Movies With Plot Twists No One Saw Coming

A good plot twist can make or break a film. If done correctly, some plot twists outlive the popularity of the movies they’re in – ask M. Night Shyamalan. However, not every filmmaker has mastered the technique so that it doesn’t feel like a betrayal of what we’ve already seen in the film – and that might be why satisfying plot twists are such a rare sight.

When done correctly, however, a plot twist can elevate the film’s overall quality to new levels of complexity. Some movies are even remembered for their surprising endings rather than for everything that preceded them. That’s why, on this list, we’ll go over eight of the most astonishing plot twists ever seen in a film – the kind of revelation that makes you see flicks with an entirely new perspective.

Warning: This post may contain spoilers.

Friday the 13th (1980)

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.

The plot twist in the first Friday the 13th movie is rather strange. As you might know, the series became a top-rated horror franchise, spawning dozens of sequels, all featuring the menacing visage of the iconic Jason Voorhees. That said, things worked a bit differently in the first film.

If you’re familiar with the series, the fact that Jason is probably going around killing teenagers in Camp Crystal Lake should be no surprise to you. However, at the end of Friday the 13th, we learn that Jason wasn’t responsible for all the carnage – this time, at least; it was his mother, Mrs. Voorhees.

As we think we have everything sorted out, Friday the 13th goes on a rampage with a second plot twist – implying that the deceased Jason is still alive and kicking (and also killing.)

Planet of the Apes (1968)

Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox.

As we mentioned earlier, some plot twists have become landmarks of pop culture in and of themselves – and there’s no better proof of this than the one at the end of the original Planet of the Apes. The film follows a group of astronauts who crashland on a supposedly remote planet where humans are seen as little more than pets to the ruling class of highly-intelligent primates.

However, the last surviving astronaut comes to a haunting realization right at the end of the film: the “planet” they’re on is none other than Earth itself. When the astronaut comes across the half-buried remains of the Statue of Liberty, everyone watching the film when it was released was left speechless. The twist at the end of the Tim Burton remake is also quite good, although the “Ape Lincoln” statue might have been a bit sillier than the 1968’s ending.

Citizen Kane (1941)

Photo Credit: RKO Radio Pictures, Mercury Productions.

While most plot twists are meant to “elevate” the meaning of some seemingly inconsequential detail presented in the film, Citizen Kane goes for the opposite with its clever twist. The movie opens with Charles Foster Kane on his deathbed, uttering one single word before his passing: “Rosebud.”

Of course, a good chunk of the film focuses on discovering who or what “Rosebud” means. Knowing Kane’s ruthless and borderline heartless nature, no one would expect that “Rosebud” would be the name of Kane’s beloved childhood sled. The movie’s final scene sees the sled thrown into a furnace, with the mystery behind the meaning of “Rosebud” going up in flames.

Arrival (2016)

Photo Credit: Lava Bear Films, Xenolinguistics.

Denis Villeneuve has steadily become the new face of sci-fi greatness in the entertainment industry, and Arrival is excellent proof of his genius. The movie follows the efforts of linguist Louise Banks to communicate with a strange alien race that has just arrived on Earth. 

As she tries to decipher their strange language, Louise eventually realizes that the alien’s perception of time is warped, allowing them to see into the future as if it were the present. The aliens share this ability with Louise, which eventually becomes one of the most shocking plot twists in a modern sci-fi flick.

Throughout the film, it’s implied that Louise is dealing with depression after the passing of her young daughter. However, what we learn at the end is that the aliens are allowing her to see into the future: Louise sees the daughter that she’ll have someday, and she’s tormented by the knowledge that she’s going to die young.

Psycho (1960)

Photo Credit: Shamley Productions.

There’s more than one surprising plot twist in Alfred Hitchcock’s spectacular Psycho. First of all, the character is prominently shown as the protagonist of the story, Marion Crane – spoiler alert – dies right in the middle of the film.

All signs point towards the reclusive mother of Norman Bates, the owner of the motel Marion was in when she was killed, as the killer in this case. However, the truth is much more sinister: Norman killed his mother years ago and has been living with a murderous case of split personality for years.

Fight Club (1999)

Photo Credit: Fox 2000 Pictures, New Regency Productions.

David Fincher’s rebellious Fight Club might be one of the films that most effectively captures the spirit of the 90s. What begins as an exploration into masculinity and vicious consumerism quickly becomes trippier as we learn the truth behind the film’s narrator’s identity and the impossibly cool Tyler Durden.

At first glance, the unnamed narrator (played by Edward Norton) and Tyler (Brad Pitt) are entirely different people. They look different, act different, and even hold radically opposite beliefs for most of the film. However, near the movie’s climax, we suddenly understand that the narrator and Tyler are one and the same.

The best part about this plot twist is that Fincher left some clues scattered throughout the film for keen-eyed fans to discover, such as the narrator flinching when Tyler gets hit and some other blink-and-you-miss-it moments.

Star Wars V- The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Photo Credit: Lucasfilm, Ltd.

A twist that lives engraved in the hearts of any Star Wars fan, the revelation at the end of Empire Strikes Back remains one of the most memorable moments in a franchise that’s virtually composed of iconic scenes. This plot twist, however, completely changes the course of the rest of the franchise, as it establishes the true relationship between two legendary characters.

