Greatest Film Plot Twists
Film Spoilers and
Surprise Endings


Greatest Movie Plot Twists, Spoilers and Surprise Endings
Title Screen
Film Title/Year and Plot Twist-Spoiler-Surprise Ending Description

Android (1982)

Dr. Daniel Was an Android

In the year 2036, obsessed and eccentric, Frankensteinish research scientist Dr. Daniel (Klaus Kinski) in a satellite laboratory on a remote space station in deep space, worked with his 5 year-old shy, assistant prototypical android Max 404 (scriptwriter Don Keith Opper) carrying out illegal research (androids were outlawed on Earth). In his spare time, coming-of-age Max engaged in learning about 20th century humans by playing computer games, watching old movies, reading sex manuals, and listening to rock 'n' roll and soul music.

In order to activate and complete a perfect, upgraded, perfect blonde-haired female android named Cassandra-1 (Kendra Kirchner) that would render Max obsolete, Dr. Daniel needed the life essence of a real female. When a runaway spaceship with three escaped fugitives, including escaped female convict Maggie (Brie Howard) docked at the space station, Dr. Daniel wanted to use Maggie as a model and sex-electrical power source.

When the sexual chemistry from Maggie and Max sparked life into Cassandra, she came alive and in the film's twist ending, it was revealed that Dr. Daniel was also a robotic android when his head was ripped off by Max and Cassandra during a struggle.

The film concluded with Max and Cassandra returning to Earth posing as Dr. Daniel and his assistant.

And Then There Were None (1945) (aka Ten Little Niggers, UK)

Quinncannon Was the Killer - Only Two Others Survived

In this most-popular of Agatha Christie's detective film adaptations, a mysterious "Mr. U.N. Owen" (read as "Mr. Unknown") had created a remote Indian Island deathtrap. He had invited ten guests there (eight strangers and the butler and cook Mr. and Mrs. Rogers) - all accused of having caused the death of others while escaping punishment.

One by one, the guests started dying (off-screen) - by poisoning, drug overdose, stabbing, axing, by a hypodermic needle, a shot to the head, death by a crushing load of bricks, etc. [Note: all of the murders were inspired by the children's song Ten Little Indians, aka Ten Little Niggers in the 1939 novel ("Ten little nigger boys went out to dine; One choked his little self and then there were Nine...")]

Judge Francis J. Quinncannon (Barry Fitzgerald), one of the guests, was revealed as the perpetrator of the killings - and identified as the enigmatic Mr. Owen. Quinncannon had faked his own death (bullet hole in the head) with the help of one of the unsuspecting victims, Dr. Edward Armstrong (Walter Huston), who he then killed. At film's end, Quinncannon offered surviving guest Vera Claythorne (June Duprez) the option of hanging herself with a noose rather than waiting to be hanged publically, and then committed suicide by swallowing poison.

Only two guests managed to survive: Vera (who had confessed to a crime committed by her sister) and Philip Lombard (actually Charles Morley) (Louis Hayward) who had attended in place of his friend Lombard who had committed suicide when threatened by Owen.

Angel Heart (1987)

Harry Angel Was Johnny Favourite, a Killer, and 'Louis Cyphre' was Lucifer - the Devil

In this twisting, metaphysically-confusing film, seedy private detective Harold "Harry" Angel (Mickey Rourke) was hired by the mysterious and enigmatic Louis Cyphre (Robert De Niro) in the mid-50s to find the whereabouts of missing singer/bandleader Johnny Favourite (nee Liebling) who was a "disappearing act" after signing a contract. Favourite had skipped out without paying - he had actually promised his soul to the Devil in exchange for worldly success, but then tried to renege, cheat the Devil, and hide his identity in someone else.

The twist or revelation in the film was that Favourite had transferred his soul through a Satanic ritual into the original Harry Angel's body twelve years earlier (Favourite had randomly picked WWII GI Angel off the street, and assumed Angel's identity, and because of the war was traumatically brain-injured, hospitalized, had extensive facial surgery, and also suffered amnesia so that he was unrecognizable and couldn't remember who he was). Harry Angel was actually Johnny Favourite, the evil man he was being paid to find. And Louis Cyphre was a gloating and knowing 'Lucifer' - waiting for Angel to realize or remember that his true identity was Favourite, and guiding him to commit numerous murders: ("The flesh is weak, Johnny. Only the soul is immortal... and yours belongs to ME!").

