In today’s age of social media and instant reactions to the latest pop culture, avoiding spoilers has become an art form. Fans of movies and television shows check Twitter and browse the web with extreme caution until they’ve seen everything, because they don’t want the experience of seeing something special ruined. As hard as viewers try to go in clean, the studio sometimes has other ideas.
Trailers that infamously reveal too much information (see: the controversy surrounding latest Batman V Superman preview) have become an unfortunate staple of the industry. There are also when the filmmakers can’t even contain themselves and work in a couple of spoilers during the actual movie to make sure no surprise catches audiences off-guard.
Needless to say, there will be plenty of SPOILERS in our list of 10 Spoilers Hidden At The Start of Movies.
Shaun of the Dead
Director Edgar Wright is known for subtle foreshadowing in his films, and this installment of his beloved Cornetto trilogy is no exception. Early on in Shaun of The Dead, Ed (Nick Frost) attempts to cheer his friend Shaun (Simon Pegg) up by suggesting a binge drinking game plan. It includes a Bloody Mary, a bite at the King’s Head, couple at the Little Princess, stagger back to their first bar, and finish the night off with some shots. It seems like a harmless night of fun, but it essentially sums up all the events of the movie.
The first zombie Ed and Shaun kill is named Mary. Following that, the two travel to Shaun’s mother’s house, where his stepfather Phil has been bitten on the neck. Later on, Shaun saves romantic couple Dave and Diane, as well as the love of his life, Liz. When they have to “stagger back,” it requires some impersonation of zombie characteristics. And the film ends with several zombies (and Shaun’s mom) being shot.
No Country for Old Men
Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem) is one of cinema’s most notorious villains, and essentially operates as a human version of the T-800 from the first Terminator film. Despite the odds being stacked against him, Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) thinks he has what it takes to stop Chigurh after he stumbles across a case of money, sending the events of No Country For Old Men into motion. Viewers of the film know how that played out, and Moss’ misfortune was hinted at very early on.
In Moss’ first scene, he’s shown hunting elk. Firing a shot, he ends up hitting one of the animals, but the creature is merely wounded and not killed. It’s a sequence meant to tease Moss’ confrontation with Chigurh. Despite hurting the vicious hitman, Moss is never able to put an end to his pursuit and ends up paying a deadly price when it’s all said and done.
The big reveal in Shutter Island is that Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) is actually a patient at the Ashecliffe Institute, and not a Federal Marshall investigating a missing persons case. His “partner” Chuck (Mark Ruffalo) is really his head doctor leading an extensive role playing exercise in an attempt to save Teddy. It was a revelation that floored most moviegoers, but those who paid attention were clued in during the first act. When Teddy and Chuck first arrive on the island, they are asked to turn their weapons over to authorities.
In this scene, Chuck struggles with his gun holster, which signifies that he’s decidedly not a U.S. Marshall. If he were, he would have had to pass basic firearms training and be able to perform this kind of task in his sleep. His lack of experience is something that baffles Teddy, but he brushes it off as an incredulous incident and nothing more. But it all made sense in the end when Teddy learned the truth.
When the citizens of the Paul Verhoeven’s mind-bending Total Recall want to mix up their daily routing, they can go to the Rekall company to have memories implanted in their brains. Doug Quaid (Arnold Schwarzenegger) decides this is right for him, and opts to live out the “Secret Agent” fantasy so he can go on a secret mission to Mars. During his meeting with a Rekall employee, Quaid is told that during his adventure he will “save the girl, kill the bad guys, and save the entire planet!” It’s a nice sales pitch, and it’s also a little more information than attentive viewers may have wanted.
After the Rekall procedure, the rest of the film plays out exactly as Quaid is told. As the action kicks into high gear, he falls for a woman and saves the oppressed people of Mars by wiping out all the villains. Keeping the Rekall official’s words in mind, it drains a lot of suspense from the film knowing how everything turns out way ahead of time. Makes viewers wonder if it was all in Quaid’s head or really happened.
When Harry Osborn (James Franco) learns that his best friend Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) is actually Spider-Man, the one he holds responsible for his father’s death, Harry vows to avenge his fallen family member. Becoming the New Goblin at the beginning of Spider-Man 3, he sets out to kill Peter. In their first encounter, Harry takes a nasty hit to the head and suffers a bit of amnesia, instantly forgetting about everything that had just happened. He is once again great pals with Peter and Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst).
