47 Times Clever Foreshadowing In Movies Made People Feel Silly And Shocked After Mistaking It For Poor Filmmaking


Sometimes, what you see on the screen isn’t a mistake—it’s a subtle detail, foreshadowing the future of the story. A keen eye for details can help a perceptive viewer spot some very unusual filmmaking and scriptwriting decisions. While some might write these off as weird errors or bloopers, others, with a more detective-like inclination, might put the entire plot together and see some major twists coming a mile away.


The silver screen-loving crowd at the popular r/movies online community had a lot of fun sharing their experiences with clues sprinkled throughout movies—both subtle and overt—that gave away the plot twists to come… only they wrote them off due to poor filmmaking.


If you’re a fan of films or have an unusually good eye for details, then you’re going to enjoy reading what they wrote, Pandas. Scroll down for the most interesting responses that we’ve collected to share with you. Got any similar experiences with writing off movie hints? Tell us all about it in the comments.


Warning: keep in mind, Pandas, there are going to be a bunch of spoilers below, so be careful if you haven't seen some of these movies before.


#1

The Arrival scenes being flash forwards instead of flashbacks.

Image credits: Banestar66


#2

Shutter Island. So many giveaways right from the jump specifically for Mark Ruffalo's character. Right when they get to the island he's fumbling with his gun like he's never seen it before.

Image credits: busstamove14


#3

I didn't notice until it was pointed out but it's one of my favorite stories. In Fight Club Tyler is driving and the Narrator is in the front passenger seat. After the crash the car is upside down so it's easy to miss it, but Tyler gets out of the passenger side and the Narrator gets out of the driver side.


The story is that the continuity checkers on the movie did notice and called out the mistake only to be told to keep watching.

Image credits: WarmMoistLeather


The thread, started up by u/PillsburyDohMeeple, quickly went viral, netting over 27k upvotes. Redditors began sharing their own experiences, having faced moments of brilliant foreshadowing that went over their head. Meanwhile, others actually revealed that they spotted the very same clues and realized what was going on.


Honestly, a very genuine ‘well done’ to the latter! Yours truly has a coin-flip relationship with subtle story details: I miss half the hints but manage to pick up on some random clues. So I’m very impressed by someone who’s able to piece together the entire mystery before everyone else.


#4

Knives Out. In the very beginning, I thought it was strange that Harlan never exhibited any of the symptoms of the poisoning that Marta was describing, right up to and including his death, but wrote it off as “I guess that wouldn’t be fun to watch.”

Image credits: Shikokukun


#5

In Star Wars episode VIII, The Last Jedi, there is a scene where Luke is fighting on a powdery surface. He didn’t leave footprints! I remember clearly thinking “wow, someone is going to get fired for that cr*ppy CGI!”

Image credits: ZoeShotFirst


#6

“Us” when Lupita has no rhythm snapping along in the car

Image credits: AutomaticEducation52


This also speaks to the quality of writing, as well as the ingenuity of the director and other members of the filmmaking team. If they’re able to pepper the plot with subtle and overt clues for the audience to find, they’re doing an amazing job telling the story.


If, on the other hand, there’s absolutely no way to figure out the twists to come (well, apart from some lucky guesswork), then that might be a sign of a poor writing team or an inexperienced director. The clues should always be there. When you finish the story, whether that’s a movie, TV show, or a book, you ought to be able to pick up on the hints when you rewatch/reread things. It’s a humbling but exciting feeling to know that everything was right under your nose the entire time. Hindsight is 20/20, after all.


#7

In The Village, early on there’s a guy wearing jeans, and I was so proud of my sharp eye catching an error in costume accuracy.

Image credits: Skatykats


#8

So in the Bond film Goldfinger, Mr. Goldfinger plans to poison the army base by dusting it with gas from a plane.


When the scene in the movie happens, the planes fly overhead and release their gas onto the crowds below, and soldiers keel over dead. Like immediately, some of them are hitting the ground before the plane even reaches them, and it's such obviously bad acting.


>!Then you discover that the henchwoman alerted the government and replaced the gas, the soldiers really *were* acting and it was all a counter-plan to trap Auric and his associates when they show up to the "defenseless" base!<.

