Film Spoilers and
|Film Title/Year and Plot Twist-Spoiler-Surprise Ending Description|
Session 9 (2001)
Asbestos Cleaner Gordon Fleming Had Murdered His Family, and His Cleaning Crew; He Was Staying in Patient Mary's Room Surrounded With Pictures of His Family - Was He Possessed by Mary's Most Evil Personality Named 'Simon' ? - Heard on Mary's Session 9 Tape
An asbestos cleaning crew worked at the condemned mental institution (closed since 1985) in this paranoic thriller from writer/director Brad Anderson. The film was similar to The Shining (1980) and Don't Look Now (1973). The setting was the real abandoned Danvers Lunatic Asylum, holding a dark past, tortured patients, and a psychologically-unsettling feeling of dread within every corridor and room.
Ex-law student drop-out and one of the asbestor workers named Mike (Stephen Gevedon) had discovered recorded interviews in a box marked "evidence" in a file room during the cleaning. In the film's scariest and most disquieting moments, he progressively listened to nine psychotherapy session audio-tapes (a case history labeled Session 1 to Session 9), more and more chilling as they progressed.
They were recordings from 1974 of a former, 37 year-old female patient named Mary Hobbes (aka patient 444) suffering from multiple personalities. Her repressed and hidden memories from her troubled past, brought out by hypnosis, revealed that the cause of her insanity was domestic abuse from her father. One of her personalities was an innocent and talkative "Princess" while another was a protector named "Billy" who saw everything. The most evil of all of her personalities was revealed to be named "Simon."
It was learned that something evil happened with a knife ("he cut her up real bad") and a China doll one Christmas night in 1951 in Lowell, Massachusetts. [The 'evil' was later revealed to be an horrific set of murders committed by Mary when she was 14 years old.]
By film's end, the plot twist (the true mystery) centered on the hallucinating, possessed and stressed-out foreman/owner Gordon Fleming (Peter Mullan) of the asbestos cleaning team. He was a struggling new father who seemed to have come under the dark spell of the haunted hospital's cruel past. He was given the contract for the hazardous work, promising to have it completed in a week. At the end of the first work-day, he had not only hurt but murdered his family (his wife Wendy and young child Emma), and was now alone, living in Mary's hospital room (with family pictures on the wall). However, he seemed to talk to his wife on the phone from time to time afterwards, asking for her forgiveness. He had also murdered all of his crew workers, one-by-one ("There was a lot of blood, Doc, so much blood").
In the film's voice-over, semi-surprise ending, the recording of Session 9 was heard. The voice of alternate personality "Simon" spoke. He described the circumstances of the 1951 murders - when Mary had murdered her brother and the rest of her family. In the recording, the doctor asked 'Simon': "And where do you live, Simon?" Simon (with Mary's voice) replied: "I live in the weak and the wounded, Doc."
Presumably, the grief-stricken, deeply-conflicted Gordon - as a way to protect himself from the horror of his own crime - had in parallel fashion, been possessed by "Simon" and murdered his family, reflecting what Mary had admitted to the psychotherapist about her own murders.
John Doe (The Serial Killer and Sinner # 6) Planned the 6th (Envy) and 7th Sins (Wrath) - Mills Was Sinner # 7 For Shooting Jealous John Doe (Who Had Beheaded Mills' Pregnant Wife)
In the unforgettable, nail-biting, concluding climax, maniacal but methodical serial killer John Doe (Kevin Spacey) offered to confess. He led arrogant, hotshot replacement rookie Detective David Mills (Brad Pitt) and retiring veteran Detective Somerset (Morgan Freeman) to another sick and gruesome crime scene.
