Greatest Film Plot Twists
Film Spoilers and
Surprise Endings


Written by Tim Dirks

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

Signs (2002)

Aliens Had Created the Crop Drawings as Landing Navigational Markers; One Remaining Stranded Water-Allergic Alien Was Killed, and Graham's Faith Was Restored

This alien invasion science-fiction film was about unusual crop drawings in corn fields from famed "twist ending" director M. Night Shyamalan.

Strange crop circles were found near the Hess family farm in Doylestown, PA, owned by former preacher and single father Graham Hess (Mel Gibson). It was determined that the markings were navigational markers for an alien invasion, occurring all over the world. Hess' faith had already been tested when his wife Colleen (Patricia Kalember) died in a horrible car accident - he had become embittered and left the church.

In the scene of the blocked kitchen pantry in neighbor Ray Reddy's (director Shyamalan) house, Graham discovered a trapped giant alien. He attempted to impersonate a cop in order to persuade the creature to give itself up ("The police are here. I am with them. I am a police officer. I just want to talk with you. We know all about the hoax. We already took some of your friends downtown in a paddy wagon...Tell us your name and why you did it and we'll give you the same deal we gave the others. Don't throw away your life, son."). He bent down, knelt, and tried to look under the pantry door (using the reflection of a shiny, large butcher knife), and then when he made a second attempt, the alien grabbed at him. He used the knife to cut off two protruding fingers on the alien's clawed hand reaching out from the underside of the closed door - causing the trapped creature to let out a high-pitched, blood-curdling scream.

In the film's conclusion, the Hess family emerged from their basement (after fighting off the aliens) when they heard on the radio that the alien spaceship had retreated and left Earth. However, one stranded, tall, greenish gas-expelling alien creature took one of the Hess' hostage. It threatened weak, ill and asthmatic son Morgan (Rory Culkin), who couldn't breathe (without his inhaler) during an asthma attack and had passed out. In order to protect his hostaged son from alien abduction and from inhaling poisonous cyanide gas, Graham recalled his wife Colleen's dying words:

"Tell Graham... see. Tell him to see. And tell Merrill to swing away."

The advice to Graham to "see" referred to his observing a mounted baseball bat in the living room. Graham then told his younger brother Merrill (Joaquin Phoenix), a former semi-pro baseball player:

"Swing away, Merrill. Merrill... swing away."

Merrill grabbed his record-setting baseball bat from the wall and attacked the creature, as it was exposing Morgan to poisonous cyanide gas and abducting him.

When hit by the bat, the alien released and dropped Morgan to the floor. During the violent struggle, a glass of water (on which the confrontation was reflected) spilled down on the shoulder of the alien (who was revealed to be allergic to water) and ate away at his skin like acid. More swings of the bat (which split in two) and dousings with water eventually killed the alien.

Meanwhile, Graham grabbed Morgan, rushed him outside, and gave him a life-saving injection. [Morgan was saved from inhaling poisonous cyanide gas (because of his own asthma attack): "That's why he had asthma. It can't be luck. His lungs were closed. His lungs were closed. No poison got in. No poison got in."]

Graham's faith in God was restored when he realized the random and tragic events of his life served a purpose. He saw his son saved - from his wife's prophetic words and the blessing that asthmatic Morgan couldn't inhale the gas with closed-off lungs.

Graham Hess (Mel Gibson) Discovering Alien and Cutting Two Fingers

Asthmatic Son Morgan Hess (Rory Culkin) Threatened

The Trapped Alien

Merrill Hess (Joaquin Phoenix): "Swing Away"

Spilled Water

The Saving of Son Morgan: Graham's Faith Restored

The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Hannibal Lecter Was At-Large, Literally Planning on "Having An Old Friend For Dinner" - Dr. Chilton

FBI trainee Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) single-handedly located the home of transvestite serial killer Jamie Gumb (or "Buffalo Bill") (Ted Levine), at first not knowing the man who answered the door was her suspect. While the SWAT team and Crawford (Scott Glenn) were mistakenly breaking into the wrong house in Illinois, Clarice was face-to-face with the uptight serial killer who gave her a false name (Jack Gordon). When a Death's-Head Moth fluttered by and landed on a colorful spool of thread, she perceived two obvious clues linking "Jack Gordon" to the serial killer.

After a tense face-off in a darkened cellar where Jamie Gumb was wearing night-vision goggles in pitch-black, Clarice shot him dead at point-blank range (after hearing him cock his gun and determining his location), thus saving the kidnapped Senator's daughter Catherine from being skinned.

The real climax of the film came after Clarice graduated from the FBI Academy. She received a long distance phone call from Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) at-large, disguised and calling from a phone at an open-air cafe at a tropical airport terminal (in the Bahamas?). He assured her that he wouldn't pursue her:

"I have no plans to call on you, Clarice. The world's more interesting with you in it. Say, you take care now to extend me the same courtesy."

She responded: "You know I can't make that promise." Lecter ended their short phone call with a famous farewell line:

"I do wish we could chat longer, but I'm having an old friend for dinner. Bye."

Lecter noticed that his arch-nemesis, the despicable Dr. Frederick Chilton (Anthony Heald) was deplaning - Chilton was Lecter's next victim.

Lecter put on a Panama hat and slowly walked into the crowded, narrow street of the Caribbean village and disappeared, while following Chilton.

Chilton Deplaning, with Lecter's Words: "I'm having an old friend for dinner"
Lecter Following Chilton

The Killing of Serial Killer Jamie Gumb by Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster)

Ending: Clarice on the Phone With Lecter

Silk (2007)

The Japanese Letter to the Unfaithful French Silk-Trader Was Written by His Long-Suffering, Dead Wife Helene

Canadian director Francois Girard's visually-lush but sluggish 19th century period film was a tale of unrequited love, lust, and betrayal. The tone of the film was set by its opening - a sensual scene of a Japanese female bathing in a hot steamy outdoor bath surrounded by snow (shown in more revealing fashion later in the film).

