movie trailer (apple.com - quicktime)
NOTE: I'm including 2 spoiler submissions here. The first tells the story and the 2nd one explains it.
The 1st was sent in by mli0922
The movie begins as strangers are forced to take shelter from flooded roads and highly resembles the novel And Then There Were None. They include a limo driver (John Cusack) driving a fading actress (Rebecca De Mornay), a family of a stepdad (John C. McGinley), a mom, and a 6 yr-old boy, a cop (Ray Liotta) transporting a convicted killer (Jake Busey), a newlyweds couple (Clea DuVall and William Lee Scott), and a call girl (Amanda Peet) fleeing her Las Vegas life.
Since the movie's beginning is shown in a Memento kind of way, I'll just tell them in a "normal" way. The movie starts as a psychiatrist (Alfred Molina) is reviewing files of a convicted murderer who is about to go on death row in less that 48 hrs.. The scene cuts to a judge being waken by a phone call. It turns out, the judge is being called to a late night meeting where a diary of the convicted murderer has just been discovered.
The next scene is a motel standing in the middle of the Nevada desert, while rain is pounding relentlessly on it. John C. McGinley is driving his family through the rain. Just as the mother tells the boy to turn off his toy, their car's tire blows out. Stepping out of the car, McGinley discovers that he just ran over a high-heeled shoe. The scene cuts to an earlier scene. Amanda Peet is driving on the same road. While she's looking for her lighter, her suit case flies open, her clothes flies out, including her shoes. The mother is standing out in the rain, asking her husband if he needs any help, and he says no. Just as she looks at her son sitting inside the car, a limo suddenly runs her over. The scene cuts to the limo. The driver (Cusack) is looking for cell phone batteries that were demanded by the actress (De Mornay), and that's why he didn't see the mother standing in the middle of the road. Cusack drives De Mornay and the family to the nearest motel. He asks the manager (Hawkes) for the nearest hospital, Hawkes tells Cusack that it's 30 miles East. Cusack begins to drive to the hospital. Two miles into the drive, he meets Amanda Peet who is blocked by a flooded road. She convinces Cusack to drive back to the motel since there was no where to go. Just as they are about to turn around, they meet the newlywed couple (Clea DuVall and William Lee Scott). Peet and Cusack then convinces the newlyweds to drive all 4 of them back to the hotel since the limo has sunk into the flooded road.
The movie cuts back to the Judge, the psychiatrist, and some lawyers. The defense lawyer is arguing that they should not start the hearing since his client has not arrived. The judge says the Defendant has little right since he's to be killed in less than 36 hrs. The hearing begins.
Back at the motel, the mother is really hurt. Everyone gets a room (Numbered from 1 to 10). While this is happening, a cop car drives up. Ray Liotta steps out of the car and announces that he's delivering a convict. The manager gives them a room too. The actress has finally charged up her cell phone battery, and she steps out to find a signal. She trails along the walls of the motel and she finds herself in the middle of a yard. Suddenly she hears some noises in the bushes, she turns around, she screams, and she is stabbed to death (the killer is not seen).
Cusack is awakened by the screaming. He grabs the gun from his limo, and he steps out of his room. He follows a noise that leads to the laundry room. He opens the door, and finds the actress's head inside one of the machines. The cop and the manager also enters the laundry room, and they're shocked, and they find a key with #10 on it. A meeting is held in John C. McGinley's family's room. Everyone is shocked, and Clea DuVall is FREAKED out. John Cusack reveals that he used to be a cop, and also that there is a convicted felon in this motel, and the actress has been killed. He and Ray Liotta and John Hawkes heads to Liotta's room to see if the convict is still there. As it turns out, he has escaped. Cusack and Liotta begins to search the motel grounds for the convict. The motel manager sneaks into an empty room, and steals money and other objects from a suitcase.
