Is "spoiler culture" ruining the twist ending? That's pop culture scribe Chuck Klosterman's argument in an essay over at Grantland.
He starts with the example of The Sixth Sense. The moment we learn the truth about Bruce Willis's character, it recasts the whole film in a new light. That twist makes the whole movie. But the trifecta of Twitter, texting, and Facebook means all it takes is one loose-lipped friend to sink your enjoyment of the big reveal. Wouldn't it then make sense for screenwriters just to quit trying to pull them off?
Who would risk such a major investment of time and emotion if they knew one random leak could obliterate everything? Would anyone plan a surprise party if they knew there was a 98 percent likelihood that no one would be surprised?
But an obsession with spoilers probably isn't as widespread or corrosive as Klosterman suggests. The relative rarity of surprise endings probably stems more from Hollywood's preference for proven franchises and sure-thing adaptations than an Internet obsession with spoilers. Besides, we can't expect a brilliantly executed shocker of an ending on par with The Sixth Sense to come along every summer. That's why everyone liked it so much.
Still, his point is well taken. What was the last ending that truly shocked you?