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Dark Reprise

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"It's the same old song, but with a different meaning since you've been gone."
The Four Tops, "It's the Same Old Song"

A song starts in sunshine, but has a dark counterpart.

There are two main forms; the first is the sarcastic echo, the second is the dark reprise. This trope is favoured by the writers of musicals.

The sarcastic echo is a duet, but one party is oblivious to this fact. The main singer opens with a happy, even sappy verse. But there is an onlooking character mocking the first from the wings.


The other form is the dark reprise. Early in the show, we get a joyous song. In a later act, sadder and wiser, those same lyrics or melody are ironic and sad. Sometimes the reprise alters the original lyrics; sometimes they are the same, only sung more slowly and mournfully. In the case of a theme's reprise, the piece may have no lyrics at all. The "dark" part may even be literal, with the reprise using dimmer lighting.

The dark reprise is a subtrope of Ironic Echo, and the Evil Twin of Triumphant Reprise. Of course, the Dark Reprise and Triumphant Reprise can easily overlap if they happen to be the reprise of the Villain Song. In this case, the reprise comes as the villain stands triumphant (at least for now,) which is good news for him but bad news for everyone else. note 


Compare Dual-Meaning Chorus, more common in country music, where a song's chorus is interpreted differently with each iteration (and the song only plays once).

Can overlap with Lyrical Dissonance, although a dark reprise tends to smooth this over with a more somber arrangement. Note that this can also apply to moments that don't use music. See also Soundtrack Dissonance, "Funny Aneurysm" Moment, and Descent into Darkness Song.



