We were struck speechless by the final storyline twists in these movies. Nothing thrills a movie audience more than an unexpected twist towards the climax. While they don’t always succeed—and some movies place far too much emphasis on the finale to support the entire narrative—they are unforgettable when they do. And surprising twists can be used in practically any genre: Horror films and dystopian thrillers are a given, but space operas and romantic movies can also succeed in this genre. Keep reading for the moments that will make you want to pull the rug out from under you because we’ve compiled 23 of our favourites. (Warning: spoilers ahead.) This is no rocky horror show manchester.
The Wicker Man, #1 (1973)
There’s no denying that this 1973 horror movie has some influence on the critically acclaimed cult classic Midsommar (as well as the 2006 remake starring Nicolas Cage). Policeman Neil Howie (Edward Woodward) from a close-knit, pagan community on an island off the coast of Scotland is investigating the abduction of a little girl (Geraldine Cowper) in the film The Wicker Man. Howie discovers that the girl was only the bait and that he was actually the target all along, just as he thinks he has saved the girl from being used as a human sacrifice. In order to guarantee a plentiful crop, he is set ablaze in a massive wicker structure.
The Sixth Sense (2002) (1999)
This plot twist may be well known in popular culture today, but when M. Night Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense debuted in 1999, it astounded viewers. Because everyone wanted to immediately go back and rewatch it to find all the hints that Bruce Willis’ child psychologist Malcolm Crowe is one of the “dead people” his young patient Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment) has been claiming he can see and speak to, the movie topped the box office for several weeks.
Arrival 3 (2016)
Amy Adams plays a linguist hired by the US government to assist them in communicating with alien ships passing close to Earth in the 2016 film Arrival. Louise Banks is able to interpret the message the aliens are trying to convey by making use of her knowledge of language: They are offering humanity the gift of their means of communication, which allows people to perceive time in a different way. Then it becomes clear that Louise’s “flashbacks” to the early years of her small daughter are truly glimpses into the future. Despite knowing how horribly it will end, she starts seeing the man (Jeremy Renner) who will give birth to her child at the end of the movie.
The Prestige 4 (2006)
In this 2006 thriller, Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman play magicians embroiled in a violent competition. As Angier (Jackman) develops an obsession with learning how Borden (Bale) pulls off his “Transported Man” trick, he builds his own replica of it with the aid of a device created for him by the scientist Nikola Tesla (David Bowie), which duplicates Angier each time he enters it. By the time Angier finds that the guy he knows as “Borden” is actually a pair of identical twins who have been sharing one life in an incredibly dedicated, never-ending magic display, he has drowned how many clones of himself.
5 What Hiding Below (2000)
Norman (Harrison Ford), Claire’s husband, is sceptical when she first starts to think that she’s being haunted by an agitated spirit. But as Claire learns more about Madison Elizabeth Frank (Amber Valletta), who passed away by suicide in the home he shares with his wife, he begins to change his tune and admits to having an affair with her. Unexpectedly, that is also a falsehood. Norman attempted to manufacture Claire’s death the same way he staged Madison’s death since Madison had threatened to reveal their relationship. When Norman and Claire speed off the road into the lake where Madison’s body was dumped, Madison exacts revenge for her own murder since her body drags down Norman and allows Claire to flee.