All of the killer's seven murders in the film were inspired by the legendary Seven Deadly Sins (Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Lust, Pride, Envy, and Wrath). The last two crimes included a souvenir - "her pretty head" (a severed head, never shown) delivered in a bloody cardboard box, demonstrating the last two of the Seven Deadly Sins. Doe confessed to the sin of Envy before killing Mills' wife Tracy (Gwyneth Paltrow) and having her head delivered to their location in the middle of the desert (although Mills was skeptical at first):
Somerset knew that Mills was being set up to shoot and kill Doe (Doe: "Become vengeance, David...Become Wrath"). And then Doe added a crucial detail:
To demonstrate Wrath, anguished and angered Lt. Mills vengefully shot Doe in the head, and then emptied his gun of bullets into Doe's body, in exchange for his pregnant wife's beheading, although Somerset had cautioned: "If you kill him, he will win." As Mills was taken into custody for the shooting and driven away, Somerset offered: "Whatever he needs...I'll be around." His voice-over ended the film:
Seven Pounds (2008)
Posing as His Brother Ben, An IRS Agent, Tim Thomas Investigated Various Individuals to Decide Whether to Provide Them With His Services or Gifts - Not Tax Relief But His Own Vital Organs; He Was Haunted and Guilt-Ridden by a Seven-Fatality Car Accident That He Had Caused, and Was Paying Back Seven Individuals Who Needed His Help; His Own Suicide at the End of the Film Provided His Corneas and Heart to Two of the Seven Individuals
Italian director Gabriele Muccino's unbelievable emotional drama was about a sacrificial quest for redemption and atonement following a fatal accident. By hopscotching around within the plot (moving back and forth in time), major details and spoilers regarding the heavy-handed and dark film were deliberately kept obscured until the very end.
The grim and cryptic film opened with a 911 call to an LA operator, of an unknown individual who was suicidal, reporting his impending death in his Travel Inn hotel room: "I need an ambulance...There's been a suicide." The operator asked: "Who's the victim?" and he replied: "I am." A voice-over continued: "In seven days, God created the world. And in seven seconds, I shattered mine." The narrator was referring to his flashbacked (in only bits and pieces) memory of a fatal car accident, caused by his texting-while-driving. The driver, Tim Thomas (Will Smith), an MIT graduate and ex-aeronautical engineer for Apogee Aeronautics, had crossed a highway dividing line, spun out of control, and caused a van to roll. A total of seven individuals were killed: six strangers in the van, and his wife Sarah Jensen (Robinne Lee). Tim (from San Luis Obispo) was the sole survivor of the Cojo Highway crash.
Following the crash, about a year later, the tormented, moody, distraught and austere man had adopted the identity of his brother Ben Thomas (Michael Ealy), an IRS agent. He was on a mysterious and puzzling mission at various hospitals and rest homes to provide help to seven worthy individuals, although his motivations and actions were made to be appear officious and related to his new Dept. of Treasury occupation.
Will had stolen his brother Ben's IRS credentials, and was impersonating him to repugnantly investigate (or audit) possible tax evaders (or candidates) - indebted people who needed penalty-free tax extensions (or suffered from a terminal illness or lived in mortal danger). He was to decide whether or not they deserved his generosity or charity: "It is within my power to drastically change (their) circumstances." (All the while, he cared for a deadly, venomous pet - a box jellyfish, an important future plot-point.)
In the far-fetched, often maudlin and overbearing tale (told in bits and pieces), seven altruistic gifts or donations (mostly of his own vital organs, not tax-related relief) to 'good people' began to occur:
To save his unexpected love-interest Emily, Tim committed suicide, by stepping into an ice-cold bathtub (to preserve his organs) where he was stung by his jellyfish. Ezra and Emily received Tim's vital organs following his death. [Factually, this would be impossible - Tim's organs would be unfit for transplant after poisoning.] Letters he had written to each of the recipients he had benefited were to be delivered to them.
In the tear-jerking, feel-good, emotional finale set in an outdoor park some time later, Emily met up with now-sighted Ezra - he was playing the piano for a student concert. Ezra sensed who she was and spoke: "You must be Emily." She nodded: "Yes" as tears came to her eyes when she realized that his eyes belonged to Ben/Tim. He continued: "It's so nice to meet you" - and they hugged.