The entire film, a flashback, was told by remorseful widower Herve Joncour (Michael Pitt), a young silk trader in 1862 France, to his young gardener Ludovic (Mark Rendall). He told the "real story" of his life - the film's story - about:

  • Helene (Keira Knightley), Herve's wronged and long-suffering, childless wife

After a second arduous journey to a remote Japanese village to purchase healthy, uncontaminated silkworm eggs, he again saw the mesmerizing mistress (Sei Ashina) of the local Japanese warlord Hara Jubei (Koji Yakusho) who had elaborately and gracefully prepared tea for him during his first visit. This time she bathed him, slipped him a note written in Japanese, and offered a second concubine-servant for a night of adulterous, wordless passion. The next morning, he had a brief glimpse of her bathing naked in the outdoor hot springs and dipping under the water, but he never saw her again.

Upon his return to long-suffering, loving and understanding Helene, he guiltily vowed to himself: "I wanted to tell her everything" but never did ("and it tore me apart"). His life became obsessed with returning to Japan another time, especially after having the note translated by Lyon brothel owner Madame Blanche (Miki Nakatani): "Come back, or I shall die." His third trip was befouled by political chaos in Japan, and the death of silk worms he had purchased.

Later that winter after he had returned home, Herve received a long letter in Japanese - again translated by Madame Blanche for him. The letter, in part, told him that he would never see the mysterious Japanese woman again:

...We shall not see one another again. What we were meant to do, we have done. Believe me, my love, we have done it forever. Preserve your life out of my reach, and if it serves your happiness do not hesitate for a moment to forget this woman, who now says, without a trace of regret, farewell.

The Madame left a small blue flower on the letter, similar to a bouquet of flowers left by her on the grave of Helene (Helene weakened and died in 1875). He tracked the Madame down in Paris, who disclosed in the film's twist, that it was Helene who had written the long letter - and had it copied out in Japanese script. According to the Madame, after Helene had unforgettably read the letter outloud, "...more than anything, she wanted to be that woman." Herve responded: "She was that woman."

The film concluded with Helene's voice-over, reading most of the contents of the letter - she had prophetically declared that she and her husband would always be together, even after she died:

...We shall not see one another again. What we were meant to do, we have done. Believe me, my love, we have done it forever. Preserve your life out of my reach, and if it serves your happiness do not hesitate for a moment to forget this woman, who now says, without a trace of regret, farewell.

Herve Joncour (Michael Pitt) Mesmerized by The Girl (Sei Ashina)

Madame Blanche (Miki Nakatani) With Letter from Helene

Helene on Death Bed

Helene (Keira Knightley) - Dying in 1875

Single White Female (1992)

Homicidal and Psychotic Roommate Hedy (Who Killed Both Sam and Mitch) Was Actually Ellen Besch Who Had Survived Her Twin Sister Judy's Drowning Death But Remained Guilt-Ridden; Allie Stabbed Hedy to Death

Director Barbet Schroeder's edgy psycho-erotic thriller told about the ensuing problems brought on by a psychotically-compulsive, disturbed and menacing roommate (a 'single white female') with a very dark side beneath her heart-of-gold exterior. [Note: The lesser, more recent film The Roommate (2011) was a duplicate that shared many plot points with this film.]

The film opened with two unidentified twin girls in a bathroom applying makeup together - a foreshadowing of one of the film's characters.

NYC software designer and sophisticated career woman Allison "Allie" Jones (Bridget Fonda), living in a cavernous Victorian apartment in the West 70s, was happily engaged to be married to live-in boyfriend Sam Rawson (Steven Weber), but in the opening scene at 4 am, she discovered through a phone call by his ex-wife Lisa that Sam had been unfaithful. Their argument as they broke up was overheard through the iron floor grille air vent by Allison's sympathetic upstairs gay neighbor-friend Graham Knox (Peter Friedman).

To cover the costs of rent and not wanting to live alone, she advertised for a SWF in the newspaper to share her apartment, and after a series of personal interviews with candidate prospects, chose shy, timid, eager-to-please, unfashionable bookstore clerk Hedra "Hedy" Carlson (Jennifer Jason Leigh), assuring her that her break-up with her boyfriend was permanent ("Well, nothing's gonna change, Hedy"). After only two weeks together as roommates, the two had bonded and Hedra expressed her emulation of Allie when she told her: "Anything of mine that you want, just go ahead. Share and share alike." She then revealed: "I was supposed to be a twin, but she was stillborn...I grew up feeling a part of me was missing." Allison resisted Sam's persistent efforts to contact her and restore their relationship. Fearing the inevitability of a reconciliation, Hedra secretly erased Sam's pleading phone message for a second chance and intercepted a letter, and bought a puppy dog named Buddy to deepen their female friendship.

Allison reestablished her relationship with Sam, and had overnight sex with him in his Hotel Davenport room. When Allison returned to her apartment over 24 hours later, Hedy ominously confronted her in her bedroom: "Where the hell have you been?" Now that Allison had "patched things up" with Sam, Hedy rightfully feared being evicted soon ("You'll be very happy and I'll be alone"), and commiserated about how she was in a "different league" and would never find a boyfriend.

A series of strange incidents began to occur:

  • Buddy died falling off the balcony (an accident?)
  • Allie found Hedy had duplicate outfits of hers in her closet
  • Allie was propositioned by her infatuated, creepy client/boss Mitch Myerson (Stephen Tobolowsky) and when she commiserated with her roommate, Hedy declared: "Men are pigs" and suggested "getting even" by making a threatening phone call to him. Allie was completely taken aback: "Gee, Hedy, I hope you never get mad at me"
  • Hedy modeled her copy-cat new hairstyle for Allison (she later admired herself: "I love myself like this"). She walked down the stairs of a salon with a complete make-over - her hair was colored red and cut short exactly like Allison's. Allison was flabbergasted: "You gotta be kidding."

