Twist Movies

The thing about movies with big twists is that the twist has to be just right, not too outlandish.  The film also cannot solely depend on that twist to carry the weight of the film.  (Travis)

However, if the twist is incredibly outlandish, it should at least be fun, with little clues throughout the film pointing towards it so that it’s intriguing to watch it unfold the second or third time around. Good examples of this are 6th Sense and Book of Eli.  You may notice that I have not included many horror movies...this is becuase most horror movies with huge twists are crap (Friday The 13th, I Know What you Did Last Summer, Scream), but some are pretty fantastic (Psycho), but others are just not my bag of tea (Saw). And there are a whole list of other movies that, although not technically horror films, they are so disturbing and I hate them so much I'm just not even going to talk about them (Old Boy). This list of movies are decent flicks worth watching that are not too disturbing, some just fun, all with a decent twist.  (Nate)

And in no particular order, here we go...

  • identityIdentity (2003)
    dir. James Mangold
    {extravote 1}
    • Being a self proclaimed movie geek since birth and the fact I remember...well everything, including where I sat in the movie theater the first time I saw "Empire strikes back", "E.T.", ect. (yes the actual spot I sat!) You would think remembering the twist in a movie would be easy. But as embarrassing as it is "Identity" got me twice! Now granted there was about a decade in between viewings, but I have to give it up to that movie just because. During the 2nd viewing of the movie I remembered bits and pieces thinking the whole time I got this, even remembering it got me the first time. But at the end of the movie (no I won't give it away) I sat in my living room with my mouth agape thinking crap...I didn't see that coming!!
      • Review by Robyn Ario
    • Here's a film that actually gets ruined by the twist.  Once the mystery gets revealed, the replay value goes way down.  It's too bad to, because the first half of this movie is very engrossing.  It's just not interesting when you know what's going on, you can't enjoy the mystery.  It might be worth a rental just to check it out.  Mangold is a decent director, but he's done better.
      • Review by Travis Else

  • usualsuspectsThe Usual Suspects (1995)
    {extravote 2}
    • If you haven't seen this film, you obviously are not a friend or acquaintance of mine. This is a film that if I find out you haven't seen it I will make you take it home like homework. (Yes I have done this, ask my friend Sam.) All I will say is watch it if you haven't I promise you will not be disappointed. The cast alone could be reading the newspaper and I would watch it! I mean come on Kevin Spacey, Benicio Del Toro, Pete Postlethwaite, and Gabriel Byrne just to name a few. Obviously there is a twist in this film actually a few but my advice would be. Don't let anyone tell you about the plot! Don't look up any reviews online! Don't try and find out the twist! Let the film happen organically for you, enjoy this film for what it is one of the greatest crime thrillers of all time.
      • Review by Robyn Ario


  • sixthsenseThe Sixth Sense (1999)
    {extravote 3}
    • With all the social media these days Facebook, Twitter, ect. I believe if this movie were released today it would be much harder to keep the secret or twist from the viewing public. Just reading the wrong word in a review can give to much away and not knowing what the hell is going on is part of it's brilliance. What this movie did was jaw dropping and put my faith back in the movie industry. Truly it put my faith back in directing, specifically in M. Night Shyamalan who is the Alfred Hitchcock of his day. He can make you jump, scream or just crawl in your seat because of your OWN imagination not just his. Staring Bruce Willis as a child psychologist who is hired to help a young boy who is very similar to a former patient whom he couldn’t help. The young boy is played by Haley Joel Osment, a brilliant young actor whom at the time was best know for playing the son of Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump. I don't want to tell you much more about the plot although if you have ever seen a preview for this movie you know the kid can see dead people. Enough said.
      • Review by Robyn Ario
  • primalfearPrimal Fear (1996)
    {extravote 4}
    • In this very good thriller staring Richard Gere, He plays a hotshot attorney who takes on the case of a young man who is accused of killing the priest that took him in years before. Edward Norton was thankfully brought to our attention with his first staring roll as Aaron, the young man accused of killing the priest. The movie starts out as your typical court room drama/thriller but it quickly takes you on a ride you don't expect and ends up in a place I'm not sure the writer even saw coming. Incredibly well acted, written, and directed this is one you don't want to miss. Watch it with a group of people it's a great conversation starter.
      • Review by Robyn Ario

