Nicole Kidman photographed in Sydney promoting her new film The Others on Sunday 1 November 2001 (Photo by Andrew Taylor/The Sydney Morning Herald/Fairfax Media via Getty Images via Getty Images)

Best film plot twists: 14 movies with brilliant and entirely unexpected endings

Posted by for Film

From The Others to Get Out, these are the twisted movies guaranteed to catch you off guard…

M. Night Shyamalan is bringing a new horror film to our screens this summer, and, while the trailer for Old is all kinds of unsettling, it doesn’t give all that much away. 

In fact, all we can really gather from it, plot-wise, is this; a family stumbles across a gorgeous secluded beach and, somehow, it causes them to age rapidly, reducing their entire lives to a single day.

Check it out:

Considering Shyamalan is the undisputed king of the plot twist (this is, after all, the man who brought us The Sixth Sense), it makes sense that fans have already begun speculating about Old’s ending.

Some have suggested the beach is actually a top secret scientific testing facility, and that the family are just hapless innocents who wandered into something far bigger than themselves. Others have claimed that the rapidly ageing characters were ‘old’ all along, and that they’d forgotten as much due to an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. And, of course, there’s the obvious near-death experience theory (as in, yes, their ‘lives are flashing before their eyes’). 

Essentially, everyone’s expecting a trademark Shyamalan twist. Nay, not expecting; hoping – because, let’s face it, there’s nothing more fun than watching a movie veer down a completely unexpected track.

With that in mind, then, here’s our pick of brilliant films with whiplash-inducing twists.

Enjoy…

Gone Girl

When his seemingly perfect wife Amy (Rosamund Pike) goes missing, presumed dead, it’s not long before her cheating husband Nick (Ben Affleck) becomes the prime suspect. Until, that is, the rug is pulled from underneath everyone’s feet around the halfway point…

Get Out

The less you know about Get Out going in, the better. All you need to know is the briefest of synopses: Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), a young Black man, accepts an invite to meet his white girlfriend’s family. He’s worried they won’t be accepting of him, but he couldn’t be more wrong: Rose (Allison Williams)’s parents like him. They really, really like him. And then, just like that, things start to get weird…

Arrival

In this film, Amy Adams takes on the role of a linguistics expert who, along with her team, must interpret the language of aliens who have come to Earth in a mysterious spaceship. But if you’re expecting something akin to Independence Day, think again, because this contemplative flick takes things in a very different direction.

Parasite

Parasite: Kim Ki-woo (Choi Woo-shik), Ki-jeong (Park So-dam), Ki-taek (Song Kang-ho), and Chung-sook (Chang Hyae-jin)
Parasite: Kim Ki-woo (Choi Woo-shik), Ki-taek (Song Kang-ho), Ki Chung-sook (Chang Hyae-jin) and Ki-jeong (Park So-dam).

In this Best Picture winner, the struggling Kim family sees an opportunity when one of them gets a job working for the wealthy Park family. Soon, all of them find a way to work within the same household and start living a parasitic life… until things take a turn for the unexpected, obviously.

The Others

When Nicole Kidman’s Grace moves into a new house with her two photosensitive children, it’s not long before she starts believing that her house is haunted (to be honest, we’re right there with her; things get creepy, fast). The truth, though, proves to be stranger than our heroine could have ever imagined.

Searching

One of the best films this writer has seen in a long time, Searching follows David Kim (John Cho) as he files a police complaint in order to find his missing daughter. However, everything he thought he knew about his little girl begins to unravel (and fast) when he checks her laptop.

Atonement

Cecilia (Keira Knightley) and Robbie (James McAvoy) might be in love, but their romance is utterly derailed when Cecilia’s younger sister catches the pair in a compromising position and concocts a dangerous lie.

Last Christmas

Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding in Last Christmas.
Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding in Last Christmas.

To say anything concrete about Last Christmas would take us firmly into spoiler territory. All we’ll say is this: the festive flick may have been panned by some critics, but the chemistry between Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding is undeniable.

Frozen

As in, yes, the animated Disney classic. Because, trust us, there’s a reason everyone gasped aloud in cinemas when this tale of sisterly love reached the 3/4 mark…

Knives Out

Knives Out cast
Knives Out is getting a Netflix sequel.

If you love twists, then you’ll love Knives Out; this murder mystery delivers shock curveball after shock curveball at a relentless pace, and it’ll keep you guessing right up until the very last minute (albeit not about Chris Evans’ sweater game; that man knows how to work his knitwear).

10 Cloverfield Lane

Forget everything you know about the original Cloverfield film, because this tense thriller is nothing like it. Set just after a terrifying car accident, Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) wakes up to find herself in a bunker with the seemingly unhinged Howard (John Goodman), a stranger who informs her that she is safe with him and that the world outside is inhabitable. Is he telling the truth? What’s really going on outside? And will she ever be able to escape Howard’s clutches?

Us

Lupita Nyong'o, Evan Alex and Shahadi Wright Joseph in Jordan Peele's Us. Image: Universal Pictures
Lupita Nyong’o shines in Us.

Adelaide Wilson (Lupita Nyong’o) just wants to enjoy a beach holiday with her family. But, as fans of Jordan Peele’s identity horror Us know all too well, this becomes impossible when four masked strangers descend upon the Wilsons’ holiday home, forcing them into a desperate fight for survival. And, when the masks eventually come off, things get even more frightening…

The Sixth Sense

The original Shyamalan twist, The Sixth Sense sees child psychologist Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis) begin treating a young boy who believes he can, and we quote, “see dead people.” And that’s all you need to know, quite frankly.

Crazy, Stupid, Love

Wait, so this is a romcom with a shock twist? You bet your bottom dollar it is! Packed with appealing stars, it explores what happens when 40-something Steve Carrell’s Cal a) learns his wife is cheating on him, and b) seeks to soothe his broken heart by picking up random women at bars (with a little help from suave new pal Ryan Gosling, obviously).

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.

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