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Darker And Edgier / Live-Action Films

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Darker and Edgier in live-action movies.

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  • In The '70s, there was a quite radical change in horror movies. Films became incredibly Darker and Edgier, at least in comparison with the The '60s. The Exorcist, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, and Don't Torture a Duckling are examples.
    • Night of the Living Dead (1968) was this compared to prior horror films with its bleak tone, graphic violence (for its time) and its Kill 'Em All ending. Compared to the scary but harmless funhouse-like horror films at the time, it terrified many children.
  • A common trend in films about King Arthur, which is a pretty downbeat legend to begin with.
    • Excalibur combines Magical Realism with gritty, bloody violence, reaching a peak of dark edginess in an early scene in which a knight in blood-stained armour tricks the wife of his nemesis into having sex with him. There are plenty of impalings and crow-pecked corpses to go around as well.
    • Robert Bresson's Lancelot du Lac. What it lacks in gore and Dung Ages ambiance, it makes up for by being extremely dour, mechanical and joyless, as Bresson films are wont to be.
    • The "historical" film King Arthur from 2004 has the Knights of the Round Table turn out to be just a pack of Roman mercenaries fighting evil Saxons in a cold, windswept wasteland of an England.

  • The events and the characterisation of the family members in the The Addams Family films are significantly darker than they were in the TV series, although still not as dark as some of the original Charles Addams single-panel cartoons.
  • An in-universe example in the obscure flick Adventures In Dinosaur City, where a trio of kids find themselves zapped into the world of their favorite cartoon. Where things aren't just good guys and bad guys like they are on the show, and the story's about as gritty as they could get away with in a kids' film while not losing the Aesop about there being no such thing as Black-and-White Morality.
  • Alien³ is a much darker film compared to the one that preceded it. In fact is like riding a train to downer land. Aliens was a fairly standard action film with an overall happy ending (and that isn't a bad thing). Its sequel however has an air of hopelessness that just pervades the entire thing. Two major characters are killed right at the start and another one is damaged beyond repair, the film is set on a grimy prison planet populated by murderers and scum, there is almost nothing to fight the alien off with so more characters, even likeable ones, die left and right (often with no build-up), and even Ripley is killed off at the end because it's the only way she could stop The Company from bringing the Alien gestating inside her back with them. Sure things get better with "Resurrection", but that doesn't exactly raise spirits either (due to quality rather than tone).
  • In An American Christmas Carol, not only does Scrooge analogue Slade fire Thatcher and send him to the soup line, he rips up books, steals his clients' goods, and it's shown how his business practices drove the Fezziwig analogue, Mr. Brewster, to an early death.

