Interesting Thriller Movie Fan Theories That Make Us Want To Rewatch

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Vote up the theories that have your heart pumping.

One of the longest running genres within film are thrillers. With a cast of characters that are always intriguing and a little suspicious, as well as plot that has everyone on their toes, it's no wonder why fans can never get enough. From unanswered questions to character quirks, some passionate fans managed to come up with some interesting theories surrounding the best thriller movies.

Check out these fan theories from thrillers below, and don't forget to vote!


  • From Redditor :

    In the beginning scene, she goes downstairs and experiences a chill and is shown to be cold, which is indicative of spirits being around. She freezes for a second as if she notices something, then hurriedly rushes up the stairs. I believe she saw a spirit then rushed up to be with Malcolm to get away from it.

    A problem with this theory, however is that she seems to not notice Malcolm throughout the movie, however, I believe she does, she just tries to ignore him to keep herself from hurting more. She is obviously depressed, as is shown from the Zoloft she's taking. If she's depressed, she probably doesn't want to face her dead husband. It's already been painful enough for her to try to get over his death, it would be really rough on her to only see him few and far between and know she can't communicate with him outside of that bubble. We see her asleep in most of the scenes when they are together after his death, and I believe she may not actually be asleep all of those times, but instead is trying to seem asleep or try to sleep to further ignore him.

    We do, however see one exchange in which she actually seems to acknowledge him, in the restaurant on their anniversary. Many see this line as a sort of sad thing a depressed person is doing, as well as a sort of bait to keep you away from knowing the twist. However, I believe she felt bad about ignoring him this whole time and starts to feel guilty. She finally, on the day of their anniversary, decides to acknowledge him. She not only says something to him, but looks directly at him. She may even think this would help him move on into the next life. Not only does it pain her to see him like this, but I imagine she probably feels like he couldn't be enjoying or getting anything out of this limbo he is in. We get to see his interactions with Cole, but she only sees him when he is at the house.

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  • From Redditor u/Wazula42:

    "Hannibal Lecter" is not his real name, and his origin story is an invention

    The name "Hannibal Lecter" has always felt really adorable to me. Pseudonymous, really. Hannibal, after the Roman military conqueror, and "Lecter", possibly derived from the Latin word "Lectus", which means "to read", referencing his deductive ability. Hannibal Lecter means "genius of violence who reads". We know Lecter isn't above leaving the odd mocking clue in his identities - while in Italy he goes by the name Dr. Fell, which likewise seems like a cute jab at his own Luciferian persona. Who's to say his "real" name isn't just another droll clue at his true nature?

    Of course, Hannibal and Hannibal Rising contradict this. Sort of. Lecter's origin story is revealed through his own internal recollections. He remembers his childhood as a young scion of a noble family in Lithuania who were killed during WWII. He describes his family being murdered and his sister being eaten by renegade soldiers during the hostilities, irreparably traumatizing him and inspiring his sociopathy.

    I think it's just as likely that Lecter invented all of this in his own head, possibly to justify his own inhumanity. It's possible he even believes this himself. He's clearly ailing in much of Hannibal. But it all feels hokey to me for a few reasons.

    I admit I don't know much about Lithuania but neither Hannibal nor Lecter seem like Lithuanian names to me. Lecter is also stated to have a sixth finger on one hand, yet neither of his origin stories in Hannibal or Rising make any mention of this incredibly rare deformity. This was called an oversight by the author. I think it serves equally well as a hint that Lecter has invented his own memories, intentionally or otherwise. A "pure sociopath" such as he would have little trouble editing his own internal biography to best suit his needs.

    Hell, Lecter has an elaborate mind palace he escapes to when he finds his situation unpleasant. Who's to say his origin story isn't just another coping mechanism? Hannibal suggests that Lecter's fascination with Clarice Starling is born out of her similarities to his dead sister and his desire to resurrect her. Perhaps it's the other way around. Lecter invented a tale about a dead sister to justify his own unfamiliar attraction to this strange, insightful woman.

    When she first meets Lecter, Starling suggests he would be afraid to point his high-powered perception at himself. Maybe she was right. Maybe if Lecter ever took the time to really profile himself, he'd discover his entire identity is built on more lies than even he realizes.

