5. Moon (2009)
Unlike all the other films on this list, “Moon” drops its twist halfway through the story, and then spends the rest of the runtime examining the aftermath of that twist.
The film tells the story of Sam Bell, who works as a miner on the far side of the Moon, and we follow him in the final days of his stay as he battles loneliness, alienation, and boredom.
The twist is that he’s a clone grown by the company and that he was never going to get home, and was instead going to get killed and replaced by another clone.
It’s an interesting twist and leads to an even more interesting situation, as two Sam Bells try to work out a solution to this problem.
Before the twist arrives, the film is alright but nothing great, but once the film drops this atom bomb of a twist, the film suddenly becomes something very special.
4. Stay (2005)
“Stay” is a weird film; it’s the type of film that looks like it’s just a bunch of weird stuff thrown together for the sake of being weird for about 90 percent of its runtime, only to reveal how everything fits together in the final minutes. And once you know the truth, the film begins to make so much sense that it becomes quite maddening that you didn’t realize it while watching it.
Saying anything more would spoil the fun of experiencing the film for the first time, but it’s an incredible reveal that ties the whole film together and perfectly explains all of its weird idiosyncrasies.
“Stay” is a highly underrated film that rewards multiple viewings, and that’s all thanks to the twist.
3. Krampus (2015)
“Krampus” is a film full of so much wasted potential that it’s maddening, because a film about Krampus should be nothing short of awesome, but instead we get a pretty forgettable run-of-the-mill horror film that has enough interesting monsters to stay watchable without ever becoming interesting enough to be worth watching.
But the final scene is just amazing.
After a long night of everyone being killed off one by one by Krampus and his henchmonsters, Max, the lone survivor of the family, confronts Krampus and begs forgiveness for losing his Christmas spirit. Krampus then tosses him into a pit and we cut to a sequence that hints that Krampus has forgiven them and gave them a second chance.
But then we and the characters begin to notice that something is off, that something is wrong, and then it’s revealed that they are all stuck inside a snow globe in Krampus’ lair.
It’s such an awesomely nihilistic ending that it makes the whole film worth it, and will most likely lead to it becoming a Christmas classic that will be watched on Christmas Eve for years to come, with the sole purpose of shocking and annoying your parents and grandparents who just wanted a happy ending.
2. The Skeleton Key (2005)
“The Skeleton Key” has one of the meanest, darkest, most fucked up and disturbing endings ever.
The film itself up to that point might not be that good, but the ending will make damn sure that you remember it very fondly for years to come, and will heighten its overall quality every time you decide to rewatch it.
Out of all the films on this list, “The Skeleton Key” is pretty much the definition of a film made awesome by its twist.
1. Repo Men (2010)
“Repo Men” is an incredibly dull and unengaging slog. However, the world it creates is interesting and the main concept is pretty great: in the future, a company creates artificial organs and will tax you for their usage, and if you can’t pay up in time, a couple of guys will come and rip the organs out of you and leave you for dead.
But the main characters are just so boring and the story they decide to tell is so formulaic that it doesn’t matter how awesome the central concept is, or how interesting the world around the characters are. It’s all just so incredibly boring that it’s hard to find the energy to even finish this goddamned slog.
But the people who stick around and finish it are in for a treat, because in the final 20 minutes, the film pretty much goes completely insane and we get one of the greatest (and bloodiest) heist sequences ever. And it all leads to an amazingly mean twist ending that’s lifted straight out of Terry Gilliam’s “Brazil.”
But even though the twist is stolen, it still has a hell of an impact and makes it totally worth it to sit through the rest of the film, because those final 20 minutes are just way to fucking awesome to be left unwatched.