  • Babe: Pig in the City is very much this trope compared to the original. The original was about a little pig on a farm who was taken in by the female sheepdog and was mostly lighthearted. Tear Jerker here and there, but the darkest element was when Babe's parents are herded to the slaughterhouse. In Babe 2, there's a hotel with illegal pets, animal control, a vicious bulldog that nearly hangs him trying to kill Babe, and one of those little wheelchair dogs who almost dies. Terrifying for some kids. On the other hand, in the first part a duck is killed for the Christmas dinner and a sheep is killed by feral dogs and in the second part no animal is Killed Off for Real.
  • Back to the Future Part II compared to the first movie. Why? 3 reasons. 1, the alternate 1985. 2, in the alternate timeline, Biff marries Lorraine after killing George. And 3, Doc Brown is institutionalized in the alternate timeline.
  • Beauty and the Beast (2017) isn't too much darker than its animated counterpart, but still includes some distinctly darker elements. Instead of just trying to commit Maurice to an insane asylum to manipulate Belle into marrying him, Gaston knocks out Maurice, ties him up and leaves him in the woods to be eaten by wolves after he refuses to give Gaston Belle's hand in marriage. Only when Maurice survives and reveals to the village that Gaston tried to kill him does Gaston resort to framing him as insane to save his own skin. We also learn the dark fate of Belle's mother (she died of the bubonic plague – and Maurice was forced to abandon her while she was still alive to protect the infant Belle from the disease), the Beast is given a tragic Freudian Excuse for his initial cruelty (his mother died young and his father is implied to have abused him), and near the end all the Enchanted Objects turn inanimate after the last petal falls from the rose, bidding each other farewell as they slowly die... though of course they all come back to life as humans when the spell is broken.
  • Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure was a relatively tame (by today's standards, at least) family-friendly comedy involving two Idiot Heroes being granted a Time Travel device to research historical figures (including Bowdlerised versions of Napoleon and Billy the Kid) in a Race Against the Clock to pass a history test. Contrast this with Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey, which would quite likely scare the original film's target audience shitless. Unlike in the previous film where their biggest threat was Ted's dad sending him to military school, Bogus Journey has a legitimate, politically-driven Big Bad who builds robot versions of the protagonists who hunt down and actually kill them. This leads the film into a Back from the Dead storyline where the two meet Death himself, wander around Sand Dimas as ghosts, get sucked into Hell via occult magic where they encounter a rather convincing Satan and crawl through a fire-and-brimstone lit air duct maze where they encounter exaggerated versions of their childhood traumas. There's also numerous homages to R-rated sci-fi and horror films amongst other added horrors, a subplot involving plenty of Squicky incest jokes, drastically harsher and more frequent profanity (including a Precision F-Strike at one point), and some Ho Yay dialogue. All this in a film that came out a mere 2 years after the original; hardly the most ample time for its audience to prepare for it.
  • The Black Hole itself qualifies on its own. Released in 1979 it was controversial for being Disney's first PG-rated film, and featured numerous violent and disturbing sequences the likes of which no Disney film had ever shown before. Even the resident "funny robots" were not actually that funny and were played straight. Although it took a few years, the move towards more adult fare exhibited by Black Hole, Tron, a rather adult comedy called Trenchcoat and others eventually led Disney to establish the Touchstone brand for releasing films in the PG, PG-13 and R-rated realm, while reserving the main Disney brand for (mostly) G or the occasional PG film. This later went by the wayside however, as the Disney brand came to be used for dark, PG-13 rated films like Pirates of the Caribbean.
  • The Bourne Series:
    • The Bourne Legacy is darker than the first three films. Unlike Jason Bourne, Cross and Shearing are complete innocents who never intend to get out, let alone expose the project, and yet they are marked for death anyway. The film also has more nightmarish moments, with the vicious wolves, the laboratory massacre, and Shearing nearly being executed in her own home by agents who'd seemingly come to help her.
    • Jason Bourne surpasses the events of Legacy. Even by the standards of the series, this film is the darkest of them all. Robert Dewey and the Asset are easily the most villainous characters of the series. Between the way they casually murder their own people, the death of Bourne's most trusted ally, and the portrayal of institutionalized corruption in the American government and society, there are virtually no bright sides to the story. Of course, the kicker of it all is the last two scenes of the movie, where it's revealed that Heather Lee is much less benevolent than Pamela Landy before her and is not an ally at all, just another power-hungry bureaucrat intending to use Bourne as her pawn and willing to kill him if he refuses, and that Bourne rightly distrusts her.

  • Casino. It is far more violent, darker, edgier and downbeat than Goodfellas. And its killings are far more stomach churning. So yea, this is Up to Eleven compared with the earlier sequel.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. One of the characters even tells the returning heroes that Narnia is no longer the welcoming place they remember.
  • The Color of Friendship is this to most other Disney Channel Original Movies. While still a lighthearted kid's film, it deals with the difficult issue of race and racism in a frank manner.
  • Cruella is this to Disney's previous adaptations of One Hundred and One Dalmatians, garnering a PG-13 rating and featuring far less of the humor present in the animated film and earlier live-action remakes.


