to visit his in-laws with his family on Christmas Eve, Frank Harrington decides to try a shortcut, for the first time in 20 years. It turns out to be the biggest mistake of his life.
Not to be confused with the 1937 crime film by Creator/WilliamWyler, or the Broadway play from which it was adapted.
!!This movie provides examples of:
* AbandonedArea: The road is empty, except for a single shack full of what seems to be hunting/equestrian paraphernalia. [[spoiler: And there's only one other car.]]
* AlienGeometries: [[spoiler:The road continues infinitely, and attempting to walk off it just leads right back to it.]]
* CruelAndUnusualDeath: All of them.
* DeadAllAlong: [[spoiler: The end of the movie has Marion waking up in the hospital after the rest of her family died in a car crash after her father fell asleep at the wheel. And then there's TheStinger (though it doesn't necessarily contradict TheReveal).]]
* DevelopingDoomedCharacters: Part of the fun of the film is how ''obviously'' screwed these people are. If you're a fan of horror movies, the obvious configuration of a Perfectly Happy Family on Holiday Vacation who all fit [[TropesAreNotBad exaggerated stereotypes]] right off the bat is basically a glowing, neon sign that says "These people are going to die". The movie is really more about who these people really are.
* DontGoInTheWoods: The forest the road cuts through. [[spoiler: It's actually just a desolate SmallSecludedWorld that loops on itself in every direction, and leaving the road for the woods is a great way to die.]]
* EnemyRisingBehind: At various points, but the Black Car always drives past the survivors with the victim visibly trapped in the back, the audience usually sees it headlights-first behind somebody.
* GoingInCircles: The titular dead end. [[spoiler: There ''is'' no end to the road.]]
* GoryDiscretionShot: Most of the deaths, except [[spoiler: Laura's.]]
* AHouseDivided: The family fractures the longer the trip goes on. [[spoiler: And in the end, Marion wakes up the only survivor of the wreck.]]
* InfantImmortality: [[spoiler:Subverted with Amy, the dead baby carried by the lady in white, assuming she was ever really alive to begin with.]]
* TheImmodestOrgasm: Laura's is probably one of [[CrossesTheLineTwice most hilarious and most revolting]] ever put to film. [[spoiler: After getting the back of her skull chopped off, she reaches to investigate the wound and touches her exposed brain matter.. which she begins masturbating. Which would just be the regular kind of disturbing, except she's been subtly implying that she's been deeply frustrated sexually for years the whole movie, and she shouts her husband's name and says "Oh, ''finally''!" as she climaxes to death.]]
* JumpScare: Of course.
* KarmicDeath: [[spoiler: Frank is self-righteous, stubborn, and apparently an alcoholic, and Laura had an affair that she claims resulted in Richard's (or Michael's) birth.]]
* OffscreenTeleportation: [[spoiler: The black car and the lady in white]].
* OrWasItADream: The films leaves us wondering if [[spoiler: Marion was dreaming the whole thing, or if she truly witnessed the downfall of her family]].
* [[spoiler: PsychologicalTormentZone: And ''how''. All the characters are psychologically fucked with, especially Frank. ]].
* SlidingScaleOfComedyAndHorror: Mostly lurks on the horror side, but bounces into comedy at unexpected moments.
* SomeoneToRememberHimBy [[spoiler:Though she knew she was pregnant beforehand]]
* SortingAlgorithmOfMortality: The film's concept seems to be this. [[spoiler: In the end, Marion survived the ordeal due to the fact she was a pregnant woman]].
* SpaceWhaleAesop [[spoiler:About falling asleep at the wheel]]
* StayOnThePath: Richard did ''not'' follow this. And later on when [[spoiler: Frank and Marion try this, they ''end up back at the dead end'']].
* [[spoiler: TheStinger: While it's assured at first that Marion simply had a traumatic nightmare following the death of her family at the titular dead end, the ending shows the woman in white and the black car (with it's driver nonetheless) having some discussion and the drivers allows her to get into the car with him to take her home. It makes the ending a lot more MindScrew-like]].
* TooDumbToLive: [[spoiler:Masturbating and smoking pot while your family is lost in the woods is a good way to end up on the wrong end of the morality scale]]
* [[spoiler: WhamLine: "He's not here for you."]]
* YouthIsWastedOnTheDumb: Averted with Marion, subverted with Richard.