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Dark Reprise

    Stage Musicals 
  • Dear Evan Hansen:
    • A part of "Waving Through a Window" is sung again in "Words Fail". It's also notable for being a sadder reprise of a song that wasn't exactly happy to begin with. To elaborate, when Evan sings the lyrics ♫ I've learned to slam on the brake / Before I even turn the key / Before I make the mistake / Before I lead with the worst of me. ♫, he is in utter acceptance of what is social anxiety has caused him to become. The second time these same lyrics are reprised, it conveys the utter frustration and anger that he feels towards himself, as he has screwed over his original and surrogate family with the single lie he has maintained.
    • Played straight with "You Will Be Found". The song initially conveys the message that if one is lost, they can be helped upon by others. The next time it's sang, it represents the abuse that the Murphys have received from social media, as they believe the Murphys didn't care about their son enough.
  • Little Shop of Horrors:
    • "Somewhere That's Green" is a song with some of the same lyrics is first about dreaming of a bright future with Seymour, and then about begging Seymour to feed her to a man-eating plant. This is made even more twisted because of her reasoning (she says she wants Seymour to take care of her as part of Audrey II), and by the fact that the original song was a daydream, only mentioning plants in passing as she describes her ideal life with Seymour. In the Dark Reprise, the plant's all that's left of Audrey's hopes and dreams.
    • "Act 1 Finale" contains some lyrics and melody from "Prologue/Little Shop of Horrors", but in a more sinister tone and playing behind the maniacal laughter of a man-eating plant.
    • The opening notes to "Don't Feed The Plants" are the same as the opening notes to the "Prologue". Additionally, the penultimate line would be a reprise of the Cut Song "We'll Have Tomorrow", were it not cut, and there are very subtle reprises of "Feed Me" and "Somewhere That's Green" throughout the song.
    • Averted with "Suppertime II". Sure, it's dark, but it's debatable whether it's actually any darker than the first "Suppertime".
    • "Sudden Changes", a brief solo Seymour has just before "Feed Me", is the same as the opening to "Somewhere That's Green". It's lighter than "Somewhere That's Green"'s reprise, but is darker than the initial "Somewhere That's Green". This makes it appropriate that it comes between the two.
    • "Downtown" is already a depressing song, but an instrumental version of it plays after Audrey dies and it's more depressing by far.
      • In the demo version, the same effect would have been had by playing an instrumental version of "We'll Have Tomorrow" after Audrey is killed. The difference is that while "Downtown" is already a depressing song, "We'll Have Tomorrow" would have been MADE a depressing song through its association with Audrey's death. The reason for the change is almost certainly the original version of "We'll Have Tomorrow" being cut.
      • In German productions, Seymour sings a Dark Reprise of "Suddenly Seymour" instead. "Suddenly Seymour" was originally a romantic duet between Seymour and Audrey, so Seymour singing it alone in that depressing voice is just... depressing. All versions of this scene are depressing.
    • Though cut out of many productions, an downbeat instrumental version of "Mushnik and Son" plays after Mushnik is killed.
    • Also noteworthy is "The Meek Shall Inherit", which starts cheerful and gradually shifts into a dark echo of its earlier verses. By the time the final "you know the meek are gonna get what's coming to 'em by and by..." rolls around, it's downright ominous.
      • A cut song from the demo version would be a genuine dark reprise to "The Meek Shall Inherit". It would have been sung by Patrick Martin, on how he intends to sell the plants across the world.
    • Also in the demo version, halfway through "Now (It's Just The Gas)", Orin and Seymour would have sung a modified version of Seymour's opening verse as a duet. Whereas Seymour's verse is about how he wants to kill Orin but can't, the verse Orin and Seymour sung together would have been Orin pleading for his life and swearing to reform while Seymour decides he can't bring himself to save Orin.
    • "Bigger Than Hula Hoops" uses the same underscore as "Da Doo". "Da Doo" is a cheerful song about how Seymour found Audrey II, "Bigger Than Hula Hoops" is a violent fight between Seymour and Audrey II.
  • "I have a song to sing, O!" from Gilbert and Sullivan's The Yeomen of the Guard. The first rendition is a sentimental ballad; due to the change of context, its reprise at the end is painfully heartbreaking. There is but one change in the text: the line "Who loved her lord and laughed aloud" turns into "Who loved her lord and dropped a tear" because the actress playing Elsie in the premiere thought that the straight repeat was too cruel. Sir Gilbert agreed.
  • The 2017-version of Portal 2: The Unauthorized Musical features two versions of the song "Suddenly Wheatley"note . The first is a duet between Wheatley and Chell where they sing about how they've finally found a friend in the other and how they're going to defeat GLaDOS and escape to the surface together. The reprise takes place after Wheatley's Face–Heel Turn, and is a solo-piece sung by Wheatley in which he triumphantly sings about how he's going to murder the weakened Chell by blowing her up.
  • Jeff Wayne's The War of the Worlds song "Brave New World" relates the Utopian dreams of The Artilleryman, who thinks the alien invasion is a opportunity to throw away the hated modern world and build an underground utopia. The music is a heart-rousing soundtrack to any — every glorious revolution. The Journalist punctures this in deadpan narration: The Artilleryman has a tunnel ten feet long and outside tripods are moving. The song is reprised, with a maudlin tone that now belies the words, and the discordant interpretation of the music gives the impression of a drunken, foolish dreamer, sitting in a cellar singing to himself as the world goes to hell outside.
    • Of course, if you complete the game as the Martians, it's implied he wouldn't have failed so hard if he had got a few people to help him.. Oh look, he did!
    • The song "The Spirit Of Man" combines this with the Sarcastic Echo - whilst the embittered, broken and deranged Parson Nathaniel's verses deal with his disillusionment with the sins of those around him, and his delusional belief that the invading Martians are 'demons' sent by Satan to wipe out humanity, his wife Beth's chorus is an optimistic, hopeful exhortation to the finest and noblest elements of human nature within 'the spirit of man'. Then a Martian craft crash-lands on the house in which the characters are sheltering, Beth is crushed under the rubble and Nathaniel takes over her chorus, the lyrics now altered to reflect his bitter, defeatist worldview.
    • "The Eve of the War" and "The Fighting Machine" are also reprised on several occasions (usually to accompany situations of impending doom), but the example that fits this trope best is the start of Dead London, which features a slow, somber repeat of the Fighting Machine main riff. Jeff Wayne likes this trope.
  • Wicked:
    • Near the end of Wicked, the beginning of "No One Mourns The Wicked," the play's first song, sung by the Ozians rejoicing over the Witch's death, is heard again - except now we've gotten to know her as a sympathetic, even tragic, character. It also superimposes the last refrain of "For Good". Earlier, right after Elphaba's "melting", a sad instrumental of "For Good" plays.
    • Wicked is in love with this trope. The riff which accompanies the lyrics "Unlimited/My future is unlimited" in "The Wizard and I" is heard three times more throughout the musical, in "Defying Gravity" ("Unlimited/Together we're unlimited"), at one point in the full version of "No Good Deed" ("Unlimited/The damage is unlimited"), and finally at the beginning of "For Good" ("Limited/Just look at me, I'm limited").
    • Also, "I'm Not That Girl" - same words, different character singing it.
    • Additionally, the recurring lyrics about Elphaba regarding "a celebration throughout Oz that's all to do with me/you" are inverted from their intention when Elphaba's death is celebrated at the end of Act II. Or Fiyero's "Life's more painless for the brainless" line...
    • And, in a very nice touch that most people don't realize until they watch the show at least a second time, almost every line Glinda sings in the opening number serves as its own Dark Reprise.
    • In "Dancing Through Life", Boq tries to, but can't bring himself to tell Nessa about his feelings for Glinda. Nessa tells him:
    We deserve each other
    Don't you see this is our chance?
    We deserve each other, don't we Boq?
    • In "Wicked Witch of the East", Boq finally sings to Nessa about his feelings for Glinda with the same melody as before. Nessa reacts badly this, accidentally botching a spell to force him fall in love with her, destroying his heart instead. She then realises how evil she has become without realising it, singing:
    Alone and loveless here
    With just the girl in the mirror
    Just her and me, the Wicked Witch of the East
    We deserve each other
    • Also, there is a part where Boq sings to Nessa in Dancing through Life
    Listen Nessa, oh Nessa
    I've got something to confess
    A reason why, well
    Why I asked you here tonight
    Now I know it isn't fair...
    • Then later, after Boq learns Nessa's shoes were charmed so she could walk
    Nessa, Uh Nessa,
    Surely now I'll matter less to you
    And you won't mind me leaving here tonight...
    • "No Good Deed (Goes Unpunished)" is immediately followed by a darker reprise, in the form of "March of the Witch Hunters": "Wickedness must be punished", etc.
  • At the beginning of Ragtime's second act, Coalhouse manages to reprise both "Wheels of a Dream" and "The Prologue" (and also "Your Daddy's Son," but that was rather dark already) while spiraling into homicidal madness. It's very effective.
    • There's also "Two men meeting / for a moment / in the darkness..." The first time two complete strangers salute each others' courage in a rousing anthem of what America should be. The second, two men join in embracing their anger at America and blowing things up.
  • "Bewitched" from Pal Joey ("Wise at last / My eyes at last / Are cutting you down to your size at last")
  • The Bittersweet Ending of Camelot includes a reprise of the title song, with the lyrics now referring to Camelot in the past tense.
  • The musical Titanic ends with a reprise of earlier songs about how amazing the ship is. As the ship has now sunk, the lyrics become ironic. (e.g. "I Must Get on that Ship" is reprised to mean the lifeboats instead of Titanic)
    • It also works the lyrics of "The Proposal/The Night Was Alive" which are made tragic by the circumstances. This song has more to do with the personal stories of the singers.
    • Also notable is the reprise of "To Be a Captain", which is simply tragic rather than ironic. While the song was originally Smith reminiscing about the importance of the captain, the reprise is sung by Etches in prayer; although the lyrics are the same, the titular captain is no longer Smith, but instead God.
    • While the full song does not appear in the show, the musicians are heard playing a slow song called "Autumn" in Act I. In Act II, after Mr Andrews is literally driven insane by his predicament, his last lines are: "Autumn... shall we all meet in the autumn... shall we all meet... in the autumn..."
      • "Autumn" was a commonly-played tune on the actual Titanic's voyage- and in an uncommon Real Life example, the musicians also played it while the ship was sinking.
      • It is still a matter of some debate whether the song played was the 'Autumn' version of the hymn or the 'Nearer My God To Thee' version.
  • The musical The Nightmare of Zaoldyeck, from the Hunter x Hunter Expanded Universe, has the song "Passionless Puppet of Darkness". It's the darkest song you ever heard. Or at least it was until seeing the reprise. Same lyrics, but... The first one is sung by Illumi, the second by a duet of Illumi and switchflipped!Killua.
  • Man of La Mancha has a song "Little Bird, Little Bird", which is first sung by a group of men attempting to flirt with Aldonza, the tavern wench whom Don Quixote imagines to be a noble lady. Much later in the story, while singing the same song, they rape her.
    • In the same musical, the song "Dulcinea" has two dark reprises. Directly after Don Quixote sings it to Aldonza, the muleteers (same group of men from the above example) sing the chorus mockingly. Later, when Don Quixote is dying and has renounced his dreams, Aldonza sings a version with slightly different lyrics back to him, begging him to make her feel like someone with self-worth and dignity again.
  • Similarly, in the Jekyll & Hyde musical, the song "Sympathy, Tenderness" is sung once in each act: in the first, it is sung by the prostitute Lucy as she reflects on the kindness Dr. Jekyll has shown her; in the second act, it's sung by Hyde as he rapes and murders her.
    • The Crowd Song "Facade" gets four reprises, two of which are much darker than the original song already is.
    • Not to mention, "Lost in the Darkness" is first sung by Jekyll to his father, who is mentally ill. In the latter part of the musical, after he's realized how much control Hyde has over him, he sings it to himself; using the exact same words.
    • The climax of Alive, where Hyde sings about his newly transformed self, is reprised at the climax of Confrontation, where Hyde tells Jekyll that the two of him will never be free of one another.
    • Likewise, in the 1941 film, Ivy first sings "See Me Dance the Polka" in a cheery production number; later, Hyde forces her to sing it as he strangles her.
  • Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, nearly every song in this show has a Dark Reprise, even though most of them are dark to begin with:
    • "A Barber and His Wife": First sung by Todd as he remembers his lost love, then sung by Mrs. Lovett, who doesn't hold the wife in as high regard. It gets a final reprise at the end, when Sweeney bitterly looks back on where his quest for revenge has left him.
    • Pirelli brags about his skill at shaving in his first song. He reprises it to brag about his blackmailing of Todd, just before Sweeney attacks and kills him.
    • Anthony's soaring ballad "Johanna" from midway through Act I has two pseudo-reprises, songs that are musically distinct, but still called "Johanna," and with the word "Johanna" as a central element:
      • Sweeney's version at the top of act II, with Anthony joining in to reprise his own version of the song. Sweeney sings it as he cuts people's throats and shunts their corpses into a bakery. Sweeney's version is an exercise in complacency, an emotionally repressed farewell to his daughter in which he states that he's so involved in his murdering and goal of ultimate revenge that he's stopped caring about her.
      • The Judge's version was cut from the final production. Just like Anthony, the Judge sings about lusting after Johanna and watching her from the shadows. Unlike Anthony, he's supposed to be a father-figure to Johanna, and he's singing while masochistically flogging himself. Some snatches of this song appear during the final sequence during the reprise of "Pretty Women" that leads to Sweeney's final vengeance.
    • Toby sings an innocent song of devotion to Mrs Lovett called "Not While I'm Around", in which he promises to never let her come to harm. Later, Mrs Lovett sings a section of the same song... while looking for Toby to hand him over to Sweeney to be killed. Even better - Mrs. Lovett's first Dark Reprise of "Not While I'm Around" actually comes right in the middle of Toby's version, complete with an off-key violin screeching under her vocals to set it apart from the rest.
    • Sweeney's songs in general are always dark, but at least Mrs. Lovett is singing along in most of them. In the final one, Sweeney Todd begins singing a falsely jaunty tune ("The history of the world, my pet...") — a reprise of part of "A Little Priest" — while maniacally waltzing with a visibly terrified Mrs. Lovett, who intersperses his lyrics by frantically begging for his forgiveness.
      • "Poor Thing," which was already dark as hell to begin with, gets an even darker reprise when Mrs. Lovett reveals what actually happened to Lucy when she took the poison following her rape, and that Mrs. Lovett had kept this from him because she had wanted him for herself.
      • Part of Mrs. Lovett's part is "By the sea, Mr. Todd, we'll be comfy-cozy, by the sea, Mr. Todd, where there's no one nosy," a reprise of her earlier song "By The Sea," where she had described getting away from London and marrying Sweeney.
  • In the Broadway version of Beauty and the Beast, the Beast acknowledges that Belle is his last chance when he sings "If I Can't Love Her," then reprises it bitterly when convinced that his chance has been lost.
    • "How Long Must This Go On" includes a minor-key version of Maurice's leitmotif, which also appears in the number "Home" when Belle says goodbye to her father, as well as "If I Can't Love Her".
    • When the Beast is dying in Belle's arms, she sings a dark reprise of "Home".
  • In the musical version of The Scarlet Pimpernel:
    • Chauvelin sings "Where's The Girl?" as a love song to Marguerite, then later renounces her in a snarling reprise.
    • Shortly after "When I Look at You", it is repeated by a second character with exactly the same lyrics.
    • A reprise of Madame Guillotine. While hard to make darker, it is a declaration of determination to hunt by Chauvelin and is in some cases referred to as The Riddle: Part 1. While not on most albums, it's on the German cast album as "Das Verwirrspiel: Teil 1"
  • In Of Thee I Sing, President Wintergreen and his wife Mary dismiss the concerns of reporters by singing "Who Cares?" They sing a Dark Reprise when those concerns have escalated to the point where his impeachment is imminent. The preceding scene has Diana singing a personal reprise of "Because, Because," which with new lyrics becomes accusatory rather than "sweet and sunny."
  • In Show Boat, as Ravenal abandons his family, he sings the same song to his daughter that he sang when he first met her mother: "Only make believe I love you..."
  • The musical Aida is full of this. "How I Know You", "My Strongest Suit", "Elaborate Lives"...
  • Used a lot in the Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals.
    • The Phantom of the Opera:
      • Most notable in the songs 'All I Ask of You' (Raoul asking Christine to love him always), then the Phantom singing its tragic reprise about his love for her. Of course, love turns him evil, as shown by the dark reprise.
      • This is seen again at the start of Act II in Masquerade, a sinister version of the melody plays as Madame Giry recounts the Phantom's past.
      • Raoul's part in Twisted Every Way sounds the same as Prima Donna since Christine is integral to the plan to get rid of the Phantom once and for all.
    • Jesus Christ Superstar:
      • "The Temple" is reprised later as "The Lepers".
      • A part of "Everything's Alright" becomes a prelude to "I Don't Know How to Love Him", sung by Mary Magdalene.
      • "What's the Buzz?" is reprised when Jesus is arrested.
      • Jesus's trial scene features a dark reprise of Hosanna. His scourging is the same melody as "Heaven On Their Minds" but it becomes crazed as the scourging goes on.
      • A more subtle version: "Peter's Denial" uses the same musical and vocal melodies as "Strange Thing Mystifying".
      • "Judas' Death" has three: one for "Blood Money / Damned for All Time" (as he realizes the gravity of what he's done and starts to lose his mind), one for "I Don't Know How to Love Him" (as he desperately tries to rationalize his actions), and one for "Heaven On Their Minds" (as he kills himself).
    • Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat:
      • Early in the musical, Joseph happily sings of his dreams, which seem to foretell that someday he'll rule over his brothers. Near the end, after his rise to power, he reprises the verses as his starving brothers finally fulfill the prophecy by groveling at his feet, begging him to save them - this leads into the dark "Grovel, Grovel".
      • In most recent productions, Joseph first sings the song Any Dream Will Do brightly and cheerfully at the beginning of the show; then, at the end, he reprises it more gently and reflectively as he reunites with his elderly father. This is only a semi-example of this trope, though, since (a) the reprise isn't really dark, just less chipper than the first version, and (b) originally the song was only sung at the end – Webber only added the earlier rendition for the 1991 revival
    • The Likes of Us, the first ever Webber/Rice musical, has an upbeat love song called "Love is Here", which admittedly doesn't actually have any reason for being there. It is reprised in a slower tempo later, as the two lovers are breaking up.
    • In Evita, when Peron becomes president, Eva sings to the people the song Don't cry for me Argentina as an acknowledgement that while she is high in power, she is still among the people. Near the end, the dark reprise of this song when Eva makes her final speech to the people before she dies.
      • While an excited Eva sings "Rainbow High" during her glam up for the tour, her dressers sing: "Eyes, hair, mouth, figure / Dress, voice, style, movement...", the dark reprise is the end of "Lament", where the embalmers sing "Eyes, mouth, hair, image / All must be preserved...".
    • The musical adaptation of Sunset Boulevard is 50% Dark Reprises.
      • Special mention goes to "Surrender," which is sung four times over the course of the show, getting darker each time. The first version is somewhat dark (albeit amusingly so), as it's about Norma mourning the passing of her pet chimp. In the second act, DeMille sings his own version as he sadly reflects on the death of the Silent Age of cinema and how Norma has essentially become a hopeless case. The third version is sung by Max, as he informs Joe that the two of them are the only thing between Norma and suicide, and Norma once again sings the last version, as she, now completely insane, reflects on her murder of Joe.
      • "A Little Suffering" doesn't seem all that much darker than "The Lady's Paying" at first glance, until the Fridge Logic hits you and you realize that the audience known Norma's goal is a hopeless one, but Norma herself doesn't.
      • Only two songs in the entire play escape this trope: "Girl Meets Boy" does get a reprise, but if anything it's lighter than the original song, while "This Time Next Year" is the only number in the production to be sung only once.
      • The play's final scene is particularly impressive, as it manages to work in Dark Reprises of "Too Much In Love To Care," "Sunset Boulevard" (already plenty dark, and itself a Dark Reprise of the purely instrumental "Car Chase"), "Let's Have Lunch," "The Greatest Star Of All," the aforementioned "Surrender," and "With One Look," in addition to snippets of "New Ways To Dream," "As If We Never Said Goodbye," "The Perfect Year," and "Salome," as well.
  • "The Beauty Is" from The Light in the Piazza: first sung by Clara, expressing hope and excitement at the possibility of finding love and happiness. The song is reprised by her mother, Margaret, who fears that Clara may never find love and happiness (due to her mental disability) and Margaret's guilt over her own culpability.
  • Reefer Madness (the musical adaptation, of course) uses this straight with "Romeo and Juliet", where Jimmy and Mary compare their love to that of Romeo and Juliet, but neither knows the ending. It is reprised later as Mary dies, fulfilling the Romeo and Juliet parallels.
  • Into the Woods repeatedly reprises the title number, one of which is a bona fide Dark Reprise. The first time the song is sung (as part of the sprawling opening number), the characters are off to make their wishes come true in the woods. The Act II reprises the tune, as the characters realize that getting their wishes had unintended consequences, and they must return to the woods to do some major damage control.
    • Also happens with the duet "Agony": in Act I, two royal brothers are each singing about a woman they have fallen for, ending with "I must have her to wife." They reprise the number in Act II... talking about two different women. After justifying their infidelity, they end with "Ah well, back to my wife." Funny, but darker as well.
    • Into the Woods also provides a rare inversion of this trope. In "Stay With Me", the Witch berates Rapunzel for disobeying her, singing, "What did I clearly say? Children must listen!" Later, in "Witch's Lament", she mourns Rapunzel's death: "No matter what you say, children won't listen." Finally, the song becomes the finale "Children Will Listen"—which, although not exactly cheery, is certainly much less bitter and resentful.
  • The Wicker Man (musical version) starts with Sgt. Howie singing a musical version of the 23rd Psalm along with the rest of his church congregation. At the end, he sings it again in a more defiant/terrified tone, while being burnt to death in the eponymous Wicker Man.
  • Cabaret
    • "Wilkommen" first appears as an upbeat opening number but closes the show on a sinister note as the cast sings a discordant version surrounded by Nazi regalia. "Wilkommen" gets even darker in the revival version, when the Emcee takes off his treachcoat to reveal a concentration camp uniform with a Star of David and a pink triangle, implying that he was taken away for being Jewish, as well as homosexual. Some productions even show him walking into what could be the gates of the concentration camp - or even into a gas chamber.
    • "Tomorrow Belongs To Me" could also be considered an example of this trope. Depending on what the director chooses to do, the cabaret dancers sometimes sing it early on while everything's still going well, as a happy, hopeful anthem. It is later sung again as a Nazi propaganda song.
    • "Married" also qualifies. Not that the words are changed, but in the reprise the song is interrupted by a brick being thrown through the window of Herr Schultz's shop, because he is Jewish. This causes Fraulein Schneider to realize she can't marry him.
  • Oliver!:
    • "Reviewing The Situation" is first sung by Fagin as he tries and fails to convince himself to abandon his criminal ways, later reprised with the Artful Dodger as they pledge their dedication to a life of crime.
    • The original version has Fagin realizing at the end of each verse that the situation he's imagining is actually unimaginable, so it's debatable how "dark" the reprise is, given that Fagin and Dodger both seem genuinely happy about the prospect:
    Together till our dying day / The living proof that crime can pay
    • And also, this is only true in the movie, as in the stage version, this revelation never existed, and he does straighten up his life after all.
    • "It's a Fine Life" may be an even better example of this trope. It's first sung by Nancy and Bet as a relatively cheerful song, but is later reprised by Nancy, Bill Sikes, Fagin, and Dodger in a more sarcastic and dark manner.
      • When you look at Bill's treatment of Nancy, the original becomes pretty dark on its own: "Though you sometimes do come by/The occasional black eye/You can always cover one/'Till he blacks the other one/But you don't dare cry!"
      • In the original version (and subsequently mounted productions of the show) the orchestration, similar in tone to the rowdy, cheerful way it was sung earlier, gives this moment in the show a severe case of Lyrical Dissonance. The Cameron Mackintosh revival, mounted in the West End in 1994 and 2008, remedied this unfortunate imbalance, thanks largely to orchestrator Bill Brohn and arranger Chris Walker.
    • "As Long As He Needs Me" is another example: the first time Nancy sings it to demonstrate how she won't give up Bill despite his abuse, the second is right before Bill decides he doesn't need her anymore - and murders her in cold blood.
  • In the final scene of West Side Story, Tony, believing Maria to have been murdered, goes out and gets himself shot, and only then sees Maria. They start to sing a Dark Reprise of "Somewhere", but he dies in the middle.
    • The same is picked up instrumentally by the orchestra as Tony's body is carried off, which this writer argues are some of the most heart-wrenching final chords to come out of Broadway.
      • In addition, Tony & Maria's "I Want" Song "Tonight" is twisted later when the Jets and Sharks sing a variant of this about how Bernardo and Riff's knife fight will end their rivalry.
  • Kismet ends with a Dark Reprise of "Sands Of Time," as the characters vanish one by one from the stage.
  • "If I Loved You" in Carousel is first sung early in Act I, as Julie and Billy flirt with each other by offering romantic hypotheticals, denying their attraction even as they submit to it. Near the end of Act II, a now-dead Billy uses largely the same words to lament that he could never truly admit his feelings to Julie or to himself while he had the chance. (This reprise was added during the show's New Haven tryout; Rodgers and Hammerstein were pleased to see that it boosted sheet music sales of the song.)
  • "I'll Cover You" from RENT. First sung as an inspiring tenor/baritone duet by Angel and Collins as they realize they've fallen in love. Later at Angel's funeral, Collins sings alone in a slow and pained bass-baritone to gospel-like piano chords. To add to the effect, Joanne and Maureen replace Angel in the chorus as the rest of the cast backs them up with "Seasons of Love," and a HUGE suspended harmony at the end adds to the dark nature of the reprise.
    • "I Should Tell You" has a rather abbreviated Dark Reprise right before the finale ("Finale A/Your Eyes"), where Roger and Mimi repeat the song as Mimi is dying - or so they think.
    • Also in the finale, just before "Your Eyes," Roger reprises the beginning of "Another Day," singing "Who do you think you are leaving me alone with my guitar."
    • In the Broadway version, Mimi repeats some of the lyrics from 'Light My Candle' in the finale.
    • Where "Seasons of Love" uses the optimistic lines "How do you measure, measure a year?" and "How do you measure a year in the life?" the reprise "Seasons of Love B," from later on in Act II, has the darker "How do you figure a last year on earth?"
  • In Grease, the song "Look at Me I'm Sandra Dee" is an early song mocking the main character, Sandy, for being a goody-goody. It has a reprise sung by Sandy towards the end, where she decides to stop being a nice girl and becomes a leather-clad "bad girl" to win back her man.
  • Early in She Loves Me, the protagonist's boss, Mr. Marazak, sings "Days Gone By," in which he reminisces about his freewheeling days as a young man and meeting his wife. Later, after he finds out his wife has been cheating on him, he sings the song again, with identical lyrics, which take on a much more poignant meaning.
  • "The Destruction" from "Carrie: the Musical" is a string of Dark Reprises. After the bucket of pigs' blood ruins her night, the titular character recites the Lord's Prayer as she does in times of stress before plunging into a bass-heavy emotional explosion comprising bits from "Carrie", her zealous mother's rantings from "And Eve Was Weak", lines about how happy Tommy makes her, her hope that she and Tommy are both "Dreamers in Disguise", more of her mother's rantings about how "they will break your heart", and finally a reprise of "Carrie"'s first verses. "Doesn't anybody ever get it right? Doesn't anybody think that I hear?" Then she kills everybody.
  • One of the three couples in Baby is barren, and trying desperately to conceive. The wife, Pam, tries to cheer up her husband, Nick, describing their rigorous (and restrictive) sex schedule in pleasant terms in "Romance." The song gets reprised twice, getting increasingly ironic and agitated, until they get fed up and decide to stop trying.
  • Les Misérables.
    • "Look Down" shows up three times, all of which are dark to some degree. The first two times are about how nobody cares about the troubles of others (the prison labor gang in the first appearance and the residents of Paris' slums in the second). The final time is Valjean forcing Javert to take notice of the seriously wounded Marius and put his pursuit on hold for an hour or so so that Valjean can get the injured man to a doctor.
    • "Valjean On Parole" (Freedom is mine...) is reprised as "Fantine's Death", "On My Own", and "Valjean's Death".
    • "I Dreamed A Dream" is reprised as a Distant Duet between Valjean and Javert after Fantine dies, and again by Valjean as he informs the Thénardiers and Cosette of Fantine's death.
    • Cosette's "Castle On A Cloud" gets reprised on "Attack on the Rue Plumet" as Valjean contemplates leaving France with her.
    • The end of the arrest themes (honest work, just reward/that's the way to please The Lord and he will bend, he will break/this time there'll be no mistake) is reprised when Javert is caught as a spy (take this man bring him through/there is work we have to do).
    • "Eponine's Errand" (Marius asks her to find where Cosette lives) is reprised as "A Little Fall of Rain" aka "Eponine's Death". A sad version of the overture then plays when the students lament her death.
    • "Drink With Me", a nostalgic song by the students, is reprised as they realize that their situation is hopeless and they are all going to die.
    • "Little People", sung by Gavroche as he reveals Javert as a spy, is reprised at his death.
    • "The First Attack" is Enjolras' Shut Up, Hannibal! song. It's reprise "The Final Battle" is his Defiant to the End song.
    • In the 2012 film, Gavroche reprises "Do You Hear the People Sing" to inspire the revolutionaries, but it's not exactly the rousing revolutionary anthem it was earlier.
    • "Red and Black", the song of the revolutionaries, and "Bring Him Home" are reprised as they die at the barricades.
    • "What Have I Done?" aka "Valjean's Soliloquy" is reprised as "Javert's Soliloquy". In both cases the soloist has had his ideas of morality shattered by an act of kindness, but Valjean turns over a new leaf ("Jean Valjean is nothing now: another story must begin!") and Javert jumps into the Seine ("There is nowhere I can turn...there is no way to go on!").
      • Furthermore, the lyrics of "Javert's Soliloquy" ("I am reaching, but I fall/And the stars are black and cold.") contain a bitter call-back to his Villain Song, "Stars". The stars were once a comforting reminder of order and justice, but now he has nothing.
    • "Lovely Ladies" is a darkly upbeat song celebrating the prostitutes, reprised as "Turning" when the women mourn the revolutionaries ("What's the use in praying when there's nobody who hears?...Nothing changes, nothing ever will.")
    • The Bishop' leitmotif is reprised as the prelude of "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables" (Marius having massive Survivor Guilt).
    • The "A Heart Full of Love" reprise is about Cosette encouraging Marius but she doesn't know Valjean is planning to leave.
    • "Who Am I?" is reprised when Valjean makes Marius promise not to tell Cosette he is leaving.
    • "Bring Him Home", Valjean's impassioned prayer for God to save Marius, is reprised right before his own death. An instrumental is also played as the dust from the final battle settles over the dead students and Valjean saves Marius and takes him into the sewers in an ironic yet meaningful reprise: in the end, his prayer went unanswered, as God could not save them, but Valjean can still save Marius.
    • "Master of the House", the show's only comic relief song, returns at Marius's wedding, when the Thenardiers reveal that they are not only still alive, but profiting off the dead revolutionaries (some of whom are their dead son and daughter). The tune itself is as bouncy and happy as ever, but the lyrics are seriously depressing.
  • Spring Awakening:
    • Melchior sings the line "You watch me, just watch me - I'm calling, and one day all will know" twice: once early on in the song "All That's Known", and once as a Dark Reprise in the song "Those You've Known".
    • Wendla opens the show with the soft, lullaby-like song "Mama Who Bore Me." At the end of the first scene, in which her mother lies to her about the nature of reproduction, Wendla is joined by the other girls for "Mama Who Bore Me (Reprise)", an angry rock version of the song.
      • In at least one production, there is a second reprise of "Mama Who Bore Me" in act two, where it becomes Wendla's abortion and death song.
    • Another example of this trope is the reprise of "The Word of Your Body", which is originally sung by Wendla and Melchior as a fearful song of their ignorance of their newfound sexual urges. It is then reprised twice:
      • First, it is echoed ironically (and much more literally) by Georg and Otto after the scene where Melchior beats Wendla.
      • When Hanschen takes over the song, it becomes much darker and more perverted, as we're made to see Hanschen as a rather slimy, controlling individual.
  • The Off Broadway musical The Last Five Years features something of a Light Reprise, since Cathy's songs start from the time of her divorce from Jamie to the beginning of their relationship - she rebukes Jamie for being self centered and obsessed with his career in "See I'm Smiling", while later in the play she uses similar language to her rebuke when describing how much she loves and wants to be with him in "I Can Do Better Than That" ("I want you and you and nothing but you/miles and piles of you").
    • A beautiful waltz is played at intervals all the way through, including at their wedding - and then is revealed to be the tune of the song Jamie sings as he leaves her.
  • Every key song in "Children of Eden" has at least one poignant reprise or more, because of the theme of history repeating itself and second chances.
    • "Spark of Creation" Eve's big "I Want" Song, is later reprised as a fear that she has passed the fiery spirit that led to the fall of humanity to her son Cain. At the climax, when Noah is no longer sure what God wants him to do, his wife sings a reprise telling him to use his God-given brain to decide for himself.
    • "That's What It Means to be a Father", Father's song about his love for his children, is darkly reprised by Cain as he accuses Adam of crushing his spirit, then by Father again after he wipes out humanity with the flood.
    • Also, the "Without form, void, darkness" from before God creates the universe is sung again after the earth is destroyed with the flood.
    • The big love song "In Whatever Time We Have", about Yonah and Japheth staying together even though she is not allowed on the ark is later sung by the entire family, swearing to stay together even if it means the flood will never stop.
    • "Oh Father, please don't make me choose, either way it's more than I can bear to lose" is repeated three times, first by Adam to Father, then Abel to Adam, then Noah to Father at the end.
  • Heathers has several
    • "Shine A Light" is a bouncy gospel-style number about how teens shouldn't commit suicide. However misguided it may be, it has good intentions. The reprise is Heather Duke egging on Heather McNamara to commit suicide.
    • "Dead Girl Walking". In the original, Veronica is referring to Heather Chandler promising to destroy her social status. In the reprise, she is referring to being prepared to literally die to stop JD from blowing up the school.
    • And last but not least we have "I Am Damaged", which manages to combine "Seventeen" and "Our Love Is God", both already relatively dark songs, as JD commits suicide by blowing himself up with the bomb he made, saving Veronica and the school.
  • Barnum has a few:
    • "Love Makes Such Fools of Us All" is reprised by Jenny Lind as Barnum decides to return to his wife Chairy rather than try to pursue her.
    • "The Colors of My Life", the "I Want" Song for both Barnum and Chairy which is initially sung in two parts (hers commenting on his) is reprised as a duet for the couple before Chairy dies.
    • The show closes with a wistful closing reprise of "There's a Sucker Born Ev'ry Minute" as Barnum mourns how the great eccentricities and "humbugs" of the past - which he built his career on - are now forgotten.
  • Hair has "Manchester, England," Claude's cheeky "I Am" Song, a verse of which appears in "The Flesh Failures" by his ghost after he's been killed in Vietnam. Even worse in the film, where the person wailing "Claude, that's me, that's me"... isn't actually him.
  • Kurt Weill was fond of this trope. A very nice example can be heard in the final three songs of The Seven Deadly Sins, which summarize the previous parts both in melody and in lyrics.
    • More famously, the final song of the Threepenny Opera, which echoes the opening song Mack The Knife. "For some are in the darkness, and others are in the light. And we see the ones in the light. The ones in the darkness, we don't see." Although the song is left out in a staggering number of productions, it's one of the most quoted poems in German literature.
  • Papa Ge's version of Ti Moune's dreamy "Forever Yours" at the climax of Once On This Island. The original is about belonging to her lover (and his belonging to her); the reprise is about belonging to Papa Ge, the god of Death.
  • Next to Normal has "It's Gonna Be Good", a bouncy, silly song in act one about Dan's excitement for dinner with the family. The reprise in act two comes after Diana has recovered from amnesia and remembered their son is dead, and she insists on knowing his name, while Dan tries to ignore her and get her out of the house and to the doctor.
    • Also, "I'm Alive", while very dark in substance in its initial iteration, becomes even more overwhelmingly vicious halfway through its reprise — Gabe becomes very vehement in tone and word choice as he reasserts his control over Diana.
    • Although "I Am The One" isn't exactly happy, musically it's very upbeat and energetic, and includes Dan's reassurances to Diana that he'll stay by her side through her manic depression and he "won't walk away" - contrasting severely with its Dark Reprise, when Diana leaves him: "I am the one who loved you // I am the one who stayed // I am the one and you walked away..." Later in the reprise, Gabe pushes his father to accept his death by saying his name aloud.
  • Drood: While "Moonfall" is already an extremely creepy song, the duet reprise takes it to Phantom-esque proportions, resulting in a darkly operatic number to rival any other.
  • Assassins manages to take an already dark song (the opening song, "Everybody's Got the Right") and make it even darker for the finale. In the opening number, the subject is grim, but the words and music are perky and introduces all the characters. The finale, after seeing all of the assassins in their respective attempts, also ends with the assassins aiming their guns and firing at the audience.
  • In the much rewritten musical Martin Guerre, 'Live With Someone You Love' starts out as a beautiful love song, and doubles as Arnaud's "I Am" Song, and is reprised by Bertrande and Martin when Arnaud dies. Also, "I'm Martin Guerre" gets one when Arnaud sings it in the courtroom when he pretends to be Martin. Not exactly dark, but still a bit on the creepy side.
    • In the rewritten version Martin gets a dark reprise of 'Without You As A Friend' during 'Why,' including the line ' so it seems we have come to the end/i'll live my life/without you as a friend.'
  • "Let Me Entertain You" in Gypsy has a whole different meaning depending on whether June or Gypsy is singing it.
    • "Rose's Turn" is a whole medley of dark reprises: "Here she is, boys!" quotes the Newsboys' intro of Baby June, then segues into bitter parodies of "Everything's Coming Up Roses" and "Some People," grabs a snippet of the "strip" music from the overture, and even mocks "Mr. Goldstone." The "Mama's talkin' loud" section sounds like new material but it's actually a distortion of a section of "Small World" called "Mama's talking soft" that was cut before the show opened. The darkest reprise of all is when "Everything's coming up roses for you and for me" morphs into "Everything's coming up Rose... this time for me!" In the original version of the show, Rose also has a more traditional dark reprise a couple of scenes earlier. When Herbie walks out on her for the last time, she screams, "You go to hell!" then breaks down for a tearful half-chorus of the song she sang at their first meeting, "Small World."
  • Little Johnny Jones by George M. Cohen has the upbeat patriotic number "Yankee Doodle Dandy". Toward the end of the first act, when Johnny is framed for throwing the English Derby, he sings a slower, sadder version of the song as he deals with being disgraced. This scene is also enacted in James Cagney's Cohen biopic Yankee Doodle Dandy.
  • In Ordinary Days, the song "Life Story" is about Warren finding letters and photographs that people have lost and thinking about the lives of the people who lost them. The reprise of the song is about Warren realizing how meaningless his actions in New York have been.
  • Though not to be found in the Broadway soundtrack of the not-so-known musical Rags, the song "If We Never Meet Again" gets one of these - first sung by Rebecca Hershkowitz and Bella Cohen during the boat ride to America, then reprised by Rebecca after Bella dies in a sweatshop fire.
  • The Sera Myu has one: Orleans No Sei senshi is a song sung by Inner Senshi (Sans Mars) and Hotaru duing a mock battle. The first verse is later sung in a much darker form, Orleans no Sei Senshi ~ Uranus - Neptune no Uragiri (Holy Soldier's of Orleans ~ Uranus and Neptune's Betryal) The song title alone should tell you what's happening at this time. except it's all ploy to kill Galaxia. Like the similar scene in the anime it fails The song is reprised in an altered form by all the senshi as La Fatalité Sei Senshi which itself is a lighter reprise and (longer version of) Oitsumerarete. Confused yet?
  • Near the start of the trip, the characters in Cannibal! The Musical sing "That's All I'm Asking For," listing the things they're looking for in life. Near the end of the movie, they sing it again, but as they're all half-starved, all they want is some food, and they barely have the energy to sing at all.
  • In the beginning of Fiddler on the Roof, the citizens of Anatevka sing about their traditions and customs, explaining how they base their entire lives around them, and love doing so, in the upbeat "Tradition". Later in the musical, when Tevye disowns his own daughter, the main line of "Tradition" is sung by the ensemble in a much darker and more dramatic tone, showing that tradition is tearing the family apart.
  • In The Wedding Singer musical, this is done with the song "Someday". The original is about how Julia can't wait to be married and is hopelessly romantic. The reprise shows that, as her wedding to Glen approaches, she's beginning to have doubts if Glen is the right guy (because she's falling for Robbie). Also done with "If I Told You", where Robbie and Julia ask themselves what might happen if they share their true feelings (they can't hear each other, of course), and the reprise has them singing the same thing, except this time expressing their regret of not telling each other as Julia flies to Las Vegas to marry Glen.
  • In Jersey Boys, Frankie sings " My Eyes Adored You" to his daughter Francine. It is later reprised after he buries her.
  • In Chess, Florence and Anatoly's romantic duet "You and I" is at least cautiously optimistic about the future of their relationship. The reprise at the end of the show when Anatoly leaves Florence to go back to Russia is... less so.
  • Vanities: A (New) Musical reprises "I Can't Imagine" as "The Argument" in Scene 3, with a more frantic tempo and the lyrics changed to a drunken Counterpoint Duet between Joanne and Mary. Just prior to that, the second reprise of "An Organized Life" has a more somber tone than the previous versions, turning the previously peppy and optimistic tune into a BSoD Song.
  • The song "Mama, wo bist du?" from Elisabeth is already sad, until Der Tod (Death) comes to comfort Rudolf and tells him he will always be close by. Later in the play, after Rudolf has killed himself, Elisabeth sings a reprise that begins " Rudolf, wo bist du?" and only becomes sadder thereafter, ending in her begging for Death to release her. He does not oblige, but bitterly reprises a brief song of hers from earlier.
    • Special mention must go to "Boote in der Nacht", a full-length ballad in which the by now old and bitter Elisabeth and Franz Joseph conclude that they were never meant to be together, set to the same melody as the standard love song they sang to each other as starry-eyed teenagers.
  • In How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, J. Pierrepont Finch (F-I-N-C-H) sings "I Believe In You" to himself as a way to keep his confidence up on the eve of making it big. Later, after it all comes crashing down, his Love Interest, Rosemary, sings the same words to him in an attempt to reassure him although he's already been dragged away to face the music. The tone of the song is only slightly different (it's a touch more desperate), but the situation is worlds from what it was before.
  • Early in Annie, Annie sings "Maybe", dreaming of finding her loving parents who will take her away from the cruel orphanage. It is heartbreakingly reprised near the end, when Annie's "parents" have shown up to take her away from Daddy Warbucks, and she tries to convince herself that life with them will be better than it was with Warbucks. In the 1982 film, Daddy Warbucks also sings a reprise of the same song, trying to convince himself that he'll forget about Annie in time. ("And maybe I'll forget/How much she meant to me/And how she was almost my baby/Maybe.")
  • In the David Essex musical "Mutiny!" based on the Mutiny on the Bounty , early on there is a jolly piece Friends between Bligh and Fletcher Christian. During the titular mutiny, parts of it are reprised as their friendship is torn apart.
  • The Drowsy Chaperone uses this in two different songs. Act I ends on a depressing rendition of the "Wedding Bells" motif, and Act II picks up with "The Bride's Lament", which borrows fragments from the far-more-lighthearted "Show Off".
  • "The World's Greatest Dad (Reprise)" from Elf: The Musical; after Walter rebuffs Buddy at the end of the first act.
  • My Own Little Corner from Rogers and Hammerstiens Cinderella has one of these. The first time it is sung it is an upbeat song about dreams and hope, but in the reprise, she was singing it as she was heartbroken and HAD no hope (As she sung it after her stepfamily left for the ball). It ended with her crying and running off stage.
  • "Hang On" from Flashdance: The Musical, the main couple's temporary Break-Up Song, reprises parts of "Just Out of Reach", "Here and Now", and "Enough". Following that is "Let Go", a dark reprise of "Hannah's Answer" sung by Alex upon learning of Hannah's death.
  • Pippin has "Corner of the Sky", which starts out as an idealistic "I Want" song, then gets repeated with increasing desperation after more and more of Pippin's attempts at finding meaning in life prove worthless. It culminates with the other players singing his own words back to him to encourage him to burn himself to death, and some productions take this even further by including the newer (and more popular) ending in which although Pippin decides to ignore the players and live a mundane life, Theo is left alone onstage and sings a verse of Corner of the Sky a cappella, followed by the players returning and singing the opening of Magic To Do, then blackout.
  • In the musical of Secondhand Lions, the present-day Hub reprises "You Have Brought Me Love" alongside a ghost/vision of his deceased lover Samira (originally named Jasmine in the film).
  • Lestat has two of them; one in each act, one for each of Lestat's Love Interests. Neither of the original songs is exactly cheery, but they're both much darker in their (brief) reprises.
    • Right Before My Eyes is Lestat's inner monologue as he tries to decide whether or not to make Nicolas into a vampire. It's mostly him waxing poetical about Niki's beauty and how wonderful it would be to be "princes of the moon" together. Its reprise comes at the end of the act after Niki has died, and is much more bleak, essentially consisting of begging God to take Niki to Heaven and apologising for not being strong enough to protect him.
    • Embrace It comes after he's made Louis a vampire, and is trying to convince him to enjoy his new life and forget about his moral qualms. Louis sings a brief reprise that verges on the Sarcastic Echo version of the trope (though it's more a Bitter and Broken Echo) after their daughter has been killed and he's determined to leave Lestat, telling him to "embrace" the fact that it's over.
  • In Twice Charmed, "In A Moment" gets one. The first version is cheerful and hopeful as Cinderella and the Prince sing about meeting each other, while the second is sung by the villains as they shatter Cinderella's dreams in a moment.
  • Pokémon Live! had Giovanni sing dark reprises of both "You and Me and Pokemon" and "Everything Changes" during his Evil Gloating (and that's in addition to his own Villain Song).
  • The stage adaptation of Mary Poppins has several; notably Mr. Bank's "Good for Nothing", a reprise of "Cherry Tree Lane", which is followed by Mrs. Banks singing "Being Mrs. Banks (Reprise)"; and at the end, before she leaves for good, Mary's short reprise of "A Spoonful of Sugar".
  • In Matilda:
    • In the coda of "Miracle", Matilda sings about how her Abusive Parents, rather than considering her a miracle like the other children, think she is a "lousy little worm" and that "kids like her should be against the law".
    • Matilda and her classmates darkly reprise "Miracle" in the first part of "School Song" as they enter the foreboding gates of Crunchem Hall. Further reprises followed by screams are heard in the bridge section of the song.
    • "Pathetic" has a dark reprise as "This Little Girl" when Mrs. Wormwood denies Miss Honey's request to place Matilda in an advanced class.
    • Miss Honey's verse of "When I Grow Up" has her sing about the fears she has to fight to be a grown-up, followed by a Last Chorus Slow-Down Counterpoint Duet with Matilda's "Naughty" song.
    • The last verse of "My House" reprises "I'm Here" in counterpoint as Matilda and Miss Honey realize that the Escapologist was the latter's father.
    • The intro of the Cut Song "Perhaps a Child", intended to be played/sung when The Mafiya confront the Wormwoods, is a minor instrumental version of The Trunchbull's Villain Song, "The Hammer".
  • La Cage aux folles does this with its opening chorus "We Are What We Are" turned around into the bitter solo "I Am What I Am". Interestingly, the reprise here is the Signature Scene of the whole show, so Tropes Are Not Bad indeed.
  • The Rocky Horror Show opens with upbeat "Science Fiction Double Feature" about 50s science fiction films and ends with the more mournful "Science Fiction Double Feature - reprise" on the fates of the characters in the play. The most common movie print instead substitutes a replay of "The Time Warp".
  • Absolutely fucking everywhere in Hamilton. To name just a few:
    • Wait For It is Aaron Burr's perhaps not hopeful, but at least optimistic song establishing his character, his motivations, and his tendency to take things as they come. When it's repeated at the end of The World Was Wide Enough, Burr solemnly sings about how he has destroyed his life and his legacy by shooting Hamilton in one sole impulsive act.
    • Hamilton's motif of "I imagine death so much it feels more like a memory..." is first spoken in My Shot, establishing him as a bold, determined revolutionary. Though it's repeated several times throughout the show, it doesn't truly become a dark reprise until he sings it as he dies.
    • A lot of the dialogue in Helpless gets a dark reprise in the very next song, Satisfied, when we're shown the same love scene from the point of view of the girl who ended up heartbroken.
    • Though the actual reprise of The Story of Tonight is quite cheerful and lightheaded, the Laurens' Interlude, which shows Hamilton being informed of Laurens' death, borrows it's words and medley from the song. It gets even darker when it's the last words Hamilton says before he gets shot.
    • Though the first iteration of Ten Duel Commandments isn't exactly cheery, when it's reprised at the beginning of The World Was Wide Enough, it's just devastating.
    I had only one thought before the slaughter:
    This man will not make an orphan of my daughter.
    • Alexander Hamilton's central violin riff and opening rap ("how does a bastard, orphan etc etc") is reprised many times during the show, but it gets dark half the times it does. First in A Winter's Ball, when Burr is jealous of Hamilton's appointment as Washington's assistant, then in What'd I Miss when Burr introduces the new tense political climate, followed by The Adams Administration, when Hamilton is fired and begins to enter free-fall, and finally in Your Obedient Servant when Burr is enraged by Hamilton's intentional sabotage of his presidential aspirations. Pretty much the only time it isn't dark is Guns and Ships.
    • Although it uses the same cheery music in all three appearances, You'll Be Back and it's subsequent reprises get darker and darker as the show progresses. In You'll Be Back, George III sings about how he's confident that the colonies will come crawling back. What Comes Next shows a broken-hearted George warning the Americans that leading is a lot harder than fighting. The final reprise, I Know Him shows George (who, in real life, was at least partially mad by this point in history) gleefully awaiting the political carnage he knows will follow Adams's election (and oh boy, does it).
    • Blow Us All Away, the song in which Hamilton's son Philip gets shot, repeats a lot of lyrics from My Shot. Phillip is the same age as Hamilton was at the start of the play and is just as restless and eager to fight as his father was, and it gets him killed. The song title (and a small bit in the beginning) come from Dear Theodosia, when Hamilton tells a baby Philip that someday he will "blow us all away".
    • Stay Alive (Reprise), the song in which Hamilton's son Philip dies is a reprise of Act I's Stay Alive, in which Hamilton's wife Eliza hopes Hamilton will come home alive so he will get a chance to meet his son, the aforementioned Philip. It also mentions and reprises Eliza and Philip's piano lessons from Take a Break, which is already heartbreaking enough until Philip dies on the note he used to change as a child.
    • Eliza asks Hamilton to "let [her] be a part of the narrative" in That Would Be Enough. In Burn, after Hamilton's affair comes to light, she declares that she is "erasing herself from the narrative". Subverted to be hopeful again in Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story, when she "puts herself back in the narrative".
    • Non-Stop first introduces the idea that Hamilton writes "like he's running out of time". It's last iterated in Best of Wives and Best of Women when, while he's writing a note to Eliza in case he dies in his duel with Burr, Eliza asks, one last time, why he writes like he's running out of time.
    • There is a tender piano piece played at the end of "That Would Be Enough", where Eliza convinces Hamilton to stay home with her so he can meet their son when he is born. The same piano piece is the main theme of "It's Quiet Uptown", which depicts Hamilton and Eliza's utter despair, grief, and attempt to reconcile after Phillip's death at age 19. The piece reappears one last time in Best of Wives and Best of Women, where Eliza tiredly and halfheartedly tries to convince Hamilton to come back to bed. While it's perfectly innocuous to Eliza, it's devastating to Hamilton and the audience, who know that Hamilton is about to die in the duel between him and Aaron Burr. note 
    • The Room Where It Happens is Burr's song about wanting to be on the inside of American politics, rather watching from the outside. When he loses the presidential election due to a lack of endorsement from Hamilton, Burr ominously declares that Hamilton has kept him "from the room where it happens for the last time."
    • The Off-Broadway production included a dark reprise of Dear Theodosia, Burr and Hamilton's song in which they sing of how much they love and cherish their newborn children, in which Burr tells his daughter that her mother has died.
    • The cut song One Last Ride Reprise has the nation mourning the death of George Washington, and, obviously, it uses lyrics and chords from One Last Ride, the original draft of One Last Time. It also makes sad mentions to Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down) with the phrase, "The world turns upside down..." and to What'd I Miss? with the phrase, "He's been at your service for so long..."
  • The musical adaption of Fun Home has a bunch of these.
    • The start of the song "Days and Days" has Helen reciting a line from "Welcome to our house on Maple Avenue."
    • Allison recalls a line from "Party Dress" in the song "Telephone Wire."
    Young Allison in Party Dress: I Despise this dress!/ What's the matter with boy shirts and pants/This dress makes me feel like a clown,/I HATE IT!
    Regular Allison in Telephone Wire: Since like, 5 I guess!/I prefer to wear boy shirts and pants!/I felt absurd in a dress!/I REALLY TRIED TO DENY MY FEELINGS FOR GIRLS!
    • Bruce semi-recites a line in "Edges of the World." that Middle!Allison says in "Changing my Major".
    Medium Allison: Am I falling into nothingness?/Or Flying into something so sublime?/I don't know.../ BUT I'M CHANGING MY MAJOR TO JOAN!
    Bruce Bechdel: And I'm falling into nothingness/Or flying into something so sublime./And I'm A man I don't know./Who am I now?/Where do I go?/I can't go back...
    • In the finale song "Flying Away" Middle!Allison echoes a line said by Regular!Allison from Telephone Wire. The saddest thing about it is in Telephone Wire, Regular!Allison took the place of Middle!Allison because the whole scene is the memory Allison recalls of the last drive with her father Bruce before his suicide.
    Regular Allison in Telephone Wire: So how does it feel to know that you and I are both-!
    Middle Allison in Flying Away: At the light.../How does it feel to know?
    • The start of the finale begins with Regular Allison reprising the whole musical's beginning line.
  • Newsies
    • Although not in the film version, the stage musical features a dark reprise of "The Bottom Line" in which after its revealed that Katherine is Joe Pulitzer's daughter and that to separate Katherine and Jack he provides an ultimatum to either leave or make the rest of the newsies suffer. He's quoted as saying "You have no family, but you can't have mine." Yikes.
    • Jack's reprise of Santa Fe at the end of act one isn't very happy either.
  • The stage version of The Little Mermaid includes the following dark reprises:
    • In the Broadway production, Triton reprised "The World Above" just before destroying Ariel's human artifact collection. The revised production replaces this with two "preprises" of "If Only"; the first sung by Triton while reminiscing about his late wife, the second by Ariel after Triton destroys her grotto.
    • "Sweet Child" originally had a reprise when Flotsam and Jetsam interrupt Ariel and Eric's Almost Kiss moment, but like the aforementioned "The World Above(Reprise)", this was dropped when Glenn Casale revamped the production.
    • Eric and Triton's parts of "If Only" reprise the melody of "Her Voice" in a more desperate context.
    • When Triton takes Ariel's place as Ursula's slave, Ursula has a Villanous Triumphant Reprise of "Poor Unfortunate Souls". She was also planned to sing a different reprise when transforming into "Vanessa", whose scene was replaced by "The Contest"; as well her own reprise of "Her Voice".
    • "If Only" has a bittersweet reprise by Triton (later a duet with Ariel) as he bids farewell to his daughter at her wedding to Eric. The pre-Broadway demo tape had the still-mute Ariel reprise it instead as an Inner Monologue lamenting her inability to say goodbye, before suddenly regaining her voice, leading into "Part Of Your World"'s Triumphant Reprise.
  • While The Book of Mormon is not exactly known for emotional scenes, it does feature some small but poignant examples:
    • Nabalungi sings a dark reprise of "Hasa Diga Eebowai" after she finds out she's not going to Salt Lake City. The original was arguably just as dark, but had a least a cheery tune and energetic dancing. Here, it's just her on a dimmed stage singing about being heartbroken.
    • Elder Cunningham sings a short reprise of "I Am Here For You" after Elder Price leaves him behind. It's almost the same as the original except for the last line, and that really makes all the difference.
    • Elder Price gets his own with "Orlando (Reprise)". While it's sort of played for laughs the song is really about him having his faith destroyed after clinging and adhering to it his whole life.
  • The song "How 'Bout A Dance" is musically played several times in Bonnie and Clyde, including in its overture, but is first sung when Bonnie and Clyde first meet and he asks her to sing a song for him. At the end of the show, when Bonnie and Clyde are driving, the show ends with Bonnie singing the last line, "You'll lose the blues, and you may lose your heart." This is implied to be when they die.
  • At the end of Act 1 of Honk!, Ugly and Ida sing a sad, dark reprise of "Hold Your Head Up High" while separated from each other.
  • Finale begins with the triumphant "Today is the Day," about how everyone in the cast is going to have a good day. This song is reprised in "Finally," the finale, when the world is ending, along with many other character's musical motifs. "Today is the Day" no longer means "Today is the day that my life gets better," it now means "Today is the day that we die."
  • In The Will Rogers Follies "I've Got You," sung by Betty Blake during the first-act wedding scene, becomes "Without You," sung when Will goes off to take the flight which caused his death.
  • Romy and Michele's High School Reunion: The Musical concludes the "Get a Life" number with the ensemble mocking Romy and Michele for their failed attempts to obtain jobs and boyfriends over the past two weeks.
  • In the musical adaptation of the first book in Percy Jackson and the Olympians, The Lightning Thief, Luke sings a dark reprise of "Good Kid" in "The Last Day of Summer."
    Luke: It doesn't pay to be a good kid, / A good kid, a good son
  • City of Angels: Bobbi's second-act reprise of her song "With Ev'ry Breath I Take" as a duet with Stone ("What is a nice kid like you, et cetera?") fits this trope storywise. The song doesn't really sound darker than its first incarnation, in which it was already a heavy-hearted minor-key Torch Song.
  • The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee has “Woe Is Me”. The original song is about Logainne’s aspirations to win the bee and her life in general, cheerfully asking America to love her. In the reprise, she just lost the bee and is devastated, tearfully calling herself a loser and asking America to still love her, even though she understands if they don’t.