  • Ebenezer (1998) has an extremely villainous takes on Scrooge, set in the Canadian frontier. In the past, young Scrooge married Bess only to cheat her father-in-law out of his land, and in the present he cheats Sam Benson out of his land and abuses and threatens his former partner's daughter. In the future sequence, Scrooge fatally shoots Sam and dies trying to get Erica not to reveal how he cheated in the poker game.
  • The Equalizer is so very much this when compared to the original series that this was based on. A typical plot in the CBS series has McCall pulling an elaborate mindgame with his associates helping him, one that usually forces the guilty party to incriminate themselves and sometimes leaves them at the mercy of those they've wronged. In the movie, McCall simply takes out everyone in his path personally, using such delightful tactics as a shotglass to the eye socket, corkscrew to the jaw, a barb wire noose, a tree trimmer through the neck, and gunning someone down with a high-powered nailgun.
  • Even the classic E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial was not immune to this trope. When E.T. first became a hit in theaters, Steven Spielberg and E.T. screenwriter Melissa Mathison came up with a treatment for a sequel: E.T. II: Nocturnal Fears, in which Elliot and his friends are kidnapped by evil albino offshoots of E.T.'s species. Fortunately, E.T. returns to Earth and rescues them, but not until after the kids have all been tortured. They thought better of it.
  • After an increasingly comedic trilogy, Evil Dead (2013) is fairly jarring in tone. It edges pretty close to Torture Porn as the main characters mutilate themselves and each other, the teenagers aren't at the cabin for a party, it's nearly devoid of jokes or one-liners, and it's entirely lacking the original trilogy's camp value.

  • Josh Trank's Fantastic Four is this compared to the previous adaptations. The film has been compared to thriller/horror films like Alien, Scanners, and The Fly (1986) by those involved with the production, and a common complaint is exactly that — it takes a lighthearted source material too seriously to work.
  • The Foreigner (2017) may just be one of the grimmest pictures of Jackie Chan's career. Bleak colors, brutal violence, and not a single joke or silly facial expression to be seen.
  • Free Willy 2 & 3. Compared to the first movie, in which the only tearjerker was Willy almost dying. The second had Jessie nearly drowning and getting incinerated by an oil tanker fire. While the dangers there were unintentional, the third amps it up by having human villains not capture the whales, but try to kill them and sell their meat to underground markets. Willy's not exempt from this either since in the climax of the film, he actually almost kills the captain of the whaling ship for attacking him, his mate and their unborn child.
  • While Alfred Hitchcock never shied from dark subject matter, Frenzy goes further in terms of violence/sex/language and has a bleaker outlook than most. The title intentionally recalls Psycho, but while Norman at least kills his victims quickly, Rusk is a sadist who likes to take his time.

  • Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance :This movie features a lot more violence and dark humor than the first. It also features darker aspects in general, such as the Rider's Ax-Crazy being amped up. Even the look of the film is edgier than the first one. Whereas the original Ghost Rider movie had several vibrant colors (particularly the colors blue and orange) in most of the shots, this film mostly has ash grey filters all over the place. The design of the Ghost Rider is also more rugged and creepier than it used to be. It is also the only two films to use the Marvel Knights banner (the other being Punisher: War Zone)
  • Ghostbusters II might not be as good as the first movie, but it sure is darker than the first, involving an ancient god in a painting looking to be reborn in a baby, people's emotions manipulating and being manipulated by pink slime under the city, and our heroes (temporarily) being put in an insane asylum at the beginning of the Darkest Hour.
  • G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra had EVERYONE wearing black and a knives and bullets always finding their way into enemy eye sockets. Then we have the Baroness display her cleavage and the buxom Scarlett wearing a sports bra while on a treadmill. Not to mention a guy's face is literally DISSOLVED by his own nanites!
    • The sequel, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, was darker and less cartoonish than the original, even featuring the death of Duke, the hero of the first movie.
    • The original animated TV series, despite being about a paramilitary group assigned to combat a terrorist organization, was nonetheless intended to be child-friendly, i.e. A-Team Firing galore, and despite the fact Scarlett was armed with a crossbow, she'd never consider using it to actually, you know, kill anyone. Perhaps reflecting the post-9/11 attitudes that A Team Firing is unrealistic and cheesy, the GI Joes of the live action film (and recent-vintage animated reprises and the comic books) are depicted as you'd expect a paramilitary force fighting terrorists would be - ruthless killers each with double- and triple-digit body counts. Even Scarlett.
      • The original G.I. Joe: The Movie is way darker than the animated show. Its revealed Cobra are led by an ancient race of reptilian beings, most of the familiar cast are held prisoner by giant alien plants for the entire film, we follow a new team of rookies as they struggle to replace the Joes, Cobra Commander devolves into a giant snake with 100 eyes, Roadblock goes blind, Duke DIES (and is revived thanks to Executive Meddling adding unconvincing ADR).
  • The Godfather. In the original there are certainly some dark and violent moments but ends on triumphant note for the main protagonist and leaves us rooting for the ‘heroes.” In the sequel innocent people are threatened or killed, Michael becomes so obsessive about keeping his power and family legacy that he essentially becomes an emotionless machine and ultimately has his own brother killed just to follow some honor code. All of this was actually a deliberate attempt on the filmmakers part as they felt audiences missed the point of the original.
  • The Godzilla franchise jumps between this and Lighter and Softer. No film has ever topped the original but some try pretty hard. Mothra vs. Godzilla was bleaker than the goofy King Kong vs. Godzilla, Godzilla vs. Hedorah had people melting and one of the biggest body counts of all the franchise after the kid-centered Godzilla's Revenge. Terror of Mechagodzilla was Darker and Edgier than Godzilla Vs Mecha Godzilla which featured violence but had a very pulpy story; Terror even deals with the issue of suicide. Godzilla 1985 dealt with a possible World War III and was politically heavy, Biollante was just a tad bit lighter but very dark still. Godzilla vs. Destoroyah dealt with Godzilla dying, Jr. dying, and Godzilla possibly undergoing a nuclear meltdown that would destroy the Earth. GMK was even bleaker than Megaguirus thanks to an even more vicious Godzilla terrorizing Japan. And then there is Godzilla (2014), which while perhaps not as dark as the trailers for the film suggested, the film lacks any cheesiness or family-friendliness of the series post-Godzilla Raids Again, hearkening back to the dead-serious 1954 original, though Godzilla himself is still portrayed in a somewhat positive light. Then after the 2014 film came Shin Godzilla, which like GMK, was an attempt to return to the darker roots of the 1954 original, taking its cue from 9-11 and that 2011 Tsunami and Earthquake that struck Japan (along with the subsequent Fukushima nuclear plant disaster). Shin Godzilla also features what is by far the most grotesque and disturbing incarnation of Godzilla himself to date, with ample amounts of Body Horror and a larger emphasis on his Animalistic Abomination traits. (the 2014 film's own sequel also counts, featuring many more monsters, including the dreaded King Ghidorah, with a resulting destruction escalation, and even the Big G himself temporarily dying!)
  • The Grey Zone is Darker and Edgier... for a Holocaust film. While films about the topic all depict the unimaginable human suffering of that period, most (such as Schindler's List, The Pianist, or Escape from Sobibór) also try to portray a narrative of courage and hope amidst all that horror, with at least some characters managing to survive against all odds. This film takes place entirely in Auschwitz, focusing on the prisoners who were forced to assist the Nazis by disposing of the bodies, making the protagonists much more morally ambiguous than is typical. It ends with almost every character of note dying, and most of their efforts throughout the film either resulting in a rather minor victory (half the crematoria remain after the uprising, and the death industry continues) or simply rendered pointless (the little girl they tried to save, who's killed by the Nazi captain after a Hope Spot).

