Anyone Can Die/Film

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  • In the The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum, main characters drop like flies, providing real tension in the third film as Nicky flees from the CIA assassin following her. Compare with the novel series.
  • As the name suggests, The Departed is filled with death, and has a startling abundance of X's to go along with that theme.
    • Not sure if this applies here, since not only can everybody die, outside of Marky Mark, Vera Farmiga and Alec Baldwin, everybody does die.
  • Inglourious Basterds: Hitler doesn't even survive this film. About half the cast is killed in a tavern shootout. The ones who survive that are blown to bits in the climactic theater explosion (or various shootouts and stranglings taking place moments before). Only three of a twenty-member ensemble cast make it to the end, and one is a fairly minor character who has maybe ten lines tops.
  • The films of Guy Ritchie.
  • In Psycho, the death of Marion Crane was nearly as shocking and unexpected as the Twist Ending. Naturally, these aren't secrets anymore.
  • The most shaggy-dog extreme of this trope is the film Death Proof, the whole first half of which is spent following characters who don't survive into the second half, just to establish this trope for the film. It then makes up for it by giving us one of the best car chases ever put on film.
  • Cube, in typical thriller fashion.
    • Cube 2: Hypercube
      • Cube Zero
  • Movie critic Joe Bob Briggs has long made this trope his fundamental statement about what makes a good horror movie: "Anyone can die at any time."
  • In City of Angels Meg Ryan's character, one of the two leads in the film, dies at the end.
  • Cloverfield.
  • In Last of the Mohicans (1992), all the main characters die except the romantic leads and the eponymous character.
  • Saving Private Ryan. The first major scene in the movie establishes the tone pretty well, if the fact that's a war movie didn't tip you off first.
    • Except that most of those who die in the opening barrage are unknown to us. The later battle at the radar site, and over the village account for characters we've come to know.
  • No Country for Old Men: no character was safe - even Anton Chigurh. And the movie lets you know it.
  • Serenity. Sudden deaths instilled this trope in the second act of the movie and it runs to the end.
  • Star Trek (2009): The planet Vulcan, including Spock's mother, Amanda Grayson, who may be a more appropriate example for this page.
  • Scream. Any character regardless of the actor in the role can (and does) die in the first ten minutes.
  • The Great Escape fills this trope. Only three of the characters escaped and everybody else involved bar a few get killed. Essentially, this was Truth in Television since the movie was Based on a True Story.
  • Go For Broke! has a huge speaking-character death count by the end of the film, which unfortunately reflects the real casualty rate of the Japanese-American 442nd Regimental Combat Team and 100th Infantry Battalion: 9,486 Purple Hearts divided by 3,000 troops. Sadly, this is mainly due to them being treated as cannon fodder.
  • Deep Blue Sea. Literally moments after establishing himself as the leader of the group with an amazing speech, Samuel L. Jackson's character gets sharked to pieces.
    • And despite the usual male and female love interest making it to the end, Susan McCallister cuts her arm and jumps into the water to distract the shark. You can't help thinking she's going to be alright, right before she's chomped, torn in two and swallowed. R.I.P. Sacrificial Lion.
  • Alien 3. Everyone apart from Ripley dies right in the beginning, after fighting through all of Aliens and surviving. Ripley dies at the end.
    • Including Clemens, the only sympathetic and interesting character in the film, other than Ripley.
    • Too bad the fourth film had to go and spoil it all by bringing her Back from the Dead by cloning her.
    • The original film was also a case of this - you have the well known leading actor Tom Skerritt, and the little known actress Sigourney Weaver. Who would you have put money on to survive past the halfway point?
      • It was quite brilliant, and unfortunately, unrecreatable. The characters died in more or less reverse order of how famous the actors playing them were. Famous in 1979, that is. John Hurt was hugely famous and popular in the US and Britain. Even Veronica Cartwright, whose career went back to playing Violet Rutherford on Leave It to Beaver, and had intersected with Audrey Hepburn and Alfred Hitchcock, was familiar to audiences. Sigourney Weaver was entirely unknown, and the only entirely unknown actor in the cast, with just four minor credits. The deaths of the characters felt like a downward spiral, and Ripley's demise seemed inevitable. The tension of the last ten minutes (with the ship's computer voice counting them off) was almost unbearable. Ripley's survival was shocking, and until the end credits rolled, the audience still expected the alien to pop up somewhere.
  • Any horror movie (well, the ones that involve people dying right and left anyway...)
  • Any suspense thriller (again, any one that involves murder, etc), including, but by no means limited to the ones the Lifetime channel airs.
  • In Ju-On, and its remake series The Grudge, anyone can be killed by Kayako at any moment. Even her beloved crush from her college days is no exception.
    • The only characters not killed by Kayako (in the Ju-on series, at least) is her crush's wife and unborn son; they were killed by Kayako's deranged husband.
  • 9. Just... damn.
    • Just to put it into context, out of the fifteen or so named characters, only four (the number, not the character) survive.
      • This movie, by the way, was put in the "Kids and Family" category. If the children aren't traumatized by the doll/spider/snake (Seamstress), they'll be depressed by all the cute dying ragdolls.
  • The Final Destination movies. NO BODY EVER LIVES. Clear Rivers survives the first one but is killed in a gas explosion near the end of the second one. Kimberly Corman and Thomas Burke survive the second one and were slated to make cameos at the end of the third one, dying in the subway crash that kills the surviving characters of the third movie. Due to prior arrangements with their actors though, the filmmakers settled for a brief glimpse of a news article that says they fell into a wood chipper.
  • From Dusk till Dawn showcased this in the second half. Its sequels followed suit.
  • The Cowboys. First, one of the plucky youngsters goes, then at the end of the second act, John freakin' Wayne dies.
  • Blade: Trinity starts with Whistler's death, who has been around for both previous films. Then again, he was thought to have committed suicide at the end of the first film.
  • Feast dines heartily on this trope. In the opening scene, a badass protagonist bursts into the restaurant, proclaims himself the hero, is designated as such by the movie itself, and is then viciously dispatched. For the rest of the film you're never quite sure who'll survive and who won't because even the kid is swallowed whole.
  • Rachel in The Dark Knight. Seriously, Christopher Nolan needs to cut Joss Whedon a check for that one.
  • By the end of Children of Men everyone is dead except Kee and her baby.
  • Of the large cast of characters in Demon Knight by the end of the movie Jeryline is the only survivor.
  • Saw. Seven movies in total, and the only recurring character to survive to the end of it all is Lawrence Gordon.
  • In the real life Battle of Waterloo, the Duke of Wellington's officer corps and aides were devastated by the battle, with a large number of them either being killed or wounded. This carries over to the movie Waterloo. Also, all those Mauve Shirts who humanize the encounter and both armies? Don't hold out too much hope for them either.
  • Rocco and Il Duche from The Boondock Saints and The Boondock Saints II, as well as some secondary characters.
  • Australian movie Boy Town has all the main characters die in a plane crash towards the end.
  • Contagion: Everyone besides Mitch Emhoff, the only person with real immunity, who gets truly infected dies.
  • Sunshine: Once Kaneda died, we all knew this was coming.
  • About halfway through Drive starts playing this trope pretty hard until the end when all but two named characters are dead.
  • The Perfect Storm: Nobody survives that fateful boating trip.

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