    Animated Film Musicals 
  • The Princess and the Frog has two:
  • Aladdin:
    • Jafar's reprise of "Prince Ali". "Prince Ali, Yes, it is he, But not as you know him."
    • "One Jump Ahead" and its reprise also qualify: in the first Aladdin sings about what a great thief he is, in the second he wishes people saw that there was more to him than that.
    • "Why Me" was a rejected alternate reprise of "Prince Ali". In the stage adaptation, it was used as Jafar's introductory song.
    • In the third movie Aladdin and the King of Thieves, everyone is singing about Aladdin and Jasmine's upcoming wedding, but in the middle, it's a slow Distant Duet between Aladdin and Jasmine nervous about the changes going on in their lives.
  • Beauty and the Beast:
    • "Gaston" starts out as an amusing but mostly harmless comedy piece, touting Gaston's "virtues" from the inane ("no-one's got a swell cleft in his chin like Gaston") to the unpleasant yet still funny ("in a wrestling match, nobody bites like Gaston!"). In the reprise, although the tune remains the same, all pretense is stripped away to openly trumpet Gaston's villainy. ("No-one persecutes harmless crackpots like Gaston!") Finally in the tower scene, there's a Dark Instrumental Reprise when he first encounters Beast.
    • "Death of the Beast" is a sad instrumental reprise of "Beauty and the Beast" and the Beast's leitmotif, and had a rejected alternate version that was considered too light.
    • "The Mob Song" seems to follow the same melody as "Be Our Guest," with both the melody and material significantly darker.
  • The Lion King:
    • Scar was originally going to have a reprise of "Be Prepared". It started with the deleted scene of him trying to court Nala as his mate, then when she refuses and the pride refuses to banish her on Scar's behalf, he introduces them to the hyenas, who in this version had been denied the run of the Pride Lands for some time. They then sing a more traditional reprise of "Be Prepared", warning the lionesses that they now run the Pride Lands as they chase Nala away from home.
    • Although it is sung first, it could be argued that Timon and Pumbaa's introduction and coda to "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" could fit in the Sarcastic Echo form.
  • The song "First Toymaker to the King" from the Christmas Special Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town is reprised as "No More Toymakers to the King" by Burgermeister Meisterburger.
  • During the song "Let There Be Snow" in Frosty Returns, Mr. Twitchell sings one with his own lyrics ("There's no more snow!") to an industrial metal version of the tune.
  • In The Prince of Egypt, the song "The Plagues" is partially a dark reprise of Moses' earlier "I Want" Song inversion, "All I Ever Wanted", turning from a celebration of his life as an Egyptian to a lament over having to destroy it to win freedom for the Jews. It also doubles as a Villain Song for the Pharaoh, showing his anger at his foster brother's betrayal. Makes it even more dark and sadder if you remember that in-between "All I Ever Wanted" and "The Plagues", Moses' adoptive mother, the wife of the pharaoh, sings a reprise of this song, in a tender, motherly and comforting way, while trying to convince him to forget his true origin and embrace his Egyptian life and his adoptive family.
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame:
    • The film features a lovesick Quasimodo singing about how he has finally found love after years of assuming he was unlovable (Heaven's Light). Not much later, these same lyrics are echoed with a new, bitter twist as he discovers this his newfound 'love' is more interested in her Knight in Shining Armor.
    I knew I'd never know
    That warm and loving glow
    Though I might wish with all my might
    No face as hideous as my face
    Was ever meant for Heaven's Light...
    • And seconds after the first instance, Frollo sings his own version, "Hellfire'', about his fury at and lust for Esmeralda. Here's the whole sequence.
      • In addition to the instant dark reprise, "Hellfire" doubles as Lyrical Dissonance. The Ominous Latin Chanting aka "Confiteor" is a general confession of sin recited at the beginning of Mass of the Roman Rite in the Roman Catholic Church. It is a strong contrast to Frollo's actual song.
        Frollo: It's not my fault! (Choire: Mea culpa through my fault)
        Frollo: I'm not to blame! (Choire: Mea culpa through my fault)
        Frollo: It is the gypsy girl, the witch who sent this flame! (Choire: Mea maxima culpa through my most grievous fault)
  • Cats Don't Dance uses this trope with "Big and Loud". The first time, Darla is giving advice to Danny about how to impress an audience. Once Danny is hustled out the door, the lyrics change as she declares her true intent — to destroy Danny's career and that of anyone else who gets in her way. The first time she tells Danny, "[Your act]'s gotta be big and loud!" but it shifts to, "They're gonna fall big and loud!" The song is used a third time as she puts her plan into action, with the same lyrics as the second time, as she revels in her victory.
  • Thumbelina:
    • The song "Let Me be Your Wings" has a dark reprise halfway through the movie, called "Once There was the Sun". She sings this in lamenting Cornelius' apparent death.
    • When Thumbelina goes missing, her mother sings a sad reprise of Thumbelina's "I Want" Song "Soon".
  • "I Stand Alone" in Quest for Camelot is Garrett's "I Am" Song in which he embraces his solitude and declares that he works alone. He gives it a brief but passionate Dark Reprise towards the end of the film, bitterly repeating the chorus as he unhappily resigns himself to remaining alone.
  • "Who's Been Painting My Roses Red?" from Alice in Wonderland, an accusatory reprise of the cheerful "Painting the Roses Red".
  • Tangled
    • The reprise of "Mother Knows Best". That was already a dark Villain Song to begin with, showing Gothel emotionally abusing Rapunzel under a "good mother" facade. At the reprise Gothel has dropped the facade and is now outright hostile to Rapunzel. The fact that both are literally in the dark but the first time it's because Mother Gothel closes the curtains, and at the reprise it's because they're outside at night, can be symbolism for Mother Gothel dropping her facade: the darkness as well as Mother Gothel's attitude is artificial vs. natural.
    • The second reprise of "The Healing Incantation" as Rapunzel desperately tries to revive the mortally wounded Flynn after her hair has been robbed of its healing magic.
  • All Dogs Go to Heaven:
    • All Dogs Go to Heaven: A Christmas Carol, it manages to have a normal song paired with a Dark Reprise at the same time with I Always Get Emotional At Christmas Time. On one hand, Killer is singing about how he loves Christmas and it makes him feel repentant for his evil deeds while Belladonna's version has her singing about how much she loves doing evil things to people on Christmas.
    • The second film has the reprise of "It Feels So Good to be Bad", brief as it is. While the first song was simply Red singing about how Evil Feels Good and how doing evil things can give one pleasure, the reprise is about how the coming success of his plan to steal Gabriel's horn and send all dogs to hell makes him feel good about what he's doing at the expense of others. The kicker that truly makes this a dark reprise? Carface, the previous song's Chew Toy is singing along with Red, saying how "it's deeply pleasing to be the reason so many will be so sad".
  • "Colors of the Wind (Reprise)" from Pocahontas. It's a somber, instrumental version of the song "Colors of the Wind" that plays at the end of the film where John Smith is actually sent back to England as a result of him being shot by accident by the villain while attempting to protect the Indian chief.
  • "The Bare Necessities (Reprise)" from The Jungle Book. It's sung by Baloo and Bagheera as the two both walk off into the sunset after Mowgli bids them both farewell and heads back to the Man-village. Earlier in the film, there is another dark reprise of "The Bare Necessities". Mowgli sings it before Baloo reluctantly attempts to take him to the Man-village.
  • "Friends to the End (reprise)" from Tom and Jerry: The Movie, which plays when Tom and Jerry start to chase each other again, all without any dialogue.
  • "My Kingdom of The Heart" from The Princess and the Pea. It was sung by Daria earlier as she and Rollo shared a Dance of Romance, and the reprise is sung when Rollo settles to marry Hildegard and Daria wanders around the forest after being exiled.
  • "How Bad Can I Be?" from The Lorax was supposed to have one in the cut song "Biggering" where the Once-ler takes a flying leap off the slippery slope, becoming a villain who is totally aware of the carnage he's causing and choosing to ignore it, rather than the Obliviously Evil Anti-Villain he stays in the real movie. The piece was removed for being too dark.
    Once-ler: Who cares if some things are dying? I don't wanna hear your crying!
  • Frozen:
    • "For The First Time in Forever" has a reprise where Anna confronts her sister and tries to convince her to come home and end the winter she made. After Elsa learns she created an endless winter, she starts to panic, her singing quickly drowning out Anna's and ending with her accidentally striking Anna in the heart with her powers.
    • There's a melodic reprise of "Frozen Heart" as well at the end of that song which is appropriate because Anna now literally has a frozen heart.
    • "Do You Want To Build A Snowman?" morphs into a Dark Reprise of itself in the final verse. It begins as an upbeat song where the young Anna tries to get her sister to come out and play. The singing stops in the middle to depict their parents dying in a shipwreck. A final verse is then sung by Anna, pleading Elsa to let her in - sorrowfully ending on a tearful delivery of the line "do you want to build a snowman?"
    • The cut duet between Elsa and Anna, "Life's Too Short", had its own Dark Reprise. In a way it's also a dark reprise to "Do You Wanna Build A Snowman?" as it uses its melody. While Anna is slowly dying and Elsa is imprisoned in the castle's dungeon, they sing about their regrets. While the original is them arguing about how life's too short to put up with one another, the reprise is them realizing that life's too short to fight each other. Anna sounds painfully like she can barely breathe at the end of the song, implying it ended right before Olaf's scene.
    • An even earlier Cut Song "We Know Better" had a dark reprise. The first portion is about Anna and Elsa growing up together as little kids, having fun and making mischief. The dark reprise begins with civilians doubting Elsa due to her bold personality and frightening powers. Anna and Elsa begin to drift apart as the song goes on while people detest Elsa more and more. It ends with Elsa and Anna discussing princes - with Elsa being distasteful towards them while Anna adores the idea of falling in love - and Elsa repeats the chorus by herself.
    • On a score-related note, Hans has a leitmotif during the scene where he first meets Anna. After it's revealed that he's the Big Bad, the theme plays again with a more sinister tone.
  • In My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks, the B-section of the Villain Song "Battle of the Bands" is an evil counterpart to the chorus of the "Cafeteria Song" from the first Equestria Girls. This part gets an even darker arrangement in the Dazzlings' part of "Welcome to the Show", as mentioned in the Sarcastic Echo section.
  • In Cinderella, after the stepsisters rip up Cinderella's dress, dashing any of her chances to go to the ball, and Cinderella goes into the garden to cry, a somber offscreen chorus sings "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes" while Cinderella has a Heroic BSoD lamenting that she's lost all hope (or so she thinks).
  • Moana:
    • "More (reprise)" is a Cut Song that served as a dark reprise (or at least a sad reprise) to "More" (which was replaced with "How Far I'll Go"). The original song was about Moana's Small Town Boredom and how she wanted to sail the sea. The reprise takes place after her grandmother dies and Moana begins her journey.
    • Also, after escaping Tamatoa, Maui sings a dark reprise of "You're Welcome" that goes "What can I say except we're dead soon? We're dead soon. Hey! It's ok. It's ok. We're dead soon. We're dead soon".
    • Played for laughs, Tamatoa sings a sad reprise of "Shiny" after the credits.
  • The Lego Movie 2 The Second Part: "Everything's Not Awesome" starts as a dark reprise of "Everything Is Awesome" after everyone is trapped in the storage bin after Ourmamageddon and they start to lose hope, but turns into a Triumphant Reprise after Lucy inspires everyone not to give up.

