Most of us see characters die in movies more often than we see death in real life. It becomes so common that we end up desensitized. When another character meets their end, it doesn’t trigger anything emotional. But that’s not the case for the five movies below, where masters of drama, suspense, horror, and shock value have crafted death scenes you’ll never forget. These are movie deaths that you certainly didn’t see coming and ones that left you in complete and utter shock…
It goes without saying that there are HUGE SPOILERS in this article. You’ve been warned.
‘Inglourious Basterds’ – Shoshanna
Quentin Tarantino is a master of the surprising, violent death scene, so it was difficult to pick the best example out of his movies. Inglourious Basterds has a number of mind-blowing deaths throughout its plot. There’s the famous tavern shootout where, after minutes of build-up, several main characters, both good and evil, shoot each other to death in the span of a few seconds. The one survivor from that scene, Bridget von Hammersmark, is later discovered and strangled to death. The most shocking death however, is the one that happens suddenly, without any build-up or warning. Shoshanna, the rebellious theatre owner, is shot by Fredrick Zoller. Though you may remember the gruesome death of a certain prominent Nazi more, losing Shoshanna was infinitely more tragic.
‘The Departed’ – Billy
In this crime thriller directed by Martin Scorsese, it’s hard to find someone to root for amidst the mobsters and dirty cops. So, for most of the film we put our faith in Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio), a new cop who was pressured to quit the academy and go undercover with an organized crime syndicate. Billy does some bad things in the movie to keep up appearances, but nothing worth his shocking death later on. Just as Billy discovers and arrests a mafia mole in the FBI, he is shot down by dirty cops that he thought would back him up.
‘Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince’ – Dumbledore
Whether you read the book first or saw the movie, there was no way you predicted the way Dumbledore was going to die before it happened. Once Dumbledore destroys one of the Horcruxes, Marvolo Gaunt’s ring, he is cursed and not long for this world, but his death turns out to be quite different from the slow and painful one promised by the curse. In the end, Snape kills him with the Killing Curse. Dumbledore’s death becomes even more tragic when we realize that he asked Snape to kill him, both to spare Draco Malfoy from taking a life and to assure Snape would look trustworthy in the eyes of Voldemort.
‘The Sixth Sense’ – Malcolm
For those of you who’ve seen the movie without having the twist spoiled for you, it should be no surprise that it made it onto this list. In a movie about a child who can see dead people, seeing ghosts becomes normal and expected. The movie’s premise perfectly sets us up for one of the most famous twists in cinematic history—that one of the characters we assumed was living was actually dead the entire time.
‘Psycho’ – Marion
Hitchcock’s famous horror film was way ahead of its time as far as unabashedly showing a character getting killed on screen. It wasn’t just any character, though, and it wasn’t just for a downer ending. In an unprecedented move, Hitchcock killed off his main protagonist halfway through the film, shifting the entire movie’s focus in the second half to the antagonist, Norman Bates. If you don’t remember the shower scene for its incredible music and visuals, you remember it for coming at a time you definitely weren’t prepared for.
After reading our list of shocking movie deaths, you may be more emotionally ready to face these out-of-nowhere scenes. All of these movies still deserve a viewing even if you already know what surprises await you. Which death did you find the most shocking? Tell us in the comments below…