  • Rob Zombie's remake of Halloween (2007) and its sequel fits this trope. While the originals were fairly dark in their own right, Zombie amps it Up to Eleven by creating a darker, gritter world filled with rapist orderlies, necrophiliacs, Abusive Parents (namely Michael Myers'), and a barrage of characters who swear like sailors. Even Michael himself kills in a more violent, brutal manner. Not everybody was fond of these changes.
  • As with their book counterparts, the Harry Potter films became increasingly dark and serious starting with Prisoner of Azkaban, but this is evidenced most in the last three sequels, both in terms of cinematography and subject matter. The first two films were full of warm golds and reds, while the later films favour cold blues and Deathly Hallows is almost black and white. To further hammer this fact in, "Hedwig's Theme", which introduces each film, sounds slightly shriller and more discordant in each consecutive film. But after Voldemort was defeated in the last film, the vivid colours of the first movies return.
    • At some points in the final three films the action, which is easy to see when watching in a dark cinema or room, is hard to see in a bright room with sunlight shining in.
    • The Warner Bros. production logos evolve to reflect how the films progressively get darker with each installment.
      • Even the early movies when Harry was young were already Darker and Edgier despite not bringing more gore and other mature content (and despite cutting plenty of stuff from the books). Simply because the film's use of cinematic techniques gave it a more somber atmosphere. Just listening to the main theme, introduced in the first film Sorceror's Stone, alone would make you feel its a darker story than the book would imply and thats not counting other film technology and tricks such as white and black flashbacks, a dark portrayal of Hogwart's architecture and interior with dim lighting, and so much more. Even knowing its a children's story, the atmosphere the film invokes makes gives the impression its aimed at older audiences.
  • Hellboy (2019), unlike the previous Hellboy movies, was rated R and contained horror elements and lots and lots of gore.
  • Richard Kelly wrote a screenplay for Louis Sachar's lighthearted Black Comedy, Holes, that went in this direction. Instead of searching for buried treasure at a juvenile delinquent summer camp, the movie would have had the boys searching for nuclear weapons in a post-apocalyptic Texas. One scene has Stanley visiting a prostitute. The studio instead used the screenplay written by Sachar himself.
  • The second Home Alone film is much less lighthearted than the first, taking place in New York rather than a Chicago suburb, and with Kevin using much more dangerous traps against the Bandits. Also, when they catch him, Harry fully intends to murder Kevin. Ultimately, it ends up arguably being an Even Better Sequel.
    • The third film takes it even further...but is generally considered a flop.
  • The 2002 Hound of the Baskervilles TV movie starring Richard Roxburgh transforms Conan Doyle's classic detective novel into something much more like a "gritty" modern crime drama, featuring more blood; more violence (Holmes has to beat the information out of the cab driver instead of bribing him); more death (Beryl Stapleton is killed in this version); Holmes gratuitously shooting up coke in the middle of the case; and an ending suggesting that Watson has genuinely resented Holmes's manipulation of him and others during the investigation and that their friendship may have been permanently damaged.
  • Hulk secretly started all those dark and edgy superhero films because Ang Lee was able to depict repressed emotions, an abusive father and a semi-corrupt military.
  • The Hunger Games:

  • Independence Day: Resurgence is this to its predecessor. While there are still corny jokes and one-liners here and there, the overall tone of the movie is more serious.
  • Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, with its Satanic? Religion of Evil, Human Sacrifice by Beat Still, My Heart, child slavery, a villain that actually says that he is trying to commit global genocide (unlike the first film, where the Nazis are just said to be trying to Take Over the World) and generally dark and oppressive tone is this to the preceding Raiders of the Lost Ark and largely responsible for the creation of both the USA PG-13 rating and the British 12 (yep, Doom was released as PG, and that's after they were forced to change the original title, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Death). Making it worse, the movie is the only one in the franchise where Indy has a Kid Sidekick and there are other child characters, which probably led parents to think that it was actually more child-friendly back when it was released.
    • For point of reference and context, the film is so dark and violent that it is near widely accepted that the movie WOULD HAVE gotten an R rating had George Lucas and Steven Spielberg’s names not been attached.

