Mystery movies that were laughably easy to solve

A great mystery movie has you asking whodunit until the very end. It's suspenseful, full of great characters, and may even have a neat twist at the end. Some mystery flicks have one or more of those elements, but miss the mark when it comes to keeping viewers stumped. Actually, that's being too nice—some mystery movies are really just laughably easy to solve. We've rounded up a few examples, with apologies in advance to anyone who was stumped by one of these lemons. It goes without saying that there are spoilers ahead. Lots and lots of spoilers. Of course, if you're like us, you'll have it figured out already.

Shutter Island (2010)

It doesn't take long to figure out that things aren't what they seem in Shutter Island. Once the dream sequences start, however, we figure out that Teddy's wife is definitely dead and that everyone on the island knows something Teddy doesn't. While most people didn't make the leap to the actual twist—that Teddy is a patient at the asylum and they've staged this big role-playing treatment—it's clear long before the big reveal that Chuck isn't who he says he is, and Teddy is seriously disturbed and hallucinating.

With an unreliable narrative focus, the film does what it sets out to do: it confuses the viewer, putting us off-balance—the way Teddy feels. The film doesn't, however, end up surprising us, because we already know nothing is what it seems. Convoluted is as convoluted does, and Shutter Island lacks that "oh wow" factor it's straining for.

The Happening (2008)

Practically every film M. Night Shyamalan has made since The Sixth Sense has lacked the OMG viewers came to expect, but The Happening is wrong on a lot of fronts. For starters, it felt like Mark Wahlberg and Zooey Deschanel completely forgot how to act for the entire movie. John Leguizamo too, for that matter. Was it just the crappy dialogue, or was it a cinematic trick? Was the terrible acting purposeful, to throw the audience off balance?

We'll never know. Ultimately, we're stuck with a movie in which people kill themselves in very creative ways because…plants. Yep. Plants are mad at humanity, presumably because we've messed up the planet, and they drive people to suicide. At the start of The Happening, the characters presume it's some sort of neurotoxin released during a terrorist attack. All those shots of the trees and the wind blowing, however, reveal the truth long before Marky Mark figures it out.

The Gift (2000)

The Gift was penned by Billy Bob Thornton and starred Cate Blanchett as a clairvoyant (a character inspired by Thornton's real-life mom). That's all well and good, but the murder at the heart of the movie doesn't take a psychic to figure out. Even if Greg Kinnear's character wasn't so blatantly obvious, we'd still have all the context clues—the herrings presented by Keanu Reeve's abusive Donnie and Giovanni Ribisi's very convincingly unhinged Buddy are far too red and far too fishy. They would have both been far too obvious. Instead, it's nice guy Wayne (Greg Kinnear) who killed Katie Holmes's sneaky, slutty character. With Sam Raimi directing and Cate Blanchett proving once again that British people do a better American southern accent than some actual Americans, the film isn't a bad one to watch—but it's really easy to figure out.

The Number 23 (2007)

While it's super easy to figure out that Walter (a serious role for Jim Carrey? Right on!) is Fingerling and Fingerling is Walter and the red book is obviously the ramblings of a crazy person—who just happens to be Walter—what isn't apparent is why his wife bought the book in the first place. She clearly knew Walter's backstory (even if Walter didn't) and she'd had ample time to flip through the book before buying it for him. So he can read it and obsess about it and then figure out that he really murdered a girl for saying mean things to him? That doesn't seem like such a great idea. The film is all noir-y, which is cool, and all the talk about the number 23 is mildly interesting, but the twist is more "UH HUH" than "OMG."

Stir of Echoes (1999)

Kevin Bacon is super good in Stir of Echoes, but most people figured out that Kurt and Adam were behind Samantha's disappearance the minute Tom asked about her. For a tight-knit Chicago neighborhood, they were far too dismissive, for one, and they just seemed…guilty. You think Frank's hiding something and, sure enough, he's known what the boys did and even helped them cover it up. Harry knows too! Everybody knows but poor Tom, who's psychic—but not that psychic—all of a sudden. It's a decent movie, and a sight better than that piece of garbage they call a sequel, but it was easy, easy, easy to figure out.

Return to Sender

Rosamund Pike's character in Gone Girl was a lot more diabolical than her role in Return to Sender. Miranda, a nurse, is brutally raped in her own house, and befriends her rapist while he's still in prison. If that's not a blatant revenge setup, we don't know what is. The rapist is lured into thinking Miranda cares for him, and he starts doing household chores for her. All the while, PIke's portrayal of Miranda is chilling and eerie, and you know something isn't right with her. It's not that she has some sort of Stockholm syndrome—she's straight up going to murder this guy, just like she murdered her dad's dog. Yep: the guy raped a psychopath, and he gets his hands chopped off for it. He was the only person, however, who was suprised by this turn of events.

The Skeleton Key (2005)

This is one of Kate Hudson's better performances, but the surprise in The Skeleton Key really wasn't. Pretty much the minute the word "Hoodoo" escapes Gena Rowlands's lips, we're like "Yep," and then when she talks about Papa Justify and Mama Cecile we're like, "double yep yep." That's what's going on with poor Ben (RIP John Hurt), and that's the exact danger Caroline is facing. Plus, it's hard convincing most audience members that Peter Sarsgaard isn't up to something nefarious. Dude is super creepy. So even before the plot is totally revealed, it's pretty safe to assume that whatever's going on, he's probably in on it.

Horns (2013)

Horns is a great little movie, based on a book by Joe Hill, Stephen King's son. In it, Daniel Radcliffe's character, Ig, is suspected of murdering his girlfriend. He didn't—his friend Lee did—and you suspect as much pretty early on, when Ig is trying to get the horns that have sprouted on his head overnight removed. Ig flashes back to meeting his girlfriend, Merrin, as a kid. Lee was there too, and Lee obviously crushed on her even then. So of course he's the one who kills her, though it's not stated in the movie until much later. There's really nobody else it could have been. They halfheartedly try to make viewers think it was Ig's brother, Terry, but that's no easier to believe than thinking that Ig killed Merrin. Nope, it's Lee, and it's pretty obvious from the begining.

Basic Instinct (1992)

Known more for its racy content and the famous no-underwear shot, Basic Instinct was far more erotic thriller than psychological mystery. The cheeky interview scene (pun so intended) has Catherine Tramell (played by Sharon Stone) say it would be pretty stupid for her to write a book about a murder that was just like a murder she committed. But that's exactly what she did, and there's never a shred of doubt throughout the entire movie that she's the killer. She killed Johnny Boz, she kills Michael Douglas's character's partner, and in the end we get the strong impression that she's going to off Michael Douglas with an icepick the same way she killed Johnny. Sometimes at the movies, the obvious killer is obvious. (And maybe in a laundry situation.)

Goodnight Mommy (2014)

Just like in the 2009 B movie The Uninvited, we have another "the ignored sibling doesn't exist" movie in Goodnight Mommy. While the tension suggests there's something horribly off about Mutter, and the boys question if the bandaged lady is really their mom, it's simply misdirection. Mommy ignores Lucas because she can't see him—because he's dead. If you've seen other movies where the character that's ignored isn't really there, you figure it out pretty quickly.