Greatest Film Plot Twists
Film Spoilers and
Surprise Endings


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

The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)

Cora Died in a Tragic Car Accident; Lover Frank Was Charged With Murder and Faced Execution

This noir's shock ending occurred when reconciled lovers Frank Chambers (John Garfield) and Cora Smith (Lana Turner) were struck by tragedy. Distracted during a 'kiss that comes from life' while he was driving, Frank ran off the road, killing Cora ('with a kiss that comes from death') in a fatal auto accident. Cora's lifeless arm fell off the seat, and a tube of lipstick slowly dropped to the floor of the car and onto the ground.

Frank was charged and convicted with the murder (a newspaper headline screamed: "GRAND JURY INDICTS CHAMBERS AS SLAYER: Killed Wife In Bogus Auto Accident, Charged to Face Murder Trial - Sensational Cora Smith Case Has Aftermath in Action against Husband"), and sentenced to death.

When Frank protested his innocence in killing Cora: ("I didn't do it, I didn't do it...I'm not going to go in the gas chamber for killing her!), DA Kyle Sackett (Leon Ames) informed him that evidence of Frank's complicity in the murder of Cora's husband Nick (Cecil Kellaway) was discovered, and that being acquitted of Cora's murder would be futile.

Frank was relieved, but he faced execution. He reasoned that he would pay with his life for a crime he didn't commit, making up for getting away with the murder of Cecil:

Father, you were right. It all works out. I guess God knows more about these things than we do. Somehow or other, Cora paid for Nick's life with hers. And now I'm going to. Father, would you send up a prayer for me and Cora, and if you could find it in your heart, make it that we're together, wherever it is?

Predator 2 (1990)

Predators Had Been Hunting Humans for Generations; Cop Harrigan Killed the Predator, But It Was Predicted That They Would Eventually Return

In this futuristic sequel film's ending, LAPD Lieutenant cop Michael Harrigan (Danny Glover) had just engaged the sophisticated Predator (Kevin Peter Hall) in a bloody battle (in a meat packing-slaughterhouse plant, in an apartment building, and in the Predator's own spaceship hidden underground) - and had killed the brutal Predator by slicing it in the chest with its own bladed throwing smart-disc. Suddenly and unexpectedly, a group or clan of other predators, an Elder Predator and eight others, materialized out of thin air to confront Harrigan.

Outnumbered, Harrigan dropped his disc weapon and muttered: "Okay, who's next?", but these predators did not attack. Instead, the Elder Predator rewarded Harrigan with a trophy prize for killing one of their own. He was given an antique pistol from the 18th century. It was a flintlock pistol that had belonged to the famed Barbary pirate Raphael Adolini, dated 1715. [The extra-terrestrial warrior race of Predators had been visiting Earth and hunting humans for sport for generations.]

They let him live, while carrying off Harrigan's slain foe, and then left in their spaceship. Harrigan replied to Garber's (Adam Baldwin) furious regret about not capturing the alien for study: "Goddamn it, we came so close" - he told him: "Don't worry, asshole, you'll get another chance."

Premonition (2007)

The Days of the Week (of Her Husband's Death) That Time-Warped Housewife Linda Experienced Were Out of Order, An Unexplained Phenomena - She Was Ultimately Unable to Change Fate And In Fact Helped Cause His Death

This lukewarm, hyped-up, mysterious and supernatural thriller (by German director Mennan Yapo and writer Bill Kelly, and not a remake of Yogen (2004, Jp.) - a Japanese horror film with the English title of "Premonition") explained part of its plot with two taglines:

  • Reality is only a nightmare away.
  • It's not your imagination.

The convoluted, sometimes illogical (with lots of plot holes) and unoriginal trick twist, semi-similar to the hook in Groundhog Day (1993), was that the days of the week were shown out of sequence. The puzzled female protagonist, shocked by the news of her husband's death, became disconnected from linear time during sleep, and was arbitrarily jumping around the scrambled days of the week of his death (before and after he was dead). No wonder she became completely confused and disoriented.

Slightly discontented housewife Linda Hanson (Sandra Bullock) was in a supposedly perfect marriage, with a loving husband Jim (Julian McMahon), and two daughters, older Bridgette (Courtney Taylor Burness) and younger Megan (Shyann McClure). On a Thursday morning, she received a visit from Sheriff Reilly (Marc Macaulay), telling her that her husband had died in a car accident the day before - on Wednesday. But when she woke up the next day - it was now Monday, and he was still alive - and she thought she had experienced a nightmare. She was often experiencing other-worldly premonitions (or ESP) of the impending death of her loved one, although ultimately had little control over fate. When she told her lithium-prescribing psychiatrist Dr. Norman Roth (Peter Stormare) that she didn't know what was happening day-by-day, he responded: "Seems a little complicated...Obviously, you're dealing with some inconsistencies."

