The marketing for the new movie The Gift has been pushing the fact that "the ending will haunt you for days." I haven't seen the movie yet, but will be seeing it tonight and am excited to discover if this will be a movie that can take me by surprise (which, to be honest, isn't necessarily easy).
In the mean time, I've been thinking of other horror movies with twist endings. There are SO many creative endings in horror out there, but there are five movies in particular that really took me by surprise.
CAUTION: SPOILER ALERTS! (obviously)
5. The Others
This is all-round one of my favorite horror movies, but I was really taken by surprise by the ending. During the entire movie I had a feeling that there was something wrong, I just couldn't pinpoint exactly where that feeling was coming from. When I realized that the mother and her children were in fact the ghosts, and that they were the ones haunting the owners of the house I was shocked! And then doubly shocked when I realized that the cause of their death was from her smothering the children with a pillow then shooting herself with a shotgun. BAM! Fantastic horror movie without a drop of blood.
I saw this movie months after it had been released. In fact, I think it was already on DVD and only still playing in one movie theater in NYC. Anyway, this one really horrified me. I thought the surprise ending that I heard shocked my friend was when the little girl started seducing the father. I thought, no they aren't going to take it there...they can't take it there. Then it's revealed that Esther is not even a child, she is a murderous 33-year-old woman with a hormone disorder that has stunted her growth! Continuing her murderous rampage by killing the father and almost the entirety of her family, only to be finally taken down by Kate (the mother), left me with an uneasy, horrified feeling. This movie succeeded in what it sought out to do: it not only fooled me but I walked away feeling like I had been hit in the stomach.
Horror movies that rely on gore alone are not exactly my cup of tea. Gore doesn't bother me, but it needs to have a purpose to impress me. The original Saw not only had a purpose with its gore, it was original and had such a smart twisted ending that my jaw literally dropped. I was in "shock and awe" when I realized that the mastermind behind the trap was lying RIGHT next to him the entire time. It has been eleven years since this movie came out, and I can still remember the exact feeling of walking out of that movie. It was a sensation of "wow" that not a lot of movies can deliver effectively.
2. High Tension
While I was watching this movie for the first time, I really liked the style of it. It was brutal, it was suspenseful...it was pointless. I didn't really think it was going to be more than a brutal slasher film with a mediocre "revenge" ending. I knew she was going to turn the tables eventually, but I didn't think she was going to flip the table upside down and throw it at us!! She's the killer!? She's crazy and she killed everyone, the murderer chasing her turning out to be a figment of her imagination?! Did not see that coming. In fact, this was one of those movies that I made my horror movie fan friends watch with me the next day because I wanted to see their reactions. Awesome!
1. The Mist
I can't recall an ending quite like this one. It really felt dreadful....and powerful. When I realized that he was about to shoot everyone then himself I didn't know what to do. It was one of those movies where I walked out of the theater in silence, and didn't really say anything about what just happened until my friend and I got in a cab. I really had absolutely no idea that the movie was going to go in that completely TWISTED direction.