    Other Animated Film 
  • In The Spongebob Squarepants Movie, there's the Goofy Goober song. Sung at the beginning in a childish, sugary haze, it receives two dark reprises:
    • At the Thug Tug, the head thug realizes there are "babies" in their midst (i.e. SpongeBob and Patrick), and his method of weeding them out is to line everyone up and play the song at full volume, knowing that "no baby can resist singing along" to it. It becomes a full-on Dark Reprise when the thug, noticing the duo struggling to remain silent, leans right into their faces and starts singing the song in a taunting, sinister voice. They're a second away from breaking when another pair break first and are promptly set upon by everyone else in the bar, allowing them to escape unnoticed.
    • The song is reprised in a slower, lower key as the two main characters are literally being killed; by being dried up by the heat of a lamp's lightbulb shining over them.
  • In the South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, "La Résistance" begins as a rousing anthem in the vein of "One Day More" from Les Misérables. "La Resistance (Reprise)" is a duet between the Mole and Kyle as the Mole dies.
    • "La Resistance" also provides a very short version of this for Satan's oddly poignant Villain Song, "Up There." The original has him sing "Up There there is so much room/Where babies burp and flowers bloom," while he adds in the reprise, "Tomorrow night Up There is doomed..."
    • Also in the song, the brief reprise of 'Uncle Fucker'—as Terrance and Phillip await their pending execution, they sing "Looks like we may be out of luck/Tomorrow night, we're pretty fucked!!"
    • The Setting Introduction Song "Mountain Town" is quite cheerful, but Sheila's verse establishes her personality with its cynical lyrics and darker background music.
  • WALL•E has an interestingly reversed version of this, with the "dark" version coming before the 'light' one. In the first act, the titular robot watches a video of "It Only Takes a Moment" from Hello, Dolly!, with the sappy romantic lyrics serving only to accentuate the hopeless loneliness of his existence. The song is used throughout the film as a Leitmotif, until at the very end of the film it gets a full reprise, only this time played straight.
  • Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children is this to the original Final Fantasy VII. Apart from the Darker and Edgier approach, even the soundtrack features Dark Reprises of well-known tunes from the game itself - the random battle theme (which reached Ear Worm status for obvious reasons) is now a chilling piano instrumental, and even the iconic One-Winged Angel has been amped up into a rock opera.
  • Coraline
    • When Coraline visits the Other Mother's parallel world, she meets the other world's version of Mister Bobinsky (her strange yet friendly house neighbor), who performs his the "Mice Circus" song. Later, when Coraline heads back to retrieve the souls of the Other Mother's victims, she finds the circus in disrepair and the Other Mr. Bobinsky reduced to a pile of talking rats. The song accompanying this scene presents the feeling of a circus falling apart.
    • Likewise, when she revisits Spink and Forcible's burlesque theater, the bawdily silly song they'd earlier performed plays in the background, making for an unnerving contrast to the gloomy setting. Eventually, it becomes a twisted sort of ballet music.
  • Toy Story 3 begins with a montage of clips of Andy playing with his toys while 'You've Got a Friend in Me' plays, until suddenly the music stops and the line 'our friendship will never die' is the last line you hear.
  • "Breakout/It Comes With a Pool" from Dinosaur, which is a dark reprise of "Courtship." It's played during the scene where Aladar, the Lemurs, Eema, Baylene, and Url accidentally discover an alternate route to the Nesting Grounds while attempting to find their way out of a large cave. The reprise comes in when Zini the lemur starts to surf in the lake, and the dark part comes in when Eema actually tells Aladar that the old entrance to the Nesting Grounds has been blocked by a huge landslide, and that Kron is threatening all the other dinosaurs into taking that route.
    • Also "Across the Desert", which is a slow and somber version of "Raptors/Aladar Meets the Herd". It's played during the scene where Kron forces the Herd (as well as Aladar, the Lemurs, Eema, Baylene, and Url) to march across an endless desert reminiscent of the final act of ''The Rite of Spring''. Fortunately, there's a lake ahead...
  • Inverted and played straight in How to Train Your Dragon. The music playing when Hiccup first encounters Toothless is a sinister version of the "Friendship Theme" played later in the movie. This does however get a true dark reprise during the scene where Hiccup accidentally betrays Toothless by telling Stoick that only a dragon can find the hidden island.
    • Also played straight with "Test Drive", originally heard when Hiccup is learning to ride Toothless. A sadder version comes later after Hiccup lost a leg during his fight with Red Death, and must learn to walk with a crude prosthetic limb.
    • The Dark Reprise is used to great effect in the second movie as well. The lovers' song that Stoick and Valka sing together with such enthusiasm and joy when they are reunited is later brought back during Stoick's Viking Funeral as a slower, sadder version with mournful background vocals singing during Gobber's farewell speech to his friend.
  • Remember the Tastes Like Diabetes Lyrical Dissonance singing info booth in Shrek? In the Halloween special "Scared Shrekless", it returns with a nightmarish rendition of "Duloc is a Creepy Place" with creepy lyrics and the aftermath of a Sugar Apocalypse. Some might find it less creepy than the stepford-style Crapsaccharine World version, but the way the dolls' eyes pop out...
  • In the Chuck Jones adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, Darzee's Chant gets a Dark Reprise when it is thought that Rikki has been killed offscreen by Nagaina. It then switches almost seamlessly into the triumphant original lyrics.
  • In the My Friends Tigger & Pooh film Pooh's Super Sleuth Christmas Movie, there's "Christmas Isn't Coming," a sad reprise of the special's opening number "Christmas Comes Tomorrow," performed after the Sleuths and the rest of the cast, sans Darby, have given up the quest to reach the North Pole as hopeless.
  • In Mickey's Christmas Carol, the background music starting at Scrooge's arrival at the graveyard through Bob Cratchit's exit is mostly an instrumental sad reprise of the opening credits song, "Oh What a Merry Christmas Day".

    Live Action Film Musicals 
  • In Mary Poppins, an already dark song gets an even darker reprise. "Feed the Birds" is first sung by Mary to the Children, and later played in an orchestral version as Mr. Banks heads off to be fired. The reprise continues relatively toned down as Banks walks alone through the London streets until he reaches St. Paul's... and its steps are completely barren, of birds and bird woman alike. At this point the orchestra swells to its full tearful majesty as Mr. Banks looks skyward, forlorn and desperate.
    • Earlier, after Mr. Banks sings a self-pitying song about said firing (itself a Dark Reprise of "The Life I Lead", Mr. Banks' theme), Bert (Bert!) gives him a Reason You Suck Song by both echoing "The Life I Lead" and reprising "A Spoonful of Sugar" into a song about Banks' neglect of his children for his work. However, when it reaches "A Spoonful of Sugar" it becomes briefly uplifting again, as Banks realises what is truly important to him.
  • The Wizard of Oz, in a scene that was ultimately cut from the movie for being a little too long and depressing, had Dorothy doing a Dark Reprise of the famous song "Over The Rainbow" after being trapped by the Wicked Witch in her castle. The performance is said to have reduced the cast and crew to tears. The remainder of the scene is kept in the movie: Dorothy cries out to Auntie Em how frightened she is, and Aunt Em appears in the crystal ball. After begging Dorothy to tell her where she is, she vanishes into a swirl of light. The swirl converges onto the witch, mocking her "Come back! Come back!" She cackles at Dorothy before turning toward the camera (the audience) and cackling as if to say, "You're next!"
  • Jack's reprise of "Santa Fe" in Newsies is pretty damn bleak.
  • Pink Floyd's The Wall features a darker reprise of an already-dark song. "In The Flesh?" expresses Pink's disillusionment with life, or, alternately, an outsider's view as Pink starts to isolate himself. Later, "In The Flesh!" shows Pink's graduation into a full-blown fascist after a psychotic breakdown.
    • "Hey You" could also be considered another darker reprise of "Another Brick In The Wall" (Parts All) as they both share the same guitar riff. "Another Brick in The Wall" being about Pink's anger at the world and feelings of abandonment which leads him to build the Wall while "Hey You" is about the crushing despair and loneliness he feels once he completely withdrew behind it only to find that he was trapped behind the wall.
      • The various parts of "Another Brick In The Wall" are gradually darker reprises of one another too, while each is of a rather dark subject matter (His father dying, his cruel authoritarian teachers, and his wife cheating on him and leaving him respectively) they get increasingly angry and deranged with each passing part, Part I is rather cold about it, part II is much louder and more aggressive, and Part III is by far the angriest and loudest with the same ghostly guitar riff used in all of them becoming much louder and faster.
  • The Sound of Music:
    • "Edelweiss" comes up twice in the movie: First as a straightforward sign that Captain von Trapp is finally opening up to his family, and later as a defiant but bittersweet statement of patriotism in the face of a Nazi takeover that will do away with the country he loves. It's a subtler version in that the song is performed in the same key, performed by the same person, and does not differ until the Captain falters in his singing. (This is only a Dark Reprise in the movie version; on stage, the song is sung in the later scene only.)
    • The second-act reprise of "My Favorite Things" begins as this, with the children trying to cheer themselves up after Maria has left, but it doesn't work. Then it turns into a Triumphant Reprise as Maria returns and sings along with them.
    • The children sing "The Sound of Music" for the Baroness when she arrives and this leads to their father bonding with them. Later on after Maria has left and the children are depressed, Max tries to get them to sing. Thus the song becomes sadder and some of the children are unable to do it. (This is again only in the film version; in the stage version, the Captain stops them from singing the song again at this point.)
    • "So Long, Farewell". The first time, the Von Trapp kids sing this to a bunch of amused guests. The second time they sing it to a festival sponsored by Nazis, and begin their Run for the Border immediately after all of them are conveniently offstage. However, the trope is averted in that the song is played the same way both times (not counting the faster version the orchestra strikes up at the end of the latter scene, when it becomes clear that the family has escaped).
  • Early in Darling Lili, Lili performs "I'll Give You Three Guesses" as a cheery, wholesome song-and-dance number. Later, after discovering her jealousy of Crepe Suzette, she changes it to a striptease.
  • While not exactly a reprise, The Muppet Christmas Carol had a sad little echo of 'Bless Us All', sung by Tiny Tim about how he and his family have so much to be grateful for, played as it pans over his crutch after his death with his family in mourning.
    • It also contains a Light Reprise of 'When Love Is Gone' sung while Scrooge is left by his fiance sung at the end as 'The Love We Found' after he changes his ways. Sadly, the first song was cut from the theatrical release (and only reinstated on some video releases), meaning that the finale is less poignant.
  • The graveyard scene in A Christmas Carol: The Musical has a brief dark reprise of "A Place Called Home", as well as dark reprises of "You Mean More to Me"(when the Cratchits are mourning Tiny Tim) and "God Bless us Everyone"(sung by Grace Smythe and the ghosts of Fan and Mrs. Scrooge right before the Ghost of Christmas Future drops Scrooge into his grave, with a touch of Soundtrack Dissonance).
    • Additionally "Dancing on Your Grave" features a dark reprise of the instrumental intro of the already grim "Link by Link" as its main vocal melody, and of "Jolly Good Time" and the main melody of "Link by Link" as Scrooge's possessions are divided up, whilst "Yesterday, Tomorrow and Today" is the same tune as the warnings the Spirits sang to Scrooge earlier in the second half of "Nothing to Do with Me".
    • The Money Montage segment originally used a dark reprise of "The Lights of Long Ago", but it was omitted from later productions and the film. It still has a minor-key instrumental reprise of "Mr. Fezziwig's Annual Christmas Ball" when Marley dies.
  • Enchanted
    • Edward and Giselle sing "I've Been Dreaming of True Love's Kiss". When they reunite, he sings this to her again but she forgets the words.
    • A sad instrumental of " That's How You Know " plays when Narissa manipulates Giselle into eating the poisoned apple.
  • Across the Universe: "I Want You" is an interesting case, where it starts as a dark song about war conscription, then has a "light reprise" (not quite triumphant) as Sadie and Jojo share a romantic moment. It then has another reprise, as Prudence sings the song, this time about her unrequited love for Sadie. So the third time the song is sung, it is a Dark Reprise of the second time the song is sung, while that second time is a light reprise of the original, dark song. Also is almost a Sarcastic Echo, since Prudence's lines almost make it a duet with Sadie's; however, the tone is more heartbreaking than sarcastic.
  • In Paint Your Wagon, The Parson leads the citizens of No Name City in The Gospel of No Name City, warning them against their wicked ways or God "will gobble up this town and swallow it down." Naturally, the townsfolks take the Parson's preaching as a compliment. The song is reprised by the chorus, with one modified line note , when No Name City actually sinks into the Earth.

    Other Live Action Film 
  • Inverted in Logan. "Old Man Logan" (a bleak, depressing western-type track) plays at the beginning, while we see the muted agony he lives through day by day (As he's pulling out his stuck claw with his bare hands, while hungover and covered in fresh wounds). However, at the very end, when he finally dies, having saved the mutant kids, with his daughter holding his hand we hear the same music start, only to turn into the sweet, emotional reprise "Don't Be What They Made You".
  • One of the earliest examples of this in films occurs during the first half of Citizen Kane. As Charles Foster Kane is embarking on his political career, he brings a marching band and a line of chorus girls into his conference room to sing a very upbeat rendition of "There Is a Man, A Certain Man" to the assembled businessmen and politicians at the conference table. ("Who is this man? It's Charlie Kane! He doesn't like that 'Mister'; he likes good old 'Charlie Kane'!") Much later, after Kane has lost the race for New York governor under extremely humiliating circumstances, a much slower and even dirge-like version of "There Is a Man" is played as an instrumental tune as Kane's campaign workers clean all the confetti off of the stage.
  • Titanic (1997): Near the middle of the movie, Jack is singing 'Come Josephine' to Rose as they stand near the front of the ship because it feels like they're flying. Later, singing the song is the only thing keeping Rose alive. Also, the music that plays during the dramatic final plunge of the sinking (aside from that played by the actual musical trio, of course) consists heavily of the main theme of the movie, but in a darker and more frantic tone.
  • In the soundtrack to the Kenneth Branagh movie of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing (1993), the melody of the wedding march at Hero's first, doomed wedding reappears (in minor key) as her dirge when she is believed dead. By contrast, no music is played at the second wedding (during which the audience knows that the bride is Hero, alive and well, but her groom believes her dead and thinks he is marrying her cousin) until the moment she lifts her veil. This is very effective in setting the mood for all three scenes.
  • Predator has a pop-music version: As the commandos' helicopter is touching down in the jungle, the guys are full of macho bravado, slathering on camouflage makeup and trading humorous insults, while Little Richard's "Long Tall Sally" blasts from a cassette player; the music is then abruptly cut off during the landing. Later in the movie, when the commandos are finally starting to realize that they're being hunted by a killer from outer space, Mac suffers some Sanity Slippage and begins heedlessly babbling "He saw his baby coming and he jumped back in the alley...We gonna have some fun tonight...have some fun tonight..."
  • Tim Burton's two Batman films have some:
    • Batman (1989) has what could more properly called a "Darker/Sarcastic Reprise," we have Danny Elfman's "Waltz to the Death." This is played as The Joker, having first revealed his clown-face to the audience, murders his former boss by shooting the old man six times from various angles. Here the music is more darkly funny than scary, though it does segue into a creepy lullaby tune played on chimes at the end of the scene. Much later, toward the end of the movie, "Waltz to the Death" is heard again as Batman stalks the Joker in the cathedral belltower, only to be ambushed by his gang while the Joker forces Vicki Vale at gunpoint to dance a waltz with him. Now the tune is less brassy than before, with a weird dreamlike quality that would be a Light Reprise if it weren't so out of character for the Joker (it's really disturbing to see a man who had previously murdered a young boy's parents while taunting in a demonic voice being portrayed as a romantic gentleman, albeit a villainous one) and if it didn't abruptly fall off toward the end into almost total silence. Even before then, the howls of rage and pain as the Joker's Mooks and Batman beat the tar out of each other do a great deal to undercut the supposedly light mood of the piece.
      • Inverted on the movie's pop soundtrack by Prince. "Batdance," his Stupid Statement Dance Mix at the end of the album, takes some of the darker songs that have gone before ("The Future" most notably) and parodies them by remixing them in a goofy "deejay" style.
    • There's a more straightforward example in Batman Returns. During the "Lair" sequence, we hear a poignant, hopeful violin piece as The Penguin speaks of returning to the world above and once again being accepted as a human being. After he has been rejected once again and vowed to kill all the children of Gotham City, the Penguin's theme is heard once more...this time (once again) in "chimey, creepy lullaby" style as the Penguin plays with an umbrella from which have been hung various toy animals.
      • Another inversion occurs with "Selina Transforms." When we hear it the first time, the piece starts out tragic and just goes downhill from there, mounting to what sounds like a Hitchcock movie score on acid as Selina Kyle loses her mind. "Selina Transforms" is then heard again at the end of the movie, but now it is Lighter and Softer, an elegy of sorts now that Catwoman is apparently dead.
      • "The Finale" soundtrack in Returns can be considered a Dark Reprise to the first film's "The Finale." Both scores end with church bells being rung three times before segueing into Batman's main theme, but while in the first film, they're being rung in a triumphant tone, in keeping with the second film's Bittersweet Ending, the bells are being rung in a slower, more somber mood.
  • A few times in Will Ferrell movies:
    • In Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, the day after he goes out with his attractive co host, Ron Burgundy and his crew sing "Afternoon Delight." Later, he has lost his job and all respect, and is now sitting drunk at the bar, singing the same song in a drunken, sad way.
    • In Blades of Glory, the song for the pairs first performance is "Don't Want To Miss A Thing." After his partner refuses to speak to him, he leaves many messages on his phone, one of which is a sad, drunken version of that song.
    • And Semi-Pro: Jackie Moon earned all his money that he bought the Tropics with using royalties from his song "Love Me Sexy." He later goes through a Heroic BSoD of sorts, and sings a variation of that song while lying in a dumpster. Yes, it's sad and drunken.
  • Parodied in Team America: World Police: the upbeat, ultra-patriotic song "America, Fuck Yeah" is played again later on in the movie, when Gary has left the team and the rest of them go to fight Kim Jong-Il alone. The soundtrack actually labels this song as the "Bummer Mix".
    • This may count as a mild subversion: the musical tone is sad and subdued in the reprise, but the lyrics are exactly the same, which is to say, relentlessly boosterish and ultra-patriotic.
  • "Gong Jin'ou", the national anthem of the Qing Dynasty, is sung formally in The Last Emperor, then gets sadly reprised one last time before the Qing abdicate.
  • Parodied (or played straight, or...who the hell knows?) in The Brothers Solomon, in which the power ballad "St. Elmo's Fire" (from the film of the same name) is used first as a general triumphant anthem for the titular brothers. During their (extremely brief) falling out, a more sombre, acoustic version of the song is played.
  • Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen has a Dark Reprise of the iconic 'landing of the Autobots' scene from the first movie, with landing Decepticons causing widespread damage.
    • Many of the musical themes from the first film are gone, and Optimus's theme becomes the backbone of the score. However, it's never in the same tone of the previous film, which was performed on a woodwind and with minimal percussion to make Optimus's theme sound more organic. The two main treatments are a minor-key variation with dark brass, and a more "spiritual" take (generally used for scenes involving the mythology and taking place after Optimus's death) utilizing a One-Woman Wail. To hear the effect in full, listen to the track titled "Optimus" from the first film, then the one titled "Prime" from the second.
    • In Transformers: Dark of the Moon, the scene in which the Autobots are exiled and forced to leave Earth is accompanied by a heartbreakingly sad reprise of the "Arrival on Earth" theme from the first movie: "There is No Plan".
  • Star Wars
    • Inverted at the end of The Phantom Menace, where the celebration music is a childrens' choir doing a "light" version of the Emperor's exceptionally dark Leitmotif (far grimmer than, if not as immediately imposing as, the Imperial March), foreshadowing the coming darkness. Similarly, at the end of Attack of the Clones, a more triumphant version of the Imperial March is played, underscoring that while the clones appear to be a good thing at the time, evil will come of them later.
    • The prequels are just full of this. Anakin's Theme from Episode I repeatedly utilizes six notes from the Imperial March in a soft, light piece. Also, it doesn't quite count, but at the end of Episode II, the love theme that plays over Anakin and Padme's wedding morphs into something that calls to mind the Imperial March. Most of the end credits music for Attack of the Clones is the love theme, with a different ending—it segues into the main thrust of the March, as played slowly on a double bass.
    • Another inversion occurs when Anakin Skywalker dies at the end of Episode VI, where the Imperial March is reprised quietly on a solitary harp.
    • In the Shadows of the Empire soundtrack, "Leia's Nightmare" is a dark version of the "Han and the Princess" love theme mixed with the Imperial March. This is originally in the soundtrack for The Empire Strikes Back during the carbon freeze scene.
    • Yoda's death music in Return of the Jedi is a sad reprise of his theme and the Force theme.
    • Star Wars is made of this trope. Most of the consequential music pieces are darker versions of earlier pieces of the trilogies.
  • The opening theme to the first Harry Potter movies, is dramatically skewed for the Deathly Hallows part 2 trailer.
  • Inverted in 102 Dalmatians when we get a light reprise of "The Villain Sucks" Song from the first movie talking about the confusion of why Cruella is being nice and is now an animal lover.
  • In Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, we see Gollum singing joyfully while catching fishes in a mostly comical scene. However, at the start of The Return of the King we see a flashback of how he became what he is, and the song echoes in the background as he sinks his rotting teeth into a raw, live fish, and the song emphasises how degenerate, wretched creature he became under the Ring's power.
    ♫ The rock and pool
    Is nice and cool,
    So juicy-sweet!
    Our only wish,
    To catch a fish,
    So juicy-sweet! ♫
  • In War Comes to America, the last film in the Why We Fight series, the song My Country, 'tis of Thee plays over an animation of America's early expansion. At the end of the film, a dark version plays over scenes of Pearl Harbor on fire, morphing into a Triumphant Reprise as FDR calls for war against Japan.
  • In the opening of Star Trek Into Darkness, there's a more of a tragic dark reprise of the classic Trek theme leading up to the introduction of Harrison.
  • Star Trek Beyond has a dark reprise of "Enterprising Young Men" when the Enterprise is attacked and boarded by Krall and his mooks and a sad reprise when what's left of her crashes on Altamid.
  • The main title of Back to the Future Part II is a mildly dark reprise of the theme music. It's played on lower instruments and, while still sounding perhaps triumphant, there is a certain foreboding to it.
  • "Ramona On My Mind" on Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is played sadly again after she gets back together with Gideon.
  • The trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron uses a slow, nightmarish version of "I've Got No Strings" from Pinocchio. Post Villainous Breakdown Ultron is actually singing this in bits and pieces, in the Quinjet.
  • The Phantom of the Opera movie musical ends with a sad melody of Christine's breakthrough hit "Think of Me" when the elderly Raoul visits her grave.
  • Ah Boys to Men has a dark rendition to the marching song "Training to be Soldiers".
  • Compare the ending song of "Everyone Wants to Rule The World" (by Tears for Fears) in ending of Real Genius to the trailer of Dracula Untold. (By Lorde). First. Second.
  • The 1951 version of A Christmas Carol has the old folk song "Barbara Allen" as the leitmotif of Scrooge's kindly sister Fan - when she dies giving birth to his nephew the tune is played in a dark minor key. Then played again toward movie's end, when he reconciles with his nephew, in a warm cheerful fashion (at least as much as the lyrics allow).
  • The trailer for Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation features a menacing version of "Ready or Not" by the former hip-hop group The Fugees.
  • In Con Air, Garland and a little girl sing "He's Got the Whole World In His Hands". He sings it again as the plane crashes into the Las Vegas strip.
  • In The Nutty Professor (1963), Buddy Love sings "That Old Black Magic" much to the delight of a club full of youngsters. Later, he sings it again drunkenly after hours. The girl he is with starts to see how limited his appeal really is.
  • Train to Busan: Su-an's initial performance of "Aloha'oe" (Farewell to Thee) is shown at her school recital. She had practiced it with the intention of performing it for her dad, who didn't show up to the recital. She sings it loudly at the end, letting the Busan soldiers know that she's human, and not zombies. Fittingly, it's a farewell song - and she chose it for her dad, who killed himself when he was bitten by a zombie, just minutes ago.
♫ Aloha 'oe, aloha 'oe
Until we meet again... ♫
  • TRON: Legacy: The opening notes of "Adagio for Tron" are the same notes (in a lower key) as the sweet end credit music from the first film.
  • The triumphant "Wakanda" from Black Panther (2018) gets a of mournful rendition in "Killmonger vs.T'Chaka" the moment that Killmonger kills Zuri and takes advantage of T'Chaka's rage afterwards to seemingly kill him and mixes parts of "Killmonger" and "Ancestrial Plane" for his taking of the throne. Then it gets a bittersweet reprise when T'Challa kills Killmonger in "The King's Sunset"
  • The closing credits of Avengers: Infinity War (which are also the first in the MCU to completely avert the Creative Closing Credits) are set to a sombre orchestral piece, which ends with the film's title card scattering into dust over a quiet piano-rendition of the normally epic and bombastic Avengers-theme that accompanied the title cards of the previous two films.
  • The original theme from Unbreakable gets a more distorted remix combing motifs from its Stealth Sequel Split in the Grand Finale Glass with the track "David & Elijah", in which Mr. Glass himself threatens David Dunn that a whole lot of people will die at the hands of him and The Beast unless if he. Breaks through. That. Door!