During his investigations in New Orleans and delvings into the black arts of voodoo, Angel's witnesses were brutally murdered. Harry was convinced that Johnny was trying to cover his tracks and was framing Harry for the murders - actually, Harry was the murderer of all the people he discovered dead - all people who were involved in Johnny Favourite's coverup.

In the shocking ending, it was also revealed that Angel probably killed his own daughter Epiphany Proudfoot (Lisa Bonet), the daughter of Evangeline Proudfoot - a black woman who was rumored to be Johnny's lover (but now dead), after having incestuous (unintentionally) sex with her, by firing his gun into her groin area: (Cop: "You're gonna burn for this, Angel." Harry: "I know. In Hell"). He was then convicted of the murder and doomed to the electric chair.

The final scene strongly hinted that Epiphany's toddler son, Harry's grandson, had glowing eyes - hinting that the boy was fathered by 'Lucifer'.

Angels & Demons (2009)

The Camerlengo was the Mastermind Plotting to Become the Next Pope

Director Ron Howard's mystery-thriller action sequel to The DaVinci Code (2006) was also based upon another best-selling Dan Brown novel of the same name, published in 2000. It was written as a prequel to the earlier book, but filmed as a sequel.

The film opened with a spectacular prologue, in which a tubular capsule of anti-matter ("the God particle"), experimentally created at CERN Laboratories in Geneva, Switzerland, was stolen from a high-security area (where nuclear physicist Silvano Bentivoglio (Carmen Argenziano) was murdered and branded with the ambigram Illuminati). The capsule was used as a terrorist bargaining chip - a bomb to create a "blinding explosion," planted somewhere in Rome. In the meantime, a progressive Vatican Pope had just died (from a stroke, or from some other nefarious plot?) and the red-garbed College of Cardinals was assembling in a highly-secure conclave to choose a successor.

The CERN scientist's particle physicist partner, Dr. Vittoria Vetra (Ayelet Zurer) joined recruited Harvard University symbologist Dr. Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) to decipher cryptic messages to follow a hidden path. It was feared that the ILLUMINATI, an 'enlightened' yet radical society of free-thinking scientists, a brotherhood that had been persecuted and driven underground by the Catholic church many centuries earlier was behind the terrorist plot (in 1668, four Illuminati scientists were kidnapped, branded, and executed by the Church). Now, four preferiti Cardinals (the "four pillars" - favored successors to the Pope) had been kidnapped, and were to be branded on their chests with the names of the four fundamental elements of science (EARTH, AIR, FIRE, WATER). They were to die on the "altars of science" of four public churches (set in a cross-shaped pattern overlaying Rome, where the Illuminati had met in secret in the past), in executions every hour at 8, 9, 10, and 11, before the midnight unleashing of the anti-matter capsule as a cataclysmic bomb, to explode in a burst of light and destroy the Vatican ("Vatican City will be consumed by light. A shining star at the end of the Path of Illumination"). It would be a repeat of the "ancient Illuminati threat" - "Destruction of Vatican City through light...Science obliterates religion."

The executions were in the style of the four elements:

  1. suffocated and half-way buried in dirt (in the Demon's Hole in the Chigi Chapel in the Church of the Santa Maria del Popolo, once called Capella Della Terra (Chapel of the Earth)
  2. punctured lungs (near a bas relief carving on the ground of 'West Ponente' (West Wind) in St. Peter's Square)
  3. fire burning (in the Santa Maria Della Vittoria Church)
  4. water drowning (in the Fountain of the Four Rivers in the Piazza Navona)

It was now clear that there was a paid, rimless glasses-wearing psychopathic Assassin (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) working for the Illuminati who was committing the dirty-work, including cutting out the entire eyeball of CERN physicist Bentivoglio, Vetra's research partner, in order to bypass the security's retinal scan in the opening scene. The assassin's hiding place was in the "Church of Illumination" or Castel Sant'Angelo (The Castle of the Angel), an ancient hideout and prison for enemies, connected to the Vatican by a secret tunnel-passageway. There, the Assassin spared the lives of Langdon and Vetra, but was betrayed by the Illuminati when blown up by a car-bomb.

