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10 Biggest Downers
Warning: Spoilers ahead.

Some films are generally cheery. Some are tragic. And some slap your around the face with a plot or an ending so upsetting, so miserable, that you need quite some time to recover. Here are the films that left us craving chocolate and clutching a blankie just to get through the aftermath - and obviously beware spoilers from the very beginning...

A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2000) A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2000)
Why? Unrequited maternal love stings far more than the usual romantic trope, so when David's 2000-year-old wish to have a mother who loves him is fulfilled it's a stinger: she'll die just before he does.
Recovery time: Fifty minutes.

The Mist (2008) The Mist (2008)
Why? He didn't have to shoot his son! And those weren't aliens, that was the army coming to save everyone!
Recovery time: A week.

The Orphanage (2008) The Orphanage (2008)
Why? That knocking wasn't a horrible ghost - her kid got stuck in a secret cupboard, and now he's dead!
Recovery time: A day.

Dancer In The Dark (2000) Dancer In The Dark (2000)
Why? Imagine the feeling of It's A Wonderful Life if Clarence hadn't come along. Now multiply.
Recovery time: We're still waiting...

Requiem For A Dream (2001) Requiem For A Dream (2001)
Why? Jared Leto's amputated arm, Ellen Burstyn being carted off to the loony bin, Jennifer Connelly's dead-eyed expression as she's selling her body: take your pick.
Recovery time: Three weeks.

The Descent (2005) The Descent (2005)
Why? So bleak the Americans had to cut it off early at a happy bit, Sarah manages to escape! Hurray! Only, she hasn't really: it was all a dream and she's still in the pothole at the mercy of its homicidal mutants - only now she's at least borderline insane.
Recovery time: We're going to pretend it was all a dream too.

Million Dollar Baby (2005) Million Dollar Baby (2005)
Why? Maggie (Hilary Swank) finishes up paralysed from the neck down in hospital, trying to commit suicide by biting through her tongue. Clint Eastwood puts her out of her misery - and we discover that he loved herand she never knew.
Recovery time: Days.

Dawn of the Dead (2004) Dawn of the Dead (2004)
Why? They escape yay! To an island where theres more zombies and so their demise is implied. Oh no, boo...
Recovery time: One hour.

Spider (2003) Spider (2003)
Why? David Cronenberg's relentlessly grim film ends on a relative high note when Ralph Fiennes's Spider decides to put an end to the all-round crapness of his life by killing himself. Yay!
Recovery time: Overnight.

United 93 (2006) United 93 (2006)
Why? Bleak for completely different reasons: the tragic inevitability of Paul Greengrass's depiction of what it was like on top of the plane crashing into the Twin Towers was haunting.
Recovery time: Lingers long after you've left the cinema.

Have Your Say On The Empire Forum | What were your highs and lows of this decade in movies?