10 iconic thrillers that ruined their opening and ending
Between The Thing, Fight Club and The Prestige, these thrillers can't wait to show off the stunning final reveal.
Glass Onion is just out in limited release ahead of its Dec. 23 availability on Netflix, and it's usually full of hilarious celebrity jokes and references. However, like its predecessor, since the film is about a murder mystery and full of twists and turns, the opening sequence contains some surprising clues about who the character and viewers think Andy Brand really is.
However, "The Glass Onion" isn't the only clever movie that subtly spoils the audience's ending, and many thrillers have brazenly used the same trick. Whether it's subtle or totally in your face, these thrillers can't wait to uncover this amazing truth.
Sunset Boulevard (1950)
Many films hint at the death of a major character in the opening scene, but not since Billy Wilder's classic "Sunset Boulevard" has a film been so candid about it. The film opens with the main character's body floating in a pool of water as homicide squads are racing towards the house.
While the plot twist may not be him dead but who murdered him, his death could have had a bigger impact Viewers keep the death a secret until it happens. As good as the movie is, knowing that Joe is killed, it becomes obvious to the audience in the first few minutes who killed him.
The Thing (1982)
Although The Thing is first and foremost a horror film, it is also a thriller, as the entire film has the audience trying to deduce which character the parasite is using. However, the opening sequence that sees a group of Norwegians chasing a dog completely spoils the early but huge plot twist of a parasite inside the adorable sled dog.
However, it only spoiled Norwegian speakers. A Norwegian yells in their native language, "Go away! It's not a dog, it's something! It's imitating a dog, it's not real!" For any bilingual audience who saw this film in 1982, This definitely ruins the movie completely.
Fight Club (1999)
Fight Club is a cult classic and one of the most beloved films of all time, largely due to plot twists that no one expected. The 1999 film has one of the most memorable final shots in cinema, followed by The narrator learns that Taylor doesn't exist and that the only way to get rid of him is to shoot himself.
However, in the very opening sequence, the narrator explains Taylor's plot to blow up five buildings, adding "I know this because Taylor knows it." It's exposed that they're the same person, but viewers won't put them together until they rewatch. This isn't the only time the twist is hinted at, either, as Taylor appears in a single frame throughout the film, usually when the narrator is discussing his insomnia.
The Prestige (2006)
The meaning of The Prestige's title changes after viewing, as it refers to the narrative structure rather than the rivalry between the two magicians that viewers initially thought. One of the many plot twists in the film is when 3 one of the magicians, Robert Angier, doesn't use any cheap tricks, but uses real magic when the audience thinks he's dead on stage. Angel duplicated himself when he committed suicide, which is explained in the opening sequence.
In the opening scene, John Carter performs a trick in which he Make a caged bird disappear only for it to reappear in his other hand. He revealed that the caged bird had been crushed to death in a collapsible cage, and that the bird in his left hand was nothing like the one in the cage. The opening sequence spoils the ending in several ways, because not only is the explanation for the bird a dead giveaway, but the film opens with a forest full of top hats, alluding to the fact that Angel keeps killing his former self.
Knives Out (2019)
Knives Out was an amazing success in the mid-budget genre, and it's one of the funniest movies about murder, but it still has a major thriller element, even if it's not quite as scary. While it's not quite the opening sequence, in the film's first act, murder victim Harlan himself spoils the film's ending before he dies. Thinking that Marta had made a mistake in prescribing him the wrong drug, Harlan considered writing a murder mystery about someone deliberately swapping drugs, which is exactly what Ransom did.
Interesting scene is Two big reveals, but audiences didn't take either of them. Harlan not only reveals Ransom's entire plan literally but also unintentionally by thinking creative detective stories, but he mentions that Ransom can't tell the difference between a stage knife and a real knife. At the end of the film, Ransom tries to kill Marta with a knife, unaware that it is a retractable prop knife.
The Village (2004)
The Village is about a group of villagers in 19th century Pennsylvania who are surrounded by woods full of caped beasts, or so the audience thinks. In the finale of the bad movie released in 2004, it was revealed that the story took place in modern times, and those monsters were fabricated by the elders, so the villagers dared not leave the village.
However, any linguist in the audience might have seen the ending coming, as one of the elders used the colloquial modern term "dustbin". It's a nicely hidden detail that hints at the typical M. Night Shyamalan twists, sadly everything in between is messy and incoherent.
Pan's Labyrinth (2006)
If from the new release of Pinocchio Guillermo del Toro is fascinated by death and has a unique perspective on death. This is no clearer than in Pan's Labyrinth. Since it takes place in the middle of the Spanish Civil War, the film ends with the death of the young girl Ophelia, but it's given away in the opening scene.
The opening shot of the 2006 film shows Ofelia lying on the floor after being killed. However, the end of the film can be viewed in two different ways, and it's not as depressing as the film's opening suggests. Although Ophelia may have died in the real world, she was reborn in the fantasy world, and it's up to the audience whether they want to believe that the fantasy world is real.
The Sixth Sense (1999)
The Village is not the only Shyamalan-directed thriller to have an ending at the beginning. The twist ending of the 1999 film has become iconic, and the fact that Dr. Malcolm Crowe has been dead leads to word of mouth, so much so that the film is a huge success, cutting $672 million from a mere $40 million budget. USD (via Box Office Mojo).
However, the opening scene depicts Malcolm being killed as one of his former clients storms into his office and shoots him. The audience just assumes the wound isn't fatal and he survives, but he's always a ghost. In China, the film is spoiled even before the opening because the Chinese title of the film reads He's a ghost! (by what culture).
Shutter Island (2010)
Shutter Island follows two detectives, Teddy and Chuck, as they go to Ashecliffe Hospital to investigate a missing persons case, only to finally reveal that the missing patient is Teddy and Chuck is Teddy's doctor. The two are literally playing a role-playing game.
However, while the film may have been predictable, the opening scene also strongly hints at this twist. Before the two "detectives" can enter the hospital, they are asked to surrender their guns, and Chuck works harder than any detective to remove the holster. This is because he is not a detective at all, but a doctor.
Dark City (1998)
Dark City, a sci-fi thriller about a man with amnesia who tries to find out his true identity while being suspected of murder, is the most devastating example The thriller's plot twist is ruined in the opening scene. For the most part, teasing and clues hidden in plain sight are intentional, while Dark City's opening spoiler is a case of poor writing and editing.
The entire plot and final twist were leaked in the film's opening narration, and were so controversial that the voice-over was removed from the 2008 Director's Cut. Without the voice-over, the film is much better and makes for an incredible mystery thriller that will keep the audience on the edge of their seats.