The first Star Wars film establishes that Darth Vader killed Luke Skywalker’s father. This gives Luke more than enough reason to hold a vendetta against the ruthless Sith Lord. However, during their first proper fight, Vader easily defeats Luke and eventually drops the mother of all bombs for the Star Wars saga: he is Luke’s father.

George Lucas handled the revelation as a top secret on the set of The Empire Strikes Back. Only a handful of people knew about the twist before they filmed – the rest of the cast believed that Darth Vader was going to tell Luke that Obi-Wan was the one who killed his father. It’s safe to say that we got the best possible ending.

The Sixth Sense (1999)

Photo Credit: Hollywood Pictures, Spyglass Entertainment.

Remember at the beginning of the list when we mentioned M. Night Shyamalan? Well, that’s because the filmmaker is well-known for his love for plot twists – and there’s no better twist than the one at the end of The Sixth Sense.

The movie follows a child psychologist (Bruce Willis) who investigates the case of a seemingly neglected child who claims that he can see dead people. The film has its fair share of bizarre and disturbing moments, but it’s mostly an endearing drama worth watching.

However, the true genius of The Sixth Sense happens right at the end: as it turns out, Bruce Willis’ character has been dead since the beginning of the film, when one of his patients killed him in his bedroom. In retrospect, some of the things that his character does don’t make too much sense – like seemingly always wearing the same clothes – but it all adds to the superb air of uneasiness that permeates the whole film.

And there you have it! Some of the best plot twists in cinema history. Do you agree with the list? Is there any other movie with great plot twists? Let me know in the comments.

The Mist (2007)

Photo Credit: Dimension Films

The Mist is a 2007 film adaptation of Stephen King’s novella that captivates audiences with its unexpected and powerful twist. Set in a small town engulfed by a mysterious and deadly mist, a group of people seeks refuge in a supermarket, only to face their deepest fears and the horrifying creatures lurking. As tension mounts and hope diminishes, the film delivers a shocking and thought-provoking climax that challenges perceptions of humanity, morality, and the limits of desperation.

This unexpected twist leaves viewers contemplating the depths of human nature and the devastating consequences of our choices, making The Mist a standout film with a memorable and impactful conclusion.

The Usual Suspect (1995)

Photo Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc

The Usual Suspects is a crime thriller known for its masterful twist that keeps audiences on edge. The film revolves around a group of criminals brought together for a heist and their encounter with the enigmatic Keyser Söze, a legendary and mysterious figure. As the story unfolds through the eyes of a survivor being interrogated by law enforcement, unexpected revelations emerge, blurring the lines between truth and deception.

The film’s twist ending redefines the narrative, leaving viewers stunned and reevaluating everything they thought they knew. The Usual Suspects is a testament to the power of storytelling and the impact of a well-executed plot twist, cementing its place as a classic in the crime genre.

Shutter Island (2010)

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Shutter Island is a testament to cinematic excellence, leaving viewers spellbound by its gripping narrative and an astonishing plot twist that blindsides even the most astute moviegoers. With masterful direction and impeccable performances, the film keeps you on the edge of your seat until the very last frame, defying expectations and ensuring its place in the annals of unforgettable cinema.

The Prestige (2006)

Photo Credit: Touchstone Pictures.

The Prestige is a captivating movie about two rival magicians, and it’s famous for its mind-blowing plot twist. Throughout the film, these magicians compete fiercely to outdo each other’s tricks. When you think you’ve got it all figured out, the movie delivers a jaw-dropping surprise that completely changes how you see the story, leaving you amazed by its unexpected turn and the clever way it unravels the mystery.

Atonement (2007)

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures.

Atonement is a captivating film known for its powerful narrative and surprising plot twist that catches everyone off guard. The story follows a young girl who mistakenly accuses someone of a crime, leading to life-changing consequences. If you think that’s it, the movie reveals a shocking twist that redefines everything you thought you knew, leaving viewers amazed by its unexpected turn of events and its impact on the characters’ lives.

12 Movies That Took a Dark and Unexpected Turn

Photo Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.

When you least expect it, these films take a turn for the macabre, morphing from happy-go-lucky entertainments to bleak, twisted nightmares without breaking a sweat. Whether for shock value or to reflect some “life lesson.” Here are 12 movies that swapped cheer for chills in the blink of an eye.

12 Movies That Took a Dark and Unexpected Turn

12 Movies That Will Make You Question Your Entire Existence

Photo Credit: Newmarket Films.

Here is the list of movies that will do just that! From mind-bending thrillers to existential dramas, these films will challenge everything you thought you knew about yourself and the world.

12 Movies That Will Make You Question Your Entire Existence

Worst Movies Ever Made in the History of Cinema You Should Actually See (Or Not)

Photo Credit: Reynolds Pictures.

We all enjoy watching movies, but let’s be honest —not all films are made equally. Some films are considered timeless masterpieces, while others should have never been made. There is no doubt that these kinds of films leave an impression on the viewer, but not for the right reasons. Let’s look at some of the worst movies of all time.

Worst Movies Ever Made in the History of Cinema You Should Actually See (Or Not)

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