BySam Plank, writer at
"You have to be what you are. Whatever you are, you gotta be it." -Johnny Cash. Tweet a tweeter at my twitty twitter, @tw1tterintw1t
Sam Plank

Unless you were that one guy that saw the twist in The Sixth Sense coming, do you remember exactly how you felt when Dr. Malcolm Crowe discovered that he was undeniably and reliably, really most sincerely dead, and he had actually been scaring the crap out of poor little Haley Joel Osment the entire movie? Chances are, you were like me, chomping at the bit to watch it again just to see what you'd missed the first time around that allowed M. Night Shyamalan to pull the wool over your eyes.

That's exactly what a good movie with an even better twist does. It ropes you in and then without so much as a warning, your jaw is on the floor.

Here are seven movies that had a twist so good, so mind-blowing, that even your ancestors might have felt the shockwave.

Obviously, there are about seven REALLY big spoilers waiting for you below, so go forth with caution.

1. The Others (2001)

Nicole Kidman in The Others
Nicole Kidman in The Others
  • Release Date: August 10, 2001
  • Director: Alejandro Amenábar
  • Starring: Nicole Kidman as Grace Stewart, the reluctant ghost
  • The Twist: Grace's kids aren't just allergic to sunlight, they, along with their mother, are dead!
  • When it twists: At the end, so we can make it through the entire movie thinking the Stewarts are the haunted, not the haunters.

The Others grabs your attention from the start, and never lets go until the final, eerie scene. Like any good ghost movie, the house where Grace and her two children live is full of nightmare fuel. Pictures of dead people, disembodied voices, her daughter seeing four strangers in the house. There's even a moment when Grace sees her daughter, but with the face of an old, white-eyed lady. She attacks whatever it is, but it turns out to actually be her daughter. Throw into the mix that Grace believes her children are photosensitive, and keeps the curtains drawn all day.

The twist comes near the very end of the movie, during a séance with the four people Grace's daughter has been seeing.

This results in Grace's memories returning of her husband dying in the war, and her smothering her children and taking her own life out of remorse.

The movie ends with Grace accepting that she and her children are dead, and them repeating, very ghost-like, “This house is ours,” and Grace saying, “No one can make us leave this house.”

One could hope that would be the first step of them eventually moving on to the great blue yonder.

2. A Beautiful Mind (2002)

Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind
Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind
  • Release Date: January 4, 2002
  • Director: Ron Howard
  • Starring: Russell Crowe as John Forbes Nash, Jr., Jennifer Connelly as his wife Alicia, Ed Harris as Parcher
  • The Twist: Not that Nash suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, but that all along, his roommate and niece were just hallucinations.
  • When it twists: A couple points throughout the movie.

A quick Google search will tell you who John Nash is and why he was so special that there was a movie made about him. He was a brilliant mathematician and a paranoid schizophrenic, but that wasn't the big twist. Tragically, the real John Nash and his wife, Alicia, were killed in a car crash in 2015, but the man in the film survived run-ins with the hallucination of Soviet agents, shootouts, and an assassination attempt on his wife by his imaginary boss, William Parcher. It was that last hallucination that led him to realize that his other hallucination, his niece Marcee, doesn't age, so she can't be real. This is the part of the movie that really hammers home how sick he is, and eventually leads to his ability to ignore his hallucinations, and lead a somewhat normal life.

It's only after he realizes all three hallucinations aren't real and comes to terms with his disability that he's able to accomplish the great things he's been capable of, including winning the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics.

3. Oldboy (2003)

Min-sik Choi as Dae-su Oh in Oldboy
Min-sik Choi as Dae-su Oh in Oldboy
  • Release Date: November 21, 2003 (South Korea)
  • Director: Chan-wook Park
  • Starring: Min-sik Choi as Dae-su Oh, Ji-tae Yu as Woo-jin Lee, Hye-jeong Kang as Mi-do, and Dae-han Ji as No Joo-hwan
  • The twist: She's his daughter!
  • When it twists: Not all the way at the end, but far enough out to let us think he's a good guy, and the movie still gives us time to see him get his.

This Korean film by master filmmaker Chan-wook Park is possibly one of the lesser-known on this list (though a cult classic), but its twist is just as full of WTF. 15 years ago, Dae-su Oh was kidnapped and held hostage for the next decade and a half, in a room where his food is served through a trap door. He can watch television, though, and plans for the moment he can escape (or is set free, it just so happens) by training himself to fight.

In the present, he's mysteriously released back into the world. He spends the rest of the movie trying to get back at his captor, and meets a young sushi chef named Mi-do in the process. They fall in love, and do things that people do when they're in love. I'm not explaining anymore right now for a reason, but here is where they meet:

Fast forward to the twist: Dae-su finally tracks down his captor, Woo-jin, who tells him that he imprisoned him for witnessing Woo-jin having incestuous sex with his sister. Dae-su told his classmates, resulting in Woo-jin's sister's suicide (which was actually secretly assisted by her brother), and Woo-jin held a grudge against him for years.

