WARNING: Due to the nature of the question being answered in this post, there are serious SPOILERS AHEAD for the plot twists and/or endings of every single one of these movies. We've listed the titles of the films first so that you can decide for yourself if you'd like to read on or skip. Please proceed with caution!
Recently, I was browsing through one of my absolute favorite subreddits, r/Movies, and I came across an incredibly interesting thread which asked, "What plot twist should you have figured out, except you wrote off a clue as poor filmmaking?"
And movie lovers came through with all kinds of examples of this phenomenon, ranging from interesting to hilarious! So, with that in mind, here are just a few of the most popular responses shared:
1. Knives Out (2019)
"At the very beginning, I thought it was strange that Harlan never exhibited any of the symptoms of the poisoning that Marta was describing — right up to and including his death — but I wrote it off as 'I guess that wouldn’t be fun for the audience to watch.'"
2. The Village (2004)
"Early on in the movie, there’s a guy wearing jeans, and I was so proud of my sharp eye catching an 'error' in costume accuracy."
3. A Beautiful Mind (2001)
"In one scene, a little girl is trying to get a bunch of pigeons to fly. She's running around them, but none of them fly away. It's a short scene which TOTALLY gives away that she's not real, but it's so easy to not notice what's happening."
4. Psycho (1960)
"When Norman brings mother downstairs to the fruit cellar, she’s screaming, 'Put me down!' Yet, her entire body is still. That should’ve been an indicator that she wasn’t alive, but it confused me because we saw his 'mother' moving well during the shower scene."
5. The Sixth Sense (1999)
"During the scene with the play, there is a parent filming the stage from behind Bruce Willis’ head. For some reason, this really bothered me. I remember being super annoyed at the placement because there’s no way the camera could have seen anything with his head in the way. I later realized this was a screaming clue, and I was a moron."
6. Van Helsing (2004)
"There's a scene at a party where Dracula shows off that he doesn't appear in mirrors, and I noticed that none of the other guests at the party had reflections either. I figured it was a mistake by production because the focus was on Dracula. It's later revealed all the guests are vampires, too."
7. Crazy, Stupid, Love. (2011)
"I saw the poster for this and assumed — with no knowledge of the film — that Emma Stone and Julianne Moore played mother and daughter, solely because they look alike. I completely forgot about that idea when I went to see it until the big reveal in the movie. I even thought while watching the movie that it was weird they would cast two actresses who look alike and not have them be related!"
8. Fight Club (1999)
"In one scene, Tyler is driving a car and the Narrator is in the front passenger seat. After a crash, the car is upside down (so it's easy to miss it), but Tyler gets out of the passenger side, and the Narrator gets out of the driver side. Apparently, the behind-the-scenes story is that the continuity checkers on the movie did notice and called out the mistake only to be told to 'keep watching.'"
9. Searching (2018)
"A few times throughout the movie, Debra Messing's detective character did questionable things that seemed unrealistic. I took it as something I just needed to suspend my disbelief for — the writers taking shortcuts to move some mystery-solving along. I kept saying to myself, '...a cop can't do that,' when I should have been saying, 'Only a dirty cop would do that.'"
10. Shutter Island (2010)
"I watched this with a friend, and when Leonardo DiCaprio was interviewing people, the woman drinking water showed up, and the water glass disappeared. He literally pointed it out, and I still did not get that it wasn't a mistake."
11. Spider Man: Far From Home (2019)
"I seem to recall thinking that they nerfed Nick Fury personality-wise. Like, he was still crabby and mean, but not as all-knowing or clever as he was in every other movie. I wrote it off as lazy writing to make room for Mysterio to fool everyone. The post-credits twist that it was actually Talos (the Skrull from Captain Marvel) the whole time was a bit of a relief."
12. The Usual Suspects (1995)
"This is one my dad caught: It shows a closeup at one point of Verbal walking with his characteristic limp, but the side of his shoe isn't scuffed up and worn down like it would if he actually walked like that all the time."
13. The Prestige (2006)
"I distinctly remember thinking it was weird that the movie seemingly wanted me to care so much about Christian Bale's friend, despite how underdeveloped he was. The ending hit me like a train, and I was furious that I didn't catch it."
14. Goldfinger (1964)
"So, in the James Bond film, Mr. Goldfinger plans to poison the army base by dusting it with gas from a plane. When the scene in the movie happens, the planes fly overhead and release their gas onto the crowds below, and soldiers keel over dead. Like, immediately some of them are hitting the ground before the plane even reaches them, and it seems like such obviously bad acting, but then, you discover that the hench-woman had alerted the government and replaced the gas. So, the soldiers really were acting in-universe, and it was all a counter-plan to trap Auric and his associates when they show up to the 'defenseless' base."
