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Pet Peeve: No Survivors

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I feel a bit betrayed when I spend 90+ minutes watching a slasher movie only to find out that none of the protagonists survived.  It feels like a contract is broken.  Sure the killer does a bunch of unspeakable damage, but someone has to survive in order to tell the tale.  The killer doesn't necessarily have to die or even be incapacitated, a survival story like Ginny Field in Friday the 13th Part 2 is fine too.

 

Some may argue that having no survivor is novel and thus worth doing.  Guess what?  After the first slasher movie with no survivor, it wasn't novel anymore.

 

What are your thoughts on the issue?

 

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i love a good bad ending!! Evil looses way too often in movies.

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I've seen that happen in a few movies before. It was a bit of a shock for me, too. I was pleasantly surprised by it the first time, but now it's a bit of a bittersweet thing. I agree with IH8YH; not every story should have a happy ending, but I'm also accustomed to the formula that there's always one person who survives at the end and 'defeats' the villain.

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If you've ever watched any crime drama, you know that no survivors are needed for a the story to be pieced together. :)

I'm not specifically for or against any particular kind of ending though, as long as the ending doesn't feel contrived or unfulfilling. The American ending of The Descent was like that for me (https://youtu.be/5I_EmYwj7nw for those that need a refresher). Same with Sleepaway Camp. There wasn't really any closure to the actual story. The movie just suddenly ends while they're staring at the murderer and realize the big surprise. It would be like if the Matrix ended as soon as Neo gets shot and then comes back to life as "The One" without any telling of how he escapes the Agents afterwards. 

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The Original ending to PARANORMAL ACTIVITY one was also a "bad" one. after test screenings it got changed twice though to guarantee sequal chances though as the studio smelled the big money.

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I like no survivors as long as it leads to a larger story or has a nice payoff. Having the villain win can be unexpected and have a deeper, longer lasting effect than the typical "good guy always makes it" scenario.  

 

TCM: The Beginning is a good example of this. We know the Hewits' (Sawyers) are not yet meant to be outed to the world and helps set the stage for the destruction they are about to leave in their wake. 

Return of the Living Dead is another great use of this type of story. Even though the film included a comedic tone, the sense of fear stuck with me because there was no way to kill the zombies unless you nuke the entire town. In the sequel however, the film showed the audience that the zombies could be defeated with electricity. For me, the sense of fear becomes less impactful and I as an audience member am given an easy out from the danger. 

Other films that use this that I found satisfying are The Decent (directors cut), Seven, Fallen, Sinister, Saw, and any more others care to mention. 



 

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I feel it all depends on the type of movie, really. Sometimes it suits the story when none of the protagonists survive and other times it feels like a cheat.

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I like no survivors as long as it leads to a larger story or has a nice payoff. Having the villain win can be unexpected and have a deeper, longer lasting effect than the typical "good guy always makes it" scenario.  

 

TCM: The Beginning is a good example of this. We know the Hewits' (Sawyers) are not yet meant to be outed to the world and helps set the stage for the destruction they are about to leave in their wake. 

 

Return of the Living Dead is another great use of this type of story. Even though the film included a comedic tone, the sense of fear stuck with me because there was no way to kill the zombies unless you nuke the entire town. In the sequel however, the film showed the audience that the zombies could be defeated with electricity. For me, the sense of fear becomes less impactful and I as an audience member am given an easy out from the danger. 

 

Other films that use this that I found satisfying are The Decent (directors cut), Seven, Fallen, Sinister, Saw, and any more others care to mention. 

 

 

 

 

Denzel beats the bad guy in Fallen... He tricks him with the poison cigarette and walks away. And Saw would be one of my example of bad use of the bad guy surviving (possibly one of the worst), but that's a whole other conversation that I've argued since I first watched that movie. The ending to Seven was amazing though. Something with Kevin Spacey in the 90's always made for a crazy good twist ending. The Usual Suspects, Seven, Life of David Gale (early 2000's technically but I count it). All were really well done and the plot twists were believable while also really surprising. 

