What Does The ‘Knives Out’ Title ‘Wake Up Dead Man’ Mean?

One mystery has been solved: who is in the cast of Wake Up Dead Man: A Knives Out Mystery. But here’s another: what’s the deal with that title? The first Knives Out was a reference to a Radiohead song (“So knives out / Catch the mouse / Squash his head / Put him in the pot”), while sequel Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery shares a title with a Beatles cut from The White Album. Director and writer Rian Johnson continued the music-based naming convention with the upcoming Wake Up Dead Man, as he confirmed to Tudum.

Wake Up Dead Man is also the name of the final track on U2‘s polarizing 1997 album, Pop. “Pop is a very underrated album, and that song is very right for the title,” Johnson said. “But I’ve had ‘Wake Up Dead Man’ in my head for a long while, and I first heard the phrase in American folk music.”

This rules out my theory for the movie: that Bono’s alter-ego MacPhisto is the killer. If that was the case, Johnson would have picked a title from Achtung Baby or Zooropa. Or maybe he’s throwing us off the sense. This is a mystery only Benoit Blanc — and his new hairdo — can solve.

Wake Up Dead Man: A Knives Out Mystery, which stars Craig, Josh O’Connor, Cailee Spaeny, Andrew Scott, Kerry Washington, Glenn Close, Jeremy Renner, Mila Kunis, Daryl McCormack, Josh Brolin, and Thomas Haden Church, premieres on Netflix in 2025.