20 Great Movie Twist Endings That Left Us Totally Shocked
The best twist endings in movies? Those that enhance the film’s previous two hours without rendering them moot.
From Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” in 1960 to modern classics like “Memento,” “The Sixth Sense” and “The Usual Suspects,” twist endings have shocked audiences for decades. Who can forget that he was dead the entire time? Or that she was dead the entire time? Or that he was the criminal mastermind? Or that they were all in his mind? Or that you blew it up?
Below, enjoy 20 of the greatest twist endings in movie history. Which ones did we forget? Let us know in the comments below!
20. The Descent
The Set-Up: An all-female group of spelunkers find themselves trapped underground when a cave-in blocks their way out. And surprise-surprise, they’re not alone down there…
The Twist: After various thrills and spills, the last surviving member of the caving party finally finds her way out, bursting into sweet daylight and her salvation. Until she wakes up and realises she’s still trapped. D’oh!
How Shocking? It’s a cruel, cruel twist. Too cruel for the American market, for whom the film finishes before the heroine awakens.
19. The Vanishing
The Set-Up: When his girlfriend is kidnapped by a stranger whilst backpacking in France, Dutch traveller Rex becomes obsessed with what happened to his lost love. Some three years later he comes face-to-face with the man who snatched her from him. Inviting Rex to the same café from which his girlfriend was abducted, the kidnapper tells him he will discover what happened to her if he drinks a proffered cup of coffee…
The Twist: Having drunk the coffee, Rex awakens to find himself buried alive in a coffin somewhere beneath the ground.
How Shocking? Terribly. The only thing worse than being buried alive would be the dying thought that your girlfriend went the same way. Truly horrific.
18. American Psycho
The Set-Up: Manhattan trader Pat Bateman spends his days doling out fashion tips, eating in the city’s finest restaurants and occasionally hacking people to pieces with his trusty axe. He’s an American psycho you see.
The Twist: Having confessed to his murders, Bateman realises that many of his supposed victims are still alive and kicking, the suggestion being that his crimes have only played out in his head.
How Shocking? It’s more bewildering than shocking, as Bateman’s madness is revealed to be even more pervasive than we’d first thought.
17. The Orphanage
The Set-Up: A couple moves into a former orphanage, only for their young child to go missing soon after. When the mother spies a ghostly boy with a bag over his head, she suspects something spooky has been going on.
The Twist: The ghost-boy is actually the spirit of her son, who she had accidentally trapped in the cellar. The noises she had heard in the house were the sounds of him struggling to free himself.
How Shocking? It’s quite a convoluted payoff, with a hearty amount of hallucination involved, but somehow it manages to be simultaneously horrifying and uplifting. No mean feat.