Image credits: racercowan


#9

In Van Helsing (2004), Dracula shows off that he doesn't appear in mirrors and I noticed none of the guests had a reflection either. I figured it was a mistake because the focus was on Dracula. It's later revealed all the guests are vampires too.

Image credits: ChaoticMat


#10

Vanilla Sky. I totally noticed the sky in one scene but wrote it off to just being stylistic

Image credits: KittenSpronkles


#11

Mulholland Drive.


The level of cheese and bad acting when Niomi Watts’ character is leaving the airport at the start.


Won’t say more.

Image credits: Demelo


#12

The first Saw movie. I kept complaining to my dad that it was “so obvious” the villain was Zip, the janitor at the hospital, why were they still trying so hard to cover up the villain’s identity?

Like the big reveal is already done, what else is left to say?

Then Adam played Zip’s message and then John Kramer got up from the bathroom floor, I was SCREAMING.

Image credits: Andycu5


#13

In A Beautiful Mind, the little girl is trying to get a bunch of pigeons to fly. She's running around them, but none of them fly away. It's a short scene, which TOTALLY gives away that she's not real, but it's so easy to not notice what's happening.

Image credits: thematicwater


#14

Watching the Doctor Who Season 4 episode "The Unicorn and the Wasp", which has a bunch of twists for each of the characters (some revealed almost immediately, others kept back until the big reveal scene near the end).


One of the many posh characters gets asked where they were at a certain time, and they say "I went to the toilet." My mum looked annoyed and corrected them, because a posh person at that time would have said lavatory.


Turns out that was supposed to be a clue that this character wasn't who she said she was, and we missed it because my mum thought she was being clever.

#15

Hmm. I seem to recall thinking that they nerfed Nick Fury in Spider Man Far from Home, personality-wise. Like, he was still crabby and mean, but not as all-knowing and clever as in every other movie. I wrote it off as lazy writing to make room for Mysterio to fool everyone. I can't remember exactly what moments in the movie made me think that, but I definitely remember his decisions seeming "off" in a way that seemed like inconsistent writing or directing. The post-credits twist >!that it was Talos (the Skrull from Captain Marvel)!< was a bit of a relief.

Image credits: whosthedoginthisscen


#16

Memento. Thought it was pretty unrealistic that anyone in his condition would come anywhere close to tracking down a [criminal].

Image credits: ncsuandrew12


#17

Ward in Agents of Shield. I thought he was just a terrible actor for most of season one. I thought it was weird that among all these interesting characters, they would add in the stereotypical agent man. Then the reveal after Winter Soldier f*****g blew my mind.

Image credits: babbitygook14


#18

A minor one, but last season on What We Do In The Shadows it seemed like Matt Berry(plays Laszlo) might be getting sick of the character since he wasn't being played as enthusiastically, but it turns out Laszlo knew bad news from the 2nd episode on! And, exactly opposite of any suspicions, Matt Berry is an excellent actor.

Image credits: DevillyDetailed


#19

In The Batman, when the riddler gives the clue that says “You Are El Rata Alada”, I remember thinking “wow, they didn’t have anyone check the grammar on that” and just ignoring the glaringly incorrect “el”. Turns out that was the key part of the clue.

Image credits: greazea


#20

Everyone seemed to think the fact that, in Hancock, >!Hancock and Mary are both supers, and them being close weakens each other!< and also >!they've been married for thousands of years!< comes out of nowhere.


Having watched the movie multiple times, this blows my mind, because


1) she IMMEDIATELY stares at him in utter disbelief (a very "oh-my-god-it's-you-again" stare) when Ray is brought home by him. If she'd never met him before, why so intense a stare?


2) When Hancock goes out with Ray & Mary to celebrate, he is talking about his past, how no one was there to pick him up, and this happens:

Mary, crying: "I'm sorry."

Hancock, mild confusion: "*You* didn't do nothing."

His statement is a good point, if they have no prior connection: what is she sorry about?


3) When Ray is asleep, right before the reveal, she notices his hand is bruised. Up until this point, he's been utterly invincible. Why is he hurt now?