There were many suspected individuals during the course of the film:

  • Cardinal Strauss (Armin Mueller-Stahl), a cunning, elderly and wise Old School prelate presiding over the papal election
  • Commandante Richter (Stellan Skarsgard), the stern, menacing and disdainful head of the Swiss Guard, the Vatican's own security force
  • Inspector General Ernesto Olivetti (Pierfrancesoco Favino), Vatican police force
  • Camerlengo Patrick McKenna (Ewan McGregor), the young chamberlain/secretary of the late pontiff, who was, by tradition, the acting head of Vatican City until the new pope was chosen by the College of Cardinals

After Langdon and Vetra had raced around Rome, deciphering clues to the four execution sites and saving only the fourth Cardinal's life, another key location was the anti-matter capsule itself. It was in St. Peter's Tomb in the Necropolis, but Vetra didn't have enough time to change the battery before midnight. The Camerlengo volunteered to take the canister and heroically fly it away in a Vatican helicopter. He parachuted to safety, saving the city from the massive explosion, and was hailed as a possible papal successor. However, Langdon and Vetra viewed a hidden security videocreen in Richter's office desk which revealed that the Camerlengo was the mastermind plotting to become the next Pope - he had branded himself as the final victim with a fifth brand, the symbol of two upside-down crossed keys (the brand referred to St. Peter being crucified upside down - a clue that the anti-matter canister was under the Vatican where St. Peter was buried). The Camerlengo blamed Richter and others, leading to their deaths by police fire. He had also killed the Pope with an injection overdose of Tinzaparin, turning his tongue black a week later as a telltale sign. When confronted by the disapproving conclave, the Camerlengo self-immolated, pouring oil on himself from one of the ninety-nine holy lamps inside St. Peter's Basilica and igniting it.

The film ended with the fourth and only surviving preferiti, Cardinal Baggia (Marc Fiorini), selected as the new Pope, to be named Luke, and Cardinal Strauss the new Camerlengo. The Vatican had covered up what had actually happened. Strauss thanked Langdon, and told him in the film's final words: "Religion is flawed, but only because man is flawed. All men, including this one (pointing to himself)...Mr. Langdon, thanks be to God for sending someone to protect his Church." When Langdon responded: "I don't believe he sent me, Father," Strauss replied: "Oh, my son, of course he did...," as the new Pope greeted the crowd in St. Peter's Square below.

Anger Management (2003)

Dave's Court-Ordered Anger Management Therapy Lasting Two Weeks Was Entirely Set-up By His Frustrated Girlfriend Linda, To Get Him to Be More Demonstrative and Assertive - and To Provoke Him to Propose To Her at Yankee Stadium in Front of a Huge Crowd

Director Peter Segal's disappointing comedy (he was known for Tommy Boy (1995) and Nutty Professor II: The Klumps (2000)) was another mostly-unfunny, contrived Adam Sandler film, with predictable gross-out teen humor, vulgarities, lots of penis references and jokes, homophobia, and slapstick cartoonish violence.

The main character was ultra-meek and mild-mannered Dave Buznik (Adam Sandler), a NYC clothes designer for overweight feline pets (Fat Cat), who worked for an ungrateful and abusive boss named Frank Head (Kurt Fuller). Dave had issues with showing public affection for his adoring girlfriend Linda (Marisa Tomei), a poetry teacher, and wouldn't stand up to her former college boyfriend Andrew (Allen Covert), a work colleague. She was frustrated about Dave's lack of assertiveness and continued embarrassment. She told him: "You gotta stick up for yourself sometimes." And Dave kept putting off asking Linda to get married.

