15 Fun Movies You Forgot Have Super Dark Opening Scenes
There's nothing worse than sitting down to watch what you remember being a super fun movie only to be hit with an extremely dark opening scene. Whether it's a bonkers action movie that opens with a grim death, or a beloved MCU movie that looks at the harsh reality of terminal cancer before leading the audience on a whimsical trip through the stars, shocking movie opening scenes don't just set a tone for the film but your viewing experience.
An amazing opening scene can make a bad movie seem better, and an opening scene that could be its own movie is always really cool, but each of the following opening scenes will stick with you throughout the runtime of the film. Even if your brain does all it can to scrub the existence of these dark movie beginnings, they'll always be there waiting to bum you out whenever you feel like having a good time at the movies.
- 1861 VOTESPhoto: 20th Century Fox
The first X-Men movie not only jump-started the modern era of superhero blockbusters, but it proved comic book adaptations can be as full of pathos as a film of any genre. Even though this early superhero film has a different vibe than the MCU movies that followed, it remains a good time and a great X-Men movie.
But, hoo-boy, the opening scene is a doozy. Opening in a concentration camp is dark for any movie, but when it's in an X-Men movie, it's all the more bleak. A young Magneto watches as his parents are dragged away by members of the SS before he destroys the metal gates outside of Auschwitz.
The scene is meant to set up exactly why Magneto hates government oversight and the Mutant Registration Act, and it might be a little too effective.
- 2822 VOTES
For the most part, Finding Nemo is a heartwarming story about a fish, Marlin, trying to find his son, Nemo, alongside an amnesiac buddy, Dory. Marlin the clownfish comes to terms with his child growing up, and along the way, there's a lot of fun to be had. That is, of course, if you can get through the first five minutes of the movie.
In this opening scene, Marlin and his wife look over their hundreds of eggs hidden beneath a sea anemone. Then a barracuda shows up and not only eats Marlin's wife but all but one of their children. It's devastating, but you completely understand why Marlin is so upset when Nemo sets out on his own. Still, there's no need to watch this scene unless you absolutely must.
- Photo: Universal Pictures
The Lost World may not be the same kind of game-changing family action film as its predecessor, but it's still a pretty fun ride. At least after the cold open where the audience is helpless to watch as a little girl is attacked by baby dinosaurs.
The film opens on a wealthy family enjoying the beach of Isla Sorna, an island perilously close to the site of the original Jurassic Park on Isla Nublar. As the girl's mother and father relax on the beach, she wanders away and encounters a small carnivorous dinosaur. That's all well and good, but then she's surrounded by the little monsters - which is absolutely horrifying to see. The fact her mother's screams are cut with Jeff Goldblum yawning makes this scene even darker.
- 4510 VOTESPhoto: Warner Bros.
Twister is the oddly compelling story about two groups of storm chasers researching a dangerous tornado during some truly intense weather. At the heart of the film is Jo Harding, played by Helen Hunt, a meteorologist who dedicated her life to the study of weather following her father's demise in an F5 tornado.
Harding doesn't just say, “Hey, my dad died in a tornado and that's why I'm fascinated with weather." Instead, the film opens with her dad's death, and it is seriously upsetting. As a frightening storm whips through Oklahoma in the late '60s, the Harding family rushes to their storm cellar. When the tornado threatens to pull the door of their storm cellar off its hinges, Harding's father tries to hold the door in place, but he's pulled into the eye of the storm by the tornado as his wife and child scream in terror. It's super intense, especially for a film with a Goo Goo Dolls song on the soundtrack.
Guardians of the Galaxy is easily the most straightforward and fun movie in the MCU to date, but you wouldn't know that if you watched the first three minutes of the movie. Opening on Earth in 1988, a young Peter Quill has to be prodded into his mother's hospital room by a family member so the young man can say goodbye before his mom passes from an illness that looks to be cancer. Whether or not you've experienced the loss of a family member, this scene is absolutely brutal.
To make things even more painful, Quill can barely look at his mother after she gives him a birthday present that he refuses to open. Don't worry, Quill's mother doesn't get upset - she just straight-up dies! It's almost a merciful ending to the cold open when the young boy runs out of the hospital where he's abducted by aliens.
- 6328 VOTESPhoto: Paramount Pictures
Face/Off is one of the most unhinged movies of all time, not simply because its premise asks the audience to believe two men with different body types could switch faces and no one would notice, but because the performances by stars John Travolta and Nicolas Cage are straight out of a Looney Tunes short.
This is the perfect movie to watch when you just want to turn your brain off and watch chaotic action - or it would be if it didn't have one of the most brutally depressing opening scenes in cinematic history. As the credits flash on screen, Travolta's character, Archer, rides a carousel with his son while Cage (wearing the fakest mustache known to humankind) watches him through the scope of a sniper rifle.
When the time is right, Cage pulls the trigger on the sniper rifle and shoots Travolta through the back. He survives, but the bullet rips through his body and takes out his son.