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  • From Redditor u/M1ghtypen:

    Get Out was a great movie. I saw it for the first time a few days ago, and the dinner scene confused me at first. Jeremy acts like a total goon for some reason, questioning Chris on his martial arts experience and even trying to drunkenly put him in a headlock. It's weird, right? Every other part of this cult's plot is super rehearsed and very well coordinated. Why are they letting this moron mouth off at dinner and act so confrontational?

    I think it's done for several reasons, but the biggest is that the Armitages are just way too nice. They're very keen to welcome Chris into the family, so keen that it makes him uncomfortable. I think that Jeremy is there to muddy the waters a bit, to make the oh-so-perfect family slightly less welcoming. The victims see this jerk getting drunk and belligerent at dinner, take it to mean that the family is just trying to compensate for its one embarrassing member, and are put at ease. Jeremy's job is to make the Armitages seem less like a creepy Stepford Wives organization.

    Jeremy is also seen to assist his father in brain surgery. No surgeon wants an assistant that's also nursing a hangover. He was acting drunk at dinner, but as a surgeon's assistant and the person who most needs to be ready for a fight, there's no way that he was actually going to get hammered. Using non-alcoholic wine would be a great way to sell the illusion. He even takes the bottle away when he leaves, possibly to prevent Chris from realizing that the wine isn't going to get him tipsy.

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  • From Redditor :

    I've seen plenty of criticism of Tenet, mostly for the sound mixing which I agree was difficult to understand, but also for a lack of characterization and at times clunky dialogue. The popular fan theory circulating the web that Neil is actually an adult version of Max who at one point inverts to go back to save the protagonist and the world actually helps explain the most awkward line of dialogue in the movie.

    When the three main characters are on the tanker, travelling backward to the film's climax, they are discussing how if the algorithm is sealed away and given to the villains in the future it will reverse the flow of entropy and destroy the known reality. At that point Kat states "including my son." Now, if this line was understood in a vacuum yes it would be stupid. Kat is not only shown to be a smart and capable character who would understand there is no need to emphasize this relatively mundane detail, but we also know that Nolan spent over five years working on this script and I find it hard to believe he would include such a stupid piece of dialogue if it didn't have deeper meaning.

    That deeper meaning can be explained by the theory that Kat's son Max is indeed Neil. The strongest pieces of evidence is that Neil speaks Estonian, a notoriously difficult language to learn. There is no reason to include this detail given that Neil does not actually translate the inverted Estonian, however, it is said as a clue to reveal the reason Neil speaks Estonian is because he was raised by Sator who speaks Estonian. The other convincing piece of evidence is that MaximilieN inverted = Neil. Neil tells the protaganist that when this all over, if he still cares (about Kat and her son) then he will get to know Neil's life story. What we don't know is that Neil is being literal, and that the protagonist will literally see Max's life play out in real time until he inverts and goes back to save the protagonist and the world at large.

    This is why the particularly clunky line of dialogue is actually a helpful clue. Normally, no one would care about Kat's son dying because he seems to be an inconsequential character. However, it is meant to emphasize the boy's importance and to me seals the deal for the theory that Max grows up to become Neil.

    Given the constant reference to the grandfather paradox, if we believe the theory that Neil is indeed a grown up Max then it is imperative that the world doesn't end, so that Max doesn't die, so that he can eventually go back and stop the world from ending. Rather than going back and killing his grandfather that causes a paradox that ends reality, Neil goes back and he is the one who dies, therefore preventing a paradox that ends reality. The theme of the entire movie is almost an inverted grandfather paradox if you think about it that way.

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  • From Redditor u/the_furry_stoner:

    I saw Nightcrawler last night for the first time. I thought it was dark and fascinating. Solid acting with a weird/solid ending. I couldn't stop focusing on something, however. We never see Lou, the main character, do some of the things a normal person would do.

    First, we rarely, if ever, see him eat. He is in a restaurant several times throughout the film but never eats or drinks anything besides water. Even in the diner when he hires Rick there's no food or drink in front of him, even though he's been there for a while. The one time we see him eat is on his date with Nina. Even then, he takes one bite*. The only things we see him do in his home is use his computer, iron, water his plant, watch TV, or talk. He also smashes a mirror. Never eats though. I don't think there's anytime we even see food in the house. That's strange isn't it?

    Next, he's very smart despite never "having a formal education." He has knowledge on very specific items such as business or the prices of metals or cameras. He uses the internet to gain most of this knowledge, a very time consuming task. It also explains his very wide knowledge on very specific things. All of this knowledge gathering and he goes out every night looking for crime?