A number of odd coincidences led to Dave having an altercation with an air marshal regarding his simple request for a headset from a flight attendant named Patty (Nancy Walls) during a business trip to St. Louis. The flight was turned around and he was arrested at JFK. Found guilty and ordered by Hon. Court Judge Brenda Daniels (Lynne Thigpen) to 20 hours of anger management therapy, Dave began treatments with surly, unorthodox, and threatening specialist Dr. Buddy Rydell (Jack Nicholson), a best-selling author ("Temper's the one thing you can't get rid of by losing it"). [Note: Coincidentally and to Dave's surprise, Buddy was a seatmate passenger on the plane when Dave had the altercation.] After another violent incident in a bar, Rydell was further ordered to provide 30 days of intensive, round-the-clock therapy for Dave - and even moved into his apartment as a "bunkmate."

One of self-help guru Buddy's unconventional techniques, part of his strange multi-step program, was to force Dave to stop morning commuter rush hour traffic on the Queensboro Bridge and serenade him with West Side Story's "I Feel Pretty." Buddy also suggested that Linda and Dave have a "trial separation" to strengthen their relationship, while he began dating Linda himself. Dave jealously assaulted Buddy after he asked: "Is it all right if I date your ex?" and was again court-ordered to go on trial for attempted murder in three weeks. He was also given a restraining order to stay 500 feet away from both Buddy and Linda.

The most amusing parts of the film were the surprise cameos, including John Turturro as Chuck - an angry, paranoid and psychotic Grenada War veteran (Dave's "anger ally" during therapy), two adult film star patients and lesbian lovers: Stacy (Krista Allen) and Gina (January Jones), Harry Dean Stanton as a Blind Man, Woody Harrelson as Galaxia - a German drag-queen she-male (known for coming from the German town of "Lickin Zee Dickin"), Heather Graham as attractive Boston "hot babe" Kendra (one of Buddy's ex-patients), John C. Reilly as a Buddhist monastery monk named Arnie Shankman (a bully from Dave's childhood 5th grade who humiliated him), and those playing themselves, including John McEnroe, ex-Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Roger Clemens, Derek Jeter and Bobby Knight.

The film's plot twist was revealed in a climactic scene set at Yankee Stadium where Buddy had taken Linda for a game-date - to borrow Dave's own "proposal idea." Provoked to anger one final time, Dave charged onto the field where he was apprehended by security guards. Allowed to speak by Mayor Giuliani ("Let this man finish what he came here to say") before being forcibly ejected, Dave proposed marriage to Linda ("Please marry me, Linda"). She challenged him to kiss her in public view (encouraged by the Mayor: "You can do it, David. Give her a five-second Frencher! Kiss her, David") before accepting. The crowd witnessed their kiss and applauded, and Buddy congratulated them on a scoreboard screen. And then Linda announced that Dave had just graduated from Buddy's anger management therapy.

Linda admitted that she had set up everything that had previously happened with some of Buddy's friends, including the flight attendant incident, the judge's sentencing, therapy by Buddy, and the ball-game finale.

In the final scene during a celebration of Dave's graduation in Central Park, Dave pulled a fast one on everyone else. A man approached him with a gun and Dave proposed to take the shot: "You wanna mess with my friends, you gotta shoot me first." Dave was shot - but it was only a squirt gun wielded by one of Dave's friends.

April Fool's Day (1986)

The Party Was an April Fool's Joke

In this tongue-in-cheek slasher horror film, eight college students who liked to play April Fool's jokes on each other, met during spring break at the secluded island home of hostess Muffy St. John (Deborah Foreman), to celebrate her 21st birthday (on April Fool's Day) during a 'bloody unforgettable' weekend. The oddly-behaving Muffy reportedly had a deranged twin sister named Buffy who was in an institution.

One by one, the students died (off-screen) by decapitation, throat cutting, castration, stabbing, and hanging, with one suspected killer being the injured ferry worker from the film's opening. Only Kit (Amy Steel) and Rob (Ken Olandt) were left at film's end, chased by the suspected killer Buffy into the living room, where she found all the others resurrected and alive.

It had all been an elaborate hoax or ruse for April Fool's Day, explained when Buffy showed that the knife wasn't sharp - causing the freaked-out Kit to scream. Muffy explained that there was no Buffy, and that the entire weekend had been a test for future bed & breakfast 'murder weekends' she was planning for the mansion.

In an additional twist, librarian Nan (Leah Pinsent) - supposedly angered by Muffy's reference to an abortion - slit the throat of soused Muffy when she returned to her bedroom - but then revealed that the knife and blood were fake as she smiled at the camera/audience.