Hedy demonstrated the lengths she would go to insinuate herself, steal (or control) the life of someone else and become nearly identical.

Now suspicious, Allie snooped in Hedy's closet, finding a shoebox with clues about Hedy's real identity: letters addressed to Tampa, Florida to an Ellen Besch, Hedy's actual name. A newspaper article stated that her 9 year-old twin Judy Besch had drowned at a family picnic and the "circumstances surrounding her death remain unclear." An intercepted letter that Sam had claimed he sent to Allie was also in the shoebox. Allie followed Hedy as she went to a nightclub and saw her chatting with a guy named Jim, similar in appearance to Sam, with Hedy claiming she was Allie's 'sister': "Jim, you look like my sister's boyfriend."

That evening, a distraught Allie spoke to Graham upstairs about her concerns, overheard by Hedy through the vent, who advised that Hedy move out immediately ("She's a lunatic, Allie. She's got to go. Do it tonight"). Shortly after, Hedy who had snuck into Graham's apartment, knocked him unconscious. When Allie demanded that Hedy had to leave, Hedy vowed: "It's me, isn't it? I'll change Allie. I can change." And then she predicted that Sam would again be unfaithful: "He will cheat on you again. That's a promise." Then she lashed out at Allie for going back to Sam: "You're so f--kin' weak."

To insure her promise that Sam would be unfaithful, Hedy (looking exactly like Allie) even went to Sam's Hotel Atherton room when he returned late that night from a trip and had fallen asleep and coquettishly seduced him under the covers with oral sex. She told him: "I knew it...I told her. Guys like you don't change. You can't be faithful....I think she should know that." He lashed out at her, calling her "too needy," "always clingy," "constantly in her face" - and declared her "nuts." She then vengefully murdered him with the spiked stiletto heel of a shoe thrust into his eye, when he threatened to confess to Allie.

Hedy hurriedly prepared to move out, obsessively cleaning her sub-let room (and erasing all evidence of her presence), before the murder was detected. Allie heard news of the murder on the morning news show, and suspected Hedy, who when confronted changed the scenario: "He came in my mouth and then tried to beat the s--t out of me because I wanted to tell you. You know, it was an accident. But, he deserved it." She intended to frame the murder on Allie, and escape undetected as Hedy ("No one's seen her. She's not on the lease. There's not even a fingerprint of hers here"). Hedy held Allie bound as a hostage in Graham's upstairs apartment and came close to slitting her throat. She revealed that another incident with a similar woman in Tampa ended badly, when another female exposed Hedy's "secrets" to put her away. Allie pretended to want to be with Hedy, and planned to book a flight to LA with her. Meanwhile, Allie's flustered client Mitch came looking for her (when his computer programs self-erased due to non-payment), and when he attempted to free Allie, was bludgeoned and then shot to death by the unhinged Hedy.

The film concluded with a brutal catfight between Allie and Hedy that began in Graham's apartment, continued in the elevator, and ended in the basement of the building, where Allie stabbed Hedy to death in the back with a screwdriver. In the aftermath, Allie told (in voice-over) how Hedy's parents said that their young daughter never forgave herself for surviving her sister's death. The last image was a composite-split view of the photographed face of Allie & Hedy, with Allie's voice-over:

I cried the whole week of Sam's funeral. Graham says that won't bring him back. He says I have to start letting go. He's right. Hedy's parents said that for years, they tried to explain to her that her sister's death wasn't her fault, but she never forgave herself for surviving. So, every day, I try to forgive Hedy for Sam. Then, I try to do what she couldn't: forgive myself. I know what can happen to someone who doesn't.

Two Unidentified Twins: Judy and Hedy Besch

Hedy Carlson (Jennifer Jason Leigh)

Bonding as Roommates Between Hedy and Allie (Bridget Fonda)

Hedy's Copy-Cat Hairstyle

Newspaper Clipping of Drowning

Hedy Having Sex with and Killing Allie's Boyfriend Sam (Steven Weber)

Hedy Threatening Allie

Allie Stabbing Hedy in Back

Composite Photograph

Sisters (1973)

There Was No Psychotic, Siamese Twin Sister Named Dominique; Danielle Was the Killer (with a Split Schizoid Personality)

In this Brian De Palma Hitchcock-like suspense horror thriller with a Bernard Herrmann score, it was revealed that the dual, once-conjoined Siamese twin characters were one and the same:

  • Danielle Breton (Margot Kidder), an aspiring French-Canadian fashion model
  • "Dominique" Blanchion (also Margot Kidder in a dual role), her insanely deranged, murderous and psychotic sister

Dominique had died on the operating table during the separation-operation, so there was no Dominique, even though a red herring scene of Danielle arguing with her sister in the bedroom (overheard by her first male victim) was inserted to be very misleading!

After Dominique's death, Danielle experienced a severe schizoid personality disorder - and would easily become jealously murderous and deadly as "Dominique."

Other plot elements: a huge scar was left on the body of Danielle after the operation, and there was a surreal link-transference established between snoopy journalist/murder witness Grace Collier (Jennifer Salt) and Danielle.

Crazed "Dominique"

Conjoined "Twin Sisters"

Body Scars on Danielle

The 6th Day (2000) (aka The Sixth Day)

There Were Two Adam Gibsons (The Original and a Clone) - Together, the Two Worked Together to Destroy The Main Center for Cloning and Its Evil Cloned CEO Drucker

This science-fiction action thriller had inherent plot problems, both in the fact that the film resembled Schwarzenegger's earlier Total Recall (1990), and that it received three Razzie Awards nominations:

  • Worst Actor (Arnold Schwarzenegger as the real Adam)
  • Worst Supporting Actor (Schwarzenegger as the clone of Adam)
  • Worst Screen Couple (Schwarzenegger as the real Adam and as the clone)

It was titled "The 6th Day" - referring to a verse in the Biblical Book of Genesis, where it was stated that complete DNA cloning of humans was restricted, and a violation of God's law:

"God created humankind in his image...the sixth day."

