Movies and television are meant to entertain us. However, we as the audience are pretty familiar with the formula that we have all grown accustomed to. There’s always a beginning introducing us to the characters, a middle which will have them go through whatever the drama/ordeal is, and finally, the ending where the issue is solved or the hero wins. The audience is usually entertained throughout the film or the TV show, but at times, we can easily predict the ending. There are some moments where the filmmakers manage to completely wow us with an ending that we did not expect, and that makes the viewing experience even greater. Here are some of the best moments on the big screen that made us say “what?!?” Some of these endings will be cliché, and as a result, we are not counting any M. Night Shyamalan films.
Supernatural thriller Fallen pitted Denzel Washington against the fallen angel Azazel. Although the film was not a critical or commercial success, it managed to do two things: get us to constantly sing “Time is on My Side" as Azazel constantly sang the song throughout the film, and give us a great WTF ending. The film is told via voiceover by Denzel Washington telling the audience about the time he almost died. In the film, Azazel would travel from human to human via personal touch and continue his serial killing ways. In the end, Denzel Washington’s character figured out a way to kill the monster by having the monster find him in a remote cabin miles away from people and then it would not have a body to move into after Denzel’s character poisons himself. However at the end of the film you suddenly realize that the voiceover was not Denzel’s character telling the audience, but Azazel while demonically possessing Denzel’s character, and he manages to jump from Denzel’s dying body to the body of a nearby cat, so he could continue his serial killing ways.
Se7en was a mind-job of a movie from start to finish. Imagine a serial killer who murders via the 7 deadly sins; a serial killer that actually doesn’t do much of the killings, but pretty much forces people to commit the killing by whatever their personal sin was, until the ending. With two sins remaining: Envy and Wrath, serial killer John Doe (played brilliantly by Kevin Spacey) manages to complete his mission in a masterful way. He informs Brad Pitt’s Detective Mills, that he envied the life he had and tried to live it with Mill’s wife, only to kill her and cut off her head, which then fills Mills with wrath so that he ends up killing John Doe and fulfilling his mission. This came out of nowhere and made the audience gasp at the end.
The narrator in Fight Club never reveals his name. Throughout the entire movie he is teamed with Tyler Durden as they embark on their journey that begins with their fight club and ends with them committing terrorism. Towards the end of the film, the narrator starts to feel that reality isn’t quite what he thought, and then he realizes that he actually is Tyler Durden and is someone who literally has two personalities, even though he doesn’t realize it. The scene is so powerful because it forces the audience to remember pretty much the whole movie for clues that were right there the whole time. It is masterfully done and when the scene ends, the audience is completely taken aback.
This is a scene that sticks with you for days. In the film Oldboy, Oh Dae-su’s wife has been killed, and then he was been kidnapped and imprisoned for 15 years, and then suddenly released. His captor tells him to discover why he was kidnapped to fully get his revenge. During his quest, Oh Dae-su meets a young lady who he becomes intimate with. As he continues his discovery of his imprisonment, he discovers that the reason is because when he was younger he saw his captor Lee Woo-jin and his sister involved in an incestuous act and his telling of it forced Lee Woo-jin’s sister to commit suicide. Lee Woo-jin reveals to Oh Dae-su that he orchestrated for Oh Dae-su to fall in love with his daughter (the lady who was helping him) and he didn’t even realize it, having not seen her for 15 years. Oh Dae-su realizes he was intimate with his own daughter, cuts his own tongue out in atonement to Lee Woo-jin. Lee Woo-jin kills himself as promised and then Oh Dae-su goes on to live with his daughter who is none the wiser. Oh Dae-su has a hypnotists erase the memory so even he doesn’t know, even though the possibility of him still remembering exists.
The Mist has one of the most gut-punching twist endings in a long time. In the film, the protagonist David is held up in a convenience store with his children and fellow townspeople when an eerie fog sets in on the town. Out in the fog there are grotesque monsters that attack people who venture outside. While holed up in the convenience store, fellow townspeople start to go stir crazy and get whipped up by a religious zealot into thinking this is a punishment from God who demands sacrifices. The film shows that even though there were monsters outside that would kill, there were human monsters that were just as dangerous, even more so perhaps. David manages to convince a few people to escape with him and attempt to survive outside rather than deal with the insanity in the store. Managing to escape, they drive through the nightmare world covered in fog until they run out of gas. Completely hopeless, David decides that rather than die from the monsters, he will shoot his passengers, which they all agree to. However, he does not have enough bullets for himself. After he kills the passengers, including his own son, he goes outside to face whatever large monster is waiting for him, only to discover that it is the army who was arriving to save everyone. If he waited only a few minutes longer he wouldn’t have had to kill everyone, giving this movie a sad, crazy twist of an ending.
Bonus - Great TV Moments:
24: Nina is the mole and kills Jack’s wife. Just when you thought everything was OK, you realize Jack’s lover was the enemy the whole time and is responsible for all of Jack’s problems including killing his wife at the end.
Breaking Bad: Walter White Finally Breaks Bad and lets Jessie's girlfriend die. Up until that moment, Walter still has some “good” in him. When he sees Jessie’s girlfriend overdose, he stops himself from saving her because it didn’t serve his purpose.
Lost: We have to go back. Just when you though the episode Through the Looking Glass was a flashback, they show that it was a flash-forward and that Jack and Kate made it off the island.
Game of Thrones: The Red Wedding. Completely came out of nowhere and made everyone collectively scream at their televisions as almost all of the Starks met their end at Robb Stark’s wedding.