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  • Star Wars:
    • The Empire Strikes Back is darker than A New Hope, especially the Cliffhanger ending and the big revelation.
    • Attack of the Clones is much darker in tone than The Phantom Menace due to the assassination attempts on Padme's life, the growing tensions in the Republic, the Start of Darkness for Anakin, when he slaughters the Tusken Raiders, after they kidnapped, tortured, and killed his mom, Mace Windu defeats Jango Fett by beheading him with his lightsaber, ONSCREEN, Anakin's arm is chopped off and many of Jedi are killed off in the Battle of Geonosis, which leads to the beginning of the Clone Wars. And yet it managed to get a PG rating
    • Revenge of the Sith. This sequel manages to be the darkest of all prequels, and probably the darkest of the entire saga so far. (Notably, it is the first Star Wars film to garner a PG-13 rating). This is where you know the plot of the Fallen Hero, The Bad Guy Wins this time and this is the first in the series that blood shown graphically (note when Anakin is almost killed). The movie contains an infamous scene of Vader murdering children.
    • The Force Awakens has a decidedly more "adult" tone than most of the other movies, and is the second Star Wars movie to be rated PG-13. The movie opens with a village on Jakku being invaded and destroyed by the First Order as its inhabitants are slaughtered, and keeps up the darker tone from there with more realistic violence (with some blood) and a minimal amount of kid-oriented "whimsical" humor compared to the previous movies.
  • Rogue One manages to be even darker still, to the point that the already dark The Force Awakens has been called "family-friendly" in comparison. It has an aesthetic and tone closer to a war movie than a space opera. The film is bleak throughout, introduces Black and Grey Morality into the franchise, and contains much more realistic violence than the previous entries, with a very brutal scene in particular of Vader wordlessly hacking through a group of Rebel soldiers like Jason Voorhees.
    • Apparently The Last Jedi is going to be even darker than TFA, and the teaser poster even has a red logo to boot! the teaser trailer showed that the movie will have a darker tone and it looks like it will be more like The Empire Strikes Back
  • Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins and The Dark Knight Saga compared to the Shumacher movies. (Batman and Robin anyone?)
  • Tim Burton's Batman Returns compared to the 1989 film which started the curve away from the campy 1960's TV Series
  • Babe 2: Pig in the City is very much this trope compared to the original. The original was about a little pig on a farm who was taken in by the female sheepdog and was mostly lighthearted. Tear Jerker here and there, but the darkest element was when Babe's parents are herded to the slaughterhouse. In Babe 2, there's a hotel with illegal pets, animal control, a vicious bulldog that nearly hangs him trying to kill Babe, and one of those little wheelchair dogs who almost dies. Nightmare Fuel for some kids.
  • While many versions of The Phantom of the Opera go in the opposite direction, the 1989 film turned the story into a bloody slasher flick, with Robert "Freddy Krueger" Englund in the title role. This movie is much more in keeping with the original novel's tone as far as the titular character's obsession with Christine goes, to the point of his being quite willing to kill for her, but even then it's still a gentler version of the story compared to the original novelization.
  • Richard Kelly wrote a screenplay for Louis Sachar's lighthearted Black Comedy, Holes, that went in this direction. Instead of searching for buried treasure at a juvenile delinquent summer camp, the movie would have had the boys searching for nuclear weapons in a post-apocalyptic Texas. One scene has Stanley visiting a prostitute. The studio instead used the screenplay written by Sachar himself.
  • A common trend in films about King Arthur, which is a pretty downbeat legend to begin with.
    • Excalibur combines Magical Realism with gritty, bloody violence, reaching a peak of dark edginess in an early scene in which a knight in blood-stained armour tricks the wife of his nemesis into having sex with him. There are plenty of impalings and crow-pecked corpses to go around as well.
    • Robert Bresson's Lancelot du Lac. What it lacks in gore and Dung Ages ambiance, it makes up for by being extremely dour, mechanical and joyless, Bresson films are wont to be.
    • The "historical" film King Arthur from 2004 has the Knights of the Round Table turn out to be just a pack of Roman mercenaries fighting evil Saxons in a cold, windswept wasteland of an England.
  • James Bond films:
    • Licence to Kill is by far the darkest of the series to that point. It starts with Colombian drug lord Franz Sanchez feeding Bond's longtime friend and ally to a shark (after killing his new bride), followed by Bond resigning from MI 6, going rogue, and killing every member of Sanchez's organization in increasingly graphic ways.
    • The Daniel Craig Bond films, starting with Casino Royale are darker and more realistic than previous Bond films, going deeper into Bond's pathos and doing away with most of the wisecracks, gadgets and slapstick.
  • The second Home Alone film is much less lighthearted than the first, taking place in New York rather than a Chicago suburb, and with Kevin using much more dangerous traps against the Bandits. Also, when they catch him, Harry fully intends to murder Kevin.