I just felt a connection was heavily implied. How did audiences miss this?

Image credits: alegonz


#21

Not a strong example, but most recently for me was Oblivion. The whole time im thinking this is just crappy hollywood sci-fi writting, but turns out it was all part of the movie's plot. Was not disappointed.

#22

Only Murders in the Building, season 1, I thought “this character is not well-written. She keeps giving Steve Martin’s character chance after chance when really he blew it so bad that someone in that situation would not want to speak to him again.” Now I know better.

Image credits: SirTedley


#23

It was barely five second foreshadowing, but in Spider-verse, when the Prowler was able to find Uncle Aaron's house, my first impression was that it was very convenient that he was able to catch up to Miles so quickly.


Then the twist occurred and I realised it wasn't convenient at all.

#24

The Prestige!


I distinctly remember thinking it was weird that the movie seemingly wanted me to care so much about Christian Bale's friend despite how underdeveloped he was. Ending hit me like a train and I was furious that I didn't catch it.

Image credits: Primetime22


#25

The movie Upgrade. When they went "enhance" on some video surveillance footage, I was like, ugh this stupid trope again woooow look how high definition the enhanced picture is, crazy how they pulled pixels out of thin air.



Then it turned out it wasn't video surveillance, it was crafted footage on purpose by the antagonist, the surprise antagonist, the entire time. Meaning it wasn't really the trope, the computer admits to fabricating the whole thing. It was video effects, but in the movie they were video effects as well.


I don't have a great memory, but I do remember retracting my earlier criticisms in Upgrade when the reveal was made

Image credits: sfpencil


#26

Not a movie, but can feel like it at times...


In Stranger Things Season 4, I thought it was just a case of bad acting when >!Henry Creel, son of Victor Creel, seems completely unfazed by his dying family members, maybe a little uncomfortable at best.!<


It turns out it wasn't a case of a child actor not knowing how to act properly with proper emotions -- >!it turned out he was the one who caused their deaths!!<

#27

Psycho


When Norman brings mother downstairs to the fruit cellar, she’s screaming “put me down”, yet her entire body is still. Should’ve been an indicator that she wasn’t alive. Confused me at first as we saw “mother” moving well during the shower scene.

Image credits: Film_ANTHologist


#28

Not a movie - Squid Game


I disregarded the old man was not [taken out] in red light green light. I figured it was continuity error or actor couldn't accurately stop that quick due to age or something like that.

Image credits: God8869


#29

I'll keep this a little vague in case there's someone out there who's got a VHS of the original Scream on their shelf and has been telling themselves for the past 25 years plus that they'll get round to watching it some day.


Towards the end there's a scene where a major character is stabbed multiple times in the gut, only it's really obvious their clothing hasn't actually been penetrated by the blade. I remember thinking "man, that's just really shoddy work from the costume dept." Moments later, there's that famous 'reveal'.

Image credits: Shemp79


#30

Also not a movie, but Invincible. I was baffled by JK Simmons ' completely flat line reading for the first several episodes. I was thinking, "He could even bring life to a yellow, peanut M&M. Jesus, did he just not care? This is really disheartening." But no, I was so wrong. It wasn't a detached actor not giving a s**t about the script. It was a detached alien wilfully not giving a s**t about the world around him, since he never considered it home and it was just another target to him.


I'm so sorry for doubting you Mr. Simmons.

Image credits: Dash_Underscore


#31

Tully, which is great, really underrated movie.


The scene >!where the wife convinces the husband to have sex with the nanny !< really bothered me at the time - didn't fit the characters.

#32

Searching. A few times Debra Messing's detective character did questionable things that seemed unrealistic. I took it as something to just suspend my disbelief for, the writers taking shortcuts to move some mystery solving along. I kept saying to myself "a cop can't do that", when I should have said "only a dirty cop would do that".

#33

Funny one but when Moon Knight first showed, a LOT of people had bad things to say about Oscaar's sh**ty British accent. Turns out there was a reason behind it...

#34

In the diner episode of The Sandman, the young man asks if it's okay to just order coffee because he has to leave soon for his job interview. Moments later he decides he has time for a full meal. I complained that it was inconsistent writing, but it was the first clue something else was happening.