In the near future year of 2015, cloning practices had become technically-advanced, but were still illegal. One well-publicized effort at cloning went very wrong - however, other off-shoots of the cloning business had sprung up, including the commercially-successful animal cloning business known as Re-Pet. The society also allowed human organ cloning, food cloning (meat, fish, fruits, and vegetables) and pet cloning (Adam's own dog Oliver was cloned through Re-Pet).

The main character began to question his society's practice of cloning:

  • Adam Gibson (Arnold Schwarzenegger), a charter helicopter pilot, and a happily-married family man to Natalie Gibson (Wendy Crewson), with precocious daughter Clara (Taylor-Anne Reid)

Adam luckily survived a V.I.P. transport trip to a ski area for snowboarding because at the last minute, he had switched piloting with his business partner and best friend Hank Morgan (Michael Rapaport). When Hank met passenger Drucker at the helicopter, he introduced himself as "Adam Gibson." During the transport, occupants of the helicopter were killed by a laser gun-armed skier when they landed at their destination.

Then, when Adam returned home later that night, he discovered at his own surprise birthday party that he had been illegally and mistakenly cloned against his will. Adam saw a scientifically-created human imposter-doppelganger of himself inside his house! It was explained outside to him what had happened by two security agents from the cloning center - Talia Elsworth (Sarah Wynter): "There's been a sixth day violation. A human was cloned. That human was you. We can help you." But he didn't believe them, and a chase ensued.

The main center for cloning was known as Replacement Technologies. The shady organization kept cloning records of individuals, known as syncordings. The center was operated by:

  • Michael Drucker (Tony Goldwyn), a scientifically-cloned, multi-billionaire genetic engineering tycoon/businessman CEO, who operated RePet and a black market operation in cloned individuals
  • Robert Marshall (Michael Rooker), Drucker's right-hand partner; also a security agent working for Millennium
  • Doctor Griffin Weir (Robert Duvall), Drucker's expert genius-scientist - who discovered that evil CEO Drucker was engineering cloned humans with fatal diseases as an insurance policy against being betrayed

A number of startling events then occurred:

  • Adam was pursued by four security agents (near indestructible cloned thugs, including Marshall, Talia, Vincent Bansworth (Terry Crews) and P. Wiley (Rodney Rowland)) from the Replacement Technologies cloning center
  • Adam had been mistakenly cloned after the killings, because it was believed that he was the dead helicopter pilot
  • The agents wanted to eliminate Adam's clone, to cover up and keep secret their illegal human cloning operation
  • Hank, the pilot, was cloned after his original was killed on the snowy slope; clone Drucker was also recloned after his murder

The entire cloning operation was opposed by Tripp (Colin Cunningham), an anti-cloning, extremely-religious fundamentalist. He was the one who had murdered both pilot Hank and Drucker's clone during the ski transport trip with laser-gunshots, once they landed.

During the slightly ambiguous film and twist conclusion, one had to continually ask: "Who was the real Adam?" The two Adams worked together to destroy their mutual enemies - the Replacement Technologies cloning center and the unethical CEO Drucker. When confronted, Drucker (seen as an incomplete clone with imperfections due to a malfunction) told Adam that he was the clone, and that the other Adam was the original one. He also tried to bargain with the cloned Adam, and admitted:

Drucker: "Look. Adam, we can make a deal....I can rebuild all of this in a very short time. I can still save you, Adam. We put congenital defects into the clone DNA to give the clones short life spans. You want to know what you're gonna die of? How long you've got to live? We can go right upstairs, right now, and look it up." (Adam fired upon and destroyed part of the facility)
Adam: "We all have to die someday."
Drucker: "We don't have to die. I'm offering you the chance to live forever. Never aging. Perfect in every way."
Adam: "Perfect, like you?"

Drucker was placed in front of a mirror to see his massive imperfections, and although horrified, he claimed he could fix it. Adam refused the offer ("It's over. It's finished. It's finished!"). He punched Drucker, who fell unconscious onto his own original - offering Adam an opportunity for a stupid punchline:

"When I said you should screw yourself, I didn't mean for you to take it literally."

The facility was exploded, and Drucker fell to his death. The cloned Adam was saved by the real Adam who piloted a helicopter to pick them up on the rooftop.

Soon after, the real Adam said goodbye to the cloned Adam (with a normal DNA scan and "zero defects") as he left on a voyage ("three weeks at sea") to Patagonia, Argentina, to set up a branch helicopter service.

Adam's Schedule

The Real Adam Gibson (Arnold Schwarzenegger)

Hank Morgan (Michael Rapaport)

CEO Michael Drucker (Tony Goldwyn)

The Real Adam Shocked to See His Doppelganger at His Own Birthday Party

Drucker (An Incomplete Clone) Bargaining With Cloned Adam

The Cloned Adam Rejecting Drucker's Bargain

Drucker Shown His Disfigured Cloned Body in Reflection

Drucker Lying on Top of Original Drucker - With Adam's Joke: "Screw yourself..."

Two Adams Escaping Hanging Onto Helicopter, As Building Exploded

Real Adam Saying Goodbye to Cloned Adam

The Sixth Sense (1999)

In the Film's Prologue, The Shooting of Child Psychologist Malcolm Crowe By One of His Ex-Patients Was Actually Fatal; He Became the 'Ghostly' Therapist Who Helped the Troubled and Haunted Young Patient Cole, Who Saw Him as One of the "Dead People"

Writer/director M. Night Shyamalan's twisting suspenseful film about ghosts was designed as an investigation into how/why a haunted six-year old boy named Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment) was seeing the spirits of dead people.

In fact, it was a setup to fool the audience into believing that Cole's psychologist was seriously finding answers regarding Cole's secret powers.

