‘The Minute You Wake Up Dead’ Ending, Explained: What Happens To Russ And Delaine?

Directed by Michael Mailer, The Minute You Wake Up Dead plays out like a mystery thriller, filled with several twists and turns, betrayals, and untrustworthy characters. Set somewhere in the South, this film first introduces us to a local businessman named Russ (Cole Hauser), whose recent investment plan, for which a lot of the townsfolk had contributed, has failed big time. He is in no mood to entertain people who think he owes them the money back. The same day, he receives a call from an unknown number who says, “Where will you be the minute you wake up dead?” Russ informs the waitress at the local diner, Delaine (Jaimie Alexander), and following her suggestion, he alerts sheriff Thurmond Fowler (Morgan Freeman). The phone calls do not stop. As the tension rises, we find out more lies and hidden motives. Let us find out how The Minute You Wake Up Dead ends and whether it answers all the questions. Major spoilers ahead, so if you haven’t seen the film yet, watch it first and then return back to this piece. Happy reading!


Spoilers Ahead

‘The Minute You Wake Up Dead’ Plot Synopsis: What Happens In The Film?

The Minute You Wake Up Dead follows Russ as he is haunted by a threatening phone call multiple times. It is revealed that it could be anyone in the town, given so many are after his blood now that his investment plan has failed. He seeks the help of the local Sheriff, but no changes occur. At the local diner, it is the waitress Delaine who appears to be the only one who cares for him and invites him home for dinner. They share a mutual attraction for each other. Yet early on, Delaine’s old father is shot dead at her own house. Russ believes that the murderer must have missed him and mistakenly killed Delaine’s father since they are practically neighbors. This paves the way for an investigation, but The Minute You Wake Up Dead is more interested in following the daily lives of its main characters than the police procedure. We are left with a number of questions: Who is the person threatening Russ? Who killed Delaine’s father? How is Lucius connected in this chase?


Who Makes Those Phone Calls To Russ?

None of the characters are what they seem in The Minute You Wake Up Dead. We get a glimpse of this first when we realize that it was none other than Delaine who orchestrated the murder of her own father with the help of Lucius (Darren Mann). Delaine wanted to make sure she received all the insurance money after her father’s death, which she wouldn’t have if her father had committed suicide. The phone calls were actually made by Lucius, who was in this plan from the very first day along with Delaine. We come to know that Lucius is in urgent need of money since he has been pressured by two men ever since the delay in payment. What next? He starts to create problems for Delaine on a regular basis, constantly threatening her to give back his share of the sum. Delaine, who is frustrated at Lucius’ behavior, calls him at her place the same night, telling him that she has got the money, where she poisons his drink and kills him.

‘The Minute You Wake Up Dead’ Ending Explained: Who Calls And Threatens Delaine? What Happens To The Sheriff?

On the next day at work, Delaine receives a phone call with the same message, “Where will you be the minute you wake up dead?” She is perplexed and leaves work to be at Russ’s place. There in the locker, he finds Lucius’s body. Russ arrives after meeting the Sheriff, and when she asks her how his day was, he openly admits to having shot him dead. He reveals that the Sheriff knew more than he intended to add, and the only way out was to get away with him. In a heated exchange, Delaine shoots at him but misses his toe. She runs back to her car and speeds away. Russ follows her through the woods, where Deadline crashes her car. Russ tries to check if she’s okay and brings her body out. At that instant, Delaine shoots him fatally.


Yet all is not over as Delaine gets a similar phone call from Russ’s assistant, who now threatens her to split the money or else she will disclose the truth. What can she do now? She informs the two hitmen who were with Lucius to get her away from this forever. When the men visit her house, she is not to be found. Instead, they both are killed while on their way out by her husband. The next day, Delaine follows her car and crashes it fatally on the way. Yet, just as Delaine thinks everything is finally over, the cops arrest her outside her house. On the way, she breaks down.

Final Words

The Minute You Wake Up Dead moves ahead with such speed and force that it barely gives space for its characters to breathe. The screenplay by director Michael Mailer and Timothy Holland spin subsequent twists and turns, which prove to be based less on logic and more on banal coincidence. The stereotypical characters, the formulaic blackmail, or the forgotten musings on faith all give way to a strategically placed climax. In the end, we get how the film wants to add that greed is the real evil, but the poor writing makes it impossible to believe in anyone. If you felt that the heavy-handed climax was quite unnecessary and predictable, trust me, you are not alone in that realization. Poor Morgan Freeman, too, is wasted in the role of a sheriff who takes a lifetime to get to the investigation, and when he does, he is knocked over. The Minute You Wake Up Dead could have been a daring and assured thriller if it had spent more than a minute on its screenplay.


“The Minute You Wake Up Dead” is a 2022 mystery thriller film directed by Michael Mailer.

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Santanu Das
Santanu Das
Santanu Das is a writer who likes to have Sally Rooney books by the table, and when not reading or writing, you will find the champ clicking pictures of the sky that brightens his mundane days. He believes a film a day can cure almost all feelings of doubt and make everything just perfect.

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