  • Cowboy Bebop has "See You Space Cowboy", a lower and sadder version of the already solemn ending theme, "The Real Folk Blues", playing near the show's end.
  • The happy tune that Saya sings various songs to early on in Blood-C gets played in a slower, darker manner in the final moments of the last episode.
  • Cyber Team in Akihabara has his third ending which is a very dark version of the song "Taiyou no Hana" from the first ending (and played in a joyful version for the second ending)
  • The first season of Date A Live features the "Seirei" theme for the appearance of Spirits (more specifically, it is used for Tohka before she is named as such by Shido). The last episode of the second season features the ominous "Hanten Tohka", during the debut of her Inverse Form.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion gets one. The ending theme, "Fly me to the Moon" always seemed a tad out of place, even in the beginning, but by the end in the middle of all the Mind Rape, Heroic Sacrifices, Heroic BSoD's and other assorted wrongness, that damn song just keeps on playing. And it freaks you out. Especially in the Arael, Armisael and Tabris/Kaworu episodes. WITHOUT CHANGING A DAMNED NOTE!!
    • Probably easier to take seriously if you're not a native English speaker and are getting the meaning from subtitles. If you actually understand it, the fact that it's Gratuitous English and sounds more like "Fry me touda moo" kind of spoils any suspense it might create.
  • Gainax seems to like this. In the Rebuild of Evangelion movies, most of the soundtracks have been changed to now HAVE OMINOUS CHANTING ON TOP OF THE MUSIC! It does add to the mood of the scenes, but it sure does freak you out when you know that the voices are chanting.
    • And another Gainax-example: Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann has Libera Me From Hell, a remix between the classic, Latin song "Libera Me", and the up-beat rap-song "Rap is a Man's Soul". And that's not the only time they took a classic song and used it in an anime. Just watch the Rebuild of Evangelion version of Shinji versus Zeruel. THEY'RE PLAYING A CHILDREN'S SONG WHILE SHINJI IS CAUSING THE END OF THE WORLD, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!!
    • Yet another Gainax example: in the penultimate episode of Mahoromatic ~Something more Beautiful~, the music track at the end of the episode gives way to a sad piano remix of the generally-happy opening song, So Re I Yu.
  • Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch reverses this with Return to the Sea. In its first uses, it's a dark, angry song in which Sara expresses her rage and hatred. However, when Hanon's assertion that Tarou really did love Sara gets to her, she reprises the song with a happier, more optimistic tone ("The inevitable distrust/Is only harmful weakness/Love cannot be defined, but/I want to believe in it again").
  • In Fushigi Yuugi, the instrumental "Romantic" is played—you guessed it—in romantic moments in the first few instances. It is reprised numerous times later in the series, e.g. when Miaka tries to kill herself to save her friends and when Mitsukake dies.
  • Appears in Soul Eater with the songs "soul-eater (so scandalous)" and "soul-eater (reprise)." The first is a hip-hop tune with Word Salad Lyrics used over some title cards and at other light-hearted moments. The second keeps the Word Salad Lyrics, but the catchy refrain is gone, some of the lyrics are warped, it sounds a lot creepier in general, and it's generally played when people are going crazy.
    • It also has "Black Star (never lose myself)" and "Black Star (lost myself)". The first is a stirring hip-hop song that serves as Black Star's leitmotiv, the second one is a complete jumbled mess with the voice turned incomprehensible and the entire musical arrangement sounding like a carnival on acid.
  • Macross Frontier has the song Aimo, a love song/lullaby taught to Ranka Lee by her mother. Later in the series, Ranka sings a version created by her manager, Aimo O.C., which changes the song into a battle hymmn.
  • One Piece has the melancholic track 'Hahanaru Umi' (Mother Sea), which is a slow piano cover of the series' upbeat theme song 'We Are!'
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica has a weird version where the darker version shows up first... in the very first scene. It's a creepy song and fits the dark atmosphere of the scene. It turns out to be a slowed down, distorted version of the ending theme, "Magia", which the show deliberately avoided using until Episode 3. The ending version is... only slightly less creepy than the one used in the opening scene. The slowing down and pitching down of "Magia" and other songs in Episode 1 turned out to be a production error exclusive to certain TV broadcasts; it was later "SHAFTed" back to the regular version in the DVD/Blu-Ray releases.
    • Another weird variation comes up late in the series. Homura's theme, "Puella in somnio" (Girl in the Dream) tends to follow her arrival onto a scene without fail, and is a mysterious and airy. A reprise comes in the form of "Inevitabilis" (Inevitable), a heavy and melancholic piano reprise that plays during Episode 11 when she breaks down in front of Madoka and explains everything before resolving to fight Walpurgis Night by herself. While the reprise came up much earlier in the series, it's particularly more poignant in the context of this scene and sets a much bleaker tone from thereon in (which, for Madoka Magica, is saying something).
    • Signum Malum is a darker and more melancholic revision of Sis Puella Magica.
    • Sayaka Miki's leitmotif is a somewhat cheery tune called Decretum, which has a slower, more melancholic version called Conturbatio. Later, when Sayaka becomes a witch, she is accompanied by a harsh, orchestral version of Decretum called Symposium Magarum.
      • Oddly enough despite Conturbatio being the darker, more melancholic version, it's Decretum that's the dark reprise making this a minor example of Soundtrack Dissonance. Conturbatio plays when Sayaka makes her wish and when she is with Kyosuke, Decretum plays when she's sinking into despair and when she turns into a witch.
  • Sailor Moon uses this to great effect many times. Some examples:
    • Most of the dramatic scenes in the first four seasons of the show use a slowed down version of the theme song, 'Moonlight Densetsu', most notably the star locket.
    • Sailor Stars also uses a slowed down version of the theme 'Sailor Star Song' in emotional scenes (though there's also a happier, faster version); it's even billed as a separate song in the soundtrack, called 'Makenai' (Don't Give Up). The same trick is used with Princess Kakyuu's theme in her death scene.
    • The way it happens in The Movie of Sailor Moon R is probably the most interesting: after Usagi manages to save 'everybody' as she puts it, with the help of the other senshi and Mamoru, using the power of the Silver Crystal in a sequence set to 'Moon Revenge', she uses up all her power and dies the song 'Fukkatsu No Serenade' starts playing, and it's somber and sad, but blossoms into a more hopeful tone as a contrite Fiore uses his powers to resurrect Usagi.
    • A scary version happens with the Sailor Star track ''Nehellenia Fukkatsu' which is already pretty sinister when normal, but is reprised later in the season, most notably when Sailor Galaxia kills 99% of the Earth's population, and it's pure undiluted Nightmare Fuel.
  • From Umineko: When They Cry: goldenslaughterer is already a pretty dark BGM to begin with, since it plays during the more cruel deaths, but it gets a darker and more intense remix as the executioner in EP7, which plays during the fight between Will and Bernkastel.
  • In Fate/Zero, Let the Stars Fall Down and Manten share the same tune, the former being used when Irisviel takes on Kirei and the latter being used as the ending theme for Kiritsugu's flashback episodes. Then there's The Dream Fades Before Dawn #3, where the melody becomes flat out creepy. Fitting that it's featured when Kirei is about to backstab Tokiomi.
  • Everyone familiar with The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya knows about the cheery, happy tune of Hare Hare Yukai, the ending theme from the first seasonnote . Included in the Character Song Album for each of the characters was a version of Hare Hare Yukai sung by that character. For the most part they have the same lyrics, but Ryoko Asakura's version has very dark and moody lyrics about how she has no place in the world and mentions destruction a few times.
  • Kurognae from Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE- has two themes, Break the Sword of Justice which is high energy action theme and Broken Sword of Justice which is a slower more swelled orchestral theme. 'Broken Sword'' plays when Kurognae loses both his parents, his father to combat and his mother at the hands a murder.
  • Tokyo Ghoul has Unravel, the epic first-season opening, which, admittedly, was already a bit sad as far as the lyrics go, but then it just becomes... depressing with its special version during the second-season finale. What once was guitars and others becomes just a piano, a violin, a cello, and TK's fragile-sounding voice. While it plays, you see the aftermath of all that's happened in the episode: Anteiku has burned down, characters are dead and other characters are mourning, and most importantly, Kaneki is walking through this all, carrying the body of his best friend Hide in his arms.
  • In Your Name, the upbeat vocal opening theme, "Yume Tourou", gets remixed into the slow, melancholy instrumental "Kataware Doki" when Taki and Mitsuha finally meet in person at the lip of the mountain crater.
  • Happens with the anime adaptation of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable. The third opening theme, Great Days, has a cheerful and laid-back tune, with a warm color palette and the heroes standing together. However, during the final arc, the opening distorts into a creepy, off-tune mess with a dark and unsettling color palette, and some segments (and even the animation under it) being played backwards, slowed down and sped up, to reference the Big Bad's terrifying 11th-Hour Superpower, which loops and distorts time.
  • The dub version of Kirby: Right Back at Ya! uses a foreboding version of Kirby's Transformation Sequence music for the scene in "Fossil Fools, Part 2" where a dinosaur made from Kirby's DNA copies the Fire ability.
  • My Hero Academia has several songs that are somber reprises of its most memorable themes.
    • The adrenaline-pumping "You Say Run" is the series' Signature Song for some of its greatest "Hell, Yes!" Moments. But "Anguish of the Quirkless" is a somber version that first plays the day Izuku learns he's Quirkless and thus his dreams of becoming a hero are impossible while he and his mom cry uncontrollably over it. The similarly saddening "Supportive Heart" features parts of "You Say Run" and plays when All Might has used up all of his power as Izuku sobs in his arms.
    • "I Am Here!" is All Might's soaring theme song that plays whenever he arrives to save the day. The far more solemn and gentle "Resting Symbol of Peace" plays as All Might reflects on how little time he has left to be a Hero as he clings to whatever remnants of One For All he has left.

  • In The Lord of the Rings, Bilbo and Frodo sing almost the same song as they leave the Shire. A single adjective is the difference between Bilbo's song of adventure and Frodo's complaint the arduousness of his task.
    (Bilbo's version) Now far ahead the Road has gone
    And I must follow, if I can
    Pursuing it with eager feet...
    (Frodo's version)
    Pursuing it with weary feet...
  • In A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Francie is horrified to hear her father come home singing the last verse of "Molly Malone" ("She died of a fever, and no one could save her..."), a verse he otherwise never sang. He dies a few weeks later.
  • Similarly, in Gone with the Wind, Gerald O'Hara has the song "Peg in a Low-Backed Car", which he sings every time he gallops home drunk. It's Played for Laughs until his Sanity Slippage takes effect later in the book. While singing it, he attempts to jump the gate, falls off his horse, breaks his neck and dies.

    Live Action TV 
  • In the Fringe episode "Brown Betty", the story version of Walter is introduced amongst the cheerful sound of corpses singing The Candyman. Later, he sings it to himself as his son abandons him and he is left to die alone.
  • One episode of The Wonder Years opens with Kevin extolling the virtues of his sweetheart Winnie as the Beach Boys' classic "God Only Knows" plays. The song is used again at the end of the episode when Winnie dumps Kevin.
  • During the Doctor Who episode "Last of the Time Lords", at various points remixed versions of "All The Strange Strange Creatures" appear, with added instrumentation, in order to evoke a more desperate, partially tribal feel.
    • The music that plays as we see the ruined Gallifrey in "The End of Time Part 2" is a jaded version of season three's "This is Gallifrey".
    • From the same episode, we have a reprise of "Song for Ten", which appears very briefly towards the end.
    • The music in the final scene of "The Pandorica Opens" is a dark reprise of Amy's theme.
    • The Eleventh Doctor's secondary theme, "The Mad Man With A Box" is given a dark reprisal towards the end of "The Big Bang", entitled "The Sad Man With A Box".
  • More of an even darker reprise of already dark music: In Torchwood: Children of Earth "Day One", "Countdown to Destruction" plays over the imminent destruction of the Hub and a very passionate kiss between Jack and Ianto. Come "Day Four", the same music plays when Jack and Ianto confront the 456, which doesn't end well. The real gut punch? The very same snippet that played over the kiss in Day One plays as Ianto collapses in Day Four.
  • The background music during the final scene of the Firefly episode "Jaynestown" is a sad, subdued, instrumental version of the earlier "Ballad of Jayne".
  • In the BBC adaptation of Gormenghast, Lady Fuschia sings a childish (and rather stupid) rhyme to announce herself in the first episode ('I am Fuschia, I am me...') and in the final episode, Steerpike sings a seriously twisted version gloating about his utter madness and the fact that he has mudered several members of Fuchsia's family, including her two aunts, whose corpses he is dancing around at the time. And it's all downhill from there...
  • NCIS does this in several episodes with their theme song, both with 'darker' versions as well as several sad versions. Interestingly, they often only change the speed of the song.
  • Now it's time to say goodbye to all our company.../M-I-C ( real soon!)/K-E-Y (Why? because we like you!)/M-O-U-S-E...
  • "Under Your Spell," from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In the first version, an upbeat love song, Tara uses the title phrase metaphorically; later Tara discovers she is literally under a spell to prevent her breaking up with Willow, and the Dark Reprise uses the phrase literally. The second version is actually a double version of this, seeing as it's a duet with an (even) Darker Reprise of Giles' earlier "Standing".
    • In "Walk Through the Fire", Tara reprises Buffy's lines from "If We're Together": "We can't we face / If we're together?".
  • In the first minute or so of episode 44 of Kamen Rider OOO, Doctor Maki gets a less booming version of Kougami's music.
  • The episode preceding Lost's fourth season finale introduces the show's home theme as a happy, sentimental motif. The episode's final moment's transform it into a song of doom.
  • A sinister cello version of Jenna's Turkish pop song "Muffin Top" plays during 30 Rock episodes when she or Tracy are up to something.
  • In Robin Hood, when Isabella first shows up, she's accompanied by a very dark, off-key remix of Marian's theme, indicating that her betrayal was planned from the start.
  • In Game of Thrones:
    • The first appearance of King Robert is heralded by a grand song called "The King's Arrival". The theme is then played as "You Win Or You Die" at the climax of the eponymous episode. Then in the second season premiere, another more dark version of the theme, "The Throne Is Mine", plays when guardsmen hunt down and systematically kill Robert's bastard children throughout the capital. Inverted in the same piece when it transitions into "Black of Hair", a more triumphant rendition of the Baratheon theme, when Gendry escapes the purge. Then its given an even darker and creepier reprise in Season 3 as Littlefinger's theme "Chaos Is A Ladder."
      • "Chaos Is A Ladder" itself recieves a Dark Reprise, an eerie and lonely five notes when Littlefinger finally lies dead in a puddle of blood, executed by the Starks for his crimes against them.
    • In the final episode of the second season, "Valar Morghulis", a very grim, foreboding version of the series' main theme called "Three Blasts" is played when an army of dead led by the White Walkers approaches the Fist of the First Men. In the same episode, a mournful version of the main theme is played on the Violin of Sadness as the Stark kids, Hodor and Osha survey the burnt wreck of Winterfell.
    • In a season 3 episode, the Brotherhood without Banners sing "The Bear and the Maiden Fair". In the end it is reprised as a heavy metal riff after Jaime gets his hand cut off.
    • The National's "The Rains of Castamere" during the end credits of "Blackwater" acts as this for a far more cheery rendition performed by Bronn earlier in the episode. Then in "The Rains of Castamere", the eponymous music is played during the Red Wedding, were Robb and his bannermen are killed, and again when Ned Starks sword has been reforged into two swords. Finally it is played following the death of Joffrey and upon Tywin Lannisters death at the hands of Tyrion, signifying the beginning of the end of the Lannisters. In a bit of irony Tywin is very much the reason how the music came to be.
    • The sixth season finale opens with "Light of the Seven", a lovely piano piece that slowly adds the cello and organ along with vocalizations. As the piece goes on, Cersei and Loras' trial by the Faith begins. As Lancel spots the wildfire, though, and Margaery begins to put two and two together, things speed up musically, quickly turning south along with the action. As the situation becomes more tense, the organ starts playing the main theme of the show in a frantic and alarming manner. And then, when the music cuts off, the wildfire ignites, destroying the sept.
    • "The House of the Undying", played during Daenerys' Bad Future vision in the House of the Undying sequence near the end of "Valar Morghulis" is a grimmer rendition of "Finale", the track played over the reveal of the dragons at the end of the first season, mixed with elements of "The Wall".
    • Theon's theme, "What Is Dead May Never Die," first heard when he returns to the Iron Islands, gets a twisted and dissonant reprise in "A Man Without Honor" to hint at his deteriorating mental state. This is taken further in Season 3 when it sped up and set to a drum beat to reflect Theon's panic during his flight and later corrupted into "Reek" when Ramsay tortures Theon into accepting his new name.
  • Episodes of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers usually end with a brief, chipper instrumental reprise of "Go, Go, Power Rangers" before the credits. However, a darker, slower and uncompleted reprise closes darker endings such as the earlier episodes of arrivals the evil Green Ranger and Lord Zedd and after the Command Center is blown up at the end of third season.
  • Austin, from Austin & Ally sings a slow acoustic version of the upbeat title song in Albums & Auditions. The lyrics are all about how Austin can't do what he does without Ally. The sad situation of Ally leaving the group to go to New York makes it a Dark Reprise.
  • In Power Rangers Wild Force, the standard music for the combination of the Wild Force Megazord begins with a jungle drumbeat, symbolic of the show's theme. When Zen-Aku combines the Predazord for the first time on screen, it's personal theme begins with an off-key version of the Wild Force Megazord's theme.
  • The Story of Tracy Beaker featured a slow, sombre piano rendition of the theme song that would play over more poignant moments, typically involving Tracy and her absent mother. Results in a bit of Lyrical Dissonance given the upbeat, positive nature of the lyrics.
  • In the Series 4 finale of Merlin, a lovely piece of music plays over Gwen's coronation. Come the finale, the same melody returns in the scene when Arthur dies. Talk about Mood Whiplash.
  • John's theme in Sherlock is shifted into a minor key for the music that plays when he is mourning Sherlock.
  • In Season 4 of Glee, Blaine sings a stripped-down version of Teenage Dream to his boyfriend Kurt before admitting that he cheated on him. The usual upbeat and happy version song is the first one Blaine ever sang to him back in Season 2.
  • A sad rendition of Sybil and Branson's love theme "Emancipation" plays after she died in Downton Abbey.
  • Entertainment Tonight uses a Lonely Piano Piece version of their theme whenever a celebrity dies.
  • In a season 3 Community episode where Annie accidentally breaks Abed's The Dark Knight DVD, Troy walks in on her while he is humming "Daybreak". After telling Annie to confess, Troy walks away while humming "Daybreak" again but that time is crying.
  • In Flemish series Kabouter Plop by Studio100. The show's theme can sometimes play in a soberer tone when ever a sad moment between the characters happens.
  • The Wire
    • In the penultimate season 2 episode, a jaunty folk tune plays when Frank decides to stick it to the Greek. It plays again when they meet to discuss getting Frank's son Ziggy out of prison except the Greek's FBI mole found out Frank talked to the cops so he's walking to his death.
    • The season 1 version of the theme song plays over the series finale montage, indicating that nothing has changed in Baltimore.
  • In each episode of The Sweeney the opening theme are upbeat and heroic, while the closing theme is the same themes but slower and in a minor key, reflecting Regan's incomplete success and his regrets for the compromises necessary to achieve even that.
  • Babylon 5: Early in season 1, we hear G'Kar singing a merry Gilbert and Sullivan-inspired song comparing the acts of fishing and flirting while preparing his dinner. Fast forward to season 4, and G'Kar is trapped with his Arch-Enemy Londo Mollari in a burning elevator. G'Kar begins to softly sing again, but wit new lyrics, this time comparing Londo to the freshly caught fish.
  • Bates Motel: In season 2, Norman and Norma sing "Mr. Sandman" as an audition for a community theatre musical. In season 4's "Forever," Nan Vernon's Softer and Slower Cover of the song plays as Norman turns up a broken furnace and starts closing air vents so that he and Norma will die of carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • In Walking with Beasts, when the Neanderthals attack the mammoths, the music that plays is a mix of the ones played during the mammoth migration and Megaloceros hunt but darker and with chanting and drums.
  • Wynonna Earp: The theme song, "Tell That Devil", is usually fast-paced in order to reflect the action-packed nature of the series. However, in the episode "Colder Weather" it's much slower and more somber, reflecting the In-Universe mood following the death of Dolls in the previous episode.
    • A similarly somber version of the theme tune plays over one of the final scenes of the Season 3 finale as Doc ascends to Eden to rescue Waverly.
  • The promo and first trailer for The Twilight Zone (2019) use a dark, ominous remix of the theme for the classic series.
  • Cobra Kai: S 2 E 10 begins with the original version of "Cruel Summer" playing, and ends with Kari Kimmel's slow, somber version of the same song.

  • The reprise of "La donna e mobile" near the end of Rigoletto; it's the moment when Rigoletto realizes the Duke is alive...
  • A choral reprise of the Toreador Song is sung in a darker tone while Don José kills Carmen.
  • In the operas of Richard Wagner:
    • The Ring of the Nibelung: A lot of Siegfried's and the Wälsung's motifs have a dark reprise in the "Funeral March". Also, the Immolation Scene does this to a lot of main motifs.
    • Tristan and Isolde: The "Liebestod" tune was already heard in the love duet.
  • Turandot: The Executioner Chorus' motif has a reprise in Liu's torture scene.
  • La Bohème: The final act of this opera is full of this trope. As Rodolfo and the dying Mimí reminisce about their first meeting, they sing the same music they did when it actually occurred, and Mimí sings brief reprises both of her own Act I aria and Rodolfo's. The orchestra also reprises Rodolfo's aria during Mimí's last moments, only to cut it short with the somber chord that signifies her death, and then offers a slow, aching reprise of her own aria as the other characters start to realize what's happened. There's also an example confined to the final act alone. At the beginning of their last duet, Mimi informs Rodolfo that she was only pretending to sleep in order to be alone with him; the tune she uses recurs with dark irony at the end of the act when Rodolfo realizes that Mimi has died.
  • La Traviata: At the opening of the last act, as a dying Violetta reads the letter from Alfredo's father, the orchestra brings the melody from their love song from the first act ("Di quell'amor, quell'amor ch'è palpito...").
  • Madama Butterfly: Butterfly's delicate theme, used previously in her entrance and the love duet, is played slowly in a minor key as she commits suicide in the final act.
  • Numerous instances in Billy Budd:
    • A sea shanty is repeatedly heard as a work song, but the tune returns in a threatening, wordless chorus at the end.
    • This is more a homage, but in one scene, Claggart has a motif very similar to that of the Grand Inquisitor.
    • Vere sings a motif that Claggart had first.
    • Billy has a foreshadowing of his big solo in an earlier duet.
    • Not to mention the Epilogue is a maybe even darker counterpart of the Prologue.

