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Hope Spot: Live-Action Films

  • 100 Feet: After another day of the protagonist being terrorized by the ghost of her abusive husband, another character comes over to "comfort" her. While they're having sex, she sees the ghost hovering above them, but it fades away harmlessly. She figures this is the last she's seen of the ghost, seeing as how by this point, she's gotten rid of seemingly all of his possessions. But when she and the other character awaken the next morning and she goes to look out the window at the beautiful day outside, the camera pans to the wedding ring she's still wearing, and character she just slept with is suddenly knocked across the room and given a lengthy and fatal No-Holds-Barred Beatdown by the ghost as she's forced to watch.
  • 1408: The Hope Spot given to both Mike and the viewer subverts a couple other tropes. Fairly late into the movie, we're inclined to believe that it was All Just a Dream. He starts to turn his life around, and starts confronting and repairing all of his life's problems that the room threw in his face. All in all a happy ending, right? Nope. Still in the room.
  • Battle Royale: This movie has Shinji Mimura's team succeed in hacking into the government's computers, temporarily deactivate the collars, and load up a truck with enough home-made explosives to blow up the school that serves as the government headquarters. They're about to start their attack when Kiriyama shows up and kills them all. However, Mimura is able to set off the explosives, blinding Kiriyama just as the other main characters show up.
  • Black Water: This movie is full of this. Every time they make some attempt at escape, it either turns out to be fruitless, or they have to get in the water and the croc attacks someone. Then in the third act, Lee leaves the injured Grace in the relative safety of the tree so she can have another go at getting the boat. She actually ends up taking a gun off a previous victim and shooting the crocodile dead. She then makes her way back to the tree, calling out to her sister that she "did it," and she's coming and they can go home... Then she gets back to the tree to discover Grace died from her wounds while Lee was away. Ouch.
  • Brazil: At the end, Sam Lowry is restrained to a chair in a large, empty cylindrical room in the Ministry, to be tortured. However, before his torture begins, members of the resistance break into the Ministry. The resistance rescues Sam and blows up the Ministry building as they flee. Sam and Jill drive away from the city together, and they are pictured living in a trailer in the countryside. However, It is then revealed that Sam has gone completely insane and is catatonic in the torture chair, humming a happy tune. Cheerful!
  • Buried: When the protagonist gets the phone call that an insurgent revealed the location of a buried hostage, he calls his wife on the phone to give her the miraculous news, only to find out a few minutes later that his rescuers were informed of an entirely different hostage burial site. And all this is happening as The protagonist's coffin is quickly filling up with sand. The film ends when the coffin fills up completely, and the screen goes black.
  • Carlitos Way: Has a cruel one at the ending. It looks like Carlito has gotten away from his enemies and he'll finally escape to a peaceful life with his girlfriend, but right before he makes it into the departing train he is shot by Benny Blanco.
  • Cloverfield: The protagonists are in a military helicopter, being evacuated. They look out the window and watch as the giant monster is bombed repeatedly. When the monster doesn't seem to be moving in the cloud of smoke, everybody cheers... and then, not only does it survive, it reveals it presence by leaping out of the dust and smoke, grabbing the helicopter, and dragging everybody down to the ground where they are all killed as Manhattan is bombed off the map.
  • Collateral: About two-thirds of the way through, Detective Fanning pulls Max away from a nightclub firefight to safety. He believes his story, looks like he's going to help solve all of Max's woes...then is gunned down by Vincent without a pause.
  • The Dark Knight:
    • The shotgun-toting mob bank manager looks like he might be able to drive off the robbers, but fails. Then again, can't have The Joker get killed so early, right?
    • And then Joker and his gang got imprisoned, Gordon is actually alive, and Harvey and Rachel are set to ride off into the sunset... Or so you think.
    • Harvey has an In-Universe one shortly afterwards... As he's lying in a hospital bed recovering from a bomb blast, he's convinced that Rachel is dead. Then he finds the "lucky" coin (you make your own luck, it has two heads) he gave to her the last time he saw her alive, left on his bedside and apparently unmarred. He turns it over... and sees it's charred on the back.
  • Gets a Lampshade Hanging and Invoked Trope by Bane in The Dark Knight Rises, who believes that true despair requires giving others a glint of hope. In his case, this was the light coming from the roof in the Hellhole Prison he lived in. In Gotham's case, it's giving the people the impression that the city can be freed from the corruption of the elite by using a nuke as a threat, all the while intending to have the bomb blow everyone up no matter what.