At one hour into the film, Linda drew a chart of the days of the week and what she remembered doing each day. Here is the chronological order of days (and numbered in the order that they appeared in the film):

  • (6) Sunday - Linda went to church, where she spoke to Father Kennedy (Jude Ciccolella) about case histories of unexplained premonitions, and she felt she had lost faith; Linda drove to the Mile 220 marker and tried to imagine accident; Jim took the girls on a day outing; that evening Linda encouraged love-talk to each other and their family; the two ended up in her backyard during windstorm, and she feared their troubled marriage: "We're running out of time"; a black crow was electrocuted when an electrical transformer exploded; she made love to Jim (she later showed signs of pregnancy); she told him: "I had a dream you're gonna die"
  • (2) Monday - Linda awoke and was aghast to find Jim alive in the kitchen eating breakfast; he asked her to take the kids to school since he was late for a Monday morning work meeting with a new assistant manager; Linda fell on remains of bloody dead black crow in backyard near her clothesline (and left bloodstains on patio door)
  • (4) Tuesday - Linda awoke, hugged Jim in their bathroom's shower; she told him that she was confused: "I don't even know how to explain it"; there were no scars on Bridgette's face; she dropped the children at school, then located Dr. Roth in phone book (she ripped out page) and met him for the first time in his office; Linda told him of her problem: "I wake up and he's dead. I wake up and he's alive." Roth told her it was common to daydream about someone dying; he prescribed Lithium for her anxiety; at husband's workplace, Linda met blonde Claire Francis (Amber Valletta), Jim's new co-worker (and assistant manager), and became suspicious; Linda threw Lithium pills into sink; her daughter Bridgette crashed through a glass patio door and scarred her face; Linda covered mirrors in house; Linda drew a chart of days of week to try to figure out pattern
  • (7) Wednesday - Linda awoke late - Jim had already taken the girls to school; he tripled his life insurance's death benefits; Jim claimed he had an out-of-town business trip (although was contemplating an affair with Claire and had booked a room for them, but then cancelled their plans); this was the day of Jim's death at Mile 220 marker (on Hwy 57 West) where Linda was complicit in the tragic accident; she drove to the site of the impending car crash, drove up behind him as she called him and told him to turn his car around, and unintentionally caused him to stall his car in the path of jack-knifing (and exploding) fuel-gas semi-truck - she witnessed his demise
  • (1) Thursday - Linda awoke, took two daughters to school; received phone machine message from Jim (from the day before) about his love for her, but then his call was interrupted by someone else's call (Linda's own cellphone call); she received news from the Sheriff of Jim's death the day before ("He died on the scene"); Linda informed daughters of the bad news, then Linda's mother Joanne (Kate Nelligan) came over and helped Linda cope with loss
  • (5) Friday - Linda drove to Claire's (husband's potential mistress) house and realized that Jim had been planning on cheating on her; Linda felt: "Maybe it was supposed to happen"; her husband's term life insurance policy guaranteed income for mortgage and daughters' education; she made funeral arrangements
  • (3) Saturday - Linda awoke, wearing one of Jim's blue workshirts; mirrors in house were covered; she had been prescribed Lithium (by Dr. Roth); family and friends were in mourning downstairs, ready to attend funeral; Linda was in denial about Jim's death; Linda saw cut-marks with stitches on Bridgette's face; everyone went to Jim's funeral, where Linda became crazed at the sight of Jim's severed body in opened coffin; during delivery of a eulogy at outdoor gravesite, Linda noticed Claire at the periphery of the group behind tree, and Linda claimed she had never met her before; after the funeral, Linda was taken away by a summoned Dr. Roth (on Joanne's recommendation) and committed for treatment at a mental health facility; Linda was sedated by injection and fell asleep
  • (8) End of Film (Undetermined Time) - widowed Linda and her two daughters were moving on - to another house and life, and Linda was pregnant with Jim's child

The Prestige (2006)

Angier's 'Real Transported Man' Trick Did Not Cause Him to Die (Tesla's Cloning Machine Invention Created an Exact Angier Duplicate or Clone Who Would Die Instead Each Time). Vengeful Angier (aka Lord Caldlow) Staged His Own Murder to Frame Borden. Borden Was Hanged, But Then Miraculously Reappeared Since He Had A Twin (Fallon). Borden Then Killed Angier

The Christopher Nolan-directed, convoluted, non-linear thriller began with the taunting words "Are you watching closely?" Part of the reason for some uproar over this film's twist was that it had a 'supernatural' explanation that could not have been guessed, and left some viewers feeling cheated.