    Now, Lou is also a very neurotic and irritable guy. He has clearly spent time trying to get this under control but it slips. He smashes the mirror. He tells Rick he'll have to physically hurt him if he disobeys. He says he wants to grab Bill Paxton's ears and scream at him. Hell, he cut the dude's brakes to get back at him!! Not to mention (warning craptons of spoilers under this tag) his very normal behavior around the crime scenes, his calmness when facing the police, his emotionless filming of the triple murder, moving the body to get a better shot, killing/knocking out the security guard and stealing his watch, playing Nina, and the horrible thing he does to poor Rick. The dude definitely has some sort of neurosis. His nonstop pursuit of fame and wealth is also unsettling. This man is insane.

    So why is he like this? How is he able to do everything he does in the film? WHERE IS HIS APPETITE?!?!

    Simple. Lou is an insomniac. He doesn't sleep. His bed is always made, we never see him sleep, he stays up all hours of the night and still has the concentration to drive, and the sense to be a successful cameraman. This is how he can study all those things. This is why he is never tired when Rick is. This is why he volunteers for the first shift of lookout. Insomnia can also effect the appetite, making someone hungrier or full. It also can cause psychotic behavior. Lou is an insomniac.

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  • From Redditor u/FFTHEWINNER:

    It could be that the entire 2nd half of Shutter Island was Teddy having a terrible nightmare.

    More Specifically, everything after he is having a Migraine episode and is laid to sleep on the bed near the end of the 1st hour.

    Why would I think that? First, the fact that the movie is set in a mental asylum means that there will be some mindf***ery going on in it. Now, please take a look at everything that happens before that spot. Other than Teddy's flashbacks and nightmares, which all clearly happen in his dreams AND the dreams are taking place at their logical place (burning wife at their home, the war in Germany), is there anything that happens that can be classified as "supernatural" or "hallucinogenic" or "mixing reality and imagination"? no. there is obviously something shady going on with the doctors refusing to release the papers and what not, and many things were suspicious, but there is nothing hallucinatory that you can spot 1. Also, Teddy wasn't having a lick of luck or success in anything pretty much.

    Then, Teddy is having a severe migraine and is laid out to sleep. He is also tired, angry, and can't stop thinking about what is going on in this place. We see the storm lights strongly on his face multiple times as he is going to sleep.

    After that, what do we get? the first instance of a dream taking place at his current location, with him meeting his wife there.

    and after that? well, for some reason the patients randomly decided to escape the place that very day, managed to cut the power, yet despite their number weren't able to overwhelm the staff and are handily being brought back AND no one was murdered or even stabbed anywhere we can see.

    Awfully convenient isn't it? yesterday everything was going against him and all of a sudden today was going for him?

    Now I know that that part is answered by the "main expected narrative", but here is a question: the people in these wards are insane right? that is a fact, they are bonkers and dangerous killers right? then why and how would 66 insane people understand the doctor's complicated plan and fully cooperate? further more, how could said insane people be trusted to be let amok for a bit like we saw, or to be let free in anyway for any length, when they are clearly dangerous people and most of them, as the doctor himself said, had killed somebody?

    How about that inmate in the most dangerous section that Jumped Teddy, had him in a chokehold, and started rambling about the Nukes? you think he could be trusted not to snap teddy's neck? or the bunch that tried to grab him in the cells?

    Let us move forward to finding "Chuck's body". There was no way off that area the body was in other than climbing the cliff, the one cave, and the clearly agitated sea who was clearly hitting the rock every couple of seconds. If we are to believe the main narrative then Chuck put his cigarette (still lit, meaning it was only put there a really short while ago), found time to climb down the really dangerous cliff (or went there on a boat that Ted neither saw nor heard the sound of its engine somehow) and laid there for Teddy to see him. I suppose in this part it could be argued that someone was watching Teddy via telescope and put the cigarette there then hid while Chuck was already down there for a while, but that wouldn't make sense because of the strong waves that were hitting the rock. He wouldn't have lasted on that rock until Ted arrived. Furthermore, how did he escape during Teddy's descent? also, how much of a coincidence (again) is it that the paper he had randomly came right next to Ted's hand? because surely they couldn't have manipulated that.

