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Spoiler Alert: We Hear Spoilers Are Good for You, So Here Are Five of the Most Famous Plot Twists

Posted on the 18 August 2011 by Periscope @periscopepost
Spoiler alert: We hear spoilers are good for you, so here are five of the most famous plot twists

Agatha Christie novels. Photo credit: Kennymatic,

Spoilers are good for you, according to US scientists: A new study at the University of California has found that learning about plot twists in advance can actually “enhance enjoyment”. Over at The Guardian Books Blog, Alison Flood was overjoyed: “Vindication! I am one of those people who can’t read a book without flicking to the end to check what’s going to happen,” she wrote. The study only examined the effect of spoilers on readers; but the proliferation of movie spoiler sites suggests the same is true of cinema-goers. With that in mind, we present our top five plot twists across film and literature.

Just in case it isn’t clear: SPOILER ALERT.

  • Bruce Willis is dead! The Sixth Sense was voted the film with the best twist in a 2010 poll. M. Night Shyamalan’s chiller is the story of child psychologist Dr Malcolm Crowe, AKA Bruce Willis, who is shot in the stomach by an intruder. He subsequently ends up counselling a disturbed young boy who claims to see dead people. Hint: the boy does see dead people. One of whom is Bruce Willis. The Sixth Sense‘s ending proved rather more popular with audiences than the director’s subsequent offerings: Bruce Willis is a superhero and Samuel L. Jackson is a baddie (Unbreakable), the action takes place in modern day America (The Village), plants are vengeful (The Happening).

  • Vampires good! Humans bad! In Robert Matheson’s 1954 novel I Am Legend, scientist Robert Neville is the sole survivor of an infection that has turned human beings into vampire-like creatures. All alone in the world – apart from the vampire creatures, that is, but they don’t seem very neighbourly  -  Neville searches for a cure, but eventually realises that in a world where everyone is a vampire, he is the aberration. So he kills himself. The 2007 Will Smith film version eschewed Matheson’s bleak vision; instead, Smith sacrifices himself to save humanity from the evil vampires.

  • Guy Pearce has already found his wife’s killer! Memento tells the story of Leonard Shelby, played by Guy Pearce, who is trying to find his wife’s killer while suffering from short-term memory loss. Just to make everything even more complicated, the film tells the story backwards. Eventually, the viewer discovers that Guy Pearce has in fact already killed the man who attacked his wife – he just can’t remember doing so. Oh, and his wife’s not really dead.
  • The victim did it! Agatha Christie’s novel And Then There Were None features a series of murders on a remote island. As the bodies pile up, the list of possible suspects shrinks – until, eventually, everyone is dead. So whodunnit? One of the victims. Justice Wargrave is shot partway through the novel;  but a note reveals he had in fact committed suicide while making it look like a murder, at the same time setting in motion a fiendish plan to make the remaining characters kill each other. Just because.

  • Kevin Spacey is Keyser Söze! In the world of 1995 film The Usual Suspects,  Keyser Söze is a legendary figure: ruthless, brutal and highly mysterious. He couldn’t possibly be the same man as Kevin Spacey’s nervous, limping Roger “Verbal” Kint could he? Yes. Yes, he could.

  • Kevin Costner is a Russian spy! In No Way Out, Kevin Costner plays a Navy officer charged with investigating a murder. Dastardly murderer Gene Hackman tries to blame a KGB sleeper agent codenamed “Yuri”, but he can’t fool Costner. However, it turns out Hackman was right about the existence of a Russian spy in the US navy – namely, Kevin Costner.

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