Two vengeful illusionists in 19th century Victorian England riskily competed with each other's rival magician acts at the turn of the century:

  • Alfred "The Professor" Borden (Christian Bale)
  • Robert "The Great Danton" Angier (Hugh Jackman), a master showman

They often caused the other's trick to fail when they volunteered from the audience and scandalized the competitor's reputation.

Angier was further motivated against Borden with deadly revenge when he blamed him for tying a complex Langford Double knot on his wife Julia McCullough's (Piper Perabo) wrists when she was serving as an assistant for another more elderly magician named Milton, and was tragically drowned in a water tank during the failed underwater escape trick.

The tale was further complicated by moving back and forth across time periods (and having flashbacks within flashbacks) to lead up to the film's climax. In the ending, Angier performed his 'Real Transported Man' trick and 'accidentally' drowned in a water tank (used for another trick) located beneath the stage, when he disappeared and fell through a trap door from above.

Borden was accused of the crime of Angier's murder and sentenced to hang, although later it was revealed that he was falsely accused.

Both magicians had been competing with disappearing acts, one of which was an 'ultimate' illusion:

  • Borden's 'Transported Man' act appeared to be using a double but it couldn't easily be seen how the trick was performed; later, Borden explained how he had an exact disguised double - a bearded mute twin assistant named Fallon (also Christian Bale), who had been living half of Borden's life (they often switched or alternated places) ("We both had half of a full life")
  • Angier's 'Real Transported Man' act was much more supernatural or miraculous (and deadly) since a real duplicate or exact clone of himself was created with every performance. Scientific inventor/wizard Nicola Tesla's (David Bowie) transporter invention (or cloning machine) truly worked, creating an exact replica of Angier during the spark-filled transport within a large trapezoidal box. But every time he performed the trick, Angier's double routinely had to die - by drowning, in a locked water tank.

The film's first image under the title screen illustrated the film's major plot point - it was a shot of dozens of black gentlemen's top hats spread across a woodsy area - proving that the transporter that first experimented with top hats, was actually duplicating Angier each time.

When the crime was played a second time in the film, it was clear that Borden had nothing to do with Angier's drowning death. The water tank would catch and drown each of the duplicates every night, purposely supervised by blind stagehands.

Just before Borden's execution by hanging, a collector named Lord Caldlow - actually Angier in disguise - appeared at the prison. Before the hanging, Angier/Caldlow persuaded Borden to give up all his secrets, tricks, and devices, in exchange for the adoption of Borden's blonde daughter Jess (Samantha Mahurin), who would otherwise have become a ward of the state. It was revealed that Angier had remorselessly framed Borden by staging his own drowning murder ("I must leave you Borden. Yes, you, Borden, sitting there in your cell, awaiting your death. For my murder"). Angier was taking everything away from Borden as he had planned, but things didn't end up well for Angier.

As Borden was about to be hanged, he said the words: "Abra - cadabra." After the hanging, Borden (the surviving Borden was one of the Alfred/Fallon twins, but was it Alfred or mute twin Fallon?) miraculously appeared again. After fatally shooting a slowly-dying Angier, Borden explained how he had an illusionary twin 'double' for himself: "We were both Fallon. We were both Borden...We took turns." He set fire to Angier's dead body and destroyed the cloning machine. As Angier was dying, he told Borden: "You don't see where you are, do you?" Borden/Fallon looked around and realized that he was in the underground holding area for the water tanks holding the dead Angier clones inside of them.

In the film's epilogue, Borden reappeared in the third part of any magic act, "the hardest part" known as 'the prestige'. He reclaimed his daughter Jess that patron Angier/Caldlow had wanted to take away from him.

Presumed Innocent (1990)

Rusty's Wife Barbara Confessed That She Killed His Lover Carolyn, Making It Look Like Rape; Rusty Was Investigating His Own Ex-Lover's Murder, and Discovered His Wife Was the Guilty One

In the film's final minutes, wife Barbara (Bonnie Bedelia) delivered a shocking revelation to her husband, deputy DA Rusty Sabich (Harrison Ford). Rusty had been wrongly accused (and acquitted) and was handling the investigation of his own ex-lover's murder. Barbara confessed that she had killed his assistant Carolyn Polhemus (Greta Scacchi), due to jealousy regarding their clandestine affair (that began with sex on his office desk).

