Wow! Have we seen some unexpected things at the cinema this year! Shocking movie scenes are the things of legend. When they happen, they can make the film a "must see" or a "must leave." Quite simply, they are the thing that oftentimes get us to fork over our hard earned loot. And other times, they have us closing our eyes, squirming in our chair, or reaching for that empty popcorn bag to use as a vomit catcher!
Despite how many times we see a shocking scene, we never grow tired of them. Sure, not every movie can be The Crying Game or The Sixth Sense, but many times we will settle for merely a 'good' shock simply because so few films have them. As any discerning movie watcher will tell you, a shocking moment in and of itself isn't enough to make a movie good. However, if it works it can certainly make a bad movie better.
A recent trend (and some of them are on this list), is showing the shocking moment in the movie's trailer. It didn't used to be this way. One had to find out the shocking moment after the entire movie had been screened. This is no longer the case. It seems that with all the media options given to the movie going audience, they want to know a little more before swiping their debit cards.
As much as this allows people to hedge their bets, the shock factor will always be the great intangible. Nobody expects that a lead actor is going to die at any point in the movie. On top of that, nobody expects them to die early. The fact that a particular film seems to have an "anything goes" quality, makes it's shock value that much more palpable.
Now, before you delve into this list re-read the title. When we say "shocking," we may as well be saying spoiler. Some of these shocking moments might already be on your radar. Others might come as a complete surprise. Either way, take a deep breath and enjoy the 11 Most Shocking Movie Moments of 2015!
John Connor is a Terminator? John Connor has come to us in many different forms throughout this franchise. He's been Edward Furlong, Nick Stahl and Christian Bale. (The fact that Christian Bale was in quite possibly the worst Terminator movie could be a shocking moment all it's own.) Terminator Genisys takes this to a whole other level by making Jason Clarke's John Connor a...Are you ready for it? A mother f'n bad guy! Why is this shocking? Oh, I don't know, maybe because this guy was once thought to be the savior of the human race. You can't quantify shock value. And it's never more true than in this instance. When you consider that you are basically seeing a son trying to kill his mother for a whole entire movie, that's Freudian psychology taken to whole other level. It's too bad this plot point was revealed early in the TV spots and trailers leading up to the film's big release.
Claire's assistant Zara's cruel, horrific and brutal death? When pteranodons attack the food court, they pluck this poor woman, who has done nothing wrong, really, up off the ground, toss her around like a rag doll, and then eventually lose her to the mosasaurus, with the woman screaming realistically the entire way. Sure, dinosaur death are nothing shocking. We know they're coming, and we see plenty of them. But this moment goes on for what seems like forever. And it's so realistic and well done, we might as well be watching it truly happen before our very eyes. It hurts. But that's not the only shock this movie delivers.
There are many ways to end a movie. If it is an independent film it is usually a moment where the main character achieves a long awaited moment of universal truth. If it is a big budget blockbuster, the final moments usually hint at a sequel or something to come in the next film in a series. Or, as is the case of Jurassic World, it hits you with the cinematic equivalent of a knockout blow. The climax shows a group of people get attacked by a large D-Rex and a group of angry velociraptors. Just when it seems they are finished terrorizing the audience, a T-Rex known as Rexy appears and devours the would be attackers. Now, we have seen this shocking ending before, but we haven't seen it in awhile and we haven't seen it with today's best CG effects either. Shocking indeed! But wait, it's not over. One of the Velociraptors actually turns to the light side of the force and helps Rexy beat the D-Rex! And the mosasaurus even gets in on the action, dragging the Indominus Rex down to the bottom of his massive water tank. Then, most shocking of all, the good dinosaurs all high-five and go to the food court to get a non-human snack!
Paul Walker returns from the grave? When an actor dies in a movie we are heartbroken. This often marks the end of the road (no pun intended) for them in a particular series. However, when one of the main actors dies before the movie is completed, the shock of this often leaves us speechless. Paul Walker died a highly a publicized death in an automobile accident. As the Furious franchise is centered around vehicles that do just this, his demise added a haunting aspect to the whole series. Then we heard reports that parts of Paul Walker's role were not completed. His brothers, Cody and Caleb, were slated to take them over. One could compare Paul Walker's demise to that of Brandon Lee's during the shooting of the The Crow. However, Paul Walker was way more in the minds of the public consciousness at the time of his fatal driving accident. He was an actor we had come to expect to see in movies. A known commodity. A familiar face. So, when he first appears, it's shocking because we don't know who exactly we are seeing. Walker? His brothers? Some CGI version of this late star? Adding to the shock value is that, even though we know Furious 7 is nothing but one death defying feat after another, Paul Walker's death doesn't happen in the film and it shouldn't have happened in real life.
Mad Max: Fury Road is just one shocking moment after the next, but the scene where The Splendid Angharad, played by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, falls out of the war rig and dies is perhaps the biggest shock of all. Especially since she is pregnant. The movie opens with Max (Tom Hardy) being captured and then used as a battering ram for an angry hoard chasing Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron). Why they are chasing her isn't as important as what is going on as they chase her. Bullets are flying, many things are blowing up, Max is scared out of his mind, a crazy person is shredding on guitar...And then out of the blue, a dead pregnant woman has her dead baby ripped out of her body! This is done at the behest of the movie's main villain, who was father to the deceased child. As you are watching this scene, you almost can't believe you are witnessing it. It isn't that it is from left field, anything goes in this film, it is just unlike anything we are used to seeing in movies. Shocking is truly the only way to describe it.
Galahad is dead before the third act? Initially, I had wanted to write about the carnage in the church scene for this section. Comparatively, until that happened, things had followed the typical action movie paradigm of a young agent being mentored by an older one. And while that scene was good, nothing could have prepared viewers for Harry Hart (Colin Firth) being gunned down by Richmond Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson). The entire marketing of this movie had been centered around Colin Firth. He's an Academy Award winning actor. He's not supposed to die in the movie. Well, he does, and that's what makes it so darn shocking.