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Seven is probably the BEST example ever of how to pull a depressing bad ending off and making it awesome and working and even logic

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Denzel beats the bad guy in Fallen... He tricks him with the poison cigarette and walks away. And Saw would be one of my example of bad use of the bad guy surviving (possibly one of the worst), but that's a whole other conversation that I've argued since I first watched that movie. The ending to Seven was amazing though. Something with Kevin Spacey in the 90's always made for a crazy good twist ending. The Usual Suspects, Seven, Life of David Gale (early 2000's technically but I count it). All were really well done and the plot twists were believable while also really surprising. 

 

Spoiler alert for Fallen - Denzel does not beat Azazel at the end. Remember, "I'm going to tell you about the time I almost died." That was Azazel talking, not Denzel's character. He lures him out to the forest thinking that it will be too far for him to find a person's body to take over. Denzel is successful in doing that, but does not realize Azazel can take over animals too. After everyone dies, a cat appears in the forest starts running down the road. "Tiiiiiiiiiiiime is on my side...yes it is." 

 

And I will graciously disagree with you on Saw. The first time I watched that film in the theater, I was blown away when Jigsaw stood up at the end. I was so focused on everything else in the room I didn't even think about the 'dead guy' on the floor being a decoy. The second time I saw the film I brought my roommates to the theater. When the ending happened, I turned around and watched every jaw in the theater drop to the floor.  

 

I'd be interested to hear what you think about Saw though. I won't stand behind the sequels with the same fervor, but at the time of it's release, the original Saw had a drastic impact on the horror genre. 

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TCM: The Beginning is a good example of this. We know the Hewits' (Sawyers) are not yet meant to be outed to the world and helps set the stage for the destruction they are about to leave in their wake. 

 

That's actually one of the movies I had in mind.  So I could maybe see your point if The Texas Chainsaw Massacre series actually respected continuity.  But as far as franchises go, it's pretty terrible about picking up where they left off (and not changing history when they do remakes/prequels).  So if Jessica Biel can cut off Leatherface's right arm in the remake of the original, then why not have a survivor girl in the prequel?

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I feel a bit betrayed when I spend 90+ minutes watching a slasher movie only to find out that none of the protagonists survived.  It feels like a contract is broken.  Sure the killer does a bunch of unspeakable damage, but someone has to survive in order to tell the tale.  The killer doesn't necessarily have to die or even be incapacitated, a survival story like Ginny Field in Friday the 13th Part 2 is fine too.

 

Some may argue that having no survivor is novel and thus worth doing.  Guess what?  After the first slasher movie with no survivor, it wasn't novel anymore.

 

What are your thoughts on the issue?

I tend to agree.  Especially if the movie is really good or is over the 2 hour mark.  Two classic movies that left me feeling let down after loving them right till the end, is John Carpenter's "In the Mouth of Madness" (main character survives...but goes insane, the world is gone to crap and evil has won.) and the other one that comes to mind is "Event Horizon".    The other movie types I hate "sometimes" is the final real were the monster/killer has some how survived and strikes out at the lone survivor and then the screen fades to black.

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I agree with Rotting Corpse. You can come up with good and bad examples of all types of tropes in all styles of film. In the end it comes down to the execution and whether or not it feels like the right ending to the film. 

 

And I don't mean to hurt anyone's feelings here, but don't you all feel just a little silly arguing this point when we're all chomping at the bit to play a Friday the 13th video game where we can play as Jason with the goal of leaving no survivors?! ;) 

 

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And I don't mean to hurt anyone's feelings here, but don't you all feel just a little silly arguing this point when we're all chomping at the bit to play a Friday the 13th video game where we can play as Jason with the goal of leaving no survivors?! ;)

 

I have no interest in playing Jason.  I'm looking forward to playing the Preppy Guy and using our time during "Exclusive Beta Access" to figure out how best to survive the night.  Mastering any tricks to defeat Jason (...if such possibilities are actually included in the game).

