* AlternateCharacterInterpretation: The Strangers' strange interest in children.
** Or: SufficientlyAdvancedAliens with BlueAndOrangeMorality and the sideways logic to compliment it tend to work InMysteriousWays. This could be why stuff didn't make sense to most people raving about PlotHole issues. It doesn't make sense to us because we don't think like they do. They were trying to help (or save what they could of their experiment, if you want a sprinkle of NightmareFuel with this) before everything was destroyed, but because of some seemingly arbitrary (again, to our logic) rule, they couldn't interfere with the development of humanity until literally the final hour. The possibilities for why are endless and impossible to confirm.
** Alternatively, if one assumes the Strangers are as much bound by YouCantFightFate as much as the humans but are able to perceive preordained events (hence the list), then every illogical thing they do actually makes sense, since they are being ''forced'' to do these things because they've ''already'' seen themselves do them.
* AngstWhatAngst: Abby seems to take the death of her mother remarkably well, when she was only killed while trying to save her daughter from a situation that was ''caused'' by the Strangers. This is also completely at odds with their claim that the Strangers "don't want to hurt us".
** Unless she was being ''very'' specific about the "us" part.
* DarknessInducedAudienceApathy: Even all of the {{Narm}} and NarmCharm -- and, of course, Creator/NicolasCage -- is just bittersweet at best when you remember that this a film about [[spoiler:DevelopingDoomedCharacters and FailureIsTheOnlyOption]]. But hey, at least [[spoiler:all of those kids get to start over on a fresh, new world]], right? Well, not so fast -- [[spoiler:[[FridgeHorror as they get older, many of them are likely to experience depression and/or even be]] DrivenToSuicide [[FridgeHorror over the memories of losing all of their loved ones, thus causing a massive]] GoneHorriblyWrong [[FridgeHorror roadblock in the Strangers' redemption plan]].]]
%%* EsotericHappyEnding
* MemeticMolester: The Strangers. See Alternate Character Interpretation.
* {{Narm}}: The Stranger who came up to Caleb's room seems to want him to pull his finger. Also the vision can be seen as unintentionally funny, especially the moose on fire.
** The plane crash is pretty over the top, but the best part is where an injured passenger runs up to John, screams in his face and runs off again.
** Apparently the Strangers all swallowed flashlights, as judged by their mouths opening.
** And then there's the Strangers' true forms: [[spoiler: Giant alien spoons.]]
** "You stay away from us, you hear me?! You want some of this?!" ''(hits a tree with a baseball bat)''
** John decides to show the old school teacher the mysterious sheet of paper. You wonder if the teacher noticed the whisky stain he left on it.
* NightmareFuel:
** [[spoiler: Everyone else.]]
** The disasters we witness. For example, the plane crash. Most films go for the flashy initial crash; this film actually bothered to show the immediate aftermath of such an event: Passengers screaming from inside the wreckage, people running, people on fire, people just walking in shock, people trying to crawl through fire to escape what's left of the cabin, burning bodies scattered about...one shot had a bunch of people running from one of the few intact parts of the plane; you think they're safe, then ''BOOM!!'' they're enveloped in flames. And in the middle of this horror show, our protagonist, trying desperately to do what little he can to help, until rescue workers finally pull him away.
-->John: "I keep seeing their faces...burning..."
** This is capped by the final disaster - [[spoiler:the killer flare, though it's not as high-octane as the earlier, personal disasters, the lead-up is incredibly creepy: The glowing night sky and lighting storms, the ''brown'' aurora borealis in broad daylight the following day, the sun getting brighter and brighter, the riots and panic, useless EBS alerts over the TV and radio. When the final firestorm comes, it's incredibly fast; nobody, including the protagonist, suffers long once it hits. Perhaps the worst part isn't the depiction of the actual firestorm, but the ''atmosphere being blown away''. If anything survives the scouring by fire, there won't be any atmosphere left to support life. No, the caves wouldn't have saved them.]]
** The vision Caleb sees [[spoiler: the entire planet on fire, herds of animals fleeing in panic as they burn alive.]] Holy freaking hell.
* ParanoiaFuel: The people shaped things watching the kids. Never mind they're supposed to symbolize [[spoiler:angels]]. They are creepy!
* ShockingSwerve: [[spoiler:When the strange, scary people showing up to the children and others turn out in the very end to be benevolent aliens (or angels) who are going to take them away and bring them back later to reseed the planet post-Armageddon.]]
** Although [[spoiler: the ''benevolent'' part is debatable given how at odds it is with their behavior]].
* SoBadItsGood: This is one of those enjoyably terrible movies that only someone like Nicolas Cage can carry.
* TearJerker:
** Many, lots. Especially near the ending.
** The people suffering in the plane crash.
** Perhaps the worst one is [[spoiler:John laying on the ground for hours]] after [[spoiler: his son was taken away.]]
* ToyShip: Caleb and Abby. [[spoiler: [[AdamAndEvePlot Even the whisperers agree.]]]]