Knives Out 2 Can’t Repeat The First Movie’s Biggest Mystery Trick

Knives Out 2 can’t repeat the greatest trick the first Knives Out played on its audience, subverting expectations of the mystery genre with suspense.

Warning: this article contains spoilers for Knives out.

Knives Out 2 cannot repeat the bigger lap than the first Knives out plays on his audience. Knives out revolves around Daniel Craig’s detective, Benoit Blanc, investigating the mystery of who killed author Harlan Thrombey and meddling with Thrombey’s wealthy and dysfunctional family. The devious plot that writer and director Rian Johnson employs in Knives out was a hit with audiences, with its current Rotten Tomatoes viewership score standing at 92% – but that popularity means it will have to change its formula for the sequel.


The central trick in Knives out happens about half an hour, during a flashback. The scene shows Marta Cabrera, Harlan’s nurse, seemingly giving him an overdose of morphine by accident, leaving him only minutes to live. Meanwhile, Harlan concocts a plan to make it look like suicide so that Marta and her undocumented family are left alone by the authorities. Knives out then turns into a Hitchcock-style suspense thriller, where Marta must try to hide the truth from the Thrombey family after he leaves her his inheritance. However, in the last act, Knives out takes another shift, when Benoit Blanc reveals that Harlan’s medication was changed by his grandson, Ransom Thrombey, who had anonymously hired Blanc to expose Marta and have her name removed from the inheritance.

Related: Chris Evans’ Gray Mustache Is His New Knives Out Sweater

Knives out combines both Hitchcock’s suspense thriller and traditional Agatha Christie mystery to create a constant genre push and pull and conflict of interest for audiences. Rian Johnson explained that his inspiration for Knives out comes from the question:Can I do something that starts out as a thriller, turns into a Hitchcock thriller, but ends up being a thriller again?” (Going through Indiewire). Johnson misleads the public into believing that the mystery is solved, and that Knives out is about the suspense of whether or not Marta will get away with it. Then, in the final act, he reveals that there was always a different culprit, combining two genres that Hitchcock thought were incompatible. But now that this trick has been masterfully performed in the first film, Knives Out 2 will have to find a new way to subvert the mystery genre. The delight of the first film was its brilliantly meandering plot. Now that audiences know what to expect from the first film’s faux twist, Johnson will have to keep viewers guessing in another unexpected way.

Daniel Craig in Knives Out 2

Johnson has previously said he approached the sequel script from a different angle, not having the luxury of the genre’s central premise for the first film, which he had in mind for 10 years (via Interview). Indeed, the Greek set Knives Out 2 appears to be a mystery in its own right for Benoit Blanc, with a new all-star cast including Janelle Monáe, Leslie Odom Jr., Ethan Hawke, Dave Bautista, Edward Norton, Kate Hudson, Jessica Henwick and Katherine Hahn. Story details are scarce, but audiences are more savvy now and will know what to look for. Johnson will have to play a different game with the audience to retain the same element of surprise as the first.

There are certainly plenty of options for Johnson on Knives Out 2: it could become metatextual and deconstruct the idea of ​​a Christie mystery Scream-style, he might find another way to revamp the way a mystery is told, or he might even surprise by simply telling a mystery without any genre subversion. The only certain thing is that both Knives Out 2 and Netflix’s third Benoit Blanc sequel will require a dastardly collection of new twists to hit a savvy audience.

More: Knives Out Deleted Scene Explains A Walt Mystery

  • Knives Out 2Release date: May 19, 2022

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