2003 horror movie directed by Jean-Baptiste Andrea and Fabrice Canepa.Christmas Eve. On his way to his in-laws with his family, 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.
This movie provides examples of:
- Abandoned Area: The road is empty, except for a single shack full of what seems to be hunting/equestrian paraphernalia. And there's only one other car.
- Alien Geometries: The road continues infinitely, and attempting to walk off it just leads right back to it.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: All of them.
- Dead All Along: 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 The Stinger (though it doesn't necessarily contradict The Reveal).
- Developing Doomed Characters: 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 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.
- Don't Go in the Woods: The forest the road cuts through. It's actually just a desolate Small, Secluded World that loops on itself in every direction, and leaving the road for the woods is a great way to die.
- Enemy Rising Behind: 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.
- Going in Circles: The titular dead end. There is no end to the road.
- Gory Discretion Shot: Most of the deaths, except Laura's.
- A House Divided: The family fractures the longer the trip goes on. And in the end, Marion wakes up the only survivor of the wreck.
- Infant Immortality: Subverted with Amy, the dead baby carried by the lady in white, assuming she was ever really alive to begin with.
- The Immodest Orgasm: Laura's is probably one of most hilarious and most revolting ever put to film. 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.
- Jump Scare: Of course.
- Karmic Death: The Driver of the black car doesn't come after Marion. She's the only one of the characters that isn't at least implied to have some kind of moral failing: Richard seems to be the only one who knows Brad is attracted to men and implies that he either was or is cheating on Marion, Richard's a dick, 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.
- Sliding Scale of Comedy and Horror: Mostly lurks on the horror side, but bounces into comedy at unexpected moments.
- Someone to Remember Him By Though she knew she was pregnant beforehand
- Space Whale Aesop About falling asleep at the wheel
- Too Dumb to Live: 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