Peter and Mary Jane visit Harry in the hospital, and the three reconnect like old times. When a nurse comments that Harry has nice friends, the younger Osborn says that he would give his life for them. Harry must have been able to see into the future, because he ended up predicting his own fate. During the climactic fight against Venom (Topher Grace) and Sandman (Thomas Hayden Church), Harry ends up sacrificing himself so Peter and MJ can live on. Spider-Man 3 was a mess, but that was a touching way to end the series.
Nobody every said Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) was normal, and he has an interesting relationship with his mother to say the least. On the night when Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) checks into the Bates Motel, she overhears and argument between the two, where Norman’s mother is causing great emotional abuse. Marion suggests to Norman that his mother is toxic, but Norman won’t have any of it. He comments that she’s “as harmless as one of those stuffed birds,” referring to the animals attached to the wall.
As it turns out, mom has a little more in common with the birds than she would like. Norman’s off-hand remark foreshadows the film’s big twist. It’s revealed later on that Norman killed his own mother and took her to the taxidermist. It’s a haunting glimpse into his troubles psyche and suggests to viewers that something is afoot. But Norman wouldn’t hurt a fly, right?
In a film that is centered around grisly murders, you’d think that the filmmakers would want to preserve the kills for the experience of watching the movie. But Final Destination had other ideas. The opening credits show images of various weapons such as a guillotine, axe, and others. It seems like an appropriate way to set the tone for the horror flick, but there’s a lot more going on in these first moments.
The tools shown in the credits represent the manner in which the characters die over the course of the running time. One has to give the director credit for sparing viewers from learning who died in which way, but it would have been nicer if the full package was a surprise. Moviegoers knew what to look for as the film went on, which ruined some of the impact the violent scenes had.
When a rogue shark attacks the small town of Amity Island and threatens to spoil their profitable summer, it’s up to three unlikely heroes to save the day. Brody (Roy Scheider), Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss), and Quint (Robert Shaw) take to the waters aboard the Orca to hunt the shark down. They bring a variety of materials with them on their mission; Hooper’s gear includes tanks of compressed air. It doesn’t seem like it would be of much help, and Brody wonders why the crew even brought it with them.
Quint jokes that the shark could eat the container and thinks nothing else of it, but he actually gave Brody an idea that saved his life. When the Amity police chief is the last one standing to eliminate the shark, he gains the upper hand by tossing an air tank in the shark’s mouth and shooting it so it explodes. The shark dies in bloody carnage, ending a season-long nightmare for Amity, and grueling sequence burned in the memory of every Jaws fan. Maybe if Quint never makes his comment, Brody joins him in the belly of the beast?
Star Trek Into Darkness
We’ve covered this one in our movie clues video from earlier, but J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek sequel fits this list as well. When Kirk (Chris Pine) and Spock (Zachary Quinto) visit Admiral Marcus (Peter Weller) to discuss the strategy for capturing Khan (Benedict Cumberbatch), Marcus walks by his desk, which features a model collection of various ships and aircraft. As he discusses the need to militarize Starfleet in order to protect themselves against threats, he stops at a replica of the U.S.S. Vengeance.
The Vengeance, of course, is Marcus’ secret personal project and is a rather blatant tease of his villainy later on in the film. Abrams is a director known for his infamous mystery box, and refused to acknowledge that “John Harrison” was Khan throughout the pre-release phase. It seems odd that he’d spoil such a major plot point early on in one of his movies, especially since the rest of the models shown were recognizable crafts with some kind of significance to society. Marcus’ Vengeance was an outlier and was a big clue.
21 Jump Street
Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s 21 Jump Street reboot is full of twists and turns, and one of the more surprising ones is when Johnny Depp reprises his role as Tom Hanson from the TV series. All through the film, he was unrecognizable under a fake beard as he went deep undercover with a gang of drug dealers. His “associates” are shocked to discover the truth, but Hanson spilled the beans in one of the movie’s first scenes.
When officers Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) investigate Hanson’s group in the park while on duty, Hanson mocks the duo. He states that if the two are cops, then he is a DEA agent. If only his drug dealing friends had paid attention and read between the lines, they’d be spared a whole lot of trouble. Hanson proves to be precisely that when he confesses his secret during the film’s climactic prom night.
Foreshadowing will always be used in movies, but some cases are more subtle than others. Nobody expects a film to spoil itself early on, but it invariably does happen. More often than not, viewers won’t realize what happened until they go back for repeat viewings, but sometimes the obviousness hits one over the head.
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