    Professional Wrestling 

  • American Country Countdown: The 1995-1998 music cue package had two somber-sounding cues, one to open and the other to lead to a commercial. Usually, these were used for ballads, but a few times they were used before song with a sad or somber theme.
  • The Steve Wright afternoon show on BBC Radio Two, has a jaunty opening theme. The closing theme is a Dark Reprise, played at the end of the show in slower tempo on French horns, acting as a very cheesy "The show is over, goodbye, loyal fans, see you tomorrow" theme.

    Recorded Music 
  • Nena's hit "99 Red Balloons" is a song about 99 red balloons being mistaken for a threat on radar and the nuclear holocaust starting. It's not exactly a sunshine song, but it's rather upbeat. Then the melody and lyrics turn soft and wistful for the final verse:
    99 dreams I have had
    And every one a red balloon.
    It's all over and I'm standing pretty
    In this dust that was a city.
    If I could find a souvenir
    Just to prove the world was here...
    And here is a red balloon
    I think of you and let it go...
  • The Who's The Kids Are Alright from My Generation: The middle two sentences ("I know, if I go, things will be a lot better for her. I had things planned, but her folks wouldn't let her.") change the meaning of repeated verse.
  • In The Protomen, Mega Man declares "As I live, there is no evil that will stand, and I will finish what was started - the fight of Protoman", when he first decides to avenge his brother. He repeats the line near the end of the opera, only this time, he's referring to trying to force humanity to fight for itself by allowing Dr. Wily to slaughter it.
  • Arcade Fire's album The Suburbs, about the appeal and dream-crushing nature of the aforementioned place, ends with a dark reprise of the titular song, representing (in one interpretation) the overwhelming nature of the suburbs. It ends with a slow fadeout of the words "Sometimes I can't believe it/I'm moving past the feeling", implying that while the protagonist once railed against the suburbs vociferously, he has given up his fight as futile.
  • Muse has the song Hyper Music which is an upbeat noise rock song... and also Hyper Chondriac Music, which is the same song but done in a mournful acoustic style. The lyrics were about someone going through a breakup and the stages of anger and depression respectively.
  • Skinny Puppy's Remission has "Glass Houses", and its more sinister reprise, "Glass Out".
  • Cord Lund's I Wanna Be in the Cavalry and its reprise: The first song is an upbeat country song about a young recruit, full of eagerness and enthusiasm who wants to join the cavalry. The reprise? A song about the hardships of being of a cavalryman in the 19th century, disease, starvation, and the elements and all. To add to the bleakness, the narrator is a soldier in an army fighting a losing war.
  • In Joanna Newsom's album Have One On Me, the final song, Does Not Suffice, is a Dark Reprise of the central In California. Whilst In California is about the evaluation of a relationship, which is threatened by distance, homesickness and a fear of commitment, Does Not Suffice is a definite break-up, as the voice describes packing her belongings and leaving her lover, stating that "everywhere I tried to love you is yours again and only yours". The "chorus" of In California, which focused entirely on a sense of indecision, is echoed in Does Not Suffice by a series of resigned, defeated lalala's, which fade away as they are overwhelmed by strings and a burgeoning, crashing electronic drone (a stark mechanical presence in an album full of pastoral imagery). Definitely darker.
  • In "Leave The Bourbon On The Shelf" by The Killers, it's the line, "And I love you endlessly, darling, don't you see, I'm not satisfied." The line isn't as noticeable at first, because it goes by quickly and the music is still playing, but when the music fades out and the song puts special emphasis on it by making it the last line in the entire song, it seems like they are trying to tell you something. And they are: The next song in the trilogy, "Midnight Show", has the narrator killing his ex-girlfriend, whom the first song was also for.
  • Happens several times in mothy 's Evillious Chronicles
    • "Daughter of Evil", begins with the line, "There was, once upon a time, an evil kingdom that no one dared to face, and the ruler was a girl so mean, a little princess of only age fourteen". This line is repeated at the end, right before the princess is about to be executed- though it is really her twin brother taking her place.
    • In "Drug of Gold", the line "The two of us going won't be so bad" is repeated twice. The first time, it refers to the singer learning that his fiancée's dream is to travel around the world. The engagement is broken off, and the singer later starts working as his former fiancée's chef, under a false identity, becoming increasingly horrified by just what she has become. The second time the line refers to him resolving to poison her and himself.
  • In the Vocaloid song "Kagome, Kagome" (Circle You, Circle You), Miku and Luka singing the words to the game (which is a real game, by the way) starts out already being extremely creepy. But when you find out their reasons for being in the abandoned orphanage and the things that happened in the orphanage before it was deserted, you realize that they are very likely murderous ghosts. The line gets even darker when they sing it a second time.
  • Ne-Yo's album Libra Scale opens with "Champagne Life", which is an easygoing, upbeat party tune, full of vitality and celebratory swagger. The album closes with "What Have I Done", a regretful look back at past mistakes and broken love whose backing track echoes the carefree tune of "Champagne Life" with piercing guilt.
  • Lit's "Miserable" has this happen all within the chorus: "You make me cum/You make me complete/You make me completely miserable."
  • Green Day's "¿Viva La Gloria? (Little Girl)" from their Rock Opera 21st Century Breakdown is a Dark Reprise of one of the earlier songs, "¡Viva La Gloria!" While the latter is that of one of the main characters, Christian, praising and encouraging Gloria to "start a war", the former is that of Christian accusing her of being a useless "dirty liar".
  • In the Domain concept album The Last Days of Utopia, this song is played when the main character is washed up on the shores of the titular city, and is breathtaken at its majesty. Later on, after the destruction of the island and with the main character floating alone lost at sea, we get this.
  • Happens within a single song for The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets' concept album The Shadow Out of Tim. The song is called "Operation: Get the Hell Out of Here," and the chorus goes "Take your time, take your toll, everything's under control/Execute Operation: Get the Hell Out of Here" until after the last verse of the song, where the protagonists accidentally unleash an Eldritch Abomination, it's changed to "Take your life, take your soul, everything's out of control/Execute Operation: Get the Hell Out of Here".
  • The last song of Caamora's opera based on the novel She, The Fire of Life, is full of these.
    • Partway through the song, Leo reprises part of a much earlier song, Covenant of Faith. But instead of hopeful and optimistic, it's now full of despair. The line "But I won't turn back from this journey that I take" in Covenant refers to his exploration of the lost island they've washed up on, whereas in Fire he's referring to his decision to bathe in the Fire of Life and rule the island as its immortal king.
    • Shortly after, Ayesha's "Wait for me" chorus has the same melody as the instrumental introduction to the song, but with a quiet, almost ethereal quality to it.
    • Finally, the ending chant of "She Ayesha, She Immortal" is the same as the one in the prologue of the entire opera, except now it sounds hectic and desparate as the volcano erupts around the protagonists.
  • "The Princess Who Sleeps In A Glass Coffin" from Sound Horizon's Märchen, Snow White sings a darker, more vindictive version of the song's first verse once she's revived.
    With skin white as sorcery, hair black as obsidian,
    And lips red as the flame, I have been reborn.
    If your burning envy has made you sin, then with burning shoes,
    You shall dance until you die!
  • Front 242's Front By Front reprises "Until Death (Do Us Part)" as "Agony (Until Death)".
  • The fourth (and final) movement of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4 in F Minor (Op. 36) can qualify as this. Right after the fast, energetic melody at the very start, a fairly light and upbeat version of a Russian melody "In the Field Stood a Birch Tree" follows, played by flute and oboe. The melody returns later in the movement, much more melancholy, and slower in tempo. Listen to this for an example, and particularly, listen to 0:15, 1:35, and 4:05. This is perhaps even more pronounced in his ''Symphony No. 6 in B Minor"" (Op. 74). Light and joyful second theme of the first movement is used in a minor key in a unusually slow, depressive and hopeless fourth (and final) movement. Moreover, some parts of a similarly light second movement appear as a coda of the the fourth movement, but now they transform into a shape of a funeral march. The fact that the author has died only nine days after the first performance of this symphony cannot make symbolism any stronger.
  • Maurice Ravel's La Valse can be considered as a deconstructed variation. The piece itself can be considered as a homage to Johann Strauss, but with nasty twists. The first half of the piece starts with a set of melodies; some are sweet, others are exciting, all are generally benign. The second half shows fragments of the melodies arranged differently, becoming progressively more jerk-y and dissonant. The piece tries to bring itself together back again at the end (with a repeat of the first melody), but utterly fails, resulting in an atonal, dissonant, and savage danse macabre ending. All of this alludes to the rise and decline of 19th-Century Vienna, and eventual destruction by World War I. Read this Other Wiki page for more info.
  • Pink Floyd's The Wall has a couple:
    • "In the Flesh?" opens the album with Pink discussing his vaguely defined issues: "If you wanna find out / What's behind these cold eyes / You'll just have to claw your way through this disguise." When it repeats on the fourth side, it's about his (perhaps imagined) descent into fascism ("If I had my way, I'd have all of you shot!")
      • The film adaptation takes it further, where "In the Flesh" is redone in an orchestral format in order to fit with Pink's hallucination of him speaking at a Neo-Nazi rally instead of performing at a concert.
    • "Another Brick in the Wall"'s three versions go from laments about Pink's childhood and education to a violent rejection of all human contact as he retreats behind his self-built Wall.
    • At the very beginning of "In The Flesh?" we hear very soft, calm music which is pretty easy to not notice and the first couple words we hear are "...we came in?" At the end of the album in "Outside the Wall" is the exact same music and in the closing seconds of the album we hear "Isn't this where-". It's worth nothing that "Outside the Wall" is about Pink finally escaping from behind the emotional wall he's built between himself and everyone else, so "Outside the Wall" leading back into the very beginning (which after the soft part turns into the same music as in the later "In the Flesh" when he's at the height of his troubles). In case you haven't put it together yet, he's right back where he started.
  • The Cruxshadows' Ethernaut gives "Winter Born" a dark reprise with "A Stranger Moment", which uses the same progression as the former's main riff and verse. The formers' lyrics speak of a hero's Last Stand in a Darkest Hour, while the latter appears to be about the character's Apocalyptic Log or a Message in a Bottle to his loved ones.
  • In !HERO: The Rock Opera, there's a Dark Reprise Medley. Right after "Execute" on the same track, there's the reprise to "Intentions" where Jude is Driven to Suicide for betraying Hero, and then immediately after that there's the reprise to "Hero" and "Lose My Life With You" as the characters singing it realize that Hero is dead.
  • The Frozen Autumn's Fragments of Memories includes an instrumental lonely piano and strings reprise of the already gloomy "Winter" from Pale Awakening.
  • Jason Webley's Against the Night has a Dark Reprise in the form of Again the Night, which drops the guitar and percussion, turns the accordion up to a mourning roar, changes Jason's voice from smooth to gravelly, and makes the lyrics even MORE melancholy than the original.
  • Interface's The Perfect World album zigzags this trope with "Square One", a desperate reprise of "It Begins Today", which segues into the Triumphant Reprise "Back To the Beginning".
  • Bumblefoot's song "Normal" received two different Dark Reprises. The first, on the same album as "Normal" (aptly titled "Normal") is "Shadow" and is about how he starts to fall back into his depression after finally having been normal for a short time. The second is more of a Spiritual Successor, though. On the album released after "Normal", titled "Abnormal", we get the title-track, "Abnormal", which is where he's completely crazy and depressed again. Also, "Shadow" is the second-to-last track on "Normal", followed by "Thank You". "Abnormal" is the first track on "Abnormal", making the connection a bit clearer.
  • On DJ Shadow's album Endtroducing....., the already eerie "Transmission 1" which appears near the start of the album is made even more haunting in "Transmission 3", the album's finale. This track is fuzzier and more distorted than the original, and ends with a spine-chilling Twin Peaks sample.
  • Gentle Giant's album begins with "Proclamation", a song narrated by the oppressive ruler of a kingdom. At the end of the album, the song "Valedictory", which uses the same melody as "Proclamation", is instead narrated by the man who took control and tried to make the country a better place, having become just as oppressive and tyrannical as the ruler before him.
  • In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, Neutral Milk Hotel's holocaust-themed concept album, has a few of these:
    • The King of Carrot Flowers Pt. 1 is immediately followed by The King of Carrot Flowers Pt. 2 & 3, which has a much darker, heavier sound than the original track (which is largely acoustic), though the subject matter is a bit lighter, since the first song dealt largely with abuse and incest while the second one talks about spiritual reverence.
    • Two-Headed Boy receives a more standard Dark Reprise in Two-Headed Boy Pt. 2, which is much slower than the original and ties together the original song's ideas about intimacy and identity with the album as a whole's themes of grief, perversion and tragedy.
    And when we break, we'll wait for our miracle
    God is a place where some holy spectacle lies
  • VNV Nation's Empires album reprises the upbeat "Rubicon" as the melancholy "Distant(Rubicon II)".