Clea DuVall and William Lee Scott heads to their room. DuVall reveals that she's not pregnant, and starts a fight with Scott. DuVall locks herself in the bathroom while Scott furiously pounds on the door. Suddenly, the pounding stops, DuVall steps out of the bathroom and finds Scott's body. She screams, and sees the killer's shadow. She fights to lock the bathroom door and escapes out of the window. The convict runs across the desert (he is obviously not the killer), and sees building in front of him. Cusack is taking pictures of the scene, and he is joined by Amanda Peet. While taking pictures of Scott, they find a key with #9 on it.
Cut to the meeting between the judge and the lawyers. The convict is delivered on a wheel chair. He is a large bald man.
The escaped convict breaks into the building he had just seen few hundred feet away. Suddenly, he sees Cusack and Peet's shape, and he is extremely shocked. He turns around, Liotta knocks him out. Liotta and Cusack ties the convict to a chair and orders the motel manager to watch him. Liotta and Cusack continues to search for the killer. As they return from their search, they runs into Peet, and the manager holding a tin box. Liotta is pissed. He is furious that the manager is not watching the convict. Cusack starts to argue with the manager as Liotta walks into the room. Liotta yells, "What the fuck happened to my guy?!?!" Cusack, Peet, and the manager walks into the room. Inside the room, they find the convict dead, and with a base ball bat stuck down his throat. Cusack and Liotta begins to question the manager. Asking him why did he kill the convict. The manager persists that he didn't kill anyone, but Liotta insists that it's him bat that's stuck down the convict's throat. Cusack finds another key, and this time, there's the #8 on it. Liotta knocks the manager down, his box flies open, and the actress's wallet falls out. Liotta is more sure that the manager convicted the murders. The manager suddenly grabs Peet, and puts a knife to her throat. Peet elbows the manager, they crash onto the refrigerator, and a frozen body falls out. The manager runs out of the room, and gets into the truck. As he starts driving, McGinley sees his stepson is in the way. As he tries to save his step son, the manager runs him over with his truck.
Liotta ties the manager, who is still insisting that he didn't do it, onto a chair. He says he found the guy in the fridge lying dead on a counter. So he put him in a fridge, hoping someone would come to claim him, but no one ever did. Everyone that's still alive starts to argue. Clea DuVall suggests that there might be a connection between them, just like in that novel with the 10 little Indians. It turns out that the manager and Amanda Peet are both from the same town in Florida. The little boy goes to the other room to check on his mother, while Cusack continues to trace their similarities. A while later, Liotta goes into the other room, and he finds the mother has finally died. He calls everyone in. The boy is petrified by the scene of his mother's dead body. DuVall takes him to the other room. Suddenly, Cusack discovers a key with #6 on it. Everyone is freaked. They run out, Peet backs up the truck that crushed McGinley, and Cusack discovers a key with #7 on it.
Cusack orders DuVall to take the boy and start driving. DuVall takes the kid, and they head out to DuVall's car that's parked in the gas station. Just as Amanda Peet is about to join them, the car explodes. Liotta grabs a fire extinguisher, and stops the fire. However, there was no one in the car. Amanda Peet tells them that it's not possible since they all saw what happened. Cusack leads them to rest of the bodies, and they could not find any. Everyone's bodies have disappeared. Liotta, Cusack, Peet, and Hawke are all dumbfounded. Hawke mentions Happy Birthday to Peet, and says that his birthday is May 10th also. Liotta says it's also his birthday, and Cusack says, "Yeah." Cusack goes into the lobby, and looks at everyone's driver's license copy. Everyone in the motel tonight has their birthday on May 10th.
Here's where the confusion begins. The film cut back to the meeting between the defendant, the psychiatrist, and the judge. Alfred Molina explains to the defendant that he has a split personality disorder. He has created all these characters. Molina asks the defendant what happened. (At this point, the defendant's face is that of John Cusack's. It is as if John Cusack is the defendant) The defendant says there was a storm, they couldn't get out, and people started dying. However, Molina tells him that someone took the advantage of the defendant's sickness, and convicted 4 horrific murders 4 years ago. The defendant looks confused. Molina shows him a mirror, and a fat bald man's face appears. "Cusak" is shocked. He says it's not his face. Molina tells him that he created all these character, and tonight, 4 identities have been destroyed.