  • The Descent:
    • Where in the end, one of the ladies makes it alive out of the cave, getting out through a narrow gap, runs to her car, drives away. Then it turns out she was hallucinating, and is still sitting in the cave, crazy and catatonic. As the camera pulls away, we hear the crawlers screeching.
    • This ending is the original British version. The American release cuts The Reveal that Sarah was hallucinating her escape, making seem like she got out of the cave alive. The sequel pretends that the American release was real.
  • Drag Me to Hell: Christina digs up the Gypsy lady's corpse and passes the curse back to her by shoving an envelope containing the cursed button into her mouth. It's over, right? Well, it turns out that the envelope that Christina buried the Gypsy woman with didn't contain the button at all, but rather, her boyfriend's rare coin. She still technically owned the button, which meant that, since three days have passed, she has to go to Hell. Got to love Sam Raimi's sense of humor.
  • In Elysium a lone ship manages to make it past and evade Kruger's missiles but are apprehended upon landing. One of the immigrants from the shuttle that manages to make it to Elysium manages to get to a Med Pod and heal her daughter's leg enabling her to walk. Only to get tazed and arrested immediately afterwards. All things considered, though, that woman got exactly what she came for. It's highly unlikely she expected to stay there.
  • The Evil: The force that keeps characters trapped lets one them escape the Vargas house, only to turn the ground beneath him into quicksand couple feet away.
  • Final Destination: The entire plot of this series revolves around the main characters narrowly avoiding death and being killed off as fate "catches up with them". Five films of splat as plot....
  • Fish Story: In one sequence, the Champion of Justice has been beaten down and tied up, but manages to free himself. He rises, and begins the Slow Walk towards where the villains are standing. A couple of spectators look on in awe as the music swells...and then stops, and the flinch as a series of gunshots end the sequence. Subverted Trope On the other hand, in the end we see the full scene, as the Champion dodges bullets, lays down the law, and saves everyone.
  • Fist of Legend: Jet Li's best movie, has a pretty cool one. At one point, the Big Bad has a cut above his eye, and Li waits till a drop of blood is about to drip into his eye, then attacks... but... ouch.
  • The Flintstones: The Live-Action Adaptation has one when the mob is about to hang Fred for firing them from their jobs as Barney comes in when he admits that he's the reason Fred has the job. The mob then decides to hang both of them.
  • Funny Games: Has three examples. In the first, the wife manages to grab the killers' gun and shoot one of them. It looks like the other killer loses his mind when he tries to undo the event with a remote control, but it actually works. The scene rewinds and this time the killers hang onto the gun. After the killers shoot the family's son, they make a second hope spot by promptly leaving. The mourning husband and wife tearfully embrace and vow to survive, but the killers soon return, smugly Lampshading the fact that they needed to force a Hope Spot to keep things interesting. Lastly, when the wife is tied up in the boat and they are about to push her into the lake, she spots the knife her son had left there earlier and for a few moments it looks like she might actually be able to get away. However, one of the killers notices it too and grabs it before she has a chance to take it.
  • Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack!: Used in this film. At first, it looks like King Ghidorah (Who is ironically the good guy in the movie while Godzilla is the Big Bad) has the upper hand against Godzilla. However, it turns out that Godzilla has simply been absorbing all of his attacks and then fires a super-charged Thermonuclear Breath attack at Ghidorah causing him to explode.
  • GoldenEye: Boris Grishenko has somehow survived a massive gunfight, complete with explosions, that has killed everyone around him. He takes a moment to celebrate his good fortune with his Catch Phrase ("I am INVINCIBLE!")... and a vat of liquid nitrogen bursts right behind him, covering him and freezing him to death instantly.
  • At the end of the Holocaust movie The Grey Zone, after the Jewish Sonderkommandos have all been killed, it almost seems like Mussfeld is going to let the little girl live and run away to freedom. As she runs towards the gates, he nonchalantly grabs his pistol and shoots her in back of the head.
  • Groundhog Day:
    • Parodied, when Phil — driven to despair by the "Groundhog Day" Loop he's trapped in — kidnaps the titular groundhog and drives with it over the edge of a quarry in front of his cameraman and producer:
    [The truck smashes into the bottom of the quarry and lies still]
    Larry: [Weakly] He... might be okay.
    [The truck explodes]
    Larry: Well... no. Probably not now.
    • A curious Inverted Trope is also presented at the end; after a day in which Phil has proved himself to be a new man and has finally won over Rita, the scene cuts to the same shot of Phil, lying in bed at 6:00AM with Sonny and Cher's "I Got You Babe" playing, suggesting that he still hasn't managed to break the loop. Then, after the song, the DJs begin a different conversation, and Rita leans over him and turns the radio off...