  • James Bond films:
    • Licence to Kill is by far the darkest of the series to that point. It starts with Colombian drug lord Franz Sanchez feeding Bond's longtime friend and ally to a shark (after raping and killing his new bride), followed by Bond resigning from MI6, going rogue, and killing every member of Sanchez's organization in increasingly violent ways.
    • The Daniel Craig Bond films, starting with Casino Royale (2006) are darker and more realistic than previous Bond films, going deeper into Bond's pathos and doing away with most of the wisecracks, gadgets and slapstick. Skyfall also goes in for Deconstructor Fleet, Dented Iron, serious questions about everyone's sanity, and The Bad Guy Wins by killing M although his victory is indirect as he is killed by Bond before M kicks the bucket.
      • The theme song gets in on this too, with the lyrics and the melody probably being the most somber in the franchise's history. And even if not, the credits sequence certainly is—instead of the usual silhouettes of gyrating nubile women, we get numerous scenes of death and destruction.
      • Spectre: The sequel to Skyfall is quite dark, and the Big Bad, Franz Oberhauser is the darkest version of 007's Arch-Enemy Ernst Stavro Blofeld. He relishes in sadistic glee than most of his predecessors, and has developed an irrational grudge against an orphaned 007 for being favored more by his father when the two were in their teens. He later commits Patricide to spite 007, fakes his own death and stays low for a brief time before reemerging as the leader of the titular criminal organization and orchestrating numerous tragedies in 007's personal life in later years. Add to the fact that instead of just focusing on manipulating events to his organization's favor via proxies as his past incarnations did, Blofeld also dabbles in chillingly realistic crimes such as sexual slavery, narcotics and actively overthrowing governments to put in SPECTRE-aligned henchmen. Thus, SPECTRE is now more a subversive organization than its previous incarnations, combined with the fact that Blofeld runs it like a tyrannical dictator with an iron fist, killing any underling who double-crosses him or gets out of line as a warning to others.
    • There is often a tendency for the franchise to follow-up a particularly Camp film with a Darker and Edgier entry, such as On Her Majesty's Secret Service after You Only Live Twice, For Your Eyes Only after Moonraker, and Casino Royale (2006) after Die Another Day.
  • John Wick: Chapter 2 is quite a bit darker than the first movie in tone and theme. While the first movie was a more straight-forward revenge plot, this one deals with themes like honor, duty, destiny and death. Markedly, while the first was a lot more humorous in showing Iosef and Viggo panicking over Wick's wrath, this time Wick's foes are deadly serious. It's even noticeable every single victory Wick achieves over the movie are Pyrrhic at best, unlike the first.
    • John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum follows the above by being a movie where danger lies on every corner, given Wick is a wanted man and the High Table of the assassin "syndicate" brings some of their worst to stop him. The ending is similarly downbeat: John is shot by one of the few people who had his back and left for dead, but rescued by another High Table victim seeking revenge.
  • The Jungle Book (2016): While the plot mostly follows the 1967 Disney adaptation, the overall tone seems much more faithful to Kipling's original text, with far less goofy comedy and more epic dialogue and gritty action scenes.
  • Jurassic Park:
    • The Lost World: Jurassic Park is remembered as the most violent of the franchise, notably for being the film with the highest body count and the most violent death scenes (at least until Jurassic World came along, anyway). Oddly enough, at the same time it attempts at humor far more frequently than either of the other installments, mostly due to the fact that Malcolm takes the reins as the main protagonist, making for some weird Mood Whiplash. On a further note, this was the only film in the entire franchise to have gotten the 14A rating in Canada instead of the PG rating until Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, which was then bumped down to PG for the home release.
    • Jurassic World is this to the older Jurassic Park movies. The creation of the Indominus Rex is easily the most ethically questionable of all compared to the other, more "natural" dinosaurs, and she's the only dinosaur antagonist in all the films to be unquestionably and actively malicious rather than merely a very dangerous animal. For the first time ever in a Jurassic Park film, her creators have ulterior and devious motives for doing so. The film also has the highest body count of the series if you include dinosaur and human victims (though even with human victims alone, it still ranks as the highest even over its own sequel), and it's the first film to feature the on-screen death of a woman (which has also gained a lot of attention in internet circles for being particularly disturbing).
    • Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is even darker, particularly given director J.A. Bayona's horror credentials. The opening scene takes place on the dinosaur-infested Isla Nublar in a rainy night, and features both the T. rex and the Mosasaurus stalking their human quarries. The Indoraptor is possibly one of the most disturbing dinosaurs in the franchise, doling out several vicious deaths, demonstrating sadism and a sense of psychopathic humor, and being a Flawed Prototype. Eli also has the most violent death in the series, slowly being brutally devoured by several predators - and he himself dished out a shocking end to Benjamin Lockwood, making him the first character in the films to explicitly try - and the first in the franchise to succeed in killing another human. The death of Ken Wheatley comes quite close to the top of brutal deaths as well, courtesy of the above-mentioned Indoraptor. The film also ends with an ecological disaster, and the dinosaurs escaping into the mainland. It is also the second film in the entire franchise to get 14A in Canada.

  • King Kong (2005) in comparison to the 1993 King Kong, with more gore, nighttime scenes, darker behaviour from the heroes, and more horrifying monsters.
  • 1928 film West of Zanzibar was already a pretty dark and edgy tale, about a bitter, rage-filled Evil Cripple who takes custody of a little girl and turns her into an alcoholic whore as part of a revenge plot against her father, the man who crippled him. The 1932 remake, Kongo, amazingly, manages to make this even darker. The first version includes an opening act that shows the protagonist (named Phroso in that film) as a decent and honorable man, who is then dumped by his wife and crippled in a fight with his wife's lover. Kongo omits that whole opening act, which served to humanize the protagonist, and instead opens with protagonist Flint already in Africa, an evil cripple scheming to destroy an innocent woman as part of a revenge plot. The addition of Tula, Flint's slutty companion, and Dr. Kingsland with his crippling drug addiction also serve to make this film even nastier than the already nasty 1928 version.

