Even the most lighthearted films usually throw in some gripping suspense or emotional drama, and super-dark movies usually throw in funny parts to balance the mood. But sometimes, scenes that are jarringly dark, emotional, violent, or crushingly sad can seemingly come out of nowhere in otherwise 'happy' films where you weren't expecting them. One moment you're watching a movie about a man and his dog solving crimes, and the next moment, BANG, the dog is no more.
Other times, you might be expecting a "sad" scene, but not anything near as twisted as the movie actually gets. Films like The Natural and Fried Green Tomatoes are built to make the audience feel good about life, but when they get dark, they get Saw-level dark. These movies certainly aren’t 'bad' because they have dark moments, but you just may want to pick a different film for family night.
As far as buddy-cop movies about a human and dog go, no film is quite as scarring as Turner and Hooch.
Tom Hanks plays a cop (Turner) who has to take care of his partner's dog (Hooch) after his partner is mysteriously murdered. Eventually, with the help of the dog, Turner tracks down the man responsible for the crime. In the film's climax, the villain shoots Hooch, who doesn't die immediately - instead, he gets up to save the day, then lays back down and his life slowly drains away.
The last scene in the movie is Turner walking a new, different dog, but it absolutely does not erase the tragedy we've just witnessed.
No discussion of films that get super dark out of nowhere is complete without mention of the tunnel scene from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
There's plenty of dark stuff in this movie - a kid that drowns in a river of chocolate, Charlie and his grandfather nearly getting eviscerated by a fan - but the group's boat ride through a creepy tunnel goes far beyond "scary part in a children's movie" and well into "outright disturbing" territory.
Gene Wilder's Willy Wonka character spouts out a creepy poem while the tunnel displays a series of shocking images to the children and their parents. One visual shows a millipede crawling across a man's face, while another part shows a chicken getting its head cut off. Walon Green, a friend of the director's, volunteered to have the millipede dropped on his face for the shot.
What do you remember from Cocktail? Tom Cruise and Bryan Brown acrobatically pouring drinks to "The Hippy Hippy Shake" sticks out, and same for "Kokomo" by The Beach Boys. But one scene is so dark that you probably blocked it out of your memory.
After Cruise tries to reconnect with his old bartending buddy, he learns his friend lost most of his wife's money in the stock market, and is on the verge of losing everything he owns. Brown's character takes his life by slitting his wrists and throat with a broken bottle. Cruise discovers his friend's body alongside a note stating the last few years of his life were a sham.
It's a depressing scene and a surprisingly graphic visual, especially for a movie that, just a half hour earlier, was about a bartender flirting with tourists in Jamaica.
Dirty Dancing is mostly remembered for being the film where Jennifer Grey lets her hair down and learns how to dance with a hunky Patrick Swayze. Or, at least, that's how it was advertised.
There's also a subplot about a young woman named Penny who gets impregnated by a creepy, gaslighting waiter. Penny opts to get a clandestine abortion, since it's 1963, and the procedure is botched, causing her severe pain and putting her life in jeopardy. Jennifer Grey has to summon her doctor-father to keep the young woman alive.