Barbara admitted her guilt to her husband when he discovered one of his claw hammers (the murder weapon) covered in dried blood and blonde hair and asked her about it. She gave a lengthy rationale:

...You understand what happened had to happen. It couldn't turn out any other way. A woman's depressed with herself, with life, with her husband who made life possible for her 'til he was bewitched by another woman. A destroyer. Abandoned, like someone left for dead, she plans her suicide. Until the dream begins. In the dream, the destroyer is destroyed. That's a dream worth living for...

She described how she had committed the murder and made it look like a rape by a "sex-crazed man."

Rusty's voice-over ended the film:

The murder of Carolyn Polhemus remains unsolved. It is a practical impossibility to try two people for the same crime. Even if it wasn't, I couldn't take his mother from my son. I am a prosecutor. I have spent my life in the assignment of blame. With all deliberation and intent, I reached for Carolyn. I cannot pretend it was an accident. I reached for Carolyn, and set off that insane mix of rage and lunacy that led one human being to kill another. There was a crime. There was a victim. And there is punishment.

Primal Fear (1996)

There Never Was an Aaron Stampler - Evil Roy Was In Charge. Stampler Had Faked or Pretended to Have Multiple Personality Disorder To Fool His Lawyer, and To Be Declared Insane Rather Than Face Execution

In this legal thriller based upon William Diehl's novel, ambitious, slick high-profile Chicago defense lawyer Martin Vail (Richard Gere) was hired (pro bono) to defend stuttering Kentucky altar boy Aaron Stampler (Edward Norton) who was accused of viciously murdering Chicago's Archbishop Richard Rushman (Stanley Anderson) in his residence. The Archbishop was later revealed to be involved in sexual abuse and corruption.

Early on, Vail was convinced and witnessed how Aaron Stampler suffered from multiple personality disorder with two distinct personalities:

  • a psychotic, sociopathic, and dominant alter-ego named Roy
  • his normal rational self named Aaron (who couldn't remember anything about Roy)

During one intense cross-examination in the seemingly impossible case, the violent 'Roy' erupted from Aaron's personality and attacked the Assistant District Attorney prosecutor Janet Venable (Laura Linney), Vail's ex-girlfriend, during the trial. Eventually, Vail was able to clear his client on the grounds of insanity.

The shocking twist of the film was revealed after the trial's conclusion. As Aaron congratulated his lawyer in his cell, he apologized with a stutter for injuring Venable's neck ("Will you t-tell Miss Venable I'm sorry? Tell her I hope her neck is OK"). It suddenly dawned on Vail that Aaron was uncharacteristically remembering what Roy had done, rather than blacking out. Aaron had unwittingly revealed that he was only pretending to be insane and had actually premeditatively murdered the priest ("...cuttin' up that son of a bitch Rushman? That was just a f--kin' work of art!") and his girlfriend Linda (Azalea Davila) ("That cunt just got what she deserved"). Also, he admitted that Roy was his real personality (and in charge) and that "there never was an Aaron either, counselor."

As Marty left the cell and courtroom, disgraced, devastated and disgusted, he heard 'Roy's' closing words:

We did it, man. We f--kin' did it. We're a great team, you and me. You think I could've done this without you? You're just feelin' a little anger here because you started to care about old Aaron, I can understand that, but - you know, love hurts, Marty. What can I say? Hey, I'm just kiddin', Bud! I didn't mean to hurt your feelings! What else was I supposed to do?

Primer (2004)

An Enigmatic Film - The Accidental Invention of Two Engineers/Entrepreneurs Was A Time-Travel Box, Creating Multiple Issues, Paradoxes, Identities and Questions - and Complete Mistrust

Writer/director/producer Shane Carruth starred as one of the two main characters in this complex, low-budget science-fiction tale:

  • Aaron (Shane Carruth), dark-haired
  • Abe (David Sullivan), light-haired

The non-linear film, interrupted by jump-cuts and various unidentified duplicate (and triplicate) reiterations of the two characters, made its interpretation almost impossible after a single viewing. Dialogue in the contrived film was off-putting - almost entirely composed of overlapping, terse techno-babble.

The brain-twisting film was partially (and unreliably) narrated (in voice-over) by an Aaron character, who had originally (as the film opened) established a project-work area in his suburban Dallas, Texas garage, to build a revolutionary invention that could be marketed for venture-capital funding. Although there were four engineers (all white-collar guys wearing ties and long-sleeved shirts, day and night) collaborating together to begin, only two emerged as the main protagonists.

