Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
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There’s nothing people love more than a good plot twist, whether it’s a season-ending about-face on a TV show or a horror flick that pulls the rug out from under viewers in the last minute. But there’s also nothing people hate more than a shitty plot twist—hence the ongoing critical dogfight over M. Night Shyamalan’s filmography, which seems to embody all that’s good and bad about surprise endings.

A new video from Now You See It digs into the fine art of the plot twist, with some unexpected conclusions, perhaps least among them that the twist at the end of Now You See Me was, how do you say, bad. The reasoning, though, is important: It bucks the established rules of the universe, forcing Mark Ruffalo’s character to completely change direction for no other purpose than to surprise the audience. A better plot twist can be found in something like The Prestige, which lays out a set of mechanisms and themes in the opening 20 minutes that then play out to a shocking reveal in the film’s final moments. The framework is all-important.


But maybe none of this matters. The video cites a study that found that people enjoyed stories with twist endings more when they knew the twist that was coming. It allowed them to savor the machinations more, somehow increasing suspense. So fuck it, in other words: Bruce Willis was dead the whole time, and you can safely ignore all spoiler tags forever. We are free from their tyranny.

Clayton Purdom is a writer and editor based in Columbus, Ohio.

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