10 Dark Movies With A Good Message

Split image V For Vendetta, Children of Men, Rope


Hollywood has produced some of the darkest works of fiction ever created over its near-century-long existence. These films can include excessive violence, miserable plots, and downbeat endings, often leaving viewers feeling pessimistic about the subject matter. However, sad and dark movies can be deceptive in their negativity, and sometimes carry a hidden meaning that cushions the blow.


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Dark movies can sometimes convey the brightest of messages in film. Just because a character may die or things worsen doesn’t mean the movie lacks positivity. Even so, many fans can’t help but go down the emotional rollercoaster experience of a dark and hopeless movie. It can be a great change of pace for an otherwise difficult film to end on a more optimistic note.

10 M3GAN Is A Message Of The Importance Of Human Connection

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The 2023 horror/sci-fi movie M3GAN is about a reluctant adoptive aunt, Gemma, who creates an AI doll to care for her niece. After the doll is given her commands, she begins murdering people to make life better for the girl, Cady.

Although M3GAN is, in one sense, the latest spin on the evil doll trope, it also offers up criticism of the way some parents outsource human connection to technology. It’s a great horror movie but warns people to maintain human connection and not create distance with machines.

9 Rope Is A Reminder Of The Value Of Human Life

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Hitchcock Rope Phillip Brandon and Rupert copy

Rope is one of Hitchcock’s more underrated thrillers, and follows two young men trying to prove they committed the perfect murder. After the murder, they host a party with friends and associates, hoping it will provide them with the perfect cover, while proving their perfection.

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The party is attended by people of wealth, where the men hope a man, Rupert, will warm to their murder due to his incredibly Darwinian comments. However, when Rupert figures out what the men have done, he delivers a speech showing he realizes the value of human life, regardless of class, creed, or status.

8 Animal Farm Conveys A Warning Against Tyranny

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>The Pig is talking to the other farm animals.

Animal Farm is based on George Orwell’s original novel, in which he crafted an animal-based allegory warning against communism. Orwell had seen firsthand the dangers of revolution and how easily opportunists can seize power for their own ends.

Animal Farm primarily serves as a warning, and details the decline from the Soviet Union’s early days of revolution to its inevitable corruption and despotism. Orwell’s warnings of tyranny, dystopia, and corruption feature across his works, including 1984.

7 Watership Down Is A Harsh Look At Environmental Destruction

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>John Hurt as Hazel in Watership Down

Watership Down follows a group of rabbits forced to flee their warren from the threat of rapid industrialism and its destruction of their habitat. It also puts great emphasis on the bonds of friendship between the rabbits and their fight to keep the warren alive and together.

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Although Watership Down is largely a tale of desperation and survival, it also imparts a message of respecting the natural world. Thankfully, the heroic rabbits of the film make it to freedom and are able to build a new home away from the dangers of industry.

6 I Am Legend Has A Beautiful Use Of Fate

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Sam and Robert in I Am Legend

I Am Legend takes place in the aftermath of an apocalyptic event that transformed the majority of humans into zombie-like monsters. It follows Robert Neville, the last human survivor left in the city, who, along with his dog, searches for a cure and signs of humanity.

I Am Legend sees Neville’s descent into hopelessness as things get progressively worse for him. However, in the film’s final act, he finds a mother and son seeking shelter. Through a twist of fate, Neville discovers his cure and sacrifices himself, and the movie’s conclusion shows humanity survived.

5 Sin City Shows There Are Heroes Even In The Worst Of Places

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Despite being set in a corrupt, crime-riddled city, each of the main characters of Sin City has the compulsion to do the right thing. From Hartigan’s fearless protection of Nancy to Marv’s revenge for the murder of Goldie, the heroes are all selfless to a fault.

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Though Sin City has its share of downbeat moments and defeated heroes, its running theme is how much a good man can change things. The film’s heroes all leave the world, in one way or another, in a better place than they found it – even if only temporarily.

4 Dredd Reminds Viewers What A Good Lawman Can Be

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Dredd's Fire Helmet.

Dredd is a dark crime movie set in the dystopia of Mega City One, a giant city constructed to house the people of the old world. It wasn’t successful upon release, but has gained a cult status among fans. It follows two judges as they investigate a triple homicide in a mega block, Peach Trees.

Dredd has two positive messages. Near the beginning, Judge Anderson reveals that she was born in a block like Peach Trees, and that she made something of herself. Combined with the stalwart courage and integrity of the two judges, the film, intentionally or not, shows viewers what a good lawman is.

3 300 Had A Continuous Theme Of Freedom And Self-Determination

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Regardless of the historical accuracy of 300 and details, the film has a consistent theme of freedom and self-determination. It retells the infamous invasion of Greece by the Persian Empire and the battle between Leonidas’ 300 soldiers and the invading force.

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The film is full of gritty violence, death, and a sense of impending defeat. However, the courage of the Spartans in the face of insurmountable odds remains the ultimate David and Goliath story. The film’s key message is one of freedom winning out over tyranny.

2 Children Of Men Ends On A Hopeful But Sad Note

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Vagrants struggle for hope in dystopia in Children Of Men

Children of Men is one of the darkest and most downbeat movies ever. It takes place in a dystopian future where humanity has become infertile, and no children are left. However, the film’s protagonist, Theo, is charged with escorting the only pregnant woman to safety.

Children of Men follows Theo and the woman, Kee, as they make their way through Britain’s police state in search of refuge. The film is a good reminder of the importance of children for the future of society and, despite the hero’s tragic fate, leaves on a note of optimism.

1 V For Vendetta Reminds Viewers That Ideas Are Bulletproof

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>V from V For Vendetta standing in front of Strength Through Unity poster

Based on the original Alan Moore comic book, V For Vendetta takes place in a dystopian version of the United Kingdom. The fascistic police state future is held under the boot of the government using a past pandemic for power, and follows the revolutionary V and Evey.

V For Vendetta explores the timeless nature of humanity’s yearning for freedom, and the fact that, as V puts it, “ideas are bulletproof.” The film is an emotional rollercoaster, but the journey of Evey and V to their explosive revolution shows that the human spirit always wins in the end.

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