As the result of an experimental accident, the two realized they had stumbled upon a time-travel device - i.e., the ability to travel backwards in time (not forwards), but only as far back in time as the time machine existed. They had built a large coffin-sized "box" that was housed in a locked U-Haul storage facility, where they would go on increasingly longer 'trips' - by remaining in the box. A six-hour stint in the box would reverse time and put the box's occupant 12 hours earlier. Each time the box was utilized, a double was spawned (from a distance, they watched their own doubles in amazement), and it often meant living each day twice (sometimes with 36 hour days). At first as they experimented, they would drive their present selves to Russellfield (Texas) to hide out in a hotel room, to avoid causitive activity, media input (by unplugging everything) or other disjunctions.

Their first thoughts were to abusively exploit their knowledge - by manipulating the stock market or possibly betting on March Madness games. But then they began to notice numerous problems and repercussions as a result of their new invention:

  • blackouts, unexplained ear bleeding, and degenerative hand-writing
  • recursions (dislodgings from reality due to repeated time travels backward to alter reality), disjunctions with time continuums (multiple time-frames and alternate realities), the appearance of doubles and triples
  • an inexplicable "vegetative" comatose state, possibly due to the effects of recursion - experienced by potential VC funding prospect Thomas Granger (Chip Carruth), the father of Rachel Granger (Samantha Thomson), Abe's girlfriend (apparently, he had learned of the time machines and traveled back in time, but something went wrong)

Trust between the two started to erode, fracture and break, when a second "failsafe" machine was built by Abe in secret. It would allow him to go back and nullify any potentially negative consequences that had happened, back to the time of the invention's conception. Things further intensified with the thought of taking one time machine inside another time machine. Both tried to second-guess, re-engineer, or sabotage each other's efforts, by gaining control of each other's "failsafe" machines.

Irresponsibly, the two also tried to change events that they knew would happen - they reorchestrated or reverse-engineered a potential shooting at a party. Aaron was confident that their plan would work, boasting that they were in full control: "We're prescient." However, they fretted about how many trials and iterations it would take to get it "perfect," while at the same time rationalizing their gross manipulations of time:

How many times would it take before he got it right? Three? Four? Twenty? I've decided to believe that only one more would have done it. I can almost sleep at night, if there's only one more. Slowly and methodically, he reverse-engineered a perfect moment. He took from his surroundings what was needed, and made of it something more. And once the details had been successfully navigated, there was nothing left to do but wait for the conflict. Maybe the obligatory, last minute moral debate until the noise of the room escalates into panic and background screams, as the gunman walks in. And eventually, he must have got it perfect, and it must have been beautiful with all the praise and adoration he had coming. He had probably saved lives, after all. Who knows what would have happened if he hadn't been there?

Aaron was made a hero when he saved Rachel from being shot by her ex-boyfriend.

It became clear that time-traveling Aaron (wearing an earpiece toward the end of the film) was listening to recorded dialogue of the day's happenings, following along (as with a "primer") so that he could engineer everything the way he wanted and become the 'primary' controller.

The film ended with versions of Aaron and Abe arguing with each other at an airport. Abe warned Aaron to never return. Aaron (or his double) was seen in a foreign, French-speaking country making plans (in a large airplane hangar?) to build a larger "box" for group time-travel (in voice-over, he spoke the film's final words of caution: "And if you look, you will not find me").

The Professionals (1966)

Abducted Wife Maria Actually Loved Her Kidnapper Raza - The Real Kidnapper Was Her Husband Grant

A four-man mercenary team had completed their duty of rescuing a kidnapped wife:

  • Lee Marvin, as munitions expert Henry "Rico" Fardan
  • Woody Strode, as tracker and bow/arrow expert Jake Sharp
  • Robert Ryan, as horse specialist Hans Ehrengard
  • Burt Lancaster, as dynamiter Bill Dolworth

They had rescued Maria (Claudia Cardinale), the beautiful wife of Texas railroad tycoon/millionaire Joe W. Grant (Ralph Bellamy), who was abducted by Mexican revolutionaries led by the guerrilla leader Jesus Raza (Jack Palance).

The plot's twist was that a major character reversal was revealed - Maria actually loved the Mexican outlaw and hugged him when she saw him captured in the film's conclusion.

Dolworth confessed to Rico: "I found out what makes a woman worth $100,000," but agreed she shouldn't be turned loose. "Turn her loose? After all we've been through together? After all the blood it's cost. Hell, no! You made a contract to kidnap a wife for Mr. J.W. Grant. Now, let's collect that ransom." When they brought Maria to Grant to get paid for their services, he ordered Raza killed. The professionals wouldn't allow it: "You haven't earned the right to kill him."