  • chaosCHAOS (2005):
    dir. Tony Giglio
    {extravote 5}
    • This film is about chaos theory, which is a seemingly random set of events that are actually connected.  At the end of my first viewing of this film, I had no idea what just happened.  However on a second viewing I was able to see the connection of events and I liked it much better.  This is a competently made film that, while made on the cheap and on the quick, has a decent amount of gun-play, chases, and explosions to remain entertaining.   Wesley Snipes hams it up as a bad guy and Jason Statham plays, well, Jason Statham.  But he's so good at it, it doesn't matter.  The replay value is not diminished because of the big twist and in fact it's fun to watch everything come together when you know what happens.  Definitely recommended.
      • Review by Travis Else

  • arlingtonroadARLINGTON ROAD (1999)
    dir. Mark Pellington
    {extravote 6}
    • Here's a film with decent twists that got ruined by bad marketing.  Almost the entire ending was exposed in the original trailers and TV spots.  This film might do better in 20 years when newer generations approach this movie cold turkey.  Arlington Road is a slow building movie, which might be hard on shorter attention spans, but the finale is pretty unrelenting.  The ending is almost perfect in execution, but some of the twists don't really hold up to scrutiny.  However, you can have fun with this film.  It's interesting and not what you expect.  That is, if you haven't seen the whole thing already by simply being alive in 1999.
      • Review by Travis Else|

  • thevillageTHE VILLAGE (2004)
    dir. M. Night Shyamalan
    {extravote 7}
    • Here's another example of a movie that gets ruined by the outlandish twist.  Once the mystery is revealed, it's pointless to go back and revisit this one.  This film has been made fun of enough, I'm sure everyone knows what happens by now.  If you don't, then you may consider checking this one out just for a good laugh.  
      • Review by Travis Else

  • matchstickmenMATCHSTICK MEN (2003):
    dir. Ridley Scott
    {extravote 9}
    • This is a great film that has an accomplished director at the helm and a brilliant script.  I love a good con film and this one hits all the right notes.  Nic Cage has been known for his eccentric acting, but it fits his character in this one.  The twist is something out of an old Mission: Impossible episode.  It enhances the film and it works completely.  This is a must see.
      • Review by Travis Else

  • warWAR (2007)
    dir. Philip G. Atwell
    {extravote 10}
    • Here's an example of a decent script being ruined by a bad director.  The story is decent, the twists are fascinating, but the director lets the material down.  Firstly, he signs Jet Li and Jason Statham, hires Martial Arts choreographer Corey Yuen, and then says he doesn't want martial arts in his film.  Yuen turned to Jet Li and says, "what are we doing here?" (Yes, he actually said that.) Apparently this director doesn't know what martial arts is and how real and gritty it can be.  What he settles for is incomprehensible fight scenes and flashy, gratuitous direction that doesn't enhance the story.  With a proper director, this could have been something.  It's still okay, but not much more.
      • Review by Travis Else

  • bookofeliTHE BOOK OF ELI (2010)
    dir. Albert and Allen Hughes
    {extravote 11}
      • "People had more than what they needed.  They had no idea what was precious and what wasn't." -Eli
    • Certain films inspire you and give you goosebumps at the end.  This one definitely falls in that category.  Denzel Washington is Eli, a man on a mission, but you don't know much about it for a while, and neither does he.  The big twist is simply amazing and makes you go back and rethink everything you just saw.  Of course, it all makes sense under scrutiny.  This movie would have worked just fine without the twist, but with the twist it goes to a whole new level.  This is definitely a book worth watching.
      • Review by Travis Else
    • This is quite possibly the best post apocalyptic movie of all time (so far). What’s so great about it is that it’s mostly realistic, people are doing what they can to survive... some people are doing ok, others not so much. The Road came out around the same time...which was one of the most depressing movies of all time. Both movies