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 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 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 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.