In this classic 'twist' ending supernatural drama from the master of unexpected plot twists, it was revealed that child psychologist Dr. Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis) never did survive the lethal gun-shot wound in the stomach by angry suicidal ex-patient Vincent Grey (Donnie Wahlberg) in the prologue. For the remainder of the film, it examined the intriguing question of the existence of life after death.

Crowe eventually discovered that he was a 'ghost' - one of the "dead people" seen by troubled and disturbed 8-year old clairvoyant patient Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment). One of the most subtle clues of the whole film was that the color red was prominent whenever the worlds of the living and the dead came together.

In the revelation scene, he returned home to find his mourning wife Anna (Olivia Williams) watching their videotaped wedding on TV. With her eyes closed, she was asking questions, such as: "Why, Malcolm?...Why did you leave me?" She was clutching the wedding ring that used to be on his hand. After it rolled noisily in a circle across the parquet-wood floor, he held his own left hand up, realizing that he was not wearing his wedding ring. He heard patient Cole speaking to him about seeing 'dead people' all the time:

I see people. They don't know they're dead...They're everywhere. They only see what they want to see.

He staggered from the room, suddenly discovering that he was dead, and that the wound from the gunshot was lethal (the prologue was replayed, with additional footage). Realizing that he must let go, Malcolm told sleeping Anna on the couch:

I think I can go now. I just needed to do a couple things. I needed to help someone. I think I did. And I needed to tell you something. You were never second. Ever. I love you. You sleep now. Everything will be different in the morning.

In her sleep, she answered and smiled: "Good night, Malcolm." He replied: "Good night, sweetheart." The film ended with a brief image from their wedding tape. Cole had helped Malcolm to reconcile his relationship with his wife so that he could be at peace.

[Note: An additional plot point: In an earlier scene at the funeral reception when the ghostly young girl Kyra Collins' (Mischa Barton) videotape was played, it was revealed that the dead girl was slowly poisoned by her own mother.]

The Wedding Ring

No Wedding Ring

The Revelation

"I see people. They don't know they're dead"

Lethal Gunshot Wound in Film's Opening

"Good night, Malcolm"

The Skeleton Key (2005)

Caroline Cared for Elderly, Ailing Ben for His Wife Violet - Then Discovered Evidence in the Attic of a Sinister Voodoo Cult; The Previous Servants (the Justify Couple) Had Survived Many Years Through Soul Transference; Violet Was Possessed by Mama Cecile Justify; Luke Was Already Possessed by Papa Justify; Caroline Was Hired So She Could Become the New Younger Body for Mama Cecile After Her Soul was Trapped in Violet's Aging Body

Director Iain Softley's creepy, Gothic ghost house tale told about supernatural happenings experienced by the main female character:

  • Caroline Ellis (Kate Hudson), a strong-minded, pretty 25 year-old blonde from New Jersey, a Hospice nurse/maid

She was hired by family estate lawyer Luke Marshall (Peter Sarsgaard) for $1,000 per week to act as a hospice nurse.

Her New Orleans-area employer was matriarch Violet Devereaux (Gena Rowlands), who lived in an old Louisiana plantation in the swampy bayous, where Caroline was paid to take care of:

  • Ben Devereaux (John Hurt), Violet's elderly comatose, and senile, bed-ridden husband

He was haunted by ghosts from the past, and suffered a near-fatal stroke in the attic. The house had no mirrors, and there were suspicious red-brick dust lines in front of doors ("Nobody that means you harm can cross it. It's how you tell who your enemies are").

Caroline's possession of a 'skeleton key' allowed her access to the entire house, including the attic - a room for servants many decades in the past. There, she found, behind a second hidden and locked attic door, records (Papa Justify's Conjure of Sacrifice, dated 1920), potion jars, books, dolls, recipes/spells, and other instruments for practicing black witchcraft.

Suspicious Pictures in Attic
Papa Justify, Mama Cecile, and Two Thorpe Children: Martin and Grace
Wedding Picture of Papa Justify and Mama Cecile

When Caroline pressured Violet, she was told about the history of the haunted house and its legend 90 years earlier (told with flashbacks), when the plantation house was originally owned by the rich and upper-class Thorpe family:

About 90 years ago, there was a banker here, his name was Thorpe. He made his fortune cheating the poor. He was a mean man. He was a cruel man. It was him, and his family, and a couple of servants, name of Mama Cecile and Papa Justify.

Their two "colored" house servants were a married couple from the 1920s who worked for the Thorpe family and lived in an upstairs room in the house:

  • Papa Justify (Ronald McCall)
  • Mama Cecile (Jeryl Prescott Sales)

They were found to be practitioners of Hoodoo ("American folk magic"):

Old man Thorpe, he didn't know that Papa Justify was a 'two-headed doctor.' He was a conjure man. So was Cecile. They believed in (Hoodoo)...That was their room. Oh, they were famous all through the bayous. They healed the sick and they hurt the mean. 'Hit a straight lick with a crooked stick,' as the coloreds say. But old Thorpe, he just saw them as help. And he worked them to the bone. He abused them. Until one night, as the story goes, there was a party.

And during the party, the two Thorpe children went missing for many hours:

  • Martin Thorpe (Forrest Landis)
  • Grace Thorpe (Jamie Lee Redmon)

The children were found in the upstairs room with Papa and Mama, being taught conjuring and Hoodoo. As a result, the two black servants were lynched and burned to death. From a window, the two children watched as the servants were murdered. Years later, the Thorpe husband and wife died in a murder/suicide - allegedly Justify and Cecile's revenge upon them:

The servants were up there with the children. They were trying to teach them how to conjure hoodoo. Thorpe went about insane, and so did the rest of the guests. I mean, how long had this blasphemy been goin' on? The children said it was their fault, that they had wanted to learn. But they weren 't having any of that. All that power and rage and insanity. The party was over. It was a terrible thing. Terrible. Rumors got out, but no arrests, no trial. Money had its way...The bank went under. Thorpe shot his wife to death, and then turned the gun on himself. People in the bayou say it was Justify and Cecile's revenge. The children stayed here till '62.

