Ideally, birthdays are meant to mark another age milestone of a person’s life and are supposed to be positive. However, many movies ironically make them the opposite. Instead of just embodying happiness and loved ones coming together in celebration, some movies effectively ruin birthdays and introduce party-inappropriate themes and events like death, violence, and disappointment.
Since birthdays are usually joyous occasions, the dissonance narratively highlights the shocking and dark nature of whatever happens in these cases. Sadly, they also make extremely negative memories for the poor person whose big day it is and the audience.
10 Da-Song Gets Traumatized By The Same Person On His Special Day Twice (Parasite)
In the 2019 movie parasite, Da-song Park only wanted his birthday cake when he snuck downstairs in first grade. According to his mother’s retelling, he glimpsed a ghost that scared him so much that it caused him to convulse. Since this story follows the Kims’ stay in the Parks’ home, the viewer knows it was really Moon-gwang’s husband, not an actual specter.
Later, the Parks host a party for Da-song to celebrate another birthday as well as his recovery from the trauma. Horrifically, this is precisely when Geun-sae starts his rampage and stabs Da-song’s art therapist “Jessica” right in front of him as part of the film’s continuing commentary on class status. This triggers another attack for Da-song on the day heralding his recovery — by the same person.
9 Tree Gets Murdered Repeatedly (Happy Death Day)
Tree from Happy Death Day already views her birthday with some cynicism since she shared it with her deceased mother. But it gets worse when a masked serial killer chooses that day to murder her. However, instead of dying, Tree simply wakes up and starts her birthday over while remembering that someone is after her.
Tree must live the day repeatedly before getting inevitably killed as she tries to figure out who the person is. While it is awful to die in such a fashion, Tree is lucky that she gets so many chances to save her life before succeeding in the end. Still, it wouldn’t make the occasion particularly festive.
8 Nick Remembers After Gatsby & Daisy’s Relationship Implodes (The Great Gatsby)
In Baz Luhrman’s 2013 adaptation of The Great Gatsby, Nick and Gatsby accompany Jordan and the Buchanans into New York City where they rent a room at the Plaza Hotel. Tom confronts his wife, Daisy, and Gatsby about their affair and a heated confrontation ensues. After some provocation from Tom that snidely pokes at Gatsy’s “inferior” societal status, Gatsby explodes and makes a physical threat toward Tom.
This alienates Daisy and signals a permanent end to her and Gatsby’s star-crossed romance. After this disaster, Nick suddenly remembers it’s his birthday. The occasion definitely worsens that same evening after the car accident occurs, involving Daisy at the wheel and Tom’s own mistress, Myrtle.
7 Harry’s First & Last On-Screen Birthdays Are Inversions Of Each Other (Harry Potter)
In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stoneas the abused ward to the Dursleys, the titular character of Harry Potter spends his birthday midnight on the floor of a shack while he draws a cake for himself in the dust. Thankfully, Hagrid arrives immediately after to reveal the Wizarding World and change Harry’s life going forward.
By contrast, Harry’s birthday occasion in Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: Part 1 goes downhill. While at Bill and Fleur’s wedding reception, Hermione and Ginny intend to surprise Harry with a cake toward the end. However, the Ministry falling cancels this plan when Death Eaters infiltrate the party and the trio is forced to go on the run as fugitives.
6 Aurora Is Cursed To Fall Asleep Before The Sun Sets (Sleeping Beauty)
At her christening, Princess Aurora from Disney’s Sleeping Beauty was cursed by Maleficent to prick her finger and die on her 16th birthday. Merriweather softened it by making it an enchanted sleep that would break through True Love’s Kiss. Still, the king and queen allowed the fairies to raise Aurora incognito to prevent the curse.
But at the last moment, due to some odd choices, Maleficent is able to enchant Aurora into pricking herself right before the sun sets on her 16th birthday. Not helping is that Aurora is already heartbroken, thanks to having her true royal duties revealed to her and being told she can never see Philip again on the same day.
5 Joe Loses His Wife (Godzilla)
The opening scene for the 2014 movie godzilla sets up the plot and setting as well as Joe Brody’s motivation. After his young son, Ford, is shown preparing decorations for his father’s birthday celebration later, strange seismic activity affects the Janjira Nuclear Power Plant in Japan.
As the plant’s supervisor, Joe sends his wife, Sandra, a nuclear regulations consultant, into the plant reactor with technicians to figure out the issue. However, more activity destabilizes the reactor and destroys the plant. Though Joe waits for Sandra, he is heartbreakingly forced to close the reactor door before she gets there to prevent radiation from leaking. At that point, all Joe can do is watch his wife die in front of him.
4 Divorce & Revealed Deception Take Place On Chris’ & Miranda’s Birthdays (Mrs. Doubtfire)
In regard to disastrous birthdays, mrs. Doubtfire has a twofer. Daniel ignores his wife’s mandate on no parties for their son, Chris, after his bad grades. Predictably, Miranda is livid when she arrives home to the mess caused by rowdy guests and the hired petting zoo. The resulting argument culminates in their marriage dissolving for good.
Later, Daniel-as-Mrs. Doubtfire goes with his family to the restaurant where Miranda’s new boyfriend, Stu, wants to celebrate her birthday. Due to a conflicting business meeting, too much alcohol, and pettiness, Daniel winds up giving the Heimlich Maneuver to Stu. In doing so, he accidentally pulls off his mask, exposing his charade and horrifying Miranda.
3 Sam’s Family Completely Forgets Her Birthday (Sixteen Candles)
Sam Baker or Sixteen Candles doesn’t just have a bad birthday. In fact, her family doesn’t address it at all. Since her older sister’s wedding is the next day, the entire family is consumed with it, and it slips their minds.
While Sam eventually gets individual apologies from her mom and dad, the day is inundated with misfortune. Sam is kicked out of her room for house guests and has to sleep on the sofa and her grandparents don’t remember her birthday, either. Finally, at the school dance, her underwear is put on display, and she seemingly fails to get her crush’s attention.
2 An Overlooked Max Gets Turned Into A Supervillain (The Amazing Spider-Man 2)
Max Dillon from The Amazing Spider Man 2 is already lonely and put-upon, having had his designs for the city’s power grid stolen by his boss. The circumstances of his supervillain transformation increase the tragedy of his character. Max is stopped from going home by the same thieving boss who wants him to work longer. His explanation that it is his birthday doesn’t receive acknowledgment aside from a callous, “happy Birthday.”
Then, Max accidentally turns into Electro on the extended shift after a mishap with the electric eel tanks. He is obviously scared and confused, and can only take being taunted and tortured for so long. He eventually snaps and breaks free from Oscorps, intent on repaying the cruelty he experienced and having people finally notice him.
1 Jenna Is Backstabbed By The Popular Crowd She Tries To Befriend (13 Going On 30)
Jenna Rink from 13 Going on 30 badly wants to belong to the popular girls at her middle school. The girls use her to do their homework and give out compliments, but Jenna still hopes she can become a fellow Six Chick.
As part of Jenna’s mission to be one of them, she invites them to her 13th birthday party. But after standing around and making fun of her best friend Matt’s music choice, the leader, Tom-Tom, convinces Jenna to enter the closet for Seven Minutes in Heaven to ostensibly get a kiss from her crush. The popular crowd then departs, leaving Jenna stingingly behind.
NEXT: 10 Worst Movie Dads