      • "I got you babe" does start at a differant part in the song on Feb 3. it's done much more straight in the "Christmas Every Day" version, in which the kid wakes up on Dec 26, to the EXACT same rendition of "Jingle Bells", at the EXACT same point in the song, and hears his little sister exclaim "Santa came! Santa Came!" which turns out to be the rest of the family watching a tape of the day before.
  • Hellraiser: Inferno: After Pinhead informs Joseph about how his flesh destroyed his spirit and Joseph's evil side kills him, Joseph wakes up in the motel again with the hooker still alive. For a short while it seems like all is well and Pinhead just taught Joseph a lesson to better himself, but the hooker is again murdered and Joseph's fate dawns on him.
  • Little Sweetheart: The final shot is of Elizabeth, who, defying all logic, seeing as she's a 9-year-old who took two bullets (one in the arm and one in the chest) and was face down in the water for several minutes at least. The OCEAN water.
  • Live Free Or Die Hard: Has a double one right near the ending. John McClane bursts in on Big Bad Thomas Gabriel to kill him and then rescue his hostage daughter and his ally Matt Farrell. Suddenly one of the Gabirel's goons comes from behind and is able to shoot him, winging his shoulder. Then as the injured McClane crawls for cover, said goon that shot him takes Lucy at gunpoint, but she's able to break free from his grip and kick his gun over to her father... but then Gabriel is able to stop it. Although things do turn out good in the end, it does initially throw one for a loop on the first viewing.
  • The Lord of the Rings:
    • A couple in this series:
    • The first film opens with one, as the Last Alliance has routed the orcs defending Mount Doom and are moving in for the kill...then Sauron himself comes out, dressed in full body armor and weilding a hammer large enough to send elves flying by the dozen with each swing.
    • In 'The Two Towers', when the Helm's Deep siege is, while bloody for both sides, still going in favor of the defenders despite the odds against them. Théoden even asks, "Is this all you can conjure, Saruman?" Of course, a short time later, a gunpowder explosive blows a massive hole in the wall, and things begin to proceed as well as you'd expect.
    • Then there are a few in Return of the King. After the counter-charge by the horsemen under King Théoden successfully routs the much-larger orc army, and the king gives a shout of victory, we can hear the distant rumble of thunder, followed closely by a bizarre bellowing sound. The thunder continues, almost as if it's footsteps...cue entrance of two dozen Mûmakil, aka several story tall war elephants, or, more simply, Sauron's answer to heavy cavalry.
    • Shortly afterward, Théoden organizes a charge against the Mûmakil, the triumphant orchestra music reaches its crescendo as the two lines meet...and then suddenly ends as the first cluster of riders are smashed into the air by the lead Mûmak's tusks. Several more are stomped to death or simply swept aside. It's as though the orchestra fled the battlefield when they realized what an immensely bad idea charging the Mûmakil was.
    • Later in that battle, the tide is turning as the Mûmakil begin to fall. Then...the Witch-King shows up.
  • The Matrix Trilogy seems particularly fond of this trope:
    • The subway fight between Neo and Agent Smith in the first film has no less than three Hope Spots. The first is when Neo opens the fight with a surprisingly solid start by smashing Smith's sunglasses and visibly pissing the latter off — before getting punched across the room and coughing blood all over the floor. But he gets up, does an Ass Kicking Pose, and starts to completely turn the tables on Smith — before ending up on the receiving end of Smith's Spam Attack. Finally, he barely escapes Smith chokehold and leaves him up to get run over by the train ("My name... is NEO!") — and Smith simply possesses a new body that's on the train and strolls out to face Neo again. Neo understandably decides to just haul ass out of there.
    • The Matrix Reloaded:
      • During the first Smith fight, Neo basically starts off easily smacking around the initial half-dozen Smiths but starts to get overwhelmed when they call in reinforcements. So he looks around and opts to rip a large metal pole out of the ground, and after doing his Ass Kicking Pose with triumphant music blaring in the background, he resumes violently thrashing around the crowd of now several dozen Smiths. But then they call in more Smiths for help, and the pole ends up being the one thing holding the massive swarm at bay. Then of course he loses it and they promptly pile on top of him.