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And I don't mean to hurt anyone's feelings here, but don't you all feel just a little silly arguing this point when we're all chomping at the bit to play a Friday the 13th video game where we can play as Jason with the goal of leaving no survivors?! ;) 

 

 

In a just world...evil never wins,  therefore Jason always will be defeated!  it's just the nature of the universe.  :P  ha ha

 

I have no interest in playing Jason.  

I second that motion!  Where's the fun in playing an unstoppable killing machine.  The real challenge lies with the underdogs...the campers.  That's where the real fun lies.  No sport in being Jason.  ha ha  :)

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Two classic movies that left me feeling let down after loving them right till the end, is John Carpenter's "In the Mouth of Madness" (main character survives...but goes insane, the world is gone to crap and evil has won.) and the other one that comes to mind is "Event Horizon".

 

 

You just dont like Sam Neill :P

 

 

 

Where's the fun in playing an unstoppable killing machine.

Killing all those pesky counselors?! stepping into the feet of our favorite horror icon?!

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Spoiler alert for Fallen - Denzel does not beat Azazel at the end. Remember, "I'm going to tell you about the time I almost died." That was Azazel talking, not Denzel's character. He lures him out to the forest thinking that it will be too far for him to find a person's body to take over. Denzel is successful in doing that, but does not realize Azazel can take over animals too. After everyone dies, a cat appears in the forest starts running down the road. "Tiiiiiiiiiiiime is on my side...yes it is." 

 

And I will graciously disagree with you on Saw. The first time I watched that film in the theater, I was blown away when Jigsaw stood up at the end. I was so focused on everything else in the room I didn't even think about the 'dead guy' on the floor being a decoy. The second time I saw the film I brought my roommates to the theater. When the ending happened, I turned around and watched every jaw in the theater drop to the floor.  

 

I'd be interested to hear what you think about Saw though. I won't stand behind the sequels with the same fervor, but at the time of it's release, the original Saw had a drastic impact on the horror genre. 

Right, but this post is about no survivors. Denzel survives and beats him. Therefore, there was a survivor. I was trying to leave the ending out of it... 

 

My issue with Saw was that the ending was a cop out twist. A good surprise ending makes you go "Ah, I get it now." a la Sixth Sense, or Kevin Spacey's reveal in The Usual Suspects because you missed the hints it gives you throughout as to what might happen at the end. In Saw, there wasn't any sort of insinuation that some old guy dying of cancer was ever the killer. They introduce him into the movie for all of 45 seconds and never dive any deeper into his character. There's never any hints to his previous profession as a engineer or wood worker. No development of his background or murderous motivation whatsoever. It was as thoughtful and deep as if one of the random classmates that just walks through the frame when the main characters are all talking in Scream was the killer.

 

Not to mention the physical limitations cancer and age would create for Jigsaw to accomplish some of the creations he had made. Also, the fact that Jigsaw is lying on the floor is completely pointless and risky to his end goal. He's there for absolutely no reason. To go along with that, it seems highly implausible that both main characters (one being a doctor no less) would sit in a room for several hours and never inspect the body for clues or a possible key, which they'd then discover the body is not actually dead. Ultimately, it's insulting to the audiences intelligence that Jigsaw ends up being the killer. The writers build up this big surprise of "Who's doing all this?" for 90 minutes only to end with a nonsensical and contrived answer. 

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Right, but this post is about no survivors. Denzel survives and beats him. Therefore, there was a survivor. I was trying to leave the ending out of it... 