  • Leapin’ Leprechauns! is a family film where the villain is a man who wants to turn his father's land into an amusement park. In the sequel, Spellbreaker: Secret of the Leprechauns, the queen of the dead kidnaps the heroes and takes them to the underworld.
  • Lethal Weapon 2 is the darkest and the most violent of the series, with very ruthless villains who even kill Riggs' love interest. Says something that Riggs ends the movie very injured, and the original script even planned for him to die.
  • Look Who's Talking, Too! focuses on James and Mollie's marriage possibly faltering and Mikey & Julie's Sibling Rivalry. It climaxes with James fighting an armed robber and their apartment almost burning down.

  • Maleficent was this to Sleeping Beauty, being a Perspective Flip focused on the villainess and featuring a rape analogy (namely, Maleficent has her wings forcibly cut). And sequel Maleficent: Mistress of Evil managed to push things further, given there's attempted genocide of magical creatures with plenty of Family-Unfriendly Violence.
  • The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015): Both Solo and Kuryakin, as well as the film itself, compared to the series and its versions of the characters.
  • The Matrix is a rare case where the first couldn't be topped at this, given the very distinctive dark and oppressive mood (particularly before and up till the moment Neo is awakened) of the original is almost completely absent in further installments (bar The Animatrix). While still as (if not even more) violent, the other movies shift their focus toward overt philosophical discussions and grander action scenes, and away from the original's cyberpunk influences and horrifying, mind-bending scenes.
    • Even regarding the action scenes, the fact that Neo spends most of the first movie as a relatively normal, vulnerable human, as opposed to the sequels, where he spends most of the time as The One and wipes the floor with most of his rivals, makes the stakes feel much higher and the fights far more tense and brutal. Still, even when he fights without his powers or the action focuses on other normal humans, the fights rarely feel as desperate or bleak as those in the original.

  • Menace II Society. It's much more violent, sad, downbeat, darker and edgier than Boyz n the Hood. This film has almost no lighter moments.
  • Men in Black 3. It includes a much darker villain than any from the first two, and partly as a result of this the heroes face tougher moral dilemmas and more emotionally overwhelming circumstances than before.
  • Not only is Mission: Impossible II the darkest in the series, but like Licence to Kill, it came close to getting an R rating. It has a higher rating in most countries for this reason.
  • Monty Python's The Meaning of Life is still a comedy, but the humour is much edgier than the troupe's other two films.
  • Mortal Kombat (2021) is this to the previous live-action films in the series (being the first theatrical installment to get an R rating), featuring many Bloodier and Gorier fatalities depicted in a game-accurate fashion and much more profanity than the previous films. It also places a greater emphasis on the stakes of the tournament and integrates more of the games' Black Comedy as well.
  • Mulan (2020) is this to the animated version, with barely any comedy and much more focus on the war, with all the on-screen deaths that this emplies. Says something it earned higher content ratings than the other Disney Live-Action Remakes (the film is their first live-action reversion to receive a PG-13 rating).
  • New Jack City is a good example of this. Scotty is not always noble himself and actually threatens to kill Pookie if he says another word, in anger.