Arlington Road (1999)

Faraday's Neighbor, A Terrorist, Tricked Him Into Transporting A Bomb Inside His Car's Trunk, to Blow Up the FBI Building

Widowed college history professor Michael Faraday (Jeff Bridges) was still grieving the death of his wife Leah, an FBI agent killed in the line of duty. Over time, he became extremely suspicious of the dubious activities of his suburban Virginia, across-the-street neighbor - white supremacist, structural engineer Oliver Lang (Tim Robbins), especially after the strange and unexplained circumstances surrounding the car-accident death of Michael's girlfriend and former student, Brooke Wolfe (Hope Davis), who was helping him to investigate Lang.

Then, towards the conclusion of the film, Faraday became convinced that his nine year-old son Grant (Spencer Treat Clark) had been kidnapped by Lang - now revealed for certain to be a dangerous extremist.

When he saw a Liberty Van Service vehicle that he believed was holding a kidnapped Grant and heading into the secure underground parking lot of the FBI headquarters, he drove his rented red vehicle through barricades and parked. He yelled hysterically to FBI officers: "In the van! In the van!...Everyone out of the building! There's a bomb, in the van!"

When the van was opened and found to be clean, Faraday raced with officers to his own vehicle. He discovered - too late - that his neighbor had set him up and duped him with a destructive bomb planted in the trunk of his car. After running to the car's trunk, he re-heard the words of FBI agent Whit Carver (Robert Gossett) (the ex-partner of Michael's wife) informing him that he was the only unauthorized person in the building area: "Everyone except you!" To his horror, he opened his car's trunk and saw the bomb. It exploded and killed him, and wounded and killed many others.

The real terrorist killer, Oliver Lang, watched the massive destruction from afar.

The resultant news coverage blamed Faraday as the lone criminal, although the real criminal was his psychotic, terrorist neighbor. This film's twist ending was similar to the one in The Parallax View (1974).

"Preliminary reports indicate the bombing was the work of this man, Michael Faraday of Reston, Virginia. A professor of history at George Washington University...Officials will not confirm reports that the bombing had anything to do with the death of Mr. Faraday's wife, who had been an FBI agent. Students and colleagues both say that Farady's behavior was increasingly erratic in the weeks leading up...Faraday reportedly blamed the Bureau for its role in his wife's death almost three years ago. Specifically, sources speculate his target may have been Agent Whit Carver, one of the 184 people to perish in the attack. Carver was a partner of Faraday's wife at Copper Creek and Faraday may have held him responsible...

Yet all of them described Faraday as solitary but friendly as a talented professor fascinated by the American underground, and as a loving father to his ten-year-old son who is now in the care of relatives. And so after exhausting hundreds of thousands of man-hours and leads, federal investigators are finally ready to say that just as in the St. Louis IRS bombing nearly two years ago, this spring's attack on the FBI, the worst terrorist strike in our nation's history, was the work of one man and one man alone."

In the final scene, the Langs were in their front yard (with a For Sale by Owner sign), staring at their next-door neighbor's boarded-up home (with Keep Out and No Trespassing signs) surrounded by yellow crime tape. They were planning to move to another state, ironically Cheryl Lang (Joan Cusack) hoped, to "someplace nice...someplace safe."

"The van's clean!"

Atonement (2007, US/UK)

The Two Lovers Were Reunited Only in the Novel

The film's plot centered on fanciful, manipulative 13 year-old Briony Tallis (Saoirse Ronan) who mistakenly identified and accused her sister Cecilia Tallis' (Keira Knightley) 'secret' boyfriend, servant/cook son Robbie Turner (James McAvoy), of 'raping' her 15 year-old cousin Lola Quincey (Juno Temple). [Later it was revealed that houseguest/chocolate tycoon Paul Marshall (Benedict Cumberpatch) was actually making love to Lola, and a few years later married her, but the act was misinterpreted by the young Briony as 'rape'.]

Robbie was dragged off to jail and then released to join the British forces at the start of World War II.

