The 10 Worst Movie Twist Endings of All Time

6. Butterfly Effect Directors Cut Version (2004)

Butterfly Effect

What is the movie about: Evan Treborn and his three friends Lenny, Tommy and Kayleigh experience their far share of trauma during their childhood years, including child abuse, the accidental murder of a woman and her infant child and an murder attempt on Evan’s life. During these events he completely blacks out and can’t remember a thing after the event is over.

Seven years later and Evan discovers that he can travel back in time when he reads his adolescent journals. It’s his time jumps that caused his black outs as a young boy as his conciousness can only be in one place at a time.

After several attempts to fix his past traumas and save his friends, Evan reaches the conclusion that no matter what he does, something will always go horrible wrong for either himself or someone he cares about. He makes the decision to go back in time and make it so that Kayleigh and Tommy went to live with their mother instead, thus causing all three of them to avoid the awful things that Evan knows is going to happen in the future.

What is the twist: The theatrical cut of the movie has Evan walking past Kayleigh as adults and she doesn’t recognize him and they continue on their separate ways. However a director’s cut was released shortly after that massively changes the ending. In this ending, Evan watches a home movie of his birth and decides to jump to that point in his timeline. He then commits suicide by strangling himself with his umbilical cord. It’s like a depressing, reverse version of It’s a Wonderful Life.

Why is it the worst: The big problem is that babies don’t breath using their necks in the womb, so it’s physically impossible for Evan to commit suicide this way. He would have to tie a knot in the cord and pull it so tightly that none of the air or nutrients could travel down the cord to his body. Now given the fact that all of this is happening in utero, it seems very unlikely that this is something Evan could pull off as a tiny fetus.

The movie also doesn’t address the ramifications that Evan’s death will have on time. The entire principle of the movie is the butterfly effect, when a butterfly flaps its wings on one side of the world, it causes a hurricane on the other side.

This is used as an explanation for why everything always goes wrong when Evan tries to fix past events, but then totally ignores this for a last second twist. The amount of damage that could be done to time from removing an entire person from it, seems like it should have unforeseeable, far reaching consequences.


7. Vanilla Sky (2001)


What is the movie about: David Aames is in prison for murder and is telling his life story to a prison psychiatrist. He was the incredibly rich owner of a publishing company and a lifelong bachelor until he met Sofia. The two of them instantly fall in love with each other.

David’s ex girlfriend Julie is enraged when she hears about their relationship and attempts to commit suicide and murder David by deliberately crashing a her car, with both of them inside, into a wall. His face is badly disfigured and plastic surgery can’t fix it. He passes out drunk on the street after his girlfriend has abandoned him.

When he wakes, Sofia finds him to apologize and asks him to come home. David even manages to get his face fixed and everything seems perfect. But he keeps experiencing odd visions and nightmarish hallucinations. It reaches a fever pitch when David returns home only to discover that all photos of Sofia have changed to look like Julie including Sofia herself. He murders her and is sent to prison.

What is the twist: It turns out that from the moment David passed out drunk on the street, he has actually been dreaming. A company called Life Extension have put him in cryonic suspension and he is experiencing a lucid dream that got away from him. He is given the option to fix the dream and stay where he is, or take a literal leap of faith off the top of a building and wake up.

Why is it the worst: It is always a terrible idea to go for the ‘it was all a dream’ ending. As story cliches go, it’s one of the worst. No audience member wants to feel like they have wasted two hours of their lives on something that never actually happened. Also, if Life Extension is such a popular and successful business, it makes no sense that they would allow something like this to happen.

There would a huge amount of safety protocols in place to make sure that none of their clients ever accidentally slipped into a nightmare like David did. The second the company realised that his dream was going off kilter, they would have reset him to the beginning again and he would be none the wiser.


8. The Number 23 (2007)

The Number 23 (2007)

What is the movie about: Walter Sparrow stumbles on a book about a detective who becomes obsessed with the number 23. Walter himself becomes consumed with the urge to find 23 everywhere he looks.

What is the twist: Turns out that Walter is the one who wrote the book after he murdered his girlfriend and then attempted to commit suicide. Because of injuries incurred during his attempt, he has amnesia and completely forgets about the murder.

Why is it the worst: Number 23 deserves its place on this list purely for the fact that the author of the 23 book is called Topsy Kretts, a name with all the subtly of a brick to the face. The movie spends half of its run time tying itself up into knots trying to make its convoluted and ridiculous plot twist seem plausible. Retrograde amnesia is very rarely permanent.

Walter likely would have recovered his memories a few weeks later after the swelling on his brain went down. It’s also unclear as to why the police didn’t arrest Walter for the murder considering his forensic evidence would have been all over her and the scene, and more often than not in these cases, it’s the significant other that has committed the murder.


9. Source Code (2011)


What is the movie about: Colter Stevens, a mortally wounded American solider is transported back in time and into the conciousness of a man riding on a train called Sean Fentress. Colter is informed by the Air Force that his mission is to discover the identity of the man who detonated a dirty bomb on the train, killing hundreds of people.

What is the twist: Colter discovers the identity of the bomber but convinces the Air Force to allow him to travel back in time as a last ditch effort to prevent the train from exploding. Dr Rutledge, the creator of the source code time machine, believes this to be an exercise in futility because the train has already exploded. Nevertheless, Colter is given one last try and succeeds in stopping the train from exploding, but rather than returning to his body, he gets off the train and takes over the life of Sean Fentress.

Why is it the worst: Colter is supposed to be the hero of the piece, a stand up guy who gave his life for his country, but he appears to have absolutely no moral problem with essentially killing Sean and taking his place.

The movie doesn’t even spare a moment to discuss the fact that Colter has accidental created two realities, one where the train exploded and one where it didn’t. If the source code technology continues to be used then every person that makes any changes will be creating more and more alternate realities, until eventually time will collapse in on itself. Something that Colter completely ignores.


10. Cabin in the Woods (2011)


What is the movie about: It’s a classic cabin in the woods tale with a modern take. Five college students travel down to the cabin for a holiday, but what they don’t know is a shadowy organization is controlling the cabin. They pump mind-altering drugs into the air to increase the teenagers libido’s and lower their rational thinking.

Members of the organization start taking bets on who will be killed first. The teens stumble on a bunch of junk in the basement, unaware that whichever item they pick up corresponds to a monster that will be released to kill all of them.

What is the twist: As it turns out the shadowy organization isn’t some kind of snuff TV show or a rich kids idea of a good time, but rather they are attempting to prevent the apocalypse. That’s right. They need a bunch of people to die until only the virgin is left, who will be sacrificed to an ancient god living in the center of the Earth. If he doesn’t get his sacrifice then he will rise up and destroy the world. Dana, the intended virgin sacrifice decides that humanity isn’t worth saving and allows the god to escape.

Why is it the worst: Why bother going to all of the trouble of hunting teenagers in the woods? Why not just kidnap a bunch of people and a virgin? Kill the people and then sacrifice the virgin to the god. Done and dusted, easy working day. Even if the ritual is an integral part of the whole process, then surely the people in charge would have back up virgins in case the first one didn’t go according to plan.

Dana is also supposed to be the ‘good guy’ righteous virgin sacrifice, but at the end of the film she is completely comfortable with condemning 7 billion people. Why? Because a bunch of douche bags tried to kill her? Seems a little extreme to take down the rest of the world with her.

Author Bio: Naomi Shakespeare is a freelance writer with a BA in English. Yes that is her real name, no she is not related to William Shakespeare.