When plans go awry in real life, it’s the worst. But when movie characters have to deal with chaos, well, that’s quite a different story. Here are four of my favorite movies where things go horribly wrong.
The Hangover– I still remember sitting in the movie theater the first time I saw The Hangover and just laughing and laughing and laughing after the movie was over — because even the snapshots that appeared next to the end credits were gut-bustingly hilarious. Bachelor and bachelorette parties have long been great fodder for comedies, but Ed Helms, Bradley Cooper and Zach Galifianakis take it to another level as they attempt to enjoy an all-out weekend in Vegas with their soon-to-be-betrothed friend (Justin Bartha). Problem is, when everyone wakes up at the end of the weekend to head back for the wedding, no one can find the groom. Something has gone horribly wrong, but they’re going to have to follow clues in order to retrace their steps and recover their friend in time. (It should probably go without saying that things go horribly wrong in The Hangover Part II and The Hangover Part III as well. These guys never learn!)
Splice– When things go wildly astray in the movies, it’s not always funny. Sometimes it’s downright horrifying. Like when Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley play genetic engineers who go rogue and start conducting forbidden experiments in which they splice together human and animal DNA. Their intentions were good… and their efforts result in Dren, a beautiful creature who is super-smart. (You already know where this is going, right?) The thing is, Dren soon is growing faster than the scientists can control, and we silly humans are no match for her intellect or strength. Mild spoiler alert: things don’t go well for the humans. If you haven’t seen this movie I highly recommend it — I saw it when it first came out to the Box nearly a decade ago and STILL catch myself thinking about it. (And hoping something like this never happens in real life.) It is seriously messed up!
Rise of the Planet of the Apes – Here’s another cinematic example of humankind’s best-laid plans going totally off the rails. James Franco stars as the creator of an experimental drug meant to help his aging and ailing father — a drug that causes the chimpanzees it’s tested on, including Caesar (Andy Serkis, via groundbreaking motion capture), to develop human-like thoughts, emotions and intelligence. But when Caesar is wronged, he is able to formulate a plan for revenge, which kicks off an astounding and award-winning Caesar-centric trilogy that also includes Dawn of The Planet of the Apes (with Gary Oldman, Keri Russell and Jason Clarke) and War for the Planet of the Apes (with Woody Harrelson).
Game Night– OK enough with the heavy plots! I’ll end my list with a comedy (albeit a dark one), and I can’t think of a better example of a movie where things go horribly wrong than Game Night. Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams star as Max and Annie, a couple who participates in a weekly, uh, game night. But things go sideways when Max’s brother Brooks (the always-excellent Kyle Chandler) decides to turn the normally tame get-together into an “interactive role-playing mystery.” The line between what’s real and what’s part of the game soon begins to blur once Brooks is seemingly kidnapped just as an actor playing an FBI agent is explaining the outline of the mystery.
So… what’s actually happening here? Is anyone really in danger, or is it all part of the gag? And will the pretext of it all being a game make the players bolder than they might have been if they knew the stakes were real?
Check out this 10-minute preview clip to meet Max, Annie and their friends and see how things were going before Brooks decided to mix things up!