Cut back to the motel. Peet goes into Liotta's cop car to find something. She accidentally discovers some conviction papers. They include the dead convict, and...suprise! Ray Liotta's!! Liotta is a convict too!! The movie cuts to earlier. A cop is delivering Liotta and the dead convict to some where. Liotta puts a knife through his seat, killing the cop. Liotta takes the cop's clothes, and throws the body in the trunk, and pushes the dead convict back into the back seat. Peet opens the truck, and sure enough, she sees the real cop's body. She whispers to call the manager over to her, Liotta hears the whisper, and heads to Peet. While Peet tries to escape from Liotta, the manager knocks Liotta down. Just as the manager tries to grab Liotta's gun, Liotta wakes up and kills the manager. Peet tries to escape again. She runs into Cusack, and asks for his help. Cusack tells Peet not to move, and gets into a gun fight with Liotta. Both Liotta and Cusack is killed.
Cut back to next morning. The judge orders to cancel the defendant's execution, and be send to a psychiatric hospital. At the same time, Amanda Peet continues to drive to Florida. At her Florida home, Peet is digging on the soil, and she suddenly finds a key with #1 on it. From this moment on, the movie cuts between Peet and the van transferring the defendant. Peet slowly looks up, and discovers the little boy from the motel holding a plowing fork. She whispers, "Timmy?"
It turns out the little boy, Timmy, is the killer at the hotel. He killed the actress, he suffocated his mother, the convict at the motel, and he some how mentally controlled the limo to hit his mother, and the manager to kill his father.
Timmy and the defendant talks at the same time. They say, "WHores don't get a second chance." Timmy kills amanda peet, while the defendant strangles Alfred Molina in the van and kills the driver.
This 2nd spoiler explanation was sent in by glenharmon.
In the beginning of the movie, we are told that there is a guard transporting a homicidal death-row inmate to his final clemency hearing before execution. We do not see the death-row prisoner until about half way through the movie, but we do learn that he killed many people four years ago. The death-row killer played by Pruitt Taylor Vance had suffered extremely traumatic events as a child resulting in Severe Multiple Personalities Disorder.
In his case, his mother was a prostitute and would leave her son in a seedy motel while she worked. One night she was murdered, leaving him abandoned in the hotel until he was found by authorities and institutionalized for quite some time. After he grew up, he got out and started a killing spree resulting in the death sentence. Or, as the defense psychiatrist summed it up, one of his multiple personalities became a serial killer and that he was too insane to be executed
This comes out later in the movie, but I am telling you now so that the rest of the movie will make sense:
In therapy leading up the death-row prisoners clemency hearing, the psychiatrist had set the stage for an inner confrontation between the convicted killers' multiple personalities hoping they will be wiped out in this inner battle, especially the murderous one leaving only his true personality.
This brings us to the washed out roads, the rain that never stops and the creepy motel. One by one, 10 people arrive at the forgotten desert motel, seeking refuge from the rain. Some of them are seeking refuge from other things.
John Cusacks character Ed is an ex-cop turned limo driver. He works the hardest to help everyone.
There is Rebecca De Mornay who plays a demanding, selfish has-been movie star.
Bret Loehr is little Timothy York, a mute kid, his mother who gets fatally wounded at the beginning of the movie and his functioning autistic step-dad. When asked why the boy does not speak, his step dad says that he stopped speaking when something really bad happened to him a while back.
Theres Amanda Peets character: Paris Texas. She is a woman fleeing the life of prostitution with lots of saved up money to buy an orange grove in Florida and settle down.
Larry the Hotel Desk Clerk, played by John Hawkes is hiding something, but not what you think.