At the end of the film, older, terminally-ill (with vascular dementia) novelist Briony (Vanessa Redgrave) was interviewed about her latest and last book - an autobiographical work titled Atonement - when she confessed as an act of penance that much of the end portion of the novel was fabricated in order to bring the two lovers together and make amends. However, she told the interviewer it was "the absolute truth, no rhymes, no embellishments."

A scene of reconciliation between 18 year-old nursing student Briony (Romola Garai) and her estranged sister (and Robbie) was "imagined, invented," in which Briony promised to make a written apology and officially recant her false accusation.

However, both Robbie and Cecilia died during the war, never to experience the happiness they desired. Robbie died of septicemia on the last day of the Dunkirk evacuation before returning home, and Cecilia died a few months later when bombs flooded the London underground tunnel where she was seeking shelter.

The final scene was an idealized look at the lovers cavorting on the beach near a beach house, as Briony stated: "So in the book, I wanted to give Robbie and Cecilia what they lost out on in life. I'd like to think this isn't weakness or evasion, but a final act of kindness. I gave them their happiness."

Audition (1999, Jp./S.Kor.) (aka Odishon)

Asami Tortured the Widower Before She Broke Her Own Neck When Kicked Down Stairs by the Widower's Son During a Struggle

A shocking transformation and character reversal was the almost-unbelievable plot twist in this film: seemingly-demure, virginal and dutifully-humble 24 year-old 'auditioned' bride-to-be Asami Yamazaki (Eihi Shiina) turned into a vengeful, sadistic torturer who exacted her revenge on middle-aged, lonely widower Aoyama (Ryo Ishibashi).

She first drugged and temporarily paralyzed him (with a syringe), and then terrorized him with acupuncture needles (stuck into his eyelids) and piano wire (used to amputate or wire-saw off his left foot - and then his right foot).

When she heard his son coming home while she was sawing off the second foot, the film abruptly became Aoyama's psychotic nightmarish dream. He woke up with Asami in his bed after they had made love for the first time, following the audition.

Then after he awoke from the dream, Asami herself broke her neck (and became paralyzed from the neck down) after being kicked down stairs by the widower's son during a struggle.

Awake (2007)

Billionaire Wall Streeter Clay Beresford Was to Be Murdered on the Operating Table During Open-Heart Transplant Surgery; The Major Conspirators Included His Own Fiancee/Wife Samantha, and His Trusted Friend Surgeon Dr. Jack Harper - Their Plan Was To Collect on His Will; Clay's Mother Discovered the Plot and Suicidally Overdosed, To Save Her Son with Her Own O-Negative Heart Transplant

First time writer/director Joby Harold's bloody psychological suspense thriller (his feature film debut) was about a phenomenon known as "anesthetic awareness" - being paralyzed although conscious and feeling surgical pain. However, the film's tagline on a poster (besides revealing a crucial plot twist) grossly misrepresented statistics about it, and should have said one in about 14,000:

"Every year, 21 million people go under anesthesia. One in 700 remain awake the entire time. When they planned her husband's murder, they never thought he'd be the one."

The film opened with an explanation about how 21 million people each year receive general anesthesia: "The vast majority go to sleep peacefully. They remember nothing. 30,000 of these patients are not so fortunate. They find themselves unable to sleep. Trapped in a phenomenon known as anesthesia awareness. These victims are completely paralyzed. They cannot scream for help. They are awake."

Most of the characters in the film defied their initial impressions and betrayed each other. [Note: The film received two Razzie Awards nominations: Worst Screen Couple (Christensen and Alba), and Worst Actress (Alba).]

22 year-old socially-minded billionaire Wall Street capital investment banker Clayton "Clay" Beresford (Hayden Christensen) was being pressured by his fiancee, adorable Samantha "Sam" Lockwood (Jessica Alba) (his mother's personal assistant!), to get married. He was portrayed as a good son to his doting, loving (but domineering, smothering and possessive) mother Lilith (Lena Olin) who disapproved. After the couple secretly married, Clay learned a donor heart had become available for him. Despite the fact that his best friend and black surgeon Dr. Jack Harper (Terrence Howard), who had previously saved his life, was facing four malpractice suits and Lilith objected (considering him a "second-rate" doctor), Clay was determined to have Jack perform the surgery. He declined her choice - prominent world class heart surgeon friend of 15 years, Dr. Jonathan Neyer (Arliss Howard).