The twist, amongst all this drama worthy of an entire season of a soap opera? Woo-jin had Dae-su hypnotized and led to the sushi restaurant, where he met...his daughter. In a twisted (oh, oh) plot to get revenge on Dae-su, Woo-jin plotted to trick him into having sex with his own flesh and blood, to feel the same pain Woo-jin did as a child, revealing how far beyond kidnapping Dae-su Woo-jin was willing to go to get even. Yep, Mi-do was his daughter all along.

4. What Lies Beneath (2000)

Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer in What Lies Beneath
Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer in What Lies Beneath
  • Release Date: July 21, 2000
  • Director: Robert Zemeckis
  • Starring: Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer as Dr. Norman and Claire Spencer
  • The twist: Harrison Ford plays...get this...A BAD GUY
  • When it twists: Not all the way at the end, but far enough out to let us think he's a good guy, and the movie still gives us time to see him get his.

Throughout the entire movie, the viewer is misdirected over and over. First, with Claire thinking their neighbor killed his wife, and now her ghost is haunting them. Then, after discovering the ghost is Madison, Norman's younger (and slightly batshit crazy) other woman for a short time, we think that she killed herself to get even with Norman. Yet another twist! Turns out Norman killed her and her poor car by pushing them into the lake, and plans to kill Claire now that she knows the truth.

Here's the moment everyone found out Harrison Ford was the bad guy for once!

We get to see his character's true, coldblooded colors when he's setting up his wife's “suicide” in the above clip, and just how far he'll go to keep his career and reputation untarnished.

5. Shutter Island (2010)

Mark Ruffalo and Leonardo DiCaprio in Shutter Island
Mark Ruffalo and Leonardo DiCaprio in Shutter Island
  • Release Date: February 19, 2010
  • Director: Martin Scorsese
  • Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio as Teddy Daniels, Mark Ruffalo as Chuck Aule, Ben Kingsley as Dr. Cawley, Max von Sydow as Dr. Naehring, Michelle Williams as Dolores
  • The twist: Teddy isn't a detective investigating the asylum; he's really a patient there - and he just might know how sick he is.
  • When it twists: Teddy finds out he's a patient close to the end, and the possibility that he knows he can't be fixed is literally the last line of the movie.

This is a twist that I never in a million years saw coming. Which, I guess, is kind of the whole point of this list. They really made it believable that Teddy and Chuck were going to the island to investigate some weird crap, and the moment it's revealed that Teddy is a patient and the whole premise of the movie was an extreme attempt by the staff to try and break through his psychosis was surprising to say the least.

The end leaves you wondering if Teddy really knows what's going on, and is tired of fighting the demons inside him:

6. Saw (2004)

Cary Elwes as Dr. Lawrence Gordon in Saw
Cary Elwes as Dr. Lawrence Gordon in Saw
  • Release Date: October 29, 2004
  • Director: James Wan
  • Starring: Cary Elwes as Dr. Lawrence Gordon, Leigh Whannell as Adam Faulkner-Stanheight, Tobin Bell as Jigsaw, and Danny Glover as Detective David Tapp
  • The twist: Jigsaw is actually the “dead” guy in the middle of the floor
  • When it twists: Right at the end!

With Saw: Legacy coming in 2017, why not revisit the original one more time?

The twist in this was so simple, yet so incredible. It was so good that if someone you know claims to have seen it coming, you need to either call them out for their lie or start getting weekly lottery numbers from them because they're freakin' psychic.

Jigsaw, apparently wanting a front row seat to his little experiment in terror, surprised his one remaining prisoner by seemingly coming back from the dead...where he had actually been the entire time, right on the floor with them. Relive that moment below — I'll leave the amputation scene out. This time.

7. The Game (1997)

Michael Douglas in The Game
Michael Douglas in The Game
  • Release Date: September 12, 1997
  • Director: David Fincher
  • Starring: Michael Douglas and Sean Penn as brothers Nicholas and Conrad Van Orton, Deborah Kara Unger as Christine
  • The twist: It really was all a game
  • When it twists: The big reveal is the moment Nicholas lands on the big air bag, surrounded by everyone involved in the game.

This was probably the first big "twist" movie that I have ever seen. It came out when I was a senior in high school, so if it wasn't the first then it was most certainly the best, because it's the oldest one I remember watching. I can still remember the moment Nicholas shot his brother and thinking, Dammit! The game is over! But alas, the big twist was still yet to come, when Nicholas hit that air bag in the ballroom.

His baby brother promised him a life-changing experience with the game, and he came through. In true rich big brother style, Nicholas covered half of what had to be one massive bill. An entire ceiling made of fake, breakaway glass? Holy checkbook, Batman!

Happy birthday, Nicky.


Tell me your favorite 'movie with a twist' in the comments!


Latest from our Creators