Impersonating IRS Agent
Ben Thomas, His Brother
Fatal Crash News
Love Interest Emily
Box Jellyfish Deadly Sting
in Icy Bathtub
Sex and Lucia (2001, Sp.) (aka Lucia y El Sexo)
Lucia Was Mistaken That Lorenzo Committed Suicide; He Had Abandoned Her Because He Had Fathered (With Elena) A Love-Child Daughter Named Luna on a Mediterranean Island; While Having an Affair with Luna's Baby-sitter Belen, Lorenzo's Daughter Was Tragically Mauled By Her Dog; Much of the Film's Non-Linear Plot Was The Contents of Lorenzo's Second Book Written Just Before His Death
Julio Medem's intriguing and poetic art-house film was told with a very twisting, non-linear, and non-logical plot which moved back and forth in time.
It basically started in the middle of the entire tale (six years into the story), when "screwed up" and troubled Lorenzo Alvarez (Tristan Ulloa) was introduced as he spoke to his live-in girlfriend on the telephone. She was a lusciously beautiful Madrid waitress named Lucia (Paz Vega) speaking from her busy restaurant. He admitted to her that she was right about her diagnosis of his problems: ("Yeah, but you were right. You live with a sick person... I'm in a hole. I've tried to get out, but I can't. I'm lost forever").
She thought her lover had killed himself when she received a phone call from the police with "bad news" about an accident - but she didn't wait to learn any more, and then read Lorenzo's despairing quasi-suicide note ("I may never be back. I don't know where to, but far away. I leave you everything but me. Forgive me. That's my last request").
Lucia ran away grief-stricken, traveling by train and boat to a sun-washed, remote Mediterranean island off the coast of Spain (that Lorenzo had talked about but didn't want to visit with her and didn't want to discuss) after his ‘death' to find the reason for Lorenzo's sorrow and lostness while writing his second novel and to explore the dark corners of her abandoned relationship with him. While swimming naked on the island, she told herself: "I'll live alone with no one else. I don't need people."
Then the film returned to a time six years earlier with a key idyllic scene between two anonymous lovers who made love underwater in the sea in the moonlight - the nameless female (later revealed to be Elena (Najwa Nimri)) described the encounter with "birthday boy" from Madrid Lorenzo Alvarez as "the best f--k of my life." However, she didn't know his identity when he impregnated her ("I don't even know your name") and only had a few hints about him.
Then the film jumped to follow the beginnings of the passionate involvement between novelist Lorenzo and Lucia (who read his first novel and fell in love with him) in an unabashedly sexy series of erotic sequences.
The film became very ambiguous:
As Lucia orgasmed with Lorenzo and screamed: "I'm dying!", the film abruptly cut to Elena's screams as she was giving birth to Lorenzo's love-child daughter - named Luna (Silvia Llanos), whom he subsequently met and visited on the island without telling her that he was her father.
During Lucia's visit to the island, unbeknownst to her, she was invited to live in an island guest house (in a third floor room) with two people also closely tied to Lorenzo:
Elena would often have "wild sex" without intimacy with lover Carlos, who she bragged had an enormous dick. Lucia secretly read Lorenzo's writings while he slept and learned that he had fathered the child with Elena.
Lorenzo struck up an acquaintance with Luna's pretty, naughty and sex-hungry babysitter named Belen Lozano (Elena Anaya) (who had a porn-star mother named Manuela, with her boyfriend named Antonio Castillo). Belen became a sexual alter-ego to Lucia in the novel (e.g., the shower nozzle sequence). Calling Lorenzo her boyfriend, Belen invited him to Elena's home for the evening while Elena was out, to have sex with him -- and while they were in the bedroom, the young girl Luna was tragically killed by Elena's rottweiler dog.
Lucia also experienced a full-body naked mud-bath massage on the island's beach from Carlos - possibly imagined while Lorenzo was in a coma (he suffered from a cranial hematoma, but was also comatose because of the death of Luna?). Elena and Lucia discovered online through a wanted poster that the police had been searching for six months for Carlos/Antonio and mother/daughter Manuela and Belen (with the revelation that the two women were missing and possibly dead).
The film's circuitous connectedness was evidenced by these revelations:
In the film's conclusion, when Lorenzo awakened from his 3-4 week coma, he returned to the island with his friend Pepe (Javier Camara), and was reunited first with Elena and then with Lucia at the guest house.