  • Even the classic ET the Extraterrestrial was not immune to this trope. When E.T. first became a hit in theaters, Steven Spielberg and E.T. screenwriter Melissa Mathison came up with a treatment for a sequel: E.T. II: Nocturnal Fears, in which Elliot and his friends are kidnapped by evil albino offshoots of E.T.'s species. Fortunately, E.T. returns to Earth and rescues them, but not until after the kids have all been tortured. Needless to say, they thought better of it.
  • Tron: Legacy is much more grim than the 1982 original. When you got programs violently shattering into data, genocide, a brutal dictator, and brainwashing programs to invade the real world, you got more than just the suits and the environment that's darker than the first Tron.
  • The Black Hole itself qualifies on its own. Released in 1979 it was controversial for being Disney's first PG-rated film, and featured numerous violent and disturbing sequences the likes of which no Disney film had ever shown before. Even the resident "funny robots" were not actually that funny and were played straight. Although it took a few years, the move towards more adult fare exhibited by Black Hole, Tron, a rather adult comedy called Trenchcoat and others eventually led Disney to establish the Touchstone brand for releasing films in the PG, PG-13 and even R-rated realm, while reserving the main Disney brand for (mostly) G or the occasional PG film. This later went by the wayside however as the Disney brand came to be used for dark, PG-13 rated films like Tron Legacy and the Pirates of the Caribbean films.
  • The Godzilla franchise jumps between this and Lighter and Softer. No film has ever topped the original but some try pretty hard. 'Mothra vs. Godzilla' was bleaker than the goofy King Kong vs. Godzilla, Godzilla vs. Hedorah had people melting and one of the biggest body counts of all the franchise after the kid-centered Godzilla's RevengeThe Godzilla movie Terror of Mechagodzilla was Darker and Edgier than "Godzilla vs. Mecha-Godzilla which featured violence but it had a very pulpy story, Terror, even deals with the issue of suicide. Godzilla 1985 dealt with a possible world war III and was politically heavy, Biollante was just a tad bit lighter but very dark still. Godzilla vs. Destoroyah dealt with Godzilla dying, Jr. dying, and possibly a nuclear meltdown. GMK was even bleaker with a Complete Monster Godzilla terrorizing Japan than Megaguirius.
  • G.I. Joe the Rise of Cobra had EVERYONE wearing black and a knives and bullets always finding their way into enemy eye sockets. Then we have the Baroness display her cleavage and the buxom Scarlett wearing a sports bra while on a treadmill.
    • The sequel, Retribution, seems to be have of the same.
    • The reason why this is notable is because the original animated TV series, despite being about a paramilitary group assigned to combat a terrorist organization, was nonetheless intended to be child-friendly, i.e. A-Team Firing galore, and despite the fact Scarlett was armed with a crossbow, she'd never consider using it to actually, you know, kill anyone. Perhaps reflecting the post-9/11 attitudes that A Team Firing is unrealistic and even cheesy, the GI Joes of the live action film (and recent-vintage animated reprises and the comic books) are depicted as you'd expect a paramilitary force fighting terrorists would be - ruthless killers each with double- and triple-digit body counts. Even Scarlett.
  • The Transformers series in general. Robots are getting ripped apart, blown up, or their faces bifurcated. The added sex (and not much else) is supplied by Megan Fox.
    • Although amputation, decapitation and on at least one occasion, crucifixion, were all features of the 80s transformers comics.
    • And the third film cranks it Up to Eleven, with humans being assassinated, as well as having Sentinel Prime launch a full scale Decepticon assault on Earth, complete with scenes of carnage.
  • Red Riding Hood, as seen in the trailer. The original wasn't exactly what modern readers would call kid friendly either though.
  • Back to The Future Part II compared to the first movie. Why? 3 reasons. 1, the alternate 1985. 2, in the alternate timeline, Biff marries Lorraine after killing George. And 3, Doc Brown is institutionalized in the alternate timeline.
  • Russell Crowe's 2010 Robin Hood (2010 film) film.
  • Rob Zombie's remakes of the first two Halloween films fits this trope. While the originals were fairly dark in their own right, Zombie amps it Up to Eleven by creating a darker, gritter world filled with rapist Orderlies Are Creeps, necrophiliacs, Abusive Parents (namely Michael Myers'), and a barrage of characters who swear like sailors. Even Michael himself kills in a more violent, brutal manner. Needless to say, not everybody was fond of these changes.
  • Snow White and the Huntsman compared to almost any other adaptation without a doubt. From the trailers alone, we can already see that this movie is way more violent, with epic-scale battles and soldiers smashing each other to pieces left, right and center, has very scary-looking creatures, and even throws in a few nasty twists such as the Queen really being a much older woman that sucks the life out of much younger women to preserve her youth. Oh, and if that weren't enough, almost the entire film and its settings are very dull and colourless, whereas in most other versions, the kingdom and most parts of the forest are much more colourful and presented as nice places to live. Here? Not so much.
  • Snow White a Tale of Terror. Even more so than the original fairytale.
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