5 Movie Deaths That Should Have Been Really Easy to Avoid
Whenever filmmakers concoct a death scene for one of their characters, presumably the idea is for us, the viewers, to think something like "Oh my God, how tragic" or "Hell yes! That dick had it coming." They don't usually set out to make us mutter "Now why the fuck did that just happen?" And yet, as we've shown before, sometimes a movie character's death seems a bit forced. For example, we almost choked on a pretzel just now, and we still aren't dumb enough to die like people in ...
Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol -- Gravity Still Applies to Objects if You're Not Holding Them
Kurt Hendricks, the Swedish-Russian villain in the fourth Mission: Impossible installment, is a bad guy straight out of the 1980s: He's rich, ominously foreign, and wants to start a nuclear war between the United States and Russia.
No, he doesn't explain why. What, do you need to be spoon-fed?
To do this, he acquires a nuclear launch control device, which we'll assume is code named "Joshua" and can be deactivated by forcing it to play a game of tic-tac-toe. During the climax, Hendricks uses the device to fire a Russian nuclear missile at San Francisco before tucking the device inside his briefcase. Ethan Hunt chases Hendricks to the upper level of a parking garage, where, with only minutes left until the missile strikes, Hunt barks out, "I'M TAKING THAT BRIEFCASE." Hendricks responds in the only way he logically can: by leaping several stories to his death, taking the briefcase with him.
Wait a Second ...
Couldn't he have just, you know, tossed the briefcase down there? There was no reason to toss himself along with it, unless his feelings were just really, really hurt by Hunt's rude outburst.
"How dare he offer such impertinence! And while looking so inexplicably youthful!"
Hendricks' strategy is to keep Hunt away from the device long enough for the missile to strike San Francisco. He's willing to sacrifice his own life for this plan, which is commendable, but also entirely pointless. Hunt doesn't care about catching Hendricks at this point, he just cares about the device -- Hendricks could have simply thrown the briefcase down there and tucked away a few levels of Candy Crush while Hunt sprinted off to try to catch the thing in time.
Obviously, Hendricks' decision backfires in a huge way when Hunt plunges down several stories inside a car ...
Cruise drove the car horizontally; they built the set sideways.
... and manages to crawl over to the device and stop the missile in the nick of time.
Ten minutes after it was launched. It's a weird plot.
Had Hendricks not made that irrationally deadly jump, he could have at least tried to stop Hunt -- drive another car down there, pee on him a little, we don't know. Instead, he was too dead to do anything but lie there, being dead.
Prometheus -- Why Not Run to the Side?
Near the end of Alien: The Adventure Begins (known in some markets as Prometheus), a huge alien spacecraft comes crashing down toward the planet that the only two surviving characters, Elizabeth Shaw and Meredith Vickers, happen to be standing on. The spacecraft then starts rolling toward them, because this is a very stupid movie.
How can things roll when there's no nitrogen? Answer THAT, Lindelof!
Shaw and Vickers run for their lives, and while Shaw manages to survive, Vickers is pancaked to death by a spaceship.
Wait a Second ...
Did we mention that this alien spacecraft is a circular wheel-shaped object and is positioned like so when it rolls toward Shaw and Vickers?
Prometheus is shaped like a croissant, just like in the Greek myth.
And did we mention that all they had to do to save themselves was move a little to the right? Or the left? Or, really, any direction but forward or backward? Seriously. Any direction. Not even quickly -- just flop on the ground and roll to the side like a dropped hot dog and you'll be safe. We know this as a fact, because that's precisely how Shaw survived:
She saw the path in her side view because she'd kept her helmet on.
Meanwhile, Vickers sticks to the original plan, which is "running in a straight line until the ship disintegrates by itself." It's like she's momentarily unaware that there is more than one dimension in our universe.
If she wanted to get really creative, she could have used height and burrowed into the ground.
No, really look at this image:
All right, there are flames to her right, but her left's free and clear.
It's not even a large distance, just a few dozen feet. She's essentially letting herself get run over by a very big train because she doesn't want to leave the tracks.
Scream 2 -- Guns Can Be Used for Defensive Purposes
Here's the situation: The protagonist, Sidney, and her best friend, Hallie, are sitting in the back of a police car with an unconscious masked killer in the driver's seat and an impaled cop all over the windshield.
Since the Killah, Ghostface, is unconscious, Sidney and Hallie take the opportunity to escape from the car and make a run for it. However, Sidney suddenly decides to return to the accident scene in order to remove Ghostface's mask and find out his identity, thus sparing us 40 more minutes of this shit. She does just that, only to discover that Ghostface is no longer in the car. Sidney then turns around to see the killer sneaking up behind Hallie and stabbing her.
Wait a Second ...