It was obvious that Maria didn't want to be with Grant, and threatened: "I will run away again." She asserted that she belonged with Raza! Grant abused Maria, grabbed her and slapped her across the face. He demanded that she return home with him. The professionals decided to abandon their "bad deal" mission as Rico explained to their employer: "There was no kidnapping!" Rico told the real kidnapper, Grant, that his wife would go home with Raza: "The lady's going home...We made a contract to save a lady from a nasty old kidnapper - who turns out to be you." They allowed Maria to ride off with the wounded Raza (in the back of a buckboard).

Dolworth added: "We both made a bad deal, Mr. Grant. You lose a wife, and we lose $10,000 apiece." Grant swore: "You bastard!" The film ended with Rico's witty reply: "Yes, sir. In my case, an accident of birth. But you, sir, you're a self-made man."

Prometheus (2012)

The Creators of Humanity on the Distant Planet of LV-223, Named Engineers, Were Found to Be Warriors - Who Were Making Bio-Weapons of Mass Destruction, And Were Planning to Destroy Earth. They Were Stopped By Their Own Escaped Black Goo Stored In Thousands of Vases. Only Expedition Leader Dr. Shaw and David's Robotic Head Survived, Now On a Continuing Mission to Locate the Homeland of the Engineers To Find Out Their Motivation For Destroying Earth.

Director Ridley Scott's science-fiction film was a long-awaited prequel to the series of Alien films, including Scott's own first film in the franchise in 1979. The initial sequence was of a lone, muscle-bound, humanoid, pale-white alien (Engineer) at the top of a gigantic waterfall. It sighted a large spaceship disc hovering above him, then disrobed its cloak. The extra-terrestrial creature ceremonially and ritualistically drank a viscuous black goo-liquid from an opened urn, which caused the alien to retch, grunt and contort. An interior molecular transformation occurred before the alien died, then fell and disintegrated or dissolved in the waterfall. [Later revealed, the gardener-alien, a life-giver, was apparently creating life on primordial Earth - self-sacrificially seeding Earth with his own DNA.]

The film opened 4 years earlier in the year 2089 with the discovery of prehistoric cave paintings, about 35,000 years old on the Isle of Skye in Scotland, by archaeologist Dr. Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace), with her boyfriend Dr. Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green). The cave paintings depicted various figures, including a tall human figure pointing to a pattern or constellation of stars (star-diagrams were showing the way for humans to locate their Engineers). The Scottish pictogram was the "same configuration" as those in many other different and separated cultures showing men worshipping giant beings pointing to the stars. Shaw noted: "I think they want us to come and find them."

Late in the year of 2093, the Weyland Corporation (with the logo "Building Better Worlds") sent a monstrous, advanced space vehicle named Prometheus (with holographic displays) and a crew of 17 on a deep-space mission to a destination undisclosed. Before waking from cryosleep after 2 years, 4 months, 18 days, 36 hours and 15 minutes, the spaceship's crew was monitored by the ship's robotic android David (Michael Fassbender), who amused himself by walking around the ship, riding a BMX bicycle, bouncing a basketball and making impossible hoop shots, taking language lessons, watching Lawrence of Arabia and imitating Peter O'Toole's hairstyle.

The expedition was led by Drs. Shaw and Holloway, and funded with a trillion dollars by the Weyland Corporation. During a briefing conducted by Weyland's bitchy, autocratic executive Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron), the group watched a hologram of a very elderly Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce), with a recorded message he had made in the year 2091. (He asserted: "I have spent my entire lifetime contemplating the questions: Where do we come from? What is our purpose? What happens when we die?...The Titan Prometheus wanted to give mankind equal footing with the gods, and for that, he was cast from Olympus. Well, my friends, the time has finally come for his return.")

The group were informed that the cave paintings from many cultures had directed (or invited) their way to a star system far beyond Earth, where they were now about to land on the planet's sole, life-sustaining moon (LV-223) in order to explore its ruins. It was believed that the directional signs to the planet and its moon in the cave paintings had been left by alien "Engineers" - those who designed, engineered or created humanity on Earth. The planet where they were landing was where the Engineers had come from.