    Video Games 
  • Conker's Bad Fur Day opens with the proud and brooding intro of the The Funeral Of Queen Mary. After the game is completed, the final cutscene opens with a solemn and genuinely depressing reprise.
  • Disgaea 2 has a dark reprise (fully instrumental) of its main theme Sinful Rose play during the credits of the worst ending. Post credits, horror ensues.
  • Silent Hill 2's (instrumental) theme tune is strangely light and optimistic for a horror game - until a scene near the end, where a much more melancholy version plays on piano and violin, making the moment (Angela's decision to commit suicide) that much more heartbreaking.
    • In the same game, "Fermata in Mistic Air", played when Maria dies for the second time, is a dark reprise of "Null Moon", the music when you first meet her.
    • "Promise Reprise", played during the second cutscene with Angela, is a Lonely Piano Piece version of the Maria Ending credits theme, making it a kind of inversion.
    • Also, the first game has "Not Tomorrow", played when Lisa dies, which is a dark reprise of its title theme.
  • Yoko Shimomura loves this trope:
    • Kingdom Hearts I: The Gummi Ship themes definitely fit this trope. The first and second themes are rather light and happy, but then you get to the last one, which is darker, creepier and generally a lot more sinister than the other two.
    • Kingdom Hearts II:
      • The final boss theme, "Darkness of the Unknown", is a variation. The track is split into three segments, one for each phase of the battle; the third and final part is a slower, almost melancholic mix of the previous two.
      • The Final Mix has a straighter example: "The Other Promise" is a mournful reprise of Roxas's theme, played during your battle with him.
    • Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days:
      • A calm remix of "Sacred Moon", the final dungeon theme from II, is used as the background music for the Grey Area. Where this trope comes in is during Roxas's escape from the Castle That Never Was, which is accompanied by "Mystic Moon", an arrangement closer to the original but with a slower tempo and moodier instrumentation.
      • Xion's theme, "Musique pour la tristesse de Xion", contains a riff of Kairi's theme. Her battle theme "Vector to the Heavens" is a dramatic, even sadder version of her regular theme.
    • Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep:
      • Vanitas's battle theme, "Enter the Darkness", incorporates snippets of Ventus, Roxas, and Sora's leitmotifs. His theme in Ventus's final battle, "Unbreakable Chains", is in turn a slower and more intense version of "Enter the Darkness".
      • "The Key", Aqua's battle music with Ventus-Vanitas, is a dark version of Dearly Beloved.
    • In Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth by Sleep - A Fragmentary Passage, Aqua's theme gains a demented and sinister reprise during her battle against Phantom Aqua. Kingdom Hearts III features another dark reprise when Sora fights the corrupted Aqua, now with a One-Woman Wail in the background.
  • Pokémon:
    • Pokémon Red and Blue: The theme of Team Rocket's Hideout (and technically the Power Plant's and Cerulean Cave's too) is an even creepier remix of the theme of the Viridian Forest, hinting the connection between Team Rocket and Viridian City with its abandoned Gym, making it a Musical Spoiler.
    • The background themes of Vermilion City and Pallet Town in Pokémon Gold and Silver are slower-paced than the originals from Pokémon Red and Blue, but not necessarily "darker". However, the Cinnabar Island theme in the remakes plays this straight with a music box tune for the town that was destroyed in a volcanic eruption.
    • In Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, the Victory Road theme is essentially a Dark Reprise of the main Pokémon theme.
    • In Pokémon Colosseum, the main villain's theme is a darker version of Es Cade's theme.
    • Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness, the sequel to Colosseum, has a dark version of the previous game's theme when the player first arrives in Phenac City. People who played Colosseum are meant to take this as a hint that something isn't quite right...
    • The N's Castle theme in Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 is a darker version of its theme from Pokémon Black and White.
    • In Pokémon Ranger: Shadows of Almia, the cheery elevator music that plays in the Altru Building's lobby gets a tense remix when the place is taken over by Team Dim Sun.
    • In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity, Despair serves as the game's Simple Score of Sadness for most of the game, but gets twisted into something much darker in the final chapter with its aptly named heavy arrangement.
    • A weird example: in Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, all of the evil team leaders get remixed versions of their songs from the previous games. These were pretty much all dark tracks to begin with, as befitting of the characters who used them. While the remix of Archie and Maxie's shared theme isn't too bad, the remixes of Cyrus's, Ghetsis's and Lysandre's themes are downright twisted, taking the most ominous and scary parts of their themes and amping them all up as far as they can go. Rather fittingly, these are also Triumphant Reprises, because these are all versions of these villains who won. Given the scope of their plans, this is very bad.
      • And another one: Lunala's and Solgaleo's theme in Sun and Moon was an upbeat, lively one bordering on sounding more like a rival theme, just with reminders here and there that you're still fighting a borderline deity which is actually rather fitting given their relationship to the player. Cut to Ultra Necrozma's theme, which is a sinister, twisted, even depressing and disheartening version that makes it VERY obvious what kind of enemy you're facing. Also makes sense given that Ultra Necrozma forcefully absorbed Solgaleo or Lunala to take its form, becoming one of the strongest Pokemon in the entire franchise, and that's not even considering its aura-boosted stats! Not to mention that your friend is, in a way, fighting you against its own will, and possibly even acutely aware of this. And this is supposedly a kid's game.
  • In Tales of Symphonia, Zelos' happy-go-lucky samba theme song is replaced by a much darker, slower arrangement during his Face–Heel Turn, showing his inner darkness.
    • Similarly, Raine's theme has two versions: the speedy, silly version that plays when she is in the throes of her ruin mania, and a slower, solemn one used for more serious scenes. This second one is what plays when Raine meets her Missing Mom, who has gone insane with guilt(?) and doesn't even recognize her own children.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy IV has the final boss music, "The Final Battle", that includes remixed segments of "Main Theme" (the world map music) and "The Airship".
      • The music that plays after a character's death scene is a slower, more somber version of the overworld theme.
    • The Aria sung by Celes in Final Fantasy VI is played again when Celes attempts suicide after Cid's death.
      • Additionally, Locke and Setzer's themes are reprised in "Forever Rachel" and "Epitaph", which play in flashbacks to the deaths of their respective love interests.
    • Final Fantasy VII; The final boss fight in Disc 1, Jenova Life, has Aerith's theme playing in the background. This is appropriate because the fight takes place after Sephiroth kills Aerith.
      • On a lighter note, a more mischievous version of Yuffie's theme plays when she steals all of the party's materia.
    • The ending sequence of Final Fantasy VIII makes good use of this with Eyes On Me, which is turned into a terrifying psychedelic acid trip. This is the first time we hear the song in full - although the melody is played often as background music in the game, canonically the versions we hear during gameplay are muzak covers of the real thing.
    • Final Fantasy IX has an inversion: Rose of May is a melancholy theme that serves as Beatrix's main leitmotif, and it plays during the party's (hopeless) battles against her. Later, after she discovers the depths of Queen Brahne's evil plans and turns against her, her team-up with Steiner uses an arrangement of the theme called Protecting My Devotion, which is considerably more upbeat and optimistic.
    • The theme "Otherworld" is played during the intro to Final Fantasy X, and it's later used as the theme for the final boss.
      • The Hymn of the Fayth is normally sung to inspire hope in the listener. However, an eerie, distorted version plays during the conversation with Yunalesca, where the utter futility of the pilgrimage is revealed.
      • From 0:47-0:57 and 1:55-2:05, the final boss theme of Final Fantasy X-2, "Their Resting Place," contains a dark instrumental reprise of the melody of the game's vocal theme "1000 Words." "Their Resting Place" is played while fighting the 1000-years-tortured spirit of Shuyin, the lover of Lenne, who wrote and performed "1000 Words," and who following the battle tells Shuyin that she has a new song for him, which is implied to be "1000 Words."
    • Final Fantasy XII's final boss theme, "The Battle For Freedom" contains both a Dark Reprise of the "Theme of the Empire" as well as a Triumphant Reprise of the "Theme of Final Fantasy XII" (the theme of the Resistance), battling against each other for dominance.
    • Final Fantasy XIV does this three times during the Final Battle against Nidhogg/Estinien in the Heavensward 3.3 story. The first music piece, "Dragonsong", which has Hydaelyn singing/asking why her children are throwing away their lives after being given the gift of life, is taken directly from the expansion pack's trailer. The second music score is a remix of the final boss dungeon theme heard throughout most of the Heavensward scenario that plays at a slower and more intense pace. The last music score is a choir remix of Isghard's city theme that signifies the climax of the battle. All three remixed themes fit due to the final boss's connection to Ishgard and the whole backstory as a whole.
    • Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles final boss music has remixed segments of the opening theme mixed in with it.
    • You know that little jingle that plays whenever you win a battle in most of the Final Fantasy games? Well, it, naturally, features in the Dissidia: Final Fantasy games whenever the character you're playing as wins a fight. However, if you're playing as one of the Warriors of Chaos, a different variation plays, with a real 'evil has prevailed' feel to it.
      • There's a similar-sounding "Tango of Tears" remix of the victory fanfare in Final Fantasy VII, for when you lose a chocobo race.
  • Hunting~Betrayal from Digital Devil Saga 2 is a reprise of the first game's battle theme, which plays during the Optional Boss fights and when you take on Heat.
  • Persona 3 has Aria of the Soul - well, more specifically, the entire Persona series has Aria of the Soul, which plays in the Velvet Room, and nowhere else. However, in Persona 3 - the final boss, the Nyx Avatar reprises it as The Battle for Everyone's Souls. It turns the normally calm and peaceful Aria of the Soul into a theme that definitely seems to embody the state of the situation your party is in: While the main guitar segment seems to be optimistic and gung-ho, the corresponding piano and vocal-oriented segments are almost pessimistic.
    • In Persona 2, we had Kashihara which is a darker version of Philemon's Theme. Also the EX battle which is actually a lighter version of the final battle.
    • In Persona 5, the track Awakening plays whenever someone first awakens to their Persona, while Willpower plays in the battle immediately afterwards. The later theme is also played when Shadow Sae goes berserk after being caught cheating again and goes One-Winged Angel, and both themes are played when Goro unleashes Loki.
      • The music for the final dungeon, Mementos Depths, is a dark, melencholy and oppressive rearrangement of the upbeat track "Tokyo Daylight" that plays when you're running around the city. It symbolizes how Mementos is "everyone's palace", formed from every day citizens' complicitness that allows social corruption to thrive.
  • In Tekken 2, Devil's theme is an even darker rendition of Kazuya's already dark theme.
  • Halo:
    • Halo 3:
      • The final mission of features an Ethereal Choir music piece, "Halo Reborn", which itself is a reprise of "Under Cover of Night". A sad reprise of this, "Greatest Journey", with "violins of woe", is played when Sgt. Johnson dies.
      • While this was inverted with the second part of Halo 2's "High Charity Suite", which is a bright reprise of the Covenant's theme, the same piece is reused with Soundtrack Dissonance in Halo 3's ending, what with the apparent loss of Master Chief.
      • Similarly, when Miranda is killed, a sad reprise of the beginning of "High Charity Suite" is played, which itself was a darker arrangement of 2's "In Amber Clad".
      • The credits music starts with a Triumphant Reprise of the Halo theme, but ends with a Lonely Piano Piece.
    • "Spartans Never Die" from Halo: Reach is a Lonely Piano reprise of "Return", the first movement of "The Package"; and by extension, the first half of "Ghosts and Glass" . Likewise, "Ashes" is a remix of "Wing and a Prayer" with a One-Woman Wail added to the first part.
  • In World of Warcraft, the creatures known as the Naaru play a soothing melodic chime as you approach them. However, when one of them becomes corrupted and is reintroduced as a boss, a twisted, chaotic version of the same chime can be heard during the fight.
  • In Crash Twinsanity, the music for Twinsanity Island is a minor-key "urban" rendition of N. Sanity Island's music.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess:
      • The music for first part of the final boss is a very dark reprise of Zelda's Lullaby since the fight is against Zelda's body being possessed by Ganon.
      • "Midna's Desperate Hour" is a Lonely Piano Piece version of her theme / the Hyrule Field theme.
    • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker:
      • The "Great Sea Cursed" music is a dark reprise of the main overworld theme combined with Ganondorf's theme.
      • Each of the boss themes in Ganondorf's Castle during what borders on being a Boss Rush.
      • Much like the graphic style, a lot of The Wind Waker's songs are deceptively cheerful, and get twisted into something darker or more downtrodden by the end of the game. Some of the tracks that haven't been listed yet are Aryll's Theme ('Aryll's Kidnapping'), 'Hyrule King Appears' ('Farewell Hyrule King'), 'Hyrule Castle' (which actually debuts as 'Sealed Hyrule Castle') and even the series' main theme in the ever-popular 'The Legendary Hero'.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening has several dark reprises of the main Zelda theme for exploration.
    • Used with great effect in The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. For each day (the game spreads through three), Clock Town plays a different song: the first day plays a joyful and upbeat song fitting for a happy town and stuff; the second day has a bit faster and quieter version, but largely the same; but the third one... Reflecting the impending doom the town is about to face, the song gets its rhythm section swapped by a ominous, dark one, and the fact that the main melody is maintained (even the instrument) makes it even creepier. Ah, and it's faster too.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass also does this with an extremely dramatic and tense remix of Linebeck's theme used for the final battle, where Link is forced to fight him after he is possessed by Bellum.
    • The final dungeon of The Minish Cap, Dark Hyrule Castle, features a chilling remix of the A Link to the Past theme.
  • If you fail an event in the original Pilotwings, a sad piano version of the "Event Clear" music plays.
  • Xenogears first has the song "The Wounded Shall Advance Into the Light" play in the Nisan Cathedral, a solemn, calm environment. Later, the dark reprise "Pray for the People's Joy" is played during moments of crushing hopelessness.
  • Shadow Forger Ihlakhizan's theme in Runescape is a darker take on "Born To Do This", a heroic theme of Daemonheim.
  • Scott Pilgrim Vs The World The Game has a dark reprise of the Scott Pilgrim anthem when fighting Nega Scott.
  • The Final Boss Music of each scenario of SaGa Frontier is a darker rearrangement of the Main Character's theme of that scenario.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
  • The World 1 background music from Super Mario Galaxy 2 is actually a somber version of the "Good Egg Galaxy" music from the first Super Mario Galaxy game.
    • Also, the ending music of the first Galaxy game, which is a dark reprise of the "Comet Observatory" theme, which is played when Rosalina says goodbye to Mario/Luigi after helping her save the universe (and Peach, which Mario/Luigi is concerned) from Bowser and flying away to another part of the galaxy.
    • In New Super Mario Bros. U, the theme that plays in most levels of Peach's Castle (which has been taken over by Bowser) is a dark reprise of Peach's Castle theme from Super Mario 64. Doubles as a Musical Nod, since the original version of said reprise is from an earlier game altogether.
    • Super Mario Odyssey has two separate battles with Bowser, one in the Cloud Kingdom, and one inside the Moon. The first time, an electric guitar and overall metal version of Bowser's signature theme song plays. Not inside of the Moon. The second battle is the last one, so it plays a fully orchestrated remix of the song that plays in the first battle. And yeah, it's pretty threatening when the music begins during the cutscene as Bowser shouts "Here's your happily ever after!"
    • Super Mario 64 pulls a similar trick: the first two Bowser battles are accompanied by a driving rock tune that evolves into a sinister Ominous Pipe Organ remix in time for the final boss.
  • Castlevania
  • Thunder Force IV's opening theme, Lightning Strikes Again, gets a much more aggressive remix when you battle the Orn-controlled Rynex in TFV. Several such leitmotifs from past games were also used in the sixth installment for similar purposes.
  • Donkey Kong Country
  • In Banjo-Kazooie, the music for your house and Spiral Mountain are both upbeat and bouncy. In the sequel, however, Spiral Mountain's theme has a more mournful melody, and the music for Banjo's house sounds sort of empty, considering it's just been demolished. Within the same game, the sequel has King Jingaling's Palace, which has a melody that tells how you're in the presence of royalty. Once Grunty and her sisters zap his life energy and zombifies him, though, that same song seems to have less life in it. Put simply, this series has a lot of dark reprises.
  • Inverted in Tales of Monkey Island with a major version of LeChuck's theme.
  • Axelay has this for the boss themes, much darker versions of their respective stage themes.
  • Umineko: When They Cry manages to make an already dark theme darker, not just one time but twice, turning goldenslaughterer (which usually plays when a murder scene is discovered) into resurrected replayer, and then to the executioner.
    • Another song that gets this treatment is deadangle which is only played in the more hopeless of situation, which then becomes discolor/
  • Ace Attorney:
    • The Steel Samurai is an exciting children's action show. Appropriately, it has an upbeat theme song. The protagonist of the first three games even uses it as his ringtone. The show's popularity leads to a spinoff show called the Nickel Samurai with the same theme. However, the star of the Nickel Samurai is accused of murdering the star of a rival show. At a certain point during this case, when something sad is being explained, a slowed-down and sad version of the song called the Steel Samurai's Ballad plays. The same Ballad also plays during the game's bad ending.
    • It could also be said with several character reminiscence themes. Some notable ones being:
    • Kazuma Asogi's theme, Samurai with a Mission is interesting in that it has two Dark Reprises. It becomes this whenever his death in case 2 is mentioned, and becomes this after being revealed to be alive all along, though amnesiac, in the sequel and during his tenure as a prosecutor.
  • Medal of Honor: Frontline uses a minor-key version of its title theme at certain points, such as at the end of the OST track "After the Drop".
  • The track "I AM NOT A MORON" from Portal 2 becomes a dark reprise of itself as the scene it plays during switches from being about Robot Buddy Wheatley taking control of the Enrichment Center from Big Bad GLaDOS and allowing you to escape to him going Drunk with Power and becoming the new Big Bad. A more standard case of this trope occurs with the song too, as an even darker and more frantic version of it plays as the final boss theme.
  • The theme of Obsidian enters a foreboding minor rendition near the end of its second dream world, before the eerie Mechanical Spider comes alive.
  • If Harry dies in Pitfall II, a minor version of the Theme Music Power-Up plays. This version is also the basis for the underground stage music in the arcade game.
  • In Assassin's Creed II, Family is a slower, more wistful version of the theme from Earth.
  • Homeworld starts -after a much needed tutorial- with the epic scene of launching the Mothership. Meanwhile, the vocal version of Adagio for Strings, Agnus Dei, plays during the launch sequence. Cue two missions later after a small trip to the edge of the solar system: your fleet returns home only to find your homeworld burning. The same bloody song, which filled you with triumph, will reduce you to tears.
    • And then there is the twist at the end, you arrive at your long lost homeworld and here the same song is again, but this time it once again fills you with triumph and a glorious feeling.
    • Inverted with "Esper Battle"(fighting Espers) and "Esper"(summoning Espers). The former has a steady war drum beat invoking a feeling that a dangerous enemy has you in their sights or at a disadvantage (considering the Espers you fight, it fits). "Esper" however is a faster paced version of the former invoking feelings of a Heroic Second Wind or Big Damn Heroes.
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge
    • "Oh No!" is a minor-key reprise of Jack Skellington's cheerfully macabre "What's This?", after he finds Christmas Town in ruins. Most of Oogie's Revenge is composed of reprises of the original songs, but this is the biggest Mood Whiplash from the original.
    • There is also "Take Our Town Back" to the tune of "Making Christmas" about the townspeople banding together to defeat Oogie, and "Sally's Song" a darker, up-tempo version of the same song from the original film which is now a duet between Sally and Jack about Oogie's deception.
  • The final boss theme in Dragon Quest IX contains a minor key variation of the series main theme.
  • In Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition, Evil Ryu's theme is this trope to his original, classic theme, even mixed with some of Akuma's theme. Furthermore, Oni, Akuma's even more superpowered Superpowered Evil Side, is an even darker reprise of his regular theme.
  • Mass Effect:
    • The title theme of Mass Effect 3 is a much slower and more somber version of the Victory theme that plays at the climax of the original Mass Effect.
    • Mordin sings snatches from "I Am The Very Model Of A Scientist Salarian" just before his death in Mass Effect 3.
    • "An End, Once and For All" is a more somber, mostly piano-only version of "Leaving Earth."
    • In the Extended Cut DLC, the neutral track "Resolution", which plays during parts of each ending, has two separate Dark Reprises. "A Future Many Will Never See" accompanies the Destroy ending and is a somber, but determined memorial that emphasizes those who died hero's deaths throughout the trilogy. "We Fought As A United Galaxy", the Refusal ending track, is more bleak and defeated, in a minor key and much slower than its counterparts.
    • In the new Citadel DLC, the clone Shepard is introduced with a twisted version of the music from the beginning of the original Mass Effect. Fittingly enough, it is titled, The Anti-Shepard
  • BioWare did it again across two games. Star Wars: The Old Republic uses a stripped-down, ominous remix of the character creation screen music from Knights of the Old Republic in the "Shadow of Revan" arc when your character, backed up by one hell of an Enemy Mine lineup of NPCs, gives Revan his final death.
  • The already creepy mansion themes in Resident Evil 1 and its remake become even more sinister when you return from the guest house.
  • Kid Icarus: Uprising has Pyrrhon's theme being played with a darker tone after he hijacks the Aurrum and does a Face–Heel Turn.
    • Also, Medusa's boss theme doesn't change, but it's played again when Pit has to save a Brainwashed and Crazy Palutena from the Chaos Kin. The fact that you're trying not to harm her while she's trying to kill you without any sort of free will makes it even more disturbing.
  • In the Genesis and PC Engine versions of Valis: The Phantasm Soldier, a slow sad version of "The Wilderness" plays during Reiko's death cutscene. The Game Over music is a dirge-like rendition of "Flash of Sword", the Stage 1 theme.
  • Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner has the theme of Anubis, an ominous remix of the main theme Beyond the Bounds.
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: The trailer for the Dragonborn DLC plays a dark remix of the game's Bragging Theme Tune. Whereas the original is triumphant and sings in Dovah about how the Dragonborn is a mighty hero, the remixed version sounds much more ominous and threatening, as the words of the song are being twisted to reflect the main antagonist, also a Dragonborn.
  • On Fallout: New Vegas's OST, "Knock on my Cazador", heard in the outskirts of Goodsprings and abandoned settlements, is an ominous drony version of "No Rest for These Bones"(heard around Goodsprings). Several other songs also get this treatment at nighttime (e.g. Howdy Pardner->CCC Doesn't Work For Free, Primm and Proper->The Courier Walks Softly).
  • The Necropolis theme from Heroes of Might and Magic V is a twisted and sinister remix of the Haven theme. Fitting, since in the portion of the game's story mode where you control the necropolis faction, the Griffin Empire falls under the control of the necromancer Markal.
    • This is later explained in Heroes of Might and Magic VI, where it is revealed that the necromancers were once a part of the Griffin Empire, so the similarity in the music makes sense.
  • In The Night of the Rabbit the showdown against the Big Bad begins with a four act play, and each act of the play features a twisted version of the music from some previous place of the game.
  • The final boss theme in Kirby's Return to Dream Land is a sinister mix of Magolor's theme and the game's main theme, with Nightmare's theme from Kirby's Adventure and some Green Greens added in the mix.
    • The Shadow Mirror House music in Kirby: Triple Deluxe is an eerie version of the theme for Lollipop Land.
    • Kirby: Triple Deluxe also includes Green Greens in Queen Sectonia's battle theme. They just love Green Greens.
    • The standard boss battle music is remixed twice for the final boss: the first version appears in the cutscene "She Who Holds the Stars" as Queen Sectonia merges with the Dreamstalk and threatens to smother all of Pop Star, while the second appears in a slower and majestic version for the final boss music itself.
    • "Taranza, Master of Puppetry" is a sinister version of King Dedede's theme that plays while Taranza explains his plan and unleashes Masked Dedede on Kirby.
    • "Revenge of the Enemy," the boss music used for the rematches in Royal Road and for Masked Dedede, is a dire-sounding remix of the title theme (that throws in Green Greens for good measure).
    • "P-R-O-G-R-A-M", the final boss theme for Kirby: Planet Robobot, is a frantic techno/Ominous Pipe Organ/rock remix of the game's title theme, with snippets of the game's mini-boss theme and "The Noble Haltmann". Bits of "Galactic Nova Shooting" from Kirby Super Star can also be heard periodically.
    • The theme for the final phase of the last boss of Kirby Star Allies is an intense rock mash-up of Song of Supplication and a twisted version of Green Greens. The latter bit is extra appropriate when considering that Void Termina's core spends much of the fight sporting a Kirby face for some reason.
      • The theme of the True Final Boss of Star Allies, fought at the end of Soul Melter EX, begins the same as Void Soul's theme. However, the theme soon changes to a melancholic piano remix of Song of Supplication and Green Greens, occasionally shifting to a dark 8-bit remix of Green Greens.
  • The final stage and boss of RefleX features a darker arrangement of "Final Hour", the stage 1 theme of Kamui. Speaking of Kamui...
    • The end credits plays a melancholic version of "An Unavoidable Choice", the stage 1 theme of RefleX itself.
  • In The Walking Dead, "Alive Inside" has one in the form of "Goodbye." "Alive Inside" is essentially the theme music for Lee and Clementine; it plays during a number of their shared scenes, and the tune serves to reflect the hope they bring to each other, despite the Zombie Apocalypse. As the title would suggest "Goodbye" is a much more somber and melancholy version of "Alive Inside." It plays during the game's ending, beginning immediately after Clementine has been forced to bludgeon a walker to death with a baseball bat, and Lee attempts to teach Clementine everything she'll need to know to survive without him, because he had already been bitten in the previous episode. You are then left to decide whether Clementine will Mercy Kill him, or leave him to turn, which he (and you, by extension) will be able to justify with a handful of responses.
  • Spec Ops: The Line has a certain piece of music that plays in the background of some parts, usually, when the player discovers the aftermath of a massacre, or other evil, throughout the game, which seems to be based on the games theme music. The full version is not heard until chapter 14, which goes along with everything else driving in how througly fucked up everything is by now.
  • To accompany the generally Darker and Edgier feel of Heta Oni compared to its counterpart, the game's main theme is a creeptastic piano reprise of Axis Powers Hetalia's infamously cheerful and catchy theme song. And it gives an entirely new meaning to the line "I am Hetalia [hopeless Italy]!" - where it originally referred to the character Italy's status as The Millstone, now it refers to something much less funny.
  • The ending theme of Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals, "To the Future", is a somber reprise of the romantic "Tranquility", reflecting Maxim and Selan being Together in Death.
  • UltimaV has The Missing Monarch, a reprise of Rule Britannia (Lord British's anthem) played when Lord British is missing.
  • In The Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures, the stage select theme, "Welcome to Game Land", is replaced by "Welcome to Glitched Game Land" once the final stage is unlocked, and Fred Fucks' introductory music is a slow, ominous version of the boss theme.
  • The main theme for Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) is "His World". When Solaris reforms and threatens the universe itself, having killed Sonic in the process, this version plays.
  • Paladin's Quest has two examples in the two-part final boss battle: The first half of the fight features a reprise of the standard overworld fight theme; the second half plays a reprise of the big bad's Leitmotif.
  • Metal Slug 6 has a Dark Reprise of Final Attack for the final mission.
  • The final stage theme of Samurai Warriors Chronicles, "Grief", is a somber rendition of the game's main theme.
  • In both NiGHTS into Dreams... games, both of Reala's themes get a more intense electric guitar remix later on in the game, each subtitled "Theme of a Tragedic Revenge".
    • The "Mare Over" music of the original Ni GHTS is a shorter, darker reprise of the serie's motif, Dreams Dreams.
  • In Battleground Z/StreetPass Zombies, Dr. Psymad's opening gambit is to use an M Potion against the player, which is accompanied by a more sinister reprise of the regular invincibility theme.
  • In Miitopia, the final boss's theme music is an ominous version of the Great Sage's theme.
  • In Splatoon, after taking a few hits, the final boss's theme starts incorporating a darker version of the "Mission Complete" jingle.
  • Splatoon 2:
  • Ori and the Blind Forest:
  • In OFF, Hugo's theme - "The Race of a Thousand Ants" - is fast-paced, cheerful, and reminiscent of a child's music box. A darker, slower version of the tune plays in the endgame as the protagonist bludgeons the defenseless child to death.
    • If you thought that version was creepy, in the fan-made sequel HOME, the creepiness factor is taken up a notch in a remixed version titled "Empty Stare", which becomes primarily The Witness', aka Edna's theme, which is fitting given her darker characterization and her connection to Hugo. And they up the creepiness factor ''further'' with the battle theme version, "Nowhere to Begin, yet Everywhere to End", which, while similar, is further darkened by eerie, dissonant sounds.
  • A long time ago, there was this music from a game called Great Battle 2: Last Twin Fighter that had a really upbeat music. Many years later in Super Robot Wars Original Generation The Moon Dwellers, this same song got a very dark version used for the Final Boss.
  • Undertale
  • A dark reprise of the title theme of Sword of Mana plays as the hero and heroine confront Julius at the Mana Sanctuary and the Mana Tree starts to die from him leeching power from it.
  • The battle themes for XCOM2 are a Zig-Zagging Trope version. The upbeat music plays out as you engage ADVENT, and if enemies are left surviving, their turn start, and an ominous Dark Reprise of the combat theme is played, as they have the advantage now. But then your turn comes up, and a Triumphant Reprise of the combat theme plays up, and aside from the short turn transition sound, the change goes smoothly, not skipping a single note, as if the battle was an organic one where the advantage switched back and forth instead of a Turned Based Tactics combat, something very appropriate to the gritty and bloody combat of the game.
  • In Child of Light, Aurora's theme has the Lonely Piano Piece arrangement "Final Breath" when she says goodbye to her friends before entering the Temple of the Moon that houses the Magic Mirror supposedly leading back home. The context becomes even sadder when you find out that Norah/Nox was leading Aurora into a trap.
  • Minecraft: Story Mode utilises trope in the fifth and final episode of its second season. "Beacontown Twisted" is a rather ominous, sinister rendition of Beacontown's main theme. In context, "Twisted" plays early on when Jesse and friends enter Beacontown for the first time since The Admin threw the Overworld into eternal night. In the time since, The Admin has assumed Jesse's identity and leadership responsibilities back in Beacontown, and the reprise continues to play whenever The Admin appears to micromanage the citizens' lives as you prepare to overthrow him.
  • When you enter a Very Safe Lab in 20XX, the background music is swapped for one of these: a much creepier-sounding version to go along with the high risk, high reward nature of prototype augs.
  • Every stage in Guacamelee! has a normal theme and a eerier "World of the Dead" remixed theme. The themes are much more echoing and sound distant at times, such as Pueblucho going from a peaceful band playing in the streets to a much more distant feeling in the World of the Dead, as if the band's music still fills the air in the afterlife.
  • Civilization 5: While most empires have a relativly peaceful theme, Brazil's theme is straight up joyful as their theme is "Chega de Saudade", a bossa nova song, fitting with their Cultural Victory playstyle. However their war theme is this; instead of a peaceful Bossa Nova the song changes into a dramatic key, sounding more akin to a spy thriller.
  • Doki Doki Literature Club! has a song called Sayo-nara who took the main theme of the VN and turned it into a disturbing mixture of Ominous Music Box Tune and One-Woman Wail emphasing the Halfway Plot Switch from slice of life romance game to surreal metafictional horror. It's also fitting since it plays during Sayori's suicide.
  • In Metroid Prime Trilogy, both Metroid Prime and Emperor Ing’s second themes begin with a remix of their respective games’ title music.
  • In WarioWare Gold, the second part of the final battle against Wario Deluxe uses a dark remix of the main menu theme.
  • In Ōkami, the swordsman Oki is introduced with a laid-back but vaguely sad theme. As he becomes dangerously obsessed with slaying strong monsters to awaken his Ancestral Weapon, this is replaced by the off-kilter remix "Oki's Destiny". Once he comes to his senses and pledges to fight by Amaterasu's side, this is again replaced by the upbeat and heroic song "Brave Warrior Oki".
  • The theme for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is uplifting and triumphant. The lyrical version Lifelight...isn't; the lyrics basically describe the plight of the heroes in the story mode World of Light, wherein the entire universe has been wiped out by Galeem, all of the main characters have been captured to be used to make clones called Puppet Fighters, and everyone else has been turned into body-less entities forced to possess said puppets. It's not entirely dark as there's a noticeable hopeful tone within it, but altogether it's still a pretty somber song. However, there's actually 3 Dark Reprises to the Dark Reprise, in the form of the ominous and glorious theme for Galeem, the sinister and intimidating theme for Dharkon, and the absolutely epic theme for both of them at once.
    • There's also a sombre piano rendition of "Lifelight" that plays if you get a Game Over during Classic Mode.

    Web Comic 
  • Homestuck uses this multiple times over the course of the soundtracks; for example, the lighthearted song "Harlequin" from early in the story gets a pretty effective Dark Reprise called "The Carnival" to represent Gamzee's descent into insanity.