There is the newlywed couple, a distraught young woman who lied about being pregnant in order to marry her husband just 9 hours earlier.
And lastly, there is the State Dept. of Corrections Worker [Ray Liotta] who is transporting a psychotic convict [Jake Busy]. Neither of these last two guys ends up being who you think they are.
The killing starts counting down from 10, with each victim having a room key placed on or near their body.
John Cussacks ex-cop is doing his best to help solve the murders and protect those still living, call for help on the radio and attend to the dying woman.
Jake Busy, the psycho-convict that we thought was the killer is found dead. That means the killer is still out there. His supposed guard Ray Liotta has more to worry about than just the state of corrections now. You see, he escaped along with Jake Busy character after the killed the guard and took his clothes. At one point, you can see the bloody hole in the back of the shirt when Liotta put it back on.
So, now it seems like it will be a confrontation between Liotta and Cussack.
That is until we see Cussacks character start slipping between realities. Now, he is a straight jacket in the clemency hearing. What am I doing here, he says. They show him a mirror and he sees the face of a fat bald man, the death row con that we thought Jake Busy was playing in the hotel.
So, we have slipped into the clemency hearing and we find out that Ed is one of the Multiple personalities of the death row convict. We learn that in therapy leading up the death-row prisoners clemency hearing, the psychiatrist had set the stage for an inner confrontation between the convicted killers 10 multiple personalities hoping they will be wiped out by the inner battle, especially the truly serial killer, leaving only his true personality.
Thus, each character in the hotel is a manifestation of one of the death-row killer's multiple personalities.
This turns everything you thought you knew right on its head! Look at the list of characters again:
John Cusacks Ed. He works the hardest to help everyone. He is the inner child trying to maintain order.
Rebecca De Mornay looking more like the whining bitch he had as his mother.
Amanda Peets character: Paris Texas. An ex-prostitute fleeing the life of prostitution with lots of saved up money to buy an orange grove in Florida and settle down. i.e. His real mother the way he wished she was.
Larry the Hotel Desk Clerk, he found the owner of the motel dead and stuck him in the freezer. Could that frozen victim have been the true personality of the death row convict? Frozen and unable to control or intervene. Take back his mind].
Distraught newlywed and her husband. Could have been the fractured picture of Death-row convicts real mother and father, before she got ruined and became a prostitute; making her husband a broken man.
Prison worker [Ray Liotta] , really an escaped convict.
Jake Busy, an escaped convict and suspected murderer at the hotel.
The little boy: Timothy York, a mute kid, There was the mother, step-dad and father. She was hurt real bad and could not talk. The step dad did drop big hint early on but it went over my head too. When asked why the boy does not speak, his step dad says that he stopped speaking when something really bad happened to him in the past.
When the John Cusack personality killed the Ray Liotta escaped convict, the psychiatrist and judge thought that the death-row killers serial killer personality was free of the insanity and murder. The death-row convict got a stay of execution and is committed to an asylum. And the Amanda Peet personality goes off to Florida to buy an orange grove.
At last he saved the most likable, in his mind character to kill last.
At her newly purchased home in Florida, Peet is digging in the dirt and finds a hotel room key with the number 1 on it. She slowly looks up, and discovers the little boy from the motel holding a plowing fork. She whispers, "Timmy? and he kills her. And in the real world, the fat bald guy is escaping.
Still Confused? Try this one sent in by brokenrecliner who says... "I wanted to try to explain the Identity spoiler a little better."
Each character in the hotel is one of the killer's (the bald guy) personalities. In order for the judge to rescind the death penalty, the psychiatrist wanted to prove to them that the personality which murdered those people 4 years earlier had been "killed", which is what they explained to Cusack's character when that personality surfaced. This is why at the end, Cusack killed Liotta. So the judge and everyone else thought the serial killer personality was cleansed and the only personality left was Amanda Peet's. However, in the end, we learn that the real serial killer personality was the little boy, and so by killing Amanda Peet, that personality has full control. Make sense?
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