Best Movie Twists

Film

There’s something about a twist within a movie, be it at the middle or end, that I’ve always enjoyed.  Maybe it’s because I can usually call them before they happen and I like the validation, but I appreciate a movie with a good twist to it.  The hero is the killer, the whole thing was a dream, the world is not really the world – they’re all great if done correctly.  Here are some of the best movie twists ever.  Sorry for the spoilers.

The Sixth Sense

The Sixth Sense

Dr. Malcolm Crowe (played by Bruce Willis) is attacked by a former patient one evening.  We catch back up with him months later as he begins counseling a young boy, Cole Sear (played by Haley Joel Osment).  Cole confides in his ability to see dead people, and at the end of the movie, we learn that Dr. Crowe is in fact dead himself, having died when shot in the abdomen by his former patient.

The movie was a critical and box office success, launching the careers of both Haley Joel Osment and M. Night Shyamalan.  The twist ending to the film would be what Shyamalan would become known for.

Fight Club

Fight Club

Ed Norton’s nameless character suffers from insomnia who finds emotional release by attending support groups for diseases he doesn’t actually have.  On a flight home he meets Tyler Durden (played by Brad Pitt), and after an evening at a bar, the two engage in a fight with Norton’s character then moving into Durden’s home.

Eventually the men form a “fight club”, joined by other men, which eventually spread across the country.  The clubs form into an organization called “Project Mayhem” with Tyler Durden as the leader.  A series of events leads to the narrator’s eventual realization that he is Tyler Durden, including a scene where “Tyler” holds the narrator hostage at gun point.

The Empire Strikes Back

The Empire Strikes Back

The big twist in this movie wasn’t saved for the final scene.  During the first Star Wars movie we came to know Darth Vader as a force of evil in the universe, with Luke Skywalker clearly destined to face and defeat him.  During The Empire Strikes Back we see Luke and Vader do battle with lightsabers, and after cutting off Luke’s hand, Darth Vader drops a huge bomb on the hero.

He’s Luke’s father.  The man that had just cut off Luke’s hand was in fact his father.  Talk about daddy issues.

Psycho

Psycho

The film begins with the character of Marion Crane stealing $40,000 from her employer and running away, stopping at the Bates Motel during a storm.  During a shower, Marion is murdered by a female assailant that we are lead to believe is Norman Bates’ mother.  Bates covers up the crime to protect his mother, but eventually Marion’s sister and boyfriend come looking for her.

After sneaking into Bates’ home, we learn that Norman’s mother is in fact dead.  Years earlier he had killed her, and as a coping mechanism he assumed her identity.  When killing, he was “Mother”, dressing and even sounding like her.

The Village

The Village

A village in 1897  has a long standing truce with monsters living in the surrounding forest.  After Lucius Hunt (Joaquin Phoenix) is attacked by a mentally challenged village member, Noah Percy (Adrien Brody), the blind daughter of the chief Elder, Ivy Walker (Bryce Dallas Howard) is given permission to go to the towns for medical supplies.

Before she departs, the first twist is revealed – the monsters are fabrications by the Elders to keep children from the woods.  While traveling through the woods, Ivy is attacked by one of these monsters, who after falling to its death reveals the second twist – the monster is Noah.  It is implied that Noah had been skinning the animals that were often found around the village and attributed to the “monsters”.

Eventually Ivy finds her way to the edge of the woods where the final twist is revealed.  It’s actually 2004.  The Village is in the middle of a wildlife preserve owned by Ivy’s father.  He and some like-minded individuals had left the civilized world in the late 1970’s, wanting to get away from the violence of the world and to deal with their past traumas in peace.

After Ivy returns, the Elders point out that with Noah’s death, they can continue to deceive the other Villagers.



Fallen

Fallen

“I want to tell you about the time I almost died.”  The first line of dialogue, a voice over by Denzel Washington, leads us to believe that Denzel’s character, John Hobbes, is going to almost die.  Through the film we learn of the demon Azazel, who can possess bodies simply by touching them.

Eventually Hobbes learns that the only way to stop Azazel is to get him to a place with no other humans and to then commit suicide.  After leading the demon up to a cabin in the woods, Hobbes kills his current host as he smokes a cigarette laced with a fatal dose of poison.  As his host dies, Azazel jumps into Hobbes’ body, trying to escape, but eventually Hobbes dies as well and Azazel is forced to jump again – into a nearby cat.

As the film ends, we again hear Denzel’s voice, now known to be Azazel, as says “I want to tell you about the time I almost died.”

Identity

Identity

The film begins with killer Malcolm Rivers awaiting execution for several murders that took place at a motel.  The film quickly shifts to a hotel where ten strangers have become stranded with no way to contact the outside world.  Slowly but surely, the strangers begin to die.

Eventually we learn that the strangers are in fact personalities within Rivers’ head, and his lawyer tries to convince one of the personalities to ensure that the homicidal personality doesn’t survive so that he can convince a judge to spare Rivers’ life.  Eventually the personalities believe they have stopped the homicidal personality and Rivers is granted a stay of execution.

As Rivers is being transported to a mental institution, we learn that the small child within Rivers is in fact the homicidal personality as it surfaces, killing the remaining personality and taking control of Rivers’ body, killing his doctor.

Soylent Green

Soylent Green

Detective Ty Thorn is investigating a murder in the year 2022, where the population of New York City alone has grown to 40 million and food as we know it is a luxury, with processed food from the Soylent Corporation being the only real source of food.  While investigating the murder, Thorn comes to find out that the new food being offered by the Soylent Corporation isn’t from plankton, as advertised, but from people.

At the end of the film, an injured and hysterical Thorn confides the truth to his superior officer, telling him that they’ve got to get the truth out.

The Others

The Others

Set in the aftermath of World War II, Grace Stewart (Nicole Kidman) and her two small children live in a remote country house, where the children live by strict rules due to a disease that makes them incredibly sensitive to light.  Believing the house to be haunted, Grace eventually comes to the realization that she and her children are in fact the ghosts, her having gone insane and smothered the children before killing herself.

The Usual Suspects

The Usual Suspects

The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world that he didn’t exist.  The entire movie consists of Verbal Kint (Kevin Spacey) relating a series of events that lead to several deaths to Agent Dave Kujan (Chazz Palminteri).  Kint tells the tale of how he and several other criminals had crossed Keyser Soze.

As Kint is released from custody after posting bail, it’s revealed that he in fact is Keyser Soze, and that the entire story he related to Agent Kujan was a complete fabrication, which Kujan realizes as well as he sees the names from his story are culled from objects around the office.  Kujan races out of the office to chase Kint/Soze, but it’s too late, he’s already disappeared.

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