- Base Breaker/Critical Dissonance: While the film was much liked by critics (to the point where it won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival), the general reaction of the common man (at least those who disliked the film) is that the film tries a bit too hard at being an "art-house" approach at Developing Doomed Characters, that the final shooting scenes stand out quite starkly against all of the previous scenes, that the characters themselves are Flat Characters, and that by giving no actual reason for the shootings to occur and yet implying any number of them (such as lousy parenting (then again, none of the parental characters on the film are portrayed as nice people), experimenting with neo-nazism, a violent video game addiction, not being part of any of the school cliques and closeted (or experimental) homosexuality (or bi-curiosity)) the shooters themselves are nothing more than caricatures that may as well be doing it For the Evulz or acting out of a contrived "perfect storm" of potential reasons for Going Postal. There are also many people who (understandably) proclaimed it as being Too Soon (even if Columbine happened on 1999, with school shootings and the fear of them on the rise in the in-between).
- Harsher in Hindsight: While it's obviously hard to watch after "any" high profile school shooting, the Red Lake shooting of 2005 (as gunman Jeff Wiese saw the movie a few weeks before the tragedy) and the Umpqua Community College shooting of 2015 (which also happened to take place in Oregon).
- Nightmare Fuel: For obvious reasons.
- Tear Jerker
- Moral Event Horizon: As if the school shooting wasn't enough, Alex and Eric take a flying leap beyond the MEH with the sheer sadism they express during it. And Alex then goes and shoots Eric while the latter is telling him what kills he's gotten so far.
- The Woobie: Many of the characters, but one that stands out the most is Michelle. The films shows her as this shy, insecure young girl who covers her body in the gym, wears the same khakis and red blouse, and mainly volunteers in the library. She doesn't have much going for her and she barely gets a word in edgewise before she gets shot.