According to Violet, no mirrors were allowed in the house, because of the ghosts of the house servants ("You see them in the mirrors...the servants...The ghosts are here now."). Then, she made a strange comment about her fears for her own life:

But whatever they did to him, I am not gonna let 'em do it to me.

Since Papa and Mama's deaths, part of the twist was that the servants' souls were transferring from one human host to another, in order to remain in the house. When Papa's and Mama's bodies were lynched in the 1920s, their spirits had already been transferred out into the bodies of young children Martin and Grace, and when the two children grew older by the 1960s, the pair did another transfer into the bodies of Ben and Violet, and now forty years later, there were more transfers to be made.

Caroline had already been investigating the practices of Hoodoo herself, believing that she could reverse the effects of Ben's stroke that she thought had been caused by Hoodoo - something he believed in. She had suspicions that Violet had put an evil Hoodoo spell on her husband. Caroline attempted to tell her suspicions about Violet to estate lawyer Luke ("She tried to kill me. She had a gun. She knows I know. Ben's in trouble. He's still at the house. Call the police, Luke. I left him. We got to get back out there").

Then, in one of the supernatural film's twisting reveals, Luke began to strangle Caroline. It was an indication that Luke was part of the conspiracy and was helping Violet, and Caroline was being set up for another soul possession or transference. Luke's body had already become possessed by Papa Justify's spirit (the spirit that was originally possessing the body of Ben).

To protect herself from being possessed as well, Caroline struggled with both Violet and Luke at the house, then fled to the attic. In the confusion, Violet was pushed down the stairs and broke her legs. In the upper room, Caroline set up a protective candle-lit circle around herself - a "spell of protection" composed of "Chalk, sulfur, blood, hair"- but Violet knew that it wouldn't protect her, but would in fact trap her within the circle: "All that circle protects is you - from leavin' it." Violet (actually Madame Cecile) also taunted Caroline:

We've been waitin' for you, Caroline. Waitin' for you to believe. It doesn't work if you don't believe.

Caroline protested: "I don't believe," but in the end, could not prevent Mama Cecile's spirit from being transferred into her body. She viewed her mirror image, that kept vibrating and changing - first herself, then Grace, Violet, and then Mama Cecile.

Papa Justify ( Luke <- Ben <- Martin )
Mama Cecile ( Caroline <- Violet <- Grace )

Both Violet and Caroline fell to the floor, unconscious. When they awoke, Caroline and Luke addressed each other as Papa Justify and Mama Cecile. Luke and Caroline's souls had been removed and replaced by Papa and Mama, in their young bodies. They spoke about the new fleshly vessels that they were inhabiting and had to get used to:

I think it fits you beautifully. It's better than Violet, or Grace, even. We'll get used to it. We always do.

Caroline gave a white liquid substance to Violet to drink that caused her to become a mute stroke victim, like her husband Ben, with no memory. The Devereaux couple, Violet and Ben, were now both incapacitated and mute stroke victims, and taken away in an ambulance (Caroline: "They need real care now. They can't stay here").

The two house servants were revitalized within their young bodies and remained in the house, now entrusted to "Caroline." The final words of the film were from estate lawyer Luke, about Caroline's quick inheritance of Violet's and Ben's mansion:

She meant so much to them, her being here. I know it wasn't for long, but, they really loved her...It's in their wills. They left her the house.

Caroline Ellis (Kate Hudson)

Violet Devereaux (Gena Rowlands)

Ben Devereaux (John Hurt)

Luke Marshall (Peter Sarsgaard)

House Servants: Mama and Papa

Grace Thorpe

Martin Thorpe

Luke Was Already Possessed by Papa Justify - Trying to Strangle Caroline

Protective Candle-Circle

The Four Mirror Images:

Caroline - After Soul Transference

Luke and Caroline - Now Possessed by the Souls of Papa and Mama

Stroke Victim Violet Taken Away

Two House Servants: Papa Justify and Mama Cecile - The Real Owners of the Home

Sleepaway Camp (1983)

'Angela' Was the Transgendered Serial Killer - Peter Had Been Raised With the Identity of His Sister 'Angela'

This exploitational cult film by writer/director Robert Hiltzik was a combination of Carrie (1976) and Friday the 13th (1980). Its tagline was appropriate for a slasher film: won't be coming home!

It was made many more times in sequels:

  • Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers (1988)
  • Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland (1989)
  • Sleepaway Camp IV: The Survivor (1992, 2012) - unofficial sequel
  • Return to Sleepaway Camp (2008)

The film opened with a boating accident in upstate New York eight years earlier in 1975, when two of three members of the Baker family were 'killed' in a freak and tragic incident

  • John Baker (Dan Tursi), the divorced father (with a gay lover named Lenny (James Paradise))
  • Peter (Frank Sorrentino), the young son

It was thought that the only survivor was 6 year-old Angela Baker (Colette Lee Corcoran). In truth - revealed in the film's conclusion, Peter was the one who survived, and took over his sister Angela's identity. Peter was raised as a shy and quiet girl by eccentric and psychotic Aunt Martha Thomas (Desiree Gould), who had a son named Richard or "Ricky" (Jonathan Tiersten):

You see, I've always wanted a little girl...yes, I've always dreamed of a little girl just like you. I mean, we already have a boy, so another one simply would not do. Oh no, absolutely not. A little girl would be so much nicer, don't you think so, Angela? Angela - such a lovely name. Why, I believe it means 'angel'. Why yes, I'm sure it does. I know you're gonna like that name, won't you, Peter?