15. The Book of Eli (2010)
"In the very beginning of the movie, Denzel Washington trips walking up the steps to a house. It wasn't like a full 'trip and fall,' but like a stutter step where he kicks the first step and catches himself. I saw that and remember thinking, 'Huh, I'm surprised they didn't just redo that take,' then the twist happens (Denzel's character is blind), and I sat there blown away in disbelief. As soon as the credits started, I immediately started the film over again and was like, 'This twist is so fucking obvious, how did I miss it?' There are clues to the twist all over the film; he's constantly touching and bumping into things. They really got me good with this one."
16. Memento (2000)
"I thought it was pretty unrealistic that anyone in his condition would come anywhere close to tracking down a murderer."
17. Tully (2018)
"It's a great, really underrated movie, but there's a scene where a wife convinces her husband to have sex with their nanny, which really bothered me at the time because it didn't fit any of the characters. It makes sense later."
18. Us (2019)
"When Lupita Nyong'o has no rhythm snapping along in the car. As someone with no rhythm, this flew over my head."
19. Scream (1996)
"I'll keep this a little vague in case there's someone out there who's got a VHS of the original Scream on their shelf and has been telling themselves for the past 25+ years that they'll get around to watching it some day: Toward the end of the movie, there's a scene where a major character is stabbed multiple times in the gut. However, it's really obvious their clothing hasn't actually been penetrated by the blade. I remember thinking, 'Man, that's just really shoddy work from the costume department.' Moments later, there's that famous 'reveal.'"
20. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)
"It was barely five seconds of foreshadowing; when the Prowler was able to find Uncle Aaron's house, my first impression was that it was very convenient that he was able to catch up to Miles so quickly. Then, the twist occurred, and I realized it wasn't convenient at all."
21. Upgrade (2018)
"When they said 'enhance' on some video surveillance footage, I was like, 'Ugh, this stupid trope again! Wow, look how high definition the enhanced picture is! Crazy how they pulled pixels out of thin air.' Then, it turned out it wasn't video surveillance at all; it was crafted footage on purpose by the (surprise) antagonist the entire time. Meaning it wasn't really the trope, the computer admits to fabricating the whole thing. It was video effects, yes, but in the universe of the movie, they were video effects, as well. I remember retracting my earlier criticisms when the reveal was made."
22. Star Wars: Episode VIII — The Last Jedi (2017)
"There's a scene where Luke is fighting on a powdery surface, but he doesn't leave footprints. I remember clearly thinking, 'Wow, someone is going to get fired for that crappy CGI!' After the reveal, I was like, 'Doh!'"
23. Saw (2004)
"I kept complaining to my dad that it was 'so obvious' that the villain was Zep — the janitor at the hospital. Why were they trying so hard to cover up the villain’s identity? Like, the big reveal is already done, what else is left to say?! Then Adam played Zep’s message, and John Kramer stood up from the bathroom floor, and I was SCREAMING."
24. Vanilla Sky (2001)
"I totally noticed the sky in one scene, but wrote it off as just being a stylistic choice."
25. Orphan: First Kill (2022)
"I thought the mother's acting was really bad. She was not acting like a woman reunited with her lost child, but after the twist, I liked the film a lot more."
26. Final Destination 5 (2011)
"In the office scene, I started making jokes about how low budget they managed to make that company look, since most of the electrical devices (computers, telephones, etc.) seemed to be from the late '90s. Plot twist: At the end of the movie, it's revealed the whole thing was a prequel to the first film released in 2000."
27. Watchmen (2009)
"When Ozymandias puts his hand over the assassin's mouth and demands he tell him who sent him, I audibly said, 'Wait, how can he talk with you covering his mouth?!' Turns out, that was relevant later."
28. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
"The child in the pit is played by a girl, and the only two important female characters in the movie are Catwoman and Talia. It obviously wasn't Catwoman, so that only leaves Talia. Like, it should've been a no-brainer that the child wasn't Bane."
There you have it! Can you relate to any of these? Did you ever have a moment in a movie that you wrote off as bad filmmaking, only to get slapped in the face with the twist later? Share yours in the comments below!
Some entries have been edited for length and/or clarity. H/T Reddit.
Correction: An earlier version of this post listed a reference to Final Destination 5 (2011) as The Final Destination (2009). The post has since been updated with the correct title.