After landing and suiting up, they entered a large hollow, domed rock structure which they mapped with robotic 'pups,' and discovered it had breathable air and water - evidence of terraforming. David accidentally triggered a projected recording - images of humanoid aliens running at them, and they found the body of one large alien Engineer (similar to the "Space Jockey" in Alien), decapitated by a doorway with its helmeted head on the other side. It had been dead for 2,000 years. David saw large metal vases contained contaminating (DNA-destroying) black slime with squirming snake-like creatures, and put one into his pack. Two of the crew's fearful scientists (including Millburn (Rafe Spall) and geologist Fifield (Sean Harris)) decided to return to the ship after the latter told Shaw: "Congratulations on meeting your maker." However, they became stranded in the cave-like structure, as the rest of the group returned to the ship.

Upon investigation of the retrieved alien head-skull, they realized it was actually a helmet which they pried off to reveal the head underneath. An experiment to revive it led to its implosion, as David commented: "Mortal after all." They conjectured that it belonged to the body of one of the alien Engineers (with pale skin like the humanoid in the film's opening), with sample DNA that matched human DNA ("Their genetic material predates ours. We come from them"). Shaw exclaimed: "It's us. It's everything. What killed them?" Had their mission to 'meet their maker' and get answers (such as "Why they even made us in the first place") been a failure?

The first of many twists was revealed:

  • Hypersleeping Peter Weyland was on the ship, unknown to everyone but David and Vickers. Weyland was the source of David's programming, including secret orders (and a hidden agenda) throughout the expedition. Later, it was revealed that Vickers was Weyland's daughter!

David caused Charlie to become infected and seriously ill by dunking some of the slime from the vase into Charlie's drink. Meanwhile, snake creatures emerged from the vases, attacked both of the stranded scientists (Millburn's body were found there during a second trip). Examining further in a control room during the return trip, David saw a hologram of the Engineers plotting courses through the stars and different planets, one of them being Earth. He also found a hypersleep chamber with pods, one of which contained the last-remaining, still-alive Engineer. Soon after, Charlie self-sacrificially asked to be exterminated by Vickers' flamethrower in order to stem the infection of the others, although he had already infected Shaw by having sex with her.

It was suggested by David to heroine Dr. Shaw, with an accelerated three-months pregnancy, that she be put in cryostasis and returned to Earth (Weyland's evil plan was to bring the monster home!). She wanted it out and conducted a self-inflicted caesarean-abortion in an automated, robotic surgery med-pod machine. She delivered a nasty-looking, coiled-up, octopus-like creature that she was able to gas in the chamber after she was sewed up. Meanwhile, a contaminated Fifield attempted to gain access to the ship, and was eventually prevented from entering by another flamethrower.

Dr. Shaw explained how wrong they were: "This place isn't what we thought it was. They aren't what we thought they were. I was wrong. We were so wrong." The Engineers were actually making bio-weapons of mass destruction on the far-away moon. Engineers were warriors - not creators, in the process of venturing to Earth to destroy it with their monstrous creations, before they were stopped by their own escaped black goo in the vases. Unbelievably, Dr. Shaw was still curious, however, about what the last remaining Engineer had to say - an answer to why they were heading to Earth.

Weyland was awakened, then transported by David (with Dr. Shaw) into the rock structure, assured of the belief that the Engineer would save him from death. Another twist was revealed:

  • The elongated area in the domed rock that the crew had been investigating, with breathable atmosphere, was actually the cargo hold of a gigantic, circular-shaped spaceship. [It was identical to the one the Nostromo found in Alien, with a gun-turret chair.]

Weyland's group entered the bridge's control room where David had earlier located the sole surviving Engineer ("a superior species"). David bluntly explained why the Engineers were planning a trip to Earth: "Sometimes to create, one must first destroy." Dr. Shaw screamed out questions, including why the Engineers hated them so much.

  • Suddenly, the surviving, ivory-skinned, titanic Engineer twisted and ripped off David's head, and attacked Weyland (who soon flatlined) and the remaining crew. Then, it mounted a large navigational pilot's chair (looking like a gun turret) to reactivate the spaceship, and lifted off from its underground location towards Earth. Dr. Shaw warned that the Engineer would complete its mission by destroying Earth ("It's carrying death and it's heading for Earth").

During the resultant, catastrophic finale:

  • The Prometheus rammed into the alien spaceship during its lift off. Vickers (who had ejected in a separate escape pod) was crushed and killed when both crash-landed back onto the surface.
  • Inside the Prometheus' ejected lifeboat on the surface, Dr. Shaw's alien offspring had developed into a monstrous, tentacled, serpent-like octopus-creature (a huge face-hugger). The Engineer, who had survived and was attacking Shaw, was grabbed by the squid's tentacles and consumed!
  • Only Elizabeth Shaw survived with David's still-functioning robotic head.