When the film returned to the present time - the year 1983, shy and withdrawn 14 year-old Angela (Felissa Rose) was sent to a summer sleepaway camp named Camp Arawak with her 15 year-old cousin Ricky Thomas. During camp, the introverted Angela was continually bullied by other campers, who soon after suffered vengeful accidental injuries (and many deaths):

  • Artie (Owen Hughes), the camp's head cook - scalded
  • Kenny (John E. Dunn), one of Angela's tormentors - drowned
  • Billy (Loris Sallahain) - stung to death by bees in a locked toilet stall
  • Meg (Katherine Kamhi), a camp counselor - stabbed to death in the back during a shower
  • Judy (Karen Fields), a camper, Ricky's ex-girlfriend - raped and killed with a hot curling iron shoved into her genital area
  • the deaths of four campers, hacked in their sleeping bags with counselor Eddie's (Fred Greene) axe
  • Mel Costic (Mike Kellin), the camp owner/director - shot and killed by an arrow in the throat at the camp's archery range

The surprise ending of this slasher/splatter horror film was that the murderer was Angela, who was revealed in a transgendered identity switch to actually be her brother Peter.

As the killings intensified before the film reached its conclusion, the final scene's shocking image was the discovery of a naked Angela sitting on the beach. Angela had asked Paul (Christopher Collet), who had been romantically interested in Angela for the entire film, to meet her on the beach. She had asked him to remove his clothes: "Take them off!"

Angela was seen in a long shot with a bloody knife and the decapitated-severed head of camper Paul in her lap. When the blood-covered Angela stood up, Paul's head rolled to the ground (with others reacting to the revelation of Angela's penis):

"How can it be?...My god, she's a boy!"

Long-haired Peter made a loud, open-mouthed, disturbing, animalistic hissing noise as the film faded to black.

Peter Raised as a Girl Named Angela

Angela-Peter's Shocking Unveiling and the Reaction: "My God, she's a boy!"

Severed Head of Camper Paul

Sleuth (1972, UK)

There Were Many Attempts of the Two Protagonists (Wyke and Milo) To Fool Each Other In Their Continually Shifting Cat-And-Mouse Games: (1) Wyke's Plan Was Not to Defraud His Insurance Company, But to 'Kill' Milo (Or At Least Seriously Frighten Him), (2) Inspector Doppler Who Was Investigating the 'Death' of Milo, Was Actually Milo in Disguise, (3) Milo (In Cahoots With Wyke's Mistress Tia) Scared Wyke Into Thinking He Would Be Charged With Tia's Strangulation, (4) Wyke Shot Milo to Death, Thinking He Was Being Fooled Again - But This Time, Milo Told the Truth (or Did He?), and the Police Arrived to Arrest Wyke For Murder

This UK mystery thriller from director Joseph L. Mankiewicz (his final film) was adapted from the 1970 Tony award winning stage play (by Anthony Shaffer) with only two characters. The later film Deathtrap (1982) was similar in plot, and also starred Michael Caine (but he was reverse-cast in Olivier's role). The film's entire cast of two people was nominated for Academy Awards - a rare feat.

Its story - a battle of wits and cat-and-mouse game between two clever and intelligent opponents, had the tagline:

Think of the perfect crime... Then go one step further.

To keep audiences guessing about the surprise plot (with many twists and convoluted turns throughout), very few details were revealed ahead of time, and some were fabricated. For example, the cast list during the opening credits was faked - these four characters were not in the film:

  • Alec Cawthorne (as "Inspector Doppler")
  • John Matthews (as Detective Sergeant Tarrant)
  • Eve Channing (as Marguerite Wyke)
    [Note: Eve and Channing were the names of two characters in director Mankiewicz's previous film All About Eve (1950).]
  • Teddy Martin (as Police Constable Higgs)

The two main characters displayed games-manship while trying to one-up each other throughout - especially Wyke who regarded Milo as disdainfully beneath him. They were:

  • Andrew Wyke (Laurence Olivier) - a snobby, aristocratic English country gentleman, a best-selling detective-mystery crime fiction writer, a lover of board games, toys, automatons (robotic dolls), and mannequins; one favorite object was a life-sized, remote-controlled sailor named Jolly Jack Tar (who often laughed at Wyke's jokes)
  • Milo Tindle (Michael Caine) - younger than Wyke; the lower-class son of an Italian Catholic immigrant in lower-class London; a hairdresser and owner of hair salons; the lover of Wyke's wife Marguerite

The setting for the film was mostly in the drawing room of Wyke's grand 16th century mansion in Wiltshire. The author was in the midst of dictating his most recent novel. Milo was invited to Wyke's residence late one Friday, where Wyke admitted that he knew of Milo's affair-dalliance with his estranged wife Marguerite, and said he was relieved that Milo wanted to marry her. Wyke admitted having his own mistress, named Tia.

Wyke suggested a calculating, devious plan to avoid alimony payments and to have both of them become richer. Milo would steal and fence Marguerite's jewels, and Wyke could claim the entire loss on his own insurance. They immediately executed the elaborate plan together in the house:

  • Milo (disguised as a clown in a baggy outfit) stole Marguerite's expensive jewelry (worth £250,000 pounds) in her second-story bedroom by climbing a ladder and blowing up a safe
  • Wyke set a dynamite charge in the study
  • Wyke and Milo faked a fist-fight and ransacking of the house (to fool police into thinking there had been an altercation between the burglar and householder)
  • Wyke also pulled out a gun and fired two shots, to add realism

And then, the crazed Wyke explained that his actual plan was to frame and set up Milo's actual murder: "Do you really believe I'd give up my wife and jewelry to you?" He mocked him: "You are a young man, dressed as a clown, about to be murdered...Finally, at your moment of dying, you are yourself - a sniveling, dago clown. Farewell, Punchinello!" - and he pulled the trigger (a third shot). The clown-masked Milo tumbled down the stairs. The scene ended there. The 'murder' of Milo was the first of many twists.