      • In a similar vein as the subway fight, a pair of Hope Spots happen at the climax of the freeway chase. During Morpheus's fight against the Agent on the semi-truck, Morpheus is losing the battle when he sees his katana jammed into the side of the truck. He starts successfully driving the Agent back — until said Agent disarms him and punches him off the truck. Niobe luckily catches him on the hood of her car, and he leaps back into the fray, knocking the Agent off just in time to save the Keymaker — until said Agent simply possesses the truck driver and prepares to crash it in a fiery explosion. Luckily, this happens to be the time Neo finally catches up with them.
  • Misery: Famous one occurs near the end: After spending near the entire movie attempting to track down Paul Sheldon after his disappearance, the sheriff finally discovers him at Annie Wilkes' home. So, Big Damn Heroes moment and Paul will finally be saved by the guy, right? Well, it would have been... if Annie didn't then immediately kill the sheriff, dashing Paul's first sign of rescue in months...
  • Mystery Team: The team thinks they have the case all wrapped up.... then they find Leroy and Destiny dead at the lumberyard, and suddenly none of their theories make sense.
  • The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The main villain falls from a tall building, but miraculously bounces off an awning and lands completely unharmed. He smiles, straightens his clothes, and as he starts to walk away is mauled to death by a lion that escaped from the zoo earlier in the film.
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street:
    • Freddy Krueger loves giving his enemies hope spots in the movies: his usual method is to let the heroes think they're actually hurting him, and then shrugs off his injuries with a laugh as soon as they let their guard down. Among others there's Will, whose dream-powers as a wizard seem to be working against Freddy until he gets within striking range; Kincaid, whose superstrength sends Freddy flying until he simply adjusts his own strength to match; Kristen, who seems to take control of her dreams via lucid dreaming and change it into a pleasant summer beach before Freddy turns it back into a nightmare; and Alice, who suffers two of them in two different movies as her attempts to fight Freddy seem to be intimidating him, until he smiles, waves his hand and undoes all the damage.
    • He even does it to fellow horror villain Jason Voorhees in their dream-world fight in Freddy vs. Jason. When Jason manages to hack off Freddy's arm with a machete, Freddy gives an exaggerated "oh no, not my arm!" And then, after a beat, he simply conjures up a new arm.
    • The Reveal in the original Friday the 13th (1980) is preceded by one. An old friend of the Christys (the family of the guy opening the camp) arrives at the scene to find a terrified Final Girl and all seems to go well. Unfortunately, that family friend is Pamela Voorhees, Jason's mother and the real killer of the film.
  • Night of the Living Dead: There's an absolutely brutal one at the end. Ben is the only character who has lived through to the end of the night, by being calmer, smarter and all-around more badass than the other survivors. It's morning, and the police and military are systematically killing the zombies. They reach the house where he's staying, Ben looks out of the window, and they shoot him in the head and move on without even a word of dialogue.
  • PCU: It looks like the party has raised enough money, but it was a trap, where the student body would file complaints over the party.
  • The Perfect Storm: Where right near the end, the main characters see the calm with sunlight shining towards them. They pass through the eye and then... cue more strong waves that capsize the boat.
  • Pitch Black: The crash survivors are stranded on a desert world with three suns. Searching for water, they eventually find some trees on a hill on the horizon. Yay, right? Sadly, the 'trees' are the skeletal fins of a giant space beastie... and beyond the hill, there's a canyon full of such skeletons. Imam gasps "What could have killed so many great beasts?"
  • Planet of the Apes: What was the jungle in the end of the original movie? It turns out to be ruins of the Statue of Liberty and it WAS Earth All Along.
  • The Professional: Léon almost makes it out of a standoff between himself and EVERYONE in the NYPD, but gets killed in a tunnel a few yards from freedom by the Big Bad. Though not before taking the Big Bad with him. "This is from...Mathilda..." BOOM!
  • Le Pull-over rouge (The Red Sweater): Twenty-one-year-old Christian Ranucci is sentenced to death for murder on very, very circumstantial evidence. After exhausting his appeals, his only hope of escaping the guillotine is a pardon from the president of France. Cut to the radio issuing the news of Ranucci's pardon, his mother and lawyers celebrating with champagne, and a prison guard rushing in and saying, "Hey, little one! There it is, you're pardoned!" causing Ranucci to smile joyfully. Only, it's a hoax—and Ranucci is dragged from his cell at four in the morning the next day to be executed. Also Truth in Television.
  • Quintet has one early in the film. Vivia has been shown to be pregnant, perhaps the last pregnancy in the human species. And then she's killed as collateral damage in the bombing of someone she'd first met less than an hour earlier.
