Shock deaths are very in right now, having a character die without any real forewarning most definately catches the audience off guard, but doesn't always succeed in terms of making a better movie. Below for your reading pleasure are the times it went off without a hitch. And the times it crashed into the mountain. Needless to say, SPOILER WARNING.
1. Jack Vincennes, LA Confidential
For me the ulitmate shock death moment. No idea it was coming, executed flawlessly and saw the movie's lead (or at least most famous of the leads) dead half way through. The best jump scares come in otherwise elegant movies, and this is amongst the most elegant there is.
2. Rachel Dawes, The Dark Knight
Not really the film's prime focus, granted. But Gyllenhaal's Dawes 2.0 gets a hell of a send-off, in one of the best executed scenes of death ever, suspenseful, powerful and a resolution darker then you thought they had the balls to be.
3. Marion Crane, Psycho
The one that set the ball rolling on this entire cinematic killing philosophy. And even though we all know this happens going in, such is its noteriety, when watching the film you are still caught off guard by Ms Crane's brutal death at the hands of everyone's favourite transvestite serial killer.
4. Tracy Mills, Seven
The picture says it all really. Se7en is so much more then the 'head in the box' movie', but it is a grand-finale that uses the shock death to devastating effect. The world is a grimmer place after viewing this film.
5. Chan Wing Yan, Infernal Affairs
So well staged a shock death is this, that the oscar winning remake The Departed stole it pretty much beat for beat. And why shouldn't they. Still for the sake of originality I've put this one here instead, because they did it first damn it.
P.S this picture has little to with the concerning death, but it looked cool so..
6. Majid, Hidden
Hidden may be in the running for the slowest slow-burn thriller ever, but it's one moment of jolt is more effective then many a quicker movie.
Daniel Auteil arrives at the house of his supposed tormentor, only to find out he's got the wrong guy. And the wrong guy is so appalled he slits his throat then and there. A beautiful WTF moment.
7. Ben, Night of the living Dead
Because we've been through so much already, surely we've earned the sight of seeing our hero Ben walking of into the sunrise unscathed. Well yes, until he gets shot in the head anyway. Cruel, cruel George Romero.