7. The Butterfly Effect (2004) – Stigmata

Ashton Kutcher as Evan in The Butterfly Effect

An infamous plot hole from an infamous movie, the stigmata scene from The Butterfly Effect is often used as an example of how not to use time travel in a story. In fact, it so blatantly misuses even the most basic of logic that it’s less a plot hole and more out-and-out nonsense. To understand this one, you first have to understand the film itself, though – a tall order, for a film that doesn’t subscribe to the traditional laws of cause and effect (ironic, considering its title).

The Butterfly Effect follows Evan, a young man who has a lifelong issue with blackouts. A doctor suggests he keep journals to help him keep them at bay, but after a while, he discovers that reading the journal entries from blackout days allow him to take control of himself during that brief window. This allows him to alter the past (and therefore, the present) practically at will.

After doing so gets him into a series of predicaments, Evan finds himself in jail. In order to convince (or manipulate, depending on perspective) a fellow inmate of his divine purpose, he goes back in time and impales his own hands, and after snapping back to the present, stigmata appear before the inmate’s very eyes. This is a fundamental failing of time travel logic, and even the logic of previous scenes (rewriting the past changes the present and fills Evan’s head with new memories). Therefore, not only would the wounds not magically form, but the events of Evan’s life would have been different enough that he may never have ended up in prison in the first place. That’s actually what the Butterfly Effect really is – and The Butterfly Effect seems to conveniently forget that.