17 Disney Channel Original Movies That Took A Dark, Dark Turn

Well, that escalated quickly

Just because a movie premieres on Disney Channel doesn't mean it won’t feature any traumatizing, heartbreaking, totally WTF moments. When characters are suddenly, if not a tad randomly, in peril — Cadet Kelly, anyone? — or the plot starts getting super deep, it’s proof that not all Disney films stick to the status quo.

Check out these 16 DCOMs, plus one DCOM imposter, that all went from zero to 100 real quick.

When Lindsay Lohan almost had her hand melted off in Get a Clue


Get a Clue

As Lohan and Bug Hall chased bad guy Charles Shaughnessy through the basement of a hotel, Shaughnessy went extra dark and turned on hot steam to keep the teens at bay. Lohan’s bracelet caught on the spigot, and was only freed mere seconds before the steam turned on.

When Mischa Barton's little bro almost drowned in A Ring of Endless Light


A Ring of Endless Light

Mischa Barton was just trying to have a good time with her old pal Jared Padalecki when her brother went and almost got himself killed. Thankfully, a dolphin swept in and saved the day.

When Loretta (Spencer Redford) died via lightning strike in Pixel Perfect


Pixel Perfect

Redford’s holographic character was chilling in Leah Pipes’s body and then stood there, arms open, as lightning struck her and she poofed TF out of there. She came back at the very end as a “guardian angel” of sorts, but still — dark.

When Frank Langella tried to drop a 1000 lb. weight on Johnny Pacar in Now You See It...


Now You See It...

Man, you really can’t trust anyone. Pacar thought creepy magician Langella was his BFF, but Aly Michalka read him the riot act and ultimately saved him from becoming a human pancake. Savage way to murder someone.

When Chez Starbuck's BFF was nearly drowned by his own father in The Thirteenth Year


The Thirteenth Year

Poor Jess (Justin Jon Ross) got his foot stuck in the net after rescuing a mermaid — a net dropped by his father in the first place. Starbuck was able to save him, however, so all’s well that ends well.

When Christy Carlson Romano "killed" Shia LaBeouf by shoving him off a cliff in The Even Stevens Movie


The Even Stevens Movie

Sure, we know it was a way to get back at the stupid Family Fakeout host, but the fact that Romano “wanted” to end LaBeouf because she was sick and tired of her family “always trying to protect” him was a tad disconcerting.

When Zachariah Kull (Kim Coates) nabbed souls and refused to let them cross over and be with their loved ones in The Scream Team


The Scream Team

First off, what?! Second, Coates only kidnapped the souls because he was wrongly convicted of murdering his wife. But seriously, harboring souls for revenge was just super freakin’ twisted.

When pirates started kidnapping and shooting at the Lawrence brothers in Jumping Ship


Jumping Ship

Granted, pirates were the reason the Lawrence brothers had to literally jump ship in the first place, but then the villains upped the ante. They kidnapped Andy Lawrence and tried to get their way by aiming guns at Joey and Matthew Lawrence. This was supposed to be a relaxing cruise, guys.

When Clara Bryant realized she would go on to live a normal life, while her autistic twin brother Shia LaBeouf would not, in Tru Confessions


Tru Confessions

OK, this entire movie was dark and sad as all get out, but this particular part — tied with Yani Gellman spitting in a hat and then giving it to LaBeouf to wear — was just too much.

When Mahree (Lindsey Haun) was indifferent to the death of a black man in The Color of Friendship


The Color of Friendship

Like Tru Confessions, this whole movie was darker than your average DCOM. But the fact that Haun didn’t seem to care about racial injustice for most of the film was a lot to process.

When Frankie Muniz crashed during a soapbox derby race and had to be rushed to the hospital in Miracle in Lane 2


Miracle in Lane 2

One second, Muniz was racing, and the next, the doctor told his family he had made it to the hospital just in time.

When this chick popped out and made you realize real evil was actually happening in Halloweentown



You’re lying if you claim this moment didn’t scare the ever-loving crap out of you. Harriet (Judith M. Ford) was a sweet lady at the beginning of the film, but she was pretty evil by the end. This was before we met Kalabar in his demonic form, a.k.a. before things took a serious turn for the worse and it wasn’t just a happy-go-lucky monster town anymore.

When everyone on the Wyndham Space Station almost exploded in Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century


Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century

One moment, it’s all, “Oh no, I’m now on Earth. How can I see Proto Zoa’s concert?!” and then it’s suddenly, “We’re all going to die. This place is going to self-destruct! That’s it, we’re doomed.” Luckily, Kirsten Storms saved the day like a boss, no thanks to Commander Plank (Stuart Pankin).

When Andy Lawrence was kidnapped by two dudes in The Other Me


The Other Me

Lawrence definitely had a habit of getting kidnapped in DCOMs.

When terrorists attacked the Twin Towers in Tiger Cruise


Tiger Cruise

Obviously based on the events of 9/11, the movie began with military families hanging out on a cruise ship, but later turned tragic when they turned on the TV.

When Erin Chambers admitted she was relieved not to save her brother's life in Don't Look Under the Bed


Don't Look Under the Bed

Chambers’s movie bro Darwin (Jake Sakson) beat leukemia before the events of the film, all thanks to their brother Bert (Nathan Stevens), Darwin’s donor. The boogeymen-themed movie was already dark to begin with, but even more so with the inclusion of childhood illness.

When an ex–Secret Service agent snapped and lured the president’s son away, kidnapped him, and pulled a gun in a crowded mall in First Kid

Buena Vista Pictures

First Kid

OK — this movie isn’t actually a DCOM, since it debuted in theaters and not on Disney Channel. It’s one of several that’s mistaken for a DCOM, so we’re gonna let it slide this time. For most of the film, Brock Pierce, the POTUS’s son, was just a bratty punk giving Sinbad a hard time. But when STRANGER DANGER happened, and Pierce met up with a “kid” he chatted with online, all hell broke loose.

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