A voice-over narration told about the magic of story-making as the film concluded:
The last images were of Lorenzo composing on his computer, a computer-screen reflection of Elena walking behind him to his window, and Lorenzo walking to the window to lovingly hug Lucia from behind.
Shallow Grave (1994, UK)
Alex Survived the Knifing - The Blade Pointed to the Location of the Money Under the Floorboards
The directorial debut film of Scottish filmmaker Danny Boyle came in the form of this very black comedy. The Hitchcock-like film opened with three Edinburgh flatmates sharing an apartment:
They found the naked body of their new, mysterious roommate Hugo (Keith Allen), presumably dead from a drug overdose, in his room. They greedily and amorally kept Hugo's suitcase full of money, and planned to dispose of his hack-sawed corpse (mutilated to prevent identification) in a shallow grave in the woods late at night.
Due to greed, fear, mistrust, increasing paranoia, backstabbing, and jealousy of each other, the film ended with a vicious fight between the roommates. David pinned Alex to the floorboards beneath him with a knife stuck through his shoulder, and Juliet fatally stabbed David in the neck. After Juliet pounded the knife further into the floor with her shoe to keep Alex pinned there, she took off with the suitcase of money to the airport. She opened it in her car, and found only one bill left above a stack of clippings of newspaper pieces (assembled by Alex), reading: "TRIPLE CORPSE HORROR."
Alex survived the ordeal when police arrived at the apartment. In a clever camera shot, the money was revealed below the knifepoint sticking through the floor (with blood dripping down), where Alex had hidden it.
Andy Dug a Prison Escape Hole With Rock Collecting Tools, Withdrew Bribe Money From 'Phony' Bank Accounts, Publically Divulged the Warden's Corruption (Who Blew His Brains Out), and Settled on a Mexican Beach Where His Released Con Friend Red Was Reunited With Him
During the life sentence of Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) for a murder he didn't commit, he became buddies with prison fixer Red (Morgan Freeman), who feared that a despairing Andy would commit suicide one night.
However, in the morning Andy had disappeared from his cell after having spent a painstaking nineteen years carving a hole in the wall with a rock hammer and hiding the evidence behind a Rita Hayworth/Raquel Welch poster. His digging efforts were accidentally discovered by corrupt Warden Norton (Bob Gunton).
Then as his escape was being investigated, Andy entered nearly a dozen banks in the Portland area with "all the proper ID" - identifying himself as the 'phantom' Randall Stephens. He withdrew and closed all his accounts (with the warden's money) and accepted a cashier's check, purportedly to live abroad.
The warden blew his brains out when his corruption was uncovered and publicized by Andy.
To fulfill his Mexican dream of freedom, a redeemed Andy settled on the beach at Zihuatanejo awaiting his friend Red, who was finally released in 1967 from prison.
In the final scene on the Mexican beach, Red walked bare-footed on the sand toward an old wreck of a boat, where he found Andy patiently and meticulously sanding the old paint from the boat's ancient surface. Both were reunited and free.
Deranged Jack Was the Hotel's Caretaker 'Grady' Who Had Murdered His Family In a Previous Lifetime, Now Returning to Commit the Same Crimes Again -- But Maybe Everything Was Only in Wendy's (or Danny's) Imagination?
There were many twists in this Stanley Kubrick film adaptation of Stephen King's 1977 horror novel:
Shutter Island (2010)
US Marshal Teddy Daniels Was Really A Shutter Island Patient Named Andrew Laeddis, Who Was Undergoing Radical and Experimental Role-Playing Therapy; He Had Invented the Character of Teddy Daniels After Murdering His Wife Dolores For Drowning Their Three Children; Uncured, Teddy Gradually Accepted Lobotomy Surgery
From the very start, director Martin Scorsese's plot twisting psychological thriller was playing tricks with its audience regarding the identity of its main character:
In 1954, Teddy was investigating a psychiatric facility known as Ashecliffe Hospital on isolated Shutter Island in Boston Harbor, accompanied by his newly-assigned buddy Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo). There were suspicions that the facility was a government mind-control operation (with "Nazi experiments...satanic OR's"). Supposedly, they were there to look into the recent disappearance of a patient named Rachel Solando (Emily Mortimer) from a locked ward room. [He was told that the war widow had been hospitalized after drowning her three children in a lake behind her house.] Teddy was experiencing frequent migraine headaches and hallucinations related to his war-time past.