  • Resident Evil: After the survivors obtain the T-virus antidote, it looks like they'll be able to save Rain Ocampo and themselves and get away. Then the Licker attacks and kills Kaplan, Rain turns into a zombie and has to be killed, and Matt's wound starts to fester and it becomes clear he's infected with the T-virus. As Alice is about to inject Matt with the antidote, Umbrella personnel break in and separate them before she can do so. Then it gets worse.
  • Revolution 1985: The Continental Army looked like it was going to turn the tide in New York City. Unfortunately, the British drove them out of New York and it looked like the British had won.
  • The Ring:
    • Has this at the ending of the film. Right after Samara Morgan's body is found you think everything is done and all is safe. However, the Creepy Child informs his mother, the main character, that "she never sleeps." The main character's male companion soon ends up dead because of Samara and they figure out that the only way to stay alive is if they make a copy of the video tape and spread it around. Talk about a cheerful flick.
    • This also happens in the Japanese film and the original novel, except without the handy foreshadowing. You're completely blindsided by things not turning out well.
  • Saving Private Ryan:
    • During the Normandy Landing sequence, a bullet hits the edge of a soldier's helmet, narrowly missing his skull. Astonished, he removes his helmet and gapes wonderingly at the holes ... and then he gets shot in the head.
    • Somewhere in the same battle, a team of medics manages to stabilize a wounded soldier's condition in the middle of the fighting. As soon as they finish and it looks like he'll live, a bullet goes through his helmet and into his brain. The medics, not surprisingly, are pissed off at the Germans.
  • Saw: Zep is about to shoot Dr. Gordon when Adam suddenly wakes up, trips him, then crushes his head with a toilet tank lid. Good job! Jigsaw's dead, Gordon's family is safe and Adam survived his gunshot wound. Now all that's left is for Adam to get the key to his chains off of Zep's body. But, what's this? A tape recorder? "Hello, Zep." and suddenly the dead guy in the middle of the room starts to rise...
  • Scarface (1983): The final fight has Tony holding out against the swarm of Mooks invading his mansion, and it seems that he might make it...then he gets riddled with bullets by the Mooks and a shotgun gets fired into his back by the only named assassin of the bunch (the Skull) and he topples over the parapet into the pool underneath, dead.
  • Serenity:
  • Sharkey's Machine: Sharkey (Burt Reynolds) is being tortured by a corrupt police officer when he suddenly realises he's still wearing his ankle holster — the bad guys wouldn't be that stupid, would they? Music swells as he slowly inches up his trouser leg...only to find the holster empty. The corrupt cop just smirks and says, "We searched your every orifice."
  • The Z grade sci-fi action movie Film/Space Marines has a rare villainous example right at the end. The Dragon Gunther yells "it's payback time!"...then the camera zooms out to reveal that he's surrounded by armed space marines. He adds "maybe not right now".
  • Sunshine: Towards the end, Corazon finds a small plant growing in her burnt-out oxygen garden. They don't have to kill themselves! They can return home and have air! Whoops, got stabbed.
  • Terminator 2: Judgment Day: Used to very good effect near the end (but only because of the Big Damn Heroes immediately afterwards): Sarah Connor has the T-1000 close to a vat of molten steel, one of the few things that can kill it. Sarah has a fully loaded shotgun and she empties it into the T-1000's torso, knocking it back. As the music reaches its climax... She runs out of shells, and the T-1000 is still clear of the edge of the platform. Its wounds heal, and all hope is lost... Then the T-800 arrives with the grenade launcher.
  • Thirteen Days: After more than a week of trying to figure out how to deal with the missiles in Cuba, Khrushchev sends a back channel negotiator to probe the possibility of a deal, then sends a message offering to remove the missiles in exchange for a promise not to invade Cuba. The problem seemingly on the verge of being solved, Kennedy sends his staff home, but before the night is out, another message arrives with a much more militant tone and the situation begins spiraling down all over again.
  • The Vanishing On7th Street: After having already swallowed up almost everyone in the city, the eldritch darkness antagonizing the few remaining survivors begins weaponizing this in order to drive them past the Despair Event Horizon. With the exception of two children, it works.
  • The Wizard of Oz: The Wicked Witch of the West locks Dorothy in a castle chamber, planning to return and kill her. Dorothy begins to cry and calls out for her Auntie Em, who miraculously appears in the witch's crystal ball. Unfortunately, Auntie Em cannot hear her and fades away after a few seconds, only to be replaced by the witch herself, who mocks Dorothy's cries while laughing hysterically. One suspects the Genre Savvy witch conjured up Auntie Em's comforting image deliberately to create a Hope Spot and then laugh at Dorothy as she destroys it.

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