 

My issue with Saw was that the ending was a cop out twist. A good surprise ending makes you go "Ah, I get it now." a la Sixth Sense, or Kevin Spacey's reveal in The Usual Suspects because you missed the hints it gives you throughout as to what might happen at the end. In Saw, there wasn't any sort of insinuation that some old guy dying of cancer was ever the killer. They introduce him into the movie for all of 45 seconds and never dive any deeper into his character. There's never any hints to his previous profession as a engineer or wood worker. No development of his background or murderous motivation whatsoever. It was as thoughtful and deep as if one of the random classmates that just walks through the frame when the main characters are all talking in Scream was the killer.

 

Not to mention the physical limitations cancer and age would create for Jigsaw to accomplish some of the creations he had made. Also, the fact that Jigsaw is lying on the floor is completely pointless and risky to his end goal. He's there for absolutely no reason. To go along with that, it seems highly implausible that both main characters (one being a doctor no less) would sit in a room for several hours and never inspect the body for clues or a possible key, which they'd then discover the body is not actually dead. Ultimately, it's insulting to the audiences intelligence that Jigsaw ends up being the killer. The writers build up this big surprise of "Who's doing all this?" for 90 minutes only to end with a nonsensical and contrived answer. 

 

Jigsaw's use of his own body in the room was apart of the game. 

 

 

 

Dr. Gordon, this is your wake-up call. Everyday of your working life you have given people the news that they're gonna die soon. Now *you* will be the cause of death. Your aim in this game is to kill Adam. You have until six on the clock to do it. There's a man in the room with you. When there's that much poison in your blood, the only thing left to do - is shoot yourself. There are ways to win this, hidden all around you. Just remember, X marks the spot for the treasure. If you do not kill Adam by six, then Alison and Diana will die, Dr. Gordon... and I'll leave you in this room to rot. Let the game begin.

 

The whole point of the body in the room was to force Adam and Dr. Gordon into a panicked state of mind. The truth is that there was no poison in their system, he was just using his own body to motivate the two characters to make rushed / panicked actions that would lead to mistakes. 

 

The body to them, and the audience, is just another victim in Jigsaw's games. Neither of the men recognize Jigsaw when they look at them. In the case of Dr. Gordon, this is another strike against his character because he does not recognize the face of a man he once diagnosed with a terminal illness. This shows how disconnected Dr. Gordon is from his patients.  

 

And as far as Jigsaw laying in the middle of the room, that is not a cop out or contrived. It is stated in the films that Jigsaw enjoys watching his victims and there is always some type of recording devise in the room. In this puzzle, Jigsaw himself wanted to witness first hand the two victims tearing each other apart. Both characters were chained to the wall so there was no way to inspect the body and very little risk to him if he was discovered. I also believe Jigsaw took a sedative so he could remain still the entire time. (I could be making that up, but that is certainly plausible) 

When it comes to the physical limitations of cancer you have to let go a little for the film's sake. Also, it is not stated at which stage he is currently at in the first film. If you look at the last season of Fargo, a character with cancer is up and walking around for a majority of the series.  In the sequels, Jigsaw does become confined to a wheelchair and relies on others to carry out his plots. One can assume he had help during these events as well. (It may have been covered in later films but I stopped watching after 3)

 

I'm not sure the backstory about Jigsaw is needed in part 1. The story is about the two main characters trying to trace their steps and figure out how they go there. If you present a character that becomes an obvious choice, then there is no mystry. The film also goes and sets up Zep as a Red Herring to draw the audience away from the other characters. The less information the audience had, the more mystery surrounded the character. When it turns out that Zep is also being threatened by Jigsaw, it is a nice twist since it seemed that he is obviously the killer. 

 

For a film with a 1.1 million dollar budget they sure did put together one hell of a product. The story is simple, but yet smart enough to keep the audience guessing.  I've had the pleasure of meeting with and speaking to Leigh Whannel a few times. He's a smart guy who knows his horror and loves making indie level films. 

 

I'm sorry that Saw didn't so it for you and I understand that when a film doesn't click for someone, it just doesn't click. Hell, I'm one of the people who hated the new Star Wars, but that's another story all together....

 

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