The film's main plot twist was that he was actually Andrew Laeddis (aka patient 67), a disturbed Shutter Island inmate for two years who was being rehabilitated by Dr. Cawley (Ben Kingsley), through a very complex and experimental form of therapy - a "radical, cutting-edge" role-playing game.
Teddy's partner "Chuck" was actually Teddy's primary shrink-doctor - the "missing" Dr. Lester Sheehan (who had conveniently left on vacation after Rachel's disappearance). The goal of Teddy's two-day non-invasive therapy by Cawley was to prove that patient Andrew could be extracted from his fantasy delusion of being "Teddy Daniels" without being subjected to more radical forms of therapy:
Suffering from post-traumatic war syndrome (with remembrances of the liberation of the death camp at Dachau for one) and from the effects of drinking, Andrew had ignored the signs that his blonde manic-depressive wife Dolores Chanal (Michelle Williams) was insane and suicidal, and had committed arson at their city apartment building. When she broke down and murdered their three children (the only daughter was named Rachel) by drowning at the cabin by the lake, he murdered her with a gunblast to the abdomen after she said: "Set me free."
Entering a fantastical world and believing that Andrew Laeddis was instead a maintenance man (and "firebug") at their apartment (and that "Laeddis got away with it and then he disappeared" after being transferred to Ashecliffe), Andrew invented the persona of "Teddy Daniels" out of tremendous guilt (he later said "survival instincts are defense mechanisms"), to deny the crime had ever existed. He had disassociated himself from his heinous crime as Laeddis, and reestablished himself as a war hero, working in his former occupation as a federal marshal - now investigating conspiracy theories involving Shutter Island.
At the film's conclusion, Cawley revealed the game, and described the Law of 4: the names "Edward Daniels" and "Rachel Solando" were anagrams for Andrew Laeddis and Dolores Chanal. The patient that Teddy was searching for didn't really exist (he was searching for himself!) and Rachel was one of the nurses play-acting the delusional role of his wife as one of Cawley's mind-healing strategies for his patient - Rachel's crimes were really Dolores' crimes. (Another Rachel, claiming to be the real Rachel Solando (Patricia Clarkson) who was a former institute doctor, now hiding out in a cliffside cave, also didn't exist, but was entirely in his mind.)
In the final scene, the entire delusionary world was described by Cawley in an upper office in the island's lighthouse. Cawley feared that Andrew's therapy had failed to cure him, and he was still considered the facility's "most dangerous patient" after injuring guards, orderlies, and other patients. Although Andrew admitted his monstrous crime, he regressed again the next morning and reverted back to his "Teddy" identity.
But he seemed to voluntarily and calmly accept the lobotomy surgery (without need of a straitjacket) and have his guilt, dreams and memories permanently removed rather than live as the wounded and monstrous Andrew. He uttered the enigmatic last line to "Chuck" before being led off by hospital officials and orderlies:
His buddy called after him: "Teddy?" The camera panned over to the island's lighthouse (a "sewage treatment facility").
Claire's Experiences Were During the Final Moments of Her Life
In this over-ambitious, free-associating mystery/psychological thriller, professional daredevil stuntwoman Claire (Ellen Barkin) awakened at the edge of an airport runway near Madrid. She was semi-naked, wearing a bright red dress, and her body was covered in someone else's blood.
Suffering from amnesia and not knowing her past, she was pursued by local police who believed that she had murdered someone. She learned, revealed in mixed-up flashbacks, that she was planning a free-fall stunt into a giant safety net stretched over an artificial, man-made volcano.
The film's gimmicky plot twist at the end was that Claire had been murdered and her experiences were only the jumbled, fantasy thoughts of her final moments.
The conclusion with its stereotypical death-dream ending plotline resembled An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge (1962), Carnival of Souls (1962), Jacob's Ladder (1990), The Sixth Sense (1999), The Others (2001), and many other films.
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