  • Saving Private Ryan compared to a lot of other earlier war movies. Established very quickly with the opening Omaha Beach battle - you're introduced to The Squad only for nearly all of them to be slaughtered extremely quickly, and a lot of the poor sods who bite the dust do so in extremely violent ways (the flamethrower guy who goes up and takes out a few surrounding soldiers, the man who's in a state of shock and walking around looking for his severed arm, the young soldier lying on the ground trying to hold his intestines in, the radio guy who winds up with no face, etc.). Not to mention it's one of the few American war films you'll ever see that depicts American soldiers committing war crimes.
  • Snow White and the Huntsman compared to almost any other adaptation without a doubt. From the trailers alone, we can already see that this movie is way more violent, with epic-scale battles and soldiers smashing each other to pieces left, right and center, has very scary-looking creatures, and throws in a few nasty twists such as the Queen really being a much older woman that sucks the life out of much younger women to preserve her youth. Oh, and if that weren't enough, almost the entire film and its settings are very dull and colourless, whereas in most other versions, the kingdom and most parts of the forest are much more colourful and presented as nice places to live. Here? Not so much.
  • The Spider-Man Trilogy got darker with each progressing film. With Peter actually embracing the evil black suit in the final movie.
  • Superman:
    • Superman Returns: Even though the movie is a deliberate homage to the Christopher Reeve movies, it also brings up the question of his 21st century relevance, makes him a parent out of wedlock and brutally sends him to death's door. Also the colors on his suit are literally darker than in the previous movies.
    • Christopher Nolan has said while Man of Steel isn't a "dark movie", as Superman isn't a dark character, it is "more serious and realistic." Still, it is by far the most violent Superman movie to date. It is, however, somewhat Lighter and Softer than Nolan's The Dark Knight Trilogy and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

  • The original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990) film is rife with drama, Adult Fear, Family-Unfriendly Violence and street gangs. And it doesn't let you forget that the majority of the Mooks and the eponymous characters are just teenage kids dealing with quite adult issues for their age.
  • Terminator: Dark Fate is this big time, especially after the much Lighter and Softer Terminator Genisys. While not without humor and action, it's darker than even the first film, being almost as if not even more gritty than Terminator Salvation. The new dystopian future strips away all the glory that previous films had and hearkens back to Kyle's flashbacks from the very first Terminator film, with people living off dirt and hiding in ruins.
  • The Transformers Film Series in general. Robots are getting ripped apart, blown up, or their faces bifurcated. The added sex appeal (and not much else) is supplied by Megan Fox. Although amputation, decapitation, and on at least one occasion, crucifixion, were all features of the 80s transformers comics. And Transformers: Dark of the Moon cranks it Up to Eleven, with humans being assassinated, as well as having Sentinel Prime launch a full-scale Decepticon assault on Earth, complete with scenes of carnage.
  • The German TV two-part version of Treasure Island from 2007 does this a lot. Half of the good guys get an update in evil (Captain Smollett whips crew members only on suspicion, Livesey is much more lascivious and greedy which turns him into a rival to Jim and he even dies in the attempt to save the gold when it's sinking into a swamp, and Ben Gunn becomes more hostile against everyone and Guerilla-like), even the bad guys get crazier (especially Long John Silver and Israel Hands). It also adds the character of Flint's daughter Sheila O'Donnel who is also searching for the treasure while being lusted after by the men (especially Israel Hands). It later turns out, that not Only Flint raped her mother, but later multiple of his crew members collectively did the same and Sheila isn't really Flints daughter.
  • TRON: Legacy is much more grim than the 1982 original. When you got programs violently shattering into data, genocide, a brutal dictator, and brainwashing programs to invade the real world, you got more than just the suits and the environment that's darker than the first Tron.
    • Even the 1982 Original was a D&E risk on Disney's part, their second attempt after The Black Hole. Recall that 5 years earlier, they released Pete's Dragon (1977), which was one of their most saccharine entries. The classic had a few nasty deaths (including an Involuntary Battle to the Death), Cold-Blooded Torture, and some heavy-duty religious themes. Then, there's the infamous Deleted Scene that's just shy of a full-blown sexual encounter.
    • The animated series entry, TRON: Uprising manages to get even more Grimdark. There are scenes of mass murder witch hunts the Renegade. The Renegade is painted as a terrorist by the villans. And Tron himself tries to kill his apprentice in cold blood for intervening in a rampage of revenge against the man who tortured him.


  • Watchmen has way more blood and tits than the book. Of course, the book was considerably darker and edgier than its contemporary comics, so exaggerating it for the film is something of a Pragmatic Adaptation.
  • Wendy: In comparison with previous Peter Pan stories, there is a lot more grim and unsettling stuff. Some of the children die, go missing, or lose a limb. Those who lose faith in Mother, who keeps them young, will lose their youth, becoming unhappy old people.

Alternative Title(s): Film


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