At the last minute for Clay's open-heart surgery, substitute anesthesiologist Dr. Larry Lupin (Christopher McDonald) (with an apparent drinking problem) arrived to replace sick colleague Dr. Fitzgerald. During surgery, a disembodied, anesthesized (although aware) Clay overheard a conspiracy against him. Through out-of-body "imagined" dream experiences (he rose from the surgical table, watched himself, then entered the hospital's corridor - barefooted and wearing blue hospital scrubs). He was mobilized to piece together and uncover troubling coincidences, preposterous mistakes, and conspiratorial betrayals:

  • Samantha had conspired with Dr. Jack Harper (also involved were Dr. Puttnam (Fisher Stevens), nurse Penny Carver (Georgina Chapman) and anesthesiologist Dr. Fitzgerald) to murder Clay (Samantha had previously been a nurse at the hospital working in Harper's team)
  • The plan was to poison the new donor heart so that the transplant for Clayton would be rejected
  • The conspirators would collect insurance money, to help pay off Dr. Jack Harper's malpractice suits; Samantha persuaded Jack: "Without this money, we're finished. He has to die...Jack, think about it. No more triple shifts. No more 30-hour days. Even if we settle the will, we're rich. You know what 100 million is, four ways?"
  • When Jack hesitated to kill Clayton, Samantha took the syringe, filled it with poison, and demanded that Jack use it to inject the patient
  • In a "twist-within-a-twist," to save her son who had died from the surgery (and organ failure and rejection), Lilith committed suicide by overdosing in the cafeteria (with her son's medication)
  • In limbo with her son, Lilith told Clay: "You're going to live, Clay"; her desire was to have her heart switched with the poisoned donor heart, via an operation performed by Dr. Neyer; they both had rare O-negative blood types
  • in flashback, Lilith described how she had discovered the plot; Samantha had left the waiting room and her purse; Lilith looked through her mail and saw that Samantha's name had been changed from Samantha Tunnell; she was a student at Varick University's school of nursing in NYC and had been to the hospital many times
  • Police, alerted by substitute anesthesiologist Dr. Lupin to the 'murder', arrested Dr. Harper and his associates attempting to flee; Sam claimed that she was just the "grieving widow...I didn't do anything wrong" - although her prints were on the deadly syringe, and she was also arrested
  • Lilith told Clay, still in limbo, that she had killed Clay's abusive addict father (Sam Robards) (a haunting Christmas flashback showed the father wearing a Santa suit, struck on the back of the head with a fireplace stoker, and lying dead on the floor after falling down the stairs); Lilith had wanted to protect young Clay, although she realized she had caused him more pain; she told Clay: "It's time for you to live" - and he was revived after the second transplant in the operating room; the new operation by Dr. Neyer was successful and Clay was awake

The film ended with Dr. Harper in his locked office, with a regretful voice-over:

"At 6:32 this morning, on Thursday, the first of November, Clayton Beresford, Jr. died on my operating table. Two and a half hours later, his life was saved. There are no excuses for what we did. There's no defense, no one to blame but us. We got what we deserved. Clay would have his revenge, and justice would finally be served. For despite all the secrets, despite all the lies and a - a terrible loss, only one thing really matters now."

Clayton Beresford
(Hayden Christensen) with
Samantha Lockwood
(Jessica Alba)

Clayton with Lilith
(Lena Olin)

The Conspirators

Deadly Suicide

Death of Father

Greatest Movie Plot Twists, Spoilers and Surprise Endings

(alphabetical by film title)
Intro | A1 | A2 | B1 | B2 | B3 | B4 | B5 | C1 | C2 | C3 | D1 | D2 | D3 | E1 | E2 | F1 | F2 | G | H1 | H2 | H3 | I | J-K | L1 | L2
M1 | M2 | M3 | M4 | M5 | N | O | P1 | P2 | Q-R1 | R2 | S1 | S2 | S3 | S4 | S5 | S6 | T1 | T2 | T3 | U-V | W1 | W2 | W3 | X-Z

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