    Web Original 
  • Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog has one with "Slipping." The song's melody is first heard as background music as Horrible is attempting to steal the Wonderflonium. When we actually hear it as a song in its own right, it's significantly darker...not that it doesn't have totally random humorous moments (such as the Doctor interrupting his own song to give a reporter the correct spelling of his name.) This is Dr. Horrible, the king of Mood Whiplash, we're talking about.
    • Also, the theme song. Also a mild subversion in Brand new day / the music at the party after Hammer's defeat. The subversion is that BOTH usages are dark, but in different ways.
    • My Eyes, the opening number of Act II, probably counts as a sarcastic (ironic?) echo, with Billy and Penny singing completely different songs in the same space. Billy/Dr. Horrible's is a angsty, dark song about his descent into supervillainy because Penny is boinking Captain Hammer, while Penny's is an inspirational song about Hammer superficially supporting the homeless shelter to get into Penny's pants but still being a jerk to the bums. "So They Say" continues along these lines.
    • The background singers, and the title of the "Everything You Ever" are a reprise of a line in Slipping where Horrible declares he'll get "Everything he ever". The word "wanted" is implied in both cases. The latter half of the song, "The Nightmare's Real" contains a dark, techno version of Brand New Day as well as a darker version of the theme music.
  • Used in Gantz Abridged, of all places. In the final episode, when Kurono realizes that everyone else has died, a sad-sounding rendition of the Rickroll (Gantz's theme) plays in the background.
  • Horrible Turn has a dark reprise of "No Place on Earth like Austrailia" for the dark finale song of webmovie.
  • Arguably, for Red vs. Blue, Blood Gulch Blues, which is the theme with lyrics added, although the lyrics aren't too morbid, and the song is mainly about how the teams fight among themselves more than with the other team. However, especially because it was played after Tex's (apparent) death, some of the parts seem borderline depressing (It's Blue Versus Blue/And Red Versus Red/Living like this, we were already dead).
    • It also helped that the snippet played ended before getting to the outright sillier lyrics ("My car's like a puma, it drives on all fours").
    • Done to great effect in Carolina's fight with York during the freelancer break-in using her leitmotif from Jeff William's Extraction. Also of sorts done when Agent Washington explains he'll be taking the Epsilon unit by force from the reds and blues at the end of Recreation, using a slower portion of his leitmotif Good Fight by Trocadero.
      • Done again (kinda) in season 10 during the scene where Carolina confronts the Director, Jeff William's "Finding the Director" contains a piano version of the chorus of the season 8 theme "Red vs. Blue"
  • Draco's solo in "Back To Hogwarts" from A Very Potter Musical. It switches from the happy major of everyone else's solos to a high minor, and it's about his dream of leaving Hogwarts, taking over the world, forcing everyone to submit to him, and getting Harry out of his way. Of course, since it's a parody musical, it's played for comedy:
    ...and then I'll be the one who is totally awesome!
  • Something Broke has two, one being a meta example: Hide The Body (Art Of Distress), which echoes two songs from the source show, and Ponyville: All Seems Normal.
  • Lovely Little Losers posted an old video of Benedick and Balthazar singing "Beatrice, You're Vivacious"—the song that Benedick uses to declare his love for Beatrice in the prequel series Nothing Much To Do—two days after Bea breaks up with Ben.
  • Played with in Vinesauce Tomodachi Life — in episode 35, the Jahns (a reclusive trio of mysterious aliens) are given a song called "Jahn of the Jahngle"; the song opens with the line "We the Jahns will assimilate", ends with "Until the break of new day", and all the lines in between are the word "Jahn" repeated over and over with different annunciation. At the time the song is just as goofy and random as every other song Vinny gives the Miis. Then the song is played again (unaltered) in episode 49, after the Assimilation Plot has begun; naturally, it's far less goofy. This is not lost on the mind-controlled Vinny, who simply declares "It was all there from the beginning".
  • In Atop the Fourth Wall, at the end of the story arc "A Piece of the World is Missing", a slower, more somber rendition of the theme song plays as Linkara goes out to confront the Entity, who has absorbed the entire population of the Earth at this point. It helps to convey the hopelessness of the situation, and how overwhelmed Linkara was by the sheer scale of the threat he was facing.
  • A meta version, in LazyTown, the memetic Villain Song known as "We Are Number One" has been met with people on the internet turning it into a Lonely Piano Piece after Stefan Karl Stephenson's death.
  • Perfect Cell's Villain Song in Dragon Ball Z Abridged initially has him being a Large Ham and introducing himself upon absorbing Android 18, but takes a sinister turn when he sings it after he survives a suicidal attack which take out King Kai's planet (killing its residents and Goku) and, after regaining his Perfect form, returns to Earth, killing Trunks to demonstrate what he means when he says "F is for how fucked you are".

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Tale of Iroh once has Iroh singing a fairly happy song to cheer up a crying child. He later sings it while breaking into tears as he sets up a memorial for his dead son.
    • Only made worse in that the song is about a soldier coming home. Iroh's son was a soldier who died in battle.
      • Not to mention that the whole mini-episode doubles as a memorial for the actor voicing Iroh up to that point.
    • Even more interesting since the first time the song sends the message that War Is Glorious. The Dark Reprise instead sends the opposite message that War Is Hell.
    • Done to comic effect in another episode, where the leitmotif of the imitation Avatars is the normally awe-inspiring Avatar music played on an off-key tuba.
  • Bojack Horseman: In "The Old Sugarman Place", one of the flashbacks shows Honey and Crackerjack singing a song together. Later on, Honey duets a somber and melancholic version of the same song with Eddie, as they both mourn their loved ones, Honey's son and Eddie's wife.
  • The Simpsons
  • One episode of My Little Pony Tales has Starlight sing about her crush on Ace while picturing the two of them as a "Perfect Pair". She then joins the soccer team, only to discover Ace is a Jerk Jock who goes out of his way to humiliate her just because he can. Cue a weepy reprise where she admits "We're... not a perfect pair."
    • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic had an absolute bombshell of one of these. The Season 2 Finale, A Canterlot Wedding, introduces Twilight Sparkle's brother Shining Armor as the groom. However, his bride who is actually a fake and the real Princess Cadence engage in a Distant Duet entitled "This Day Aria." A few scenes later, the villain, who reveals herself as the fake Cadence, reprises the song, and the scenes of carnage and war play while she sings.
    • The episode also features this with the song "My Big Brother Best Friend". The original upbeat version is about Twilight singing about how she and her brother were so close; the mournful reprise is about how she's managed to ruin their relationship forever.
    Twilight: He was my big brother best friend, forever/ And now we'll never do anything together.
    I'm at the Grand Galloping Gala, and it's not what I dreamed.
    • The beginning of "Pinkie's Lament" from Pinkie Pride sounds like a sad reprise of the roll call section from the MLP G3 opening theme, whose first verse started with "We'll plan a party with Pinkie Pie...".
    • Canterlot Boutique zigzags this trope with "The Rules of Rarity". First, Rarity sings a dark reprise after Sassy forces her to make and sell only the Princess Dress at Canterlot Carousel, at the cost of her creativity. Then at the end, it has a Triumphant Reprise after Rarity's own designs featured in the "going out of business sale" prove to be a success and they are able to keep the boutique running.
  • In the TV Special of Dr. Seuss' The Lorax all the creatures have a reprise of their introduction song in a minor key as they each in turn leave the land, the last one being a reprise of "For He's a Jolly Good Once-ler" after the Thneed factory shuts down since there are no more Truffula trees.
  • Underdog: In "Riffraffville", when he's running out of energy, a sad Spaghetti Western style version of the title theme plays.
    "Once he was lightning, once he was thunder, now this could end him, if he should blunder, Underdog. Without his super energy pill, he gets weaker and weaker and weaker still ".
    • Then subverted when he gets his powers back, and the heroic lyrics return, but still sung in the same Spaghetti Western style.
  • In Total Drama World Tour's first song, Noah's only line has him sarcastically echoing the song itself.
    • "Come fly with us, come DIE with us."
  • In The Simpsons episode "Black Widower", there's a scene where Selma and the seemingly-reformed Sideshow Bob sing "Somethin' Stupid" together as a duet. At the climax of the episode, after Selma's hotel room blows up and Bob believes his plan is successful, he sings a rather morbid version:
Sideshow Bob: ...and then I went and spoiled it all by doing something stupid like explode you!
  • In the final episode of 6teen, the peppy and happy main theme gets a dark, melancholy remake, courtesy of Brian Melo, which serves to drive home the point that yes, the series is ending.
  • A Batman Beyond episode does this to the Superman: The Animated Series theme when mind-controlled Superman is chasing Terry. Its most notable changes are altering the tempo and reversing the recurring three-note riff. It's very effective at conveying the message that Terry is well and truly boned if he doesn't do something.
  • The soundtrack to the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Joker's Favor" has the cheery "Sub Main Title's" melody as Charlie Collins Leitmotif. The Second song, "Cussing Out the Joker" is a happy variation of the Leitmotif that plays while Charlie Collins is Mugging the Joker. The third melody, I had a bad day, is a very Dark Reprise of the Leitmotif that plays while Charlie Collins makes a Deal with the Joker.
  • Justice League Unlimited gives us one in "Divided We Fall" when Luthor/Brainiac modifies the androids into Justice Lords versions to fight the Justice League, playing a dark version of the series opening theme.
  • A non-musical example would be Waspinator's Catch-Phrase, "Waspinator has plans..." In the show Beast Wars, it's said in a comical tone of voice, but in Transformers Animated, it more creepy-sounding.
  • In Metalocalypse: The Doomstar Requiem, "Magnus and The Assassin" has parts of Dethklok's "Go into the Water" and possibly "The Hammer" incorporated into it.
  • Steven Universe:In episode "Stevens and the Stevens", Steven uses a timeshifting device and starts a band with three alternate-timeline Stevens. They compose and perform a very upbeat song but the band falls apart immediately afterwards due to creative differences. A massive melee involving dozens of alternate Stevens ensues, and in the end they paradox themselves out of existence. Only one of the Stevens survives, and he gets to perform a Dark Reprise of the original song. The reprise keeps the upbeat mood of the original but has new verses about learning to be true to yourself by watching yourself die. The Lyrical Dissonance is rather jarring.
  • Gravity Falls: The credits music at the end of "Dreamscapers" is a haunting, slow version of the normally upbeat theme song reflecting the jarring mood change brought about by the season finale.
    • The final scene of the following episode and season finale, "Gideon Rises", features a slow, mysterious version of the main theme, slowly building up a crescendo to an epic flourish for the final moment.
    • The theme song for "Weirdmageddon Part 1" is a distorted and warped version of the regular one.
  • The last song in the Rocko's Modern Life Musical Episode "Zanzibar" is Ed Bighead's mocking rendition of "RECYCLE".
  • Beavis and Butt-Head - on a field trip, Hippie Teacher Mr. Van Driessen stands at the front of the bus strumming his guitar and singing his gentle song "Touch a Mountain" - then the driver slams on the brakes missing a turn, and he plummets out the windshield and down a canyon. The song is replayed in a dark minor key as an emergency medical team airlifts him out.
  • Popeye on his birthday befriends a lonely little schnook who slowly but surely drives him nuts with his manic accident-prone cheer, singing "Happy Birthday to my pal" right up to the last straw when Popeye shoots him, and the cartoon ends the song on a somber chord.
  • In the CatDog three-part episode "The Great Parent Mystery", the titular Conjoined Twins CatDog at one point find themselves at Yokelburg, a town inhabited by a dog family named McDog and a family of cats called the Catfields who manage to live in harmony. When CatDog first encounters the two families, the McDog patriarch and the Catfield matriarch are singing a song called "Ain't No More", where they list the violent and hurtful things they used to do to each other before they started setting aside their differences. Later, Cat angers the yokels by refusing to marry a girl he burped in front of, which causes the McDogs and the Catfields to resume their feud and sing a reprise of "Ain't No More" that's now about how the McDogs and the Catfields living in harmony is no longer the case.
  • The Pound Puppies (1980s) Musical Episode "Garbage Night: The Musical" featured this in a scene where Howler used an invention to show what happened inside Bright Eyes' body after she ate a piece of meat and Scrounger's body after he ate a piece of cake. Bright Eyes' body is shown to fill up with muscular personifications of vitamins called Vita-Men, and they are given an upbeat song about how vitamins make your body healthy and fight off germs to prevent you from getting sick. Scrounger's body instead fills up with lethargic Blobs, who are given a reprise of the song at a slower tempo that explains how a lack of vitamins makes your body unhealthy and leaves nothing to stop germs from infecting you and making you sick.
  • Jem has an example where the song is exactly the same, but played in a different context. The Stingers song "Take it or Leave it" was originally an egotistical song of disrespect towards the Starlight Girls, who were not happy with the way The Stingers were acting. In the later episode "Riot's Hope", however, the song is played as he thinks about the conflict he has with his father.note 
  • In Over the Garden Wall a dark reprise of Potatoes and Molasses plays as The Beast's edelwood roots slowly creep up Greg's body, slowly killing him and turning him into a lost soul tree because he made an agreement with The Beast to let his brother, Wirt, go free after he finds out from a dream/vision that he can escape the woods but Wirt cannot because he has given in to despair. Thankfully Wirt is able to save him but the music combined with the horrifying imagery and very real Adult Fear of watching one's little brother, or any child for that matter, slowly turn into a tree makes for an especially gut-wrenching scene.
  • Tangled: The Series features Arc Villian Varian singing "Let Me Make You Proud" while journeying to Corona to get help from Rapunzel to save his father from the black rocks he was experimenting with. After Rapunzel denied him help and he was forcefully ejected from the palace, he returns home to find it's too late to help his father. He sings a reprise of this song, which signals his Descent Into Darkness.
    Varian: Anybody who stands or has stood in my path, they are going to pay. They. Will. Pay.

  • Doctor Who and the Pirates (one of the audio stories) has Evelyn Smythe and Red Jasper claiming to be a Pirate Queen and King respectively, filking a Gilbert and Sullivan song while Evelyn (a sixty-something history lecturer) attempted to intimidate a pirate crew. Red Jasper sings it again shortly afterwards, celebrating his absolute authority after forcing a crewman to eat his own tongue. The enthusiastic pirate chorus is... somewhat less enthusiastic.
  • If you've ever rode on the Disneyland ride, Splash Mountain (based on the movie, Song of the South) the annoyingly addictive song "Laughing Place" becomes more sinister when the ride passes by the two sinister, animatronic crows anxiously waiting for Brer Rabbit's death (and, in the Disneyland Anaheim version, before that scene, the dark reprise starts earlier with two Mother characters exclusive to that version of the ride singing mournfully about Brer Rabbit being caught facing certain death warning their children to not go to the laughing place). and when it climb up the last and highest hill in the cave before descending below. 4:54 in this soundtrack -
  • In Cirque du Soleil's Amaluna, the main melody from "Enchanted Reunion", the Aerial Poles/Peacock Dance theme, gets a dark reprise in "Creature of Light", the Chinese pole act theme. In the former, the Peacock Goddess attempts to distract Romeo from pursuing Miranda, in the latter, now dressed in black, she abducts Miranda, beckoning him to climb up the pole after her. Preceding that, the Thousand Arms music (also part of "Creature of Light") reprises the non-soundtrack subdued section of "Elma Om Mi Lize" (Meteors). Conversely, the villain's juggling act song, "Mutation", is reprised this way when the Valkyries capture him. Subverted by the slow Hawaiian guitar reprise of "O Ma Ley" played when Romeo and Miranda fall in love. It's not on the soundtrack, so many people forget its existence.
  • In the Star Trek: The Original Series fanfic Insontis, "Catch a Falling Star and Put it In Your Pocket" initially appears when Spock and kid!Kirk bond over having heard it from their mothers as children. When Spock is unconscious, McCoy walks in on Kirk trying to sing it to him.

Sarcastic Echo

    Stage Musicals 
  • Numerous examples can be found in the works of Gilbert and Sullivan:
    • "The Flowers That Bloom in the Spring" from The Mikado.
    • "Happily Coupled are We" from Ruddigore; though Rose's verse was cut in several of the D'Oyly Carte revivals, thus adding the Second Verse Curse to the curse upon the Murgatroyds.
    • The second act of The Yeomen of the Guard is full of this kind of song (as well as the other kind of Dark Reprise, for which see below).
    • "Never Mind the Why and Wherefore" has a sarcastic echo sung in the middle of the song it is echoing. Sir Joseph and Captain Corcoran sing about how great Sir Joseph's marriage to Josephine will be while Josephine sings about how great her marriage to Ralph will be.
  • "America" from West Side Story.
  • "Master of the House" from Les Misérables. Two verses of a character glorifying his own wicked ways, and in the last verse his wife comes in and insists that he's just a petty crook.
  • The character of Che is a constant sarcastic echo to the title character in Evita. It's never certain whether he's adding his own acerbic commentary... or voicing the cynical and darker subtext that Evita herself hides behind her upbeat words. "Goodnight and Thank You" showcases this best. "High Flying, Adored," reverses this sequence, with Che's grim assessment of Eva's fortunes making the main part of the song, while being undermined by Eva's euphoric attitude.
    • His opening act, "Oh What a Circus", manages to be an ahead-of-time sarcastic echo of "Don't Cry for Me Argentina". One wonders whether first-time audiences (before the latter song became famous by itself) quite got the nuances of that ...
      • Don't Cry For Me Argentina gets a more traditional Dark reprise, when Eva sings the melody during her last broadcast with the words 'Don't cry for me, Argentina/The truth is i shall not leave you/ Though it may get harder/for you to see me/ I'm Argentina/ and always will be.'
  • "You Must Meet My Wife" from A Little Night Music.
  • "Baby, Dream Your Dream" from Sweet Charity. Starts out with Nikki and Helene mocking Charity's optimism, but then they reveal that they would love to have someon to love them.
  • The Act II version "Not a Day Goes By" from Sondheim's Merrily We Roll Along, in which Frank and Beth sing of their love for each other while their words are echoed by Mary, who is secretly in love with Frank. Of course, the Act I version of the song - which Beth sings bitterly to Frank after their divorce - is also a Dark Reprise despite coming first, since the action of the play moves backwards.
  • Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street has this in the first major duet after the opening number. "There's No Place Like London" opens with Anthony singing that he's sailed the world and beheld its wonders, but "there's no place like London." Sweeney jumps in, saying that he too has sailed the world, and agreeing that "there's no place like London."
  • Candide:
    • "O Happy We" may be an unintentional invocation of this trope, as Candide and Cunegonde talk past each other obliviously as they discuss their radically different images of married life. (Some versions of this show gave this song an actual Dark Reprise after the sack of Westphalia.)
    • The second half of "Martin's Laughing Song" is a pessimistic reprise of "The Best Of All Possible Worlds."
  • In Chicago, Roxie's song "Funny Honey" suddenly turns spiteful when her husband Amos fails to maintain an alibi for the murder she committed.
  • "All for the Best" in Godspell has Jesus sing the first verse to say that the suffering one goes through in life is "all for the best" in heaven. Judas then says that anything of any value is "all for the best" people.
  • "Alma Mater" in Grease.
  • "I Can See It" from The Fantasticks is both a Sarcastic Echo and a Dark Reprise: Matt sings a straightforward "I Want" Song about seeing the world while El Gallo sings asides about what a dreadful place the world can be. Later, as El Gallo seduces Matt's sweetheart Luisa, the two men switch parts.
  • In Mary Poppins: The Musical, when Mary confronts her Evil Counterpart Miss Andrew, they alternate between their respective songs "A Spoonful of Sugar" and "Brimstone and Treacle".

    Animated Film Musicals 
  • Similar to the above is the song "On the Open Road" from A Goofy Movie. Goofy is excited and happy about his road trip with his son, who is inversely angry and depressed about leaving his new girlfriend behind.
  • "I Won't Say I'm in Love" from Hercules is one of the lighter forms of the sarcastic echo, with Meg singing and the Muses responding.
  • "Welcome To the Show" from My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks begins with a sinister reprise of the Dazzlings' Villain Song, switches to the Rainbooms for their song, back to the Dazzlings as they employ the avatars of their true forms and begin to overpower the Rainbooms, then finally Sunset Shimmer joins in, leading to a Triumphant Reprise of the Rainbooms' song. After being depowered, the Dazzlings sing an out-of-tune reprise of their song before being booed off the stage.

    Live Action Film Musicals 
  • In The Producers, the song "We Can Do It" has Bialystock and Bloom alternately singing about how their plan cannot and is sure to fail, respectively.
    • Also, Max's song "Betrayed" is practically the entire show abridged, and includes mocking Leo.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Two versions of the song "Aura" in .hack//SIGN. One showing the majesty of The World, and the other the horror. Lyrically, however, both versions sound like a Villain Song.

    Film - Animated 
  • Frosty Returns has one called "Let There Be Snow", but it's unique in that it gets two sarcastic echoes. In the first time the song was sung, the school children are playing and singing about how much they love the snow, while the snow-shovelling adults voice their complaints through song. Later in the special, the song is reprised as the protagonists explore a landscape filled with snow, singing about the benefits of snow. At one point, it cuts to the Big Bad Corrupt Corporate Executive sitting in his limousine elsewhere, and the music takes on an industrial arrangement as he extolls his plans on becoming king now that his patented method of getting rid of snow has gone mainstream.
  • Kung Fu Panda 3: In a meta-example, "Kai's Theme" is a dark remix of "I'm So Sorry" by Imagine Dragons. Hint: He isn't. At all.

    Live Action TV 
  • During the climactic "Walk Through The Fire" in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer musical episode "Once More, With Feeling", quotes from the earlier, more positive "If we're together" appear as sarcastic echoes.
  • The theme song of the show Green Acres is similar to, but lighter than the Candide example, where husband and wife protagonists give radically different versions of the perfect life to the same melody.
  • Kamen Rider Kiva - The promotional band for the series, TETRA-FANG, did a cover for Nago Keisuke a.k.a Kamen Rider IXA called Individual System. He then does his own version of it with the lyrics changed to support his twisted Black and White view of the world called Fight For Justice. He then does it again with his more lighter mindset called Don't Lose Yourself

  • Used in Lupe Fiasco's already somewhat dark song 'The Die.' The second verse consists of the character's friend trying to convince him that he's safe, while the killer repeats the laundry-list of 'hidden' guns, and the two's plans for the evening and replaces the last line ('Go and get some grub') with 'Catch a few slugs'
    • A lot of Fiasco's songs have a darker meaning in them. He can be extremely dark when he wants to be. For example, his smash hit Superstar can sounds cool, smooth and joyful at first, but if you know Lu's music, and know how he sometimes calls out other rappers for the content of their music and all that, the chorus will sound a little scary. If you are what you say you are, a superstar, have no fear.
  • The Blue Öyster Cult and Patti Smith recorded The Revenge of Vera Gemini, where Patti comes in towards the end of the male singer's lines with a sarcastically mocking echo of his words.
  • Genesis used this fairly often, with The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway in particular containing the example of "The Light Dies Down on Broadway", a Dark Reprise of themes from the album's title track and "The Lamia". Another example is "Unquiet Slumbers for the Sleepers in That Quiet Earth", which reprises themes from "Eleventh Earl of Mar" in a substantially more sinister fashion.

  • A darkly funny in-joke version of this trope occurs in Don Giovanni. As the Don enjoys his last meal before he's dragged to hell, the orchestra strikes up a rendition of the aria "Non piu andrai" from The Marriage of Figaro. In its original context, this aria has Figaro telling the army-bound Cherubino that his days of fun and flirting are over. In light of Giovanni's pending fate, which the opera's original audience would have known full well, those unsung lyrics take on a dark new meaning.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • During a famous angle in which his career was almost (n ended note  by Earthquake, a video shown on WWE TV (and later in home video) about Hulk Hogan started by playing his famous entrance theme "Real American", but cut to footage of Hogan being massacred by Earthquake on "The Brother Love Show," interspersed with clips of Hogan's greatest moments and "happy times," set to a sad, melancholy, string version of "Real American" which ended with a shot of Hogan's locker being slammed shut.
  • One WWE video detailed the history of the company set to Kid Rock's "Lonely Road of Faith". As the New World Order were set to debut, they made their own version.
  • After The Great Khali's hard-to-understand yet heartwarming birthday song to Natalya, the Bella Twins beat her in a match and taunted her by singing a nasty version of the birthday song.

    Web Original 
  • "My Eyes" from Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog — inverted, as it starts with Dr. Horrible's negative verse and follows up with Penny's optimistic variation. The overall effect, however, is the same.
    • In subtext, Penny's version comes off as darker, since she's blind to the negative aspects that Billy is actually seeing accurately. Also, Billy is a sympathetic character and Penny's being taken in by Hammer (who is an egotistical jerk), so...

    Western Animation 


Video Example(s):



Mother Knows Best Reprise

Example of:

Main / DarkReprise