10 most unexpected deaths in movies
The movie industry loves a good death scene. Whether it’s a noble hero fighting to his last breath or the heartbreaking passing of a beloved character, death scenes remain among the most memorable moments in movies. Horror movies in particular can live or die by their death scenes, and franchises such as Final destination are built around creating inventive and shocking kills.
While many deaths are predictable, such as when the villain receives their reward, some death scenes come out of nowhere. These moments have you jumping out of your seat and throwing your popcorn in the air, turning to your friends and saying “I can’t believe they just killed them.” The best death scenes come as a surprise, and the murders below are ones we never saw coming.
Warning: Spoilers ahead
Russell Franklin – ‘Deep Blue Sea’ (1999)
Whenever the subject of the most shocking death scenes comes up, this moment always comes up. The deep blue sea is a solid film about scientists trapped in an underwater base being eaten by bio-engineered sharks. The film is stacked with an excellent cast, including the ever-reliable Samuel L. Jackson.
Jackson plays Russell Franklin, the institution’s financial backer. As the group’s situation seems dire, Franklin begins to deliver a catchy speech to unite them, the cheesy kind the mentor delivers in every movie when the heroes look down. It could have worked too, without the giant shark jumping out of the water and devouring it.
Chad Feldheimer – “Burning After Reading” (2008)
In this dark comedy from Coen BrothersGymnasium employees Linda (Frances McDormand) and Chad (brad pitt) attempt to blackmail CIA agent Osbourne Cox (John Malkovich) after dropping off a CD containing his memoirs at their place of work. A comedy of errors follows as the characters of Burn after reading making increasingly bad decisions.
As their plan becomes more desperate, Chad decides to sneak into Osbourne’s house in order to find more information. When U.S. Marshal Harry Pfarrer (George Clooney) also enters the house, the stranger’s appearance surprises the agent. He guns down Chad, giving Pitt an early exit from one of the best spy movies of the 21st century.
Charlie Graham – ‘Hereditary’ (2018)
All marketing for Hereditary gives the impression that Charlie (Milly Shapiro) would play a major role in the earlier phantasmagoria. So it came as a surprise when she passed away before the film’s horror elements even came to a head.
After his nut allergy erupted while eating cake at a party, Charlie’s brother, Peter (Alex Wolff) speeds down the highway to take her home. When she sticks her head out the window in an effort to breathe, an oncoming pole decapitates her. The girl’s death proves to be the catalyst for supernatural events that soon plague the surviving family.
Hereditary is available to stream on Showtime.
Austin Travis – ‘Executive Decision’ (1996)
The 80s and 90s were the golden age of action movies, where big muscle men regularly saved the day by mowing down hundreds of goons. One of the biggest action stars at the time was Steven Seagalso the seer attached to Executive Decision conjures up images of him beating up bad guys through every square inch of the movie’s airplane set.
It then comes as a shock when his army colonel character is sucked out of the plane in the film’s first act, robbing the film of its action hero. Instead, that honor goes to David Grant (Kurt Russell), a nerdy consultant who boarded the plane alongside Seagal’s team.
Marvin – ‘Pulp Fiction’ (1994)
One of Quentin Tarantinobest movies, pulp Fiction is filled with many classic moments. One of the best is when Vincent (John Travolta) and Jules (Samuel L. Jackson) confronts a group of thieves who have double-crossed their boss and blast them after Jules speaks lyrically about the Bible.
Abducting the sole survivor of the incident, Marvin (Phil LaMarr), Vincent and Jules are walking around debating the concept of miracles. When Vincent turns to Marvin in the backseat to ask his opinion, his gun accidentally fires and blows Marvin’s head off. The two hitmen are just as shocked as the audience as they are covered in the dead man’s blood and brain matter.
pulp Fiction is available to stream on HBO Max.
Alberto Parker – “Hell or High Water” (2016)
This acclaimed crime thriller is a throwback to the Westerns of yore, following two brothers (Chris Pine and Ben Foster) as they go on a Texas bank robbery spree. Against all odds also follows two Texas Rangers (Jeff Bridges and Gil Birmingham) as they chase the brothers.
Both officers, Hamilton and Parker, are veterans of the force, and their ribs for each other cannot hide the deep respect they share. So when Parker is suddenly killed in a shootout with one of the brothers, the utter desperation shown by Hamilton in reaction to his partner’s death is heartbreaking.
Against all odds is available to stream on Netflix.
Hoban ‘Wash’ Washburne – ‘Serenity’ (2005)
die-hard fans of Firefly who campaigned for the show’s revival probably wished she had stayed dead after witnessing the demise of this fan-favorite character. Picking up where the cult TV series left off, Serenity follows the crew of the titular spaceship as they are pursued by the Global Alliance.
Washing (Alan Tudyk) is the ship’s dependable pilot, and he’s tasked with getting the crew safely through all sorts of last-minute escapes. When a fleet of cannibalistic Reavers pursue Serenity’s crew, Wash narrowly gets them to safety, but not before a spear pierces the front of the ship and kills him, robbing fans of one of the best characters of the universe.
Serenity is available to stream on Peacock.
Libby – ‘Great’ (2010)
This DIY superhero movie was unfairly overshadowed by Kick ass when it was released, and also missed the big superhero boom by a few years. Great follows Frank Darbo (Rainn Wilson), an ordinary man who decides to become a superhero after his wife leaves him for a drug dealer.
Calling himself The Crimson Bolt, he enlists the help of comic book store owner Libby (Elliot Page), who becomes his sidekick. When the two would-be heroes besiege the drug dealer’s house, they soon get shot by a henchman. A shotgun blast removes a large chunk from Libby’s head, confronting Frank and the audience with the horrific dangers of vigilantism.
Great is available to stream on AMC+ and Tubi.
Joe Black – ‘Meet Joe Black’ (1998)
This romantic drama features one of cinema’s most unintentionally funny death scenes. When a young man (brad pitt) shares an encounter with Susan (Claire Forlani) in a cafe, he is in love. His fascination with women is distracting and he drives into traffic where he is killed by two different cars.
Meet Joe Black shifts gears as Death itself inhabits the dead man’s body, so it can harvest the soul of media mogul William Parrish (Anthony Hopkins). The film climaxes early with the death scene, and its confusing plot and massive runtime (181 minutes!) will leave you hoping for more manslaughter.
Meet Joe Black is available to stream on Starz.
Billy Costigan – ‘The Departed’ (2006)
The dead is part of Martin Scorsese‘s best movies, a detective epic that follows the police and a ruthless crime family as they try to infiltrate each other. Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Billy Costigan, a state trooper who hides in the criminal organization, while Matt Damon plays Colin Sullivan, a mole within the police force.
When the two men discover that there is a spy on the other side, they attempt to flush out the other. Costigan wins the race and arrests Sullivan, but before he can take the criminal into custody, he is shot by another spy. It’s always shocking when the protagonist is suddenly killed, but even more so when played by an actor as popular as DiCaprio.
The dead is available to stream on HBO Max.
NEXT: 8 Films That Shocked Audiences During Screening