On Sunday, balding, rotund, and dogged Detective Inspector Doppler visited to investigate the recent reported disappearance of Milo - and Wyke was a suspect. Bullet holes and dried blood were located, and there was a fresh mound of dirt in the garden. Andrew admitted the ruse - the two had played a game (his intent was to humiliate Milo), the third shot was a blank, and Milo had left unharmed. However, further evidence (Milo's clothes in Andrew's wardrobe) led Doppler to charge Andrew with murder (and a seven year prison sentence).

In a shocking sequence, Doppler removed his deceptive disguise - fake eyebrows, latex mask and nose, wig, and mustache - and revealed himself to be a vengeful and determined Milo. He promised to further terrify Wyke with another game - involving a murder, as Milo explained:

  • Milo claimed that after having sex with Wyke's mistress Tia recently, he stranged her to death
  • Milo had framed Wyke for Tia's murder, and left four incriminating clues (including the murder weapon - a stocking) around the house to make him the prime suspect, and the police were reportedly on the way
  • Andrew frantically searched for the clues, and quickly found them (the stocking was hidden in a clock pendulum); he disposed of the stocking, but was entirely flustered and distraught
  • A Sergeant and Constable arrived at the door (off-screen) - although Milo faked their voices while talking to them

Then, Milo admitted that the second game was another complex and contrived set-up (with Tia and her roommate playing along) to again humiliate and taunt Wyke. According to her, their affair didn't really exist, because Wyke was impotent (Milo: "She's not really your mistress, is she? She tells me that you and her haven't made it together for over a year. She also told me that you are practically impotent").

As Milo was leaving the residence, the angered Wyke told Milo: "I can't let you go now...going about telling everyone. It's just not possible...One person would be too many, even Marguerite, especially Marguerite." Milo reminded him about what had really happened on Friday evening after Wyke's game - Milo had to "lurch home, dazed, dirty, and humiliated." He then planned, on Saturday morning, how to seek revenge. He reported to the police what Wyke had done to him on Friday, and said that the police would never believe "that burglar story of yours. Not now. They'd say: 'You've lost.'"

Not believing anything that Milo had told him (accusing him of being a "liar"), the deflated Wyke pulled a gun on him (loaded with real bullets), and said he wouldn't let him go:

You come here and announce your intention to steal away my wife, you pry into my manhood, you lecture me on ignoble minds, and you mock the creation of my life - St. John Lord Merridew. Well, they’re all real bullets this time.”

Anticipating this reaction, Milo told Wyke that he had really gone to the police, and that they were really on their way this time ("The game's over, Andrew. I'm going home now"). And then, Wyke shot him in the back, and went over to him as he was dying, to advise:

Milo - you do see, you're not really a very good games-player. I mean to say, NEVER play the same game three times running!

Wyke heard a police car drove up, and an officer rang the bell of his locked front door, and knocked loudly. Milo advised Wyke before expiring:

"Andrew, don't forget, be sure and tell them it was just a bloody game."

The film concluded with the mocking laughter of Milo, Wyke's doll Jolly Jack, and all the room's other automatons, triggered by the remote in Milo's dead hands.

Fake Cast List

Milo Tindle
(Michael Caine)

Andrew Wyke (Laurence Olivier)

Milo Disguised As Clown to Rob Jewels

Friday: Milo 'Dead' At the Foot of the Stairs, Shot by Wyke

Inspector Doppler (actually Milo in Disguise)

Doppler Removing Disguise

Milo Divulging That Wyke's Mistress Tia Was a Sham

Milo - Shot in the Back by Wyke and Dying on the Floor

"... it was just a bloody game"

The Triggered Automaton Remote in Milo's Hands

The Mocking Laughter of Jolly Jack Tar

Worry on Wyke's Face

Sliver (1993)

Writer Jack Landford Was the Killer of Murder Victims in the Apartment Building (Named Sliver)

This erotic psychological thriller with a love triangle had a muddled and disjointed plot, especially its hastily-altered ending and the identity of the killer. It was due to a last-minute Joe Eszterhas rewrite and reshoot demanded by the studio. In the original script, Zeke, the most obvious suspect, was the killer, so the rewrite that concluded with a different killer made some earlier portions of the film seem inconsistent and unlikely.

The two main characters lived in an upscale Manhattan high-rise East Side apartment building named Sliver - the film's title:

  • Carly Norris (Sharon Stone in a non-femme fatale role), recent divorcee and New York publishing house book editor
  • Zeke Hawkins (William Baldwin), the voyeuristic building owner and game designer

She was introduced to a world of kinky and seamy thrills by Zeke. She and all the other tenants were secretly and voyeuristically watched and recorded in Zeke's control room of banks of TV monitors - he had even recorded himself making love to Carly.

In the film's conclusion, it was revealed that sleazy writer Jack Landford (Tom Berenger), another apartment resident, was the killer who had thrown Carly's previous 33 year-old apartment tenant Naomi Singer (Allison Mackie) from her 20th floor apartment balcony.

Carly discovered an incriminating videotape - one of Zeke's many surveillance tapes, and as it played in the video room, Jack's face was clearly seen at the scene of the killing. Angered by Zeke's sleazy hobby, Carly blasted most of the monitors with a gun, and then told Zeke (before killing the power on the remaining monitors) the film's final line:

"Get a life!"

Evidence from videotapes also showed that sexually-exploitative Zeke had recorded himself having sex with both of the complex's murder victims before their deaths, Naomi and British neighbor Vida (Polly Walker), but he wasn't their killer.

However, he knew of the murders, but because he didn't wish to divulge the existence of his complex surveillance system, he didn't report them.

Identity of Killer: Jack Landford (Tom Berenger) in Incriminating Videotape

Secretly Recorded Carly Norris (Sharon Stone)

Suspected Zeke Hawkins (William Baldwin)

"Get a Life!"

Greatest Movie Plot Twists, Spoilers and Surprise Endings

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