#35

The Usual Suspects - I was working in a coffee shop when it came out and we roasted our own beans. Maybe once or twice a month the boss would fire up the roaster and roast hundreds of pounds. I also knew that before we ever recieved the raw beans, they'd been dried out for quite a while


Kevin Spacey talks about drinking coffee right off the tree and I thought "well, that doesn't seem right". Never occurred to me that it was a small clue that his story wasn't entirely on the up and up.

#36

Maybe not the most obvious plot twist clue but BR 2049. >!When he goes to the memory maker and she gets emotional watching his memory. The first time I watched that scene, I thought she was reacting to the fact that he apparently was a replicant who had an actual childhood. In hindsight, it was fairly obvious that she was saddened by the memory because she had experienced it herself.!<

#37

Late to the game, but I noticed the antagonist in *Employee of the Month* not scanning things in the intro scene. I thought it was a mistake in a half-assed comedy. Instead it was the resolution to the plot.

#38

This is one my dad caught.


In The Usual Suspects it shows a close-up of Verbal walking with his characteristic limp, but the side of his shoe isn't scuffed up and worn down like it would if he walked like that all the time.

Image credits: Gangringo


#39

The Book of Eli. In the very beginning of the film Denzel trips walking up the steps to a house he's looting or squatting in (can't remember specifically). It wasn't like a full 'trip and fall' but like a stutter step where he kicks the first step and catches himself. I saw that and remember thinking, 'huh I'm surprised they didn't redo that take', then the twist happens and I sat there just blown away, like in disbelief. As soon as the credits started, I immediately started the film over again and was like, 'this is so f*****g obvious, how did I miss all this?' There are clues to the twist *all over* the film, he's constantly touching and bumping into things. They really got me good with this one.

Image credits: SQUID_F**KER


#40

The Good Place, hands down. I viewed it as a light comedy so when things in the first season seemed off to me or characters weren’t consistent I tossed it up to a simple writing process that prioritized a quick laugh. I could not have been more wrong.

#41

Spoilers: in the new orphan, I thought the mother character's acting was really bad. She was not acting like a woman reunited with her lost child. But after the twist, I liked the film a lot.

#42

In Incredibles II, the name of the character later revealed to be the villain is "Evelyn Deavor", which sounds a lot like "Evil Endeavor".


I thought this was way too stupidly on the nose from Pixar to be a legitimate clue, and presumed it was a red herring to disguise the real villain. Her origin story didn't make it better.

#43

Final destination 5. In the office scene I started making jokes about the low budget that they managed in that company since most of the electrical devices (computers, telephones) seemed to be from the late 90s. Plot twist: in the end the movie was a prequel to the first film released in 2000.

#44

The Dark Knight Rises.


The child in the pit is played by a girl and the only 2 "named"/important women in the movie are Catwoman and Marion Cotillard. It obviously wasn't Selena so that only leaves Marion. Like it should've been a no-brainer that the child wasn't Bane.

#45

The Watchman. Spoilers, when Ozymandias puts his hand over the assassin's mouth and demands he tell him who sent him I audibly said "How can he talk with you covering his mouth??"

Turns out, that was relevant.

#46

This one is perfect for me because I feel like I’m the only person who fell for it: In the Lego movie 2, there is a character who turns out to be Emmet from he future. The whole Time I was watching the movie, I kept saying that guy looks familiar and I kept thinking he was from some old 1980s set or something, I was so convinced he was just some Lego guy you would know about if you knew Lego history. Then the twist hit and my jaw dropped, I couldn’t believe I was so naïve for the whole movie,I knew that the block lady wasn’t evil enough to be the villain, so I was literally trying to figure out who the REAL bad guy was all movie and he was right in front of me.

#47

I saw the poster for Crazy, Stupid, Love and assumed, with no knowledge of the film, Emma Stone and Julianne Moore played mother/daughter because they looked alike. I completely forgot that idea until the big reveal in the movie. I think I even thought while watching the movie it was weird they would cast two actresses who look alike and not have them related.

Image credits: KodakMoments