    Now Ted finds the scientist and talks to her and she tells him of what happens, then we see a sudden cut from him talking with her to him sleeping (btw, sudden cuts where the characters suddenly change their position/facial expression/etc happen a lot in this movie, to the degree that it feels intentional and purposeful). What happens while he is sleeping? the storm light comes on his face, in a shot that is pretty much the same as when he went to sleep. yet when he "wakes up" the storm is over. I believe that shot with the storm light could have been a hint about him still dreaming in that room.

    furthermore,if the "expected narrative" is true, then, in addition to the parts i mentioned:

    -why did the inmate secretly write him to run away? it makes no sense if she knows who he really is and what they are doing with him to write that.

    -why did "Rachel" claim that he was her husband,hug him and not say anything, then say " you are not my husband because i killed my husband"? what was the purpose of that whole segment? to position her as the female version of him for some reason?

    -why did his "psychiatrist" say that this whole thing is too much of a coincidence and that it is obviously a ploy to get him into the island to kill him because he investigated too much? That is reinforcing his "delusions", which is the exact opposite of their goal.

    -What happened prior to the start of the film? did they drug him, wake him up with some actors, and say that he got the assignment? he supposedly believed that for 2 years, and this is the 1st time they have done this experiment, and he "reset" 9 months ago, so how come he has no memories of the past 9 months and instead remembers his normal life before all this?

    -most importantly, why did him going to sleep from the migraine become the clear line between "plausible world where some big shots have something to hide" and " a world where implausible hallucinations and incredible coincidences are working together"?

    I know that people generally the hate "It was all a dream!!" endings, and with this interpretation we get the "Mass Effect 3 Indoctrination Theory" problem of the movie not having a real ending according to it (Ted is still sleeping in that room after all), and like I said i don't claim at all that this is necessarily what happened or what the director had in mind, but it is a theory that made sense to me and I didn't see anyone else suggesting it, and would very much welcome any respectful discussions/thoughts/etc about it :).

    Other than that one shot of the woman drinking nothing, but in the shot before that Chuck clearly brought her a cup full of water, and that cup was empty in the next shot, so that could be explained by "woman is insane and drank the cup then drank another imaginary one" or something.

    -Teddy is/was a US Martial. all 3 theories agree on that. Here is a question, do you really think a US Martial, no matter his current mental state, would think that a toy gun that he is holding is a real gun? to the degree that he is saying that he "can tell it is loaded because of the weight"? what US martial in the world, in whatever situation, would make such a mistake that a little child wouldn't? no one, but a lot weirder things can happen in a dream.

    -when Teddy is shooting the plastic gun, not only does smoke rise from it, the doctor actually gets bullet wounds and his blood splatters on the board, yet in the next shot all that disappears. very dream like don't you think?

    -during that scene the doctor says that, if Teddy had brought proof of the 67th patient to the outside world, he would have "blown the lid off this place". Why? If his story is correct then it is a matter of known public record that there are 67 patients there. So even if this information was brought to the outside it wouldn't matter in the least. remember however that Ted had already arrived to the conclusion that 67=67th patient, and that it is a very important part of solving the mystery, so his brain in his dream is presenting that part as on the same amount of importance as he thought it was before he went to sleep. same thing with this "role of 4", which btw completely ignores that the name he identifies with more and prefers is Ted, not Edwards, so why would his subconcious make an amalgamation of the name that is on his ID but he doesn't really like instead of the one he identifies with, likes, and asks people to call him? I have a similar 2 name situation, and that part was very weird to me.

    -Why did the patient in the beginning make him a "remain silent" move? if she knows who he really is and what they are doing with him then what was the point or meaning of that gesture and how does it help him?

    -After he reaches the road the warden car is already on that particular part of the road and picks him up (an additional extremely convenient coincidence), and then they have a conversation. please take a look at that conversation again. Do you really imagine a warden of a respectable institute saying that vicious and really cruel stuff randomly in the car? let alone to someone who is either a patient they are sparing no expense to heal or a US Martial? That entire conversation seems simply implausible to me under those conditions. Remember what Ted said about him right before he went to sleep though? "He looks like a military prick". Isn't that conversation what a "military prick" would say? Just taken to extremes,as the mind usually does in dreams?

    -What did the german doctor intend to do to Ted with the syringe? If he went to sleep then the whole supposed "treatment plan" would have been over.

    Honestly, while i certainly still don't claim at all that this is necessarily what happened or what the director had in mind, at this point I feel there are enough evidences and clues to make this theory as valid as the other 3 ending theories

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