It's not Sidney's fault that she blew the escape attempt and got her friend killed ... it is totally her fault that they tried to escape in the first place, considering that they had a dead cop's gun to defend themselves with, like, right fucking there.
It didn't even fly out of his grasp, because of math.
And the cop was pointing the gun right at the windshield before the car crashed, so it's not like Sidney didn't know he had it.
He'd have fired, but the windshield wipers turned on and he started giggling.
In fact, it's only a few feet away from Sidney while she's climbing out of the car -- she appears to be looking straight at it.
Don't say the body distracted her. She'd seen three deader bodies that afternoon.
After escaping the vehicle, all Sidney and Hallie had to do was pick up the gun and use it to hold Ghostface at bay until help arrived. Then they could have forced Ghostface to take off his own mask, or all his clothes for that matter, or just shot him if he tried any funny business. Sidney already fired a bullet into the killer's face at the end of the first Scream movie, so it's not like she has an aversion to guns.
If Hallie's death wasn't terrible enough, Sidney's actions indirectly cause another death later on, as Ghostface winds up taking the same gun for himself and using it to pump a bullet into Sidney's boyfriend.
So she's responsible for the deaths of Hallie and Jesus.
Christine -- Just Climb Over the Goddamn Car
Christine is the touching story of a 1957 Plymouth Fury with a mind of its own, based on a novel by Stephen King (written during his "intravenous cocaine breakfast" period). During the film, Christine, the aforementioned psychopathic vehicle, is trashed by a gang of bullies, so she decides to get revenge. Christine winds up pursuing Moochie, an overweight bully who peed on her dashboard, because apparently she wasn't into watersports (Furys are a notoriously prudish model). Eventually she corners Moochie in a small alleyway, where she slowly crushes him to death.
While dying, his pit stains and neck stains became one.
Wait a Second ...
Normally, when a living car chases you into a dead end, that's it. You're fucked. In this case, however, Moochie had an important advantage: The alley was incredibly narrow, and Christine had to sloooowly squeeze herself into the very tight spot before reaching him. In fact, she's even forced to come to a complete stop at one point.
A really tight squeeze, and going sideways wouldn't help.
Now, we know that Moochie isn't exactly the sveltest person in the world, but he could have easily leaped onto the hood and climbed over the car while it was stuck there -- we saw him climb over a tall fence seconds earlier. If Moochie managed to escape from the alley and make a run for it, he probably would have gotten away, since Christine would have been hopelessly stuck there until AAA came to give her a tow.
She needed his fluids to help lubricate her way out.
Also: Notice that there are small ledges attached to the alley wall, so Moochie probably could have used them to climb over the car without even touching it, in case he was racist against Plymouths or something.
Deep Blue Sea -- Ladders Are Intended for Climbing
In one of the greatest premises in movie history, Deep Blue Sea has a group of scientists performing brain-enhancing experiments on sharks at a remote facility in the middle of the ocean. Remarkably, super-intelligent sharks turn out to be a less than stellar idea, and a lot of people become shark food. Halfway through the film, the surviving characters are climbing up a ladder inside an elevator shaft that has flooded with water (and sharks). A section of the ladder breaks and topples over:
Here's a movie still. Or possibly a screenshot from Half-Life.
One of the characters, Janice, falls off the ladder into the water. Janice is eaten by a shark, as one is wont to do in this scenario.
Wait a Second ...
Remember when we said "a section" of the ladder breaks? That's because most of it is still right there, very much attached to a wall, waiting for anyone who falls into the water to just swim over and climb up.
Plus, the side of the shaft has the lowest shark density.
Janice, however, completely ignores that possibility and decides that the best course of action would be to flail about helplessly in the water for nearly a full minute, patiently waiting for the movie's hero, Carter, to crawl across the dangling ladder in order to reach down and grab her.
Maybe she wanted to drag him down too, giving the shark another target?
It would have taken mere seconds to swim over to that ladder. But you know what? Let's cut her some slack: After all, one can't always think rationally when a super-intelligent carnivorous shark is swimming beneath them. So maybe she's not fatally dumb, just fatally scared.
You know who's definitely dumb as shit, though? The supposed "hero" -- before crawling across the dangling ladder to grab her, Carter yells at Janice to "stay there" while holding onto the very ladder she could have used to climb to safety.
Oh, he wanted her in the water, to keep the shark busy. It all makes sense now.
Robin Warder is the co-owner of a pop culture website called The Back Row and was recently involved in the making of a sci-fi short film called Jet Ranger of Another Tomorrow.
Related Reading: What's that -- you want MORE easily avoidable movie deaths? How about Data from Star Trek: Nemesis? Or the Wicked Witch of the West? At least both of those deaths had more of a point than Donnie Darko's.
Be sure to film a better death scene and submit it to our pocket film contest: If Great Horror Movies Had a Budget of $1.