The film ended in the year 2094, as she continued onward - but not to Earth ("I don't want to go back to where we came from. I want to go where they came from"). She was on a determined search for the alien home planet in one of the alien's other ships, to find out why they wanted to destroy humankind ("They created us. Then they tried to kill us. They changed their minds. I deserve to know why"):

(voice-over) "Final report of the vessel Prometheus. The ship and her entire crew are gone. If you're receiving this transmission, make no attempt to come to its point of origin. There is only death here now, and I'm leaving it behind. It is New Year's Day, the year of our Lord, 2094. My name is Elizabeth Shaw, the last survivor of the Prometheus. And I am still searching."

In the conclusion, inside the remains of the lifeboat, was the appearance of an embryonic version of the Xenomorph Alien from the exploding chest of the dead Engineer. After the final credits was this logo:

10. 11. 12



Dr. Shaw

Meredith Vickers

Android David

Helmet and Alien
Engineer Head

Snake Creature

Caesarean Birth of Squid

The Engineer

David's Decapitation

Death of Engineer by
Shaw's Alien Offspring

Birth of Xenomorph Alien

Psycho (1960)

The Killer's Mother Was a Part of Norman's Split Personality, After He Had Committed Matricide; He/She Had Murdered Marion

This film had a stunning and unexpected (and terrifying) murder of the presumed heroine Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) only 48 minutes into the film. After settling into her Bates Motel (Room 1) following her theft of money from her Phoenix real estate office, Marion decided to rectify her crime by returning the funds. To cleanse herself, she stepped into the shower where she was brutally stabbed by a silhouetted figure brandishing a long knife.

In the famous shocking finale, it was revealed that effeminate, shy motel manager Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) was actually the murderous "Mother" who dressed in his mother's clothes. The police psychiatrist Dr. Richmond (Simon Oakland) explained how a "disturbed" Norman had an incestuously possessive and jealous love for his mother, so he poisoned both her and her lover after he discovered them in bed together ten years earlier. To wipe clean and obliterate the unbearable, intolerable crime of matricide from his conscience and consciousness, a remorseful, devoted and loyal Norman developed a split personality.

He also dug up and stole his Mother's body, and used his taxidermist skills to preserve and stuff her corpse (she was revealed in a chair as a dessicated skeleton), to keep her 'alive.' Then, he would ease his loneliness by lying with her in bed ("A boy's best friend is his mother..."). When attracted to Marion, Norman was completely transformed into his Mother and became jealously and pathologically mad -- his "Mother" side, which was escalated to full reality, stabbed Marion to death.

By film's end, Norman's two personalities fused and he became his dominant Mother's final victim. Completely still, he stared into space within his box-like jail cell, wrapped and insulated from the world and huddled in a blanket. A grinning smile slowly crept over his face, subliminally superimposed by and dissolving into the grinning skull of his mother's mummified corpse, as his voice-over intoned: "I'm not even gonna swat that fly. I hope they are watching. They'll see. They'll see and they'll know and they'll say, 'Why, she wouldn't even harm a fly'."

The last image was the dredging of the swamp - Marion's car with her body and the almost-$40,000 in the trunk was hauled trunk-first from the muck by a heavy clanking chain on a winch.

A Pure Formality (1994, It/Fr) (aka Una Pura Formalità or Une Pure Formalite)

The Entire Film Was a Death-Dream After Suicide

This tense battle of wills was a psycho-drama, conducted during the questioning of a murder suspect:

  • a muddied, memory-impaired and mentally-deranged Blaise February (Gerard Depardieu)

The suspect without ID was running through the woods near his home, after a mysterious gunshot-killing of an unnamed and unidentified victim in the vicinity. (Was there really a crime?)

The cross-examination was conducted by dogged local police Inspector (Roman Polanski) on a rainy night in rural France inside a dank police station (without power or telephone service)

Confusing flashbacks, disconnected images in fast-paced montage, and other inconsistences in the suspect's ever-changing story were revealed during the questioner's attempts to learn the truth. Often disoriented, Blaise repeated himself, then claimed amnesiac memory loss, and often seemed to incriminate himself. There were attempts to confirm the man's claim that he was a celebrated yet reclusive novelist/playwright named Onoff. The Inspector was familiar with Onoff's literary works, adding another layer of complexity (Is Onoff who he says he is?).

In the ambiguous, existentialist, Twilight Zone-like ending (similar in its ending to An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge (1962), Jacob's Ladder (1990), A Pure Formality (1994), The Others (2001), Dead End (2003), Stay (2005) and Passengers (2008)), it was hinted that the suspect was experiencing an after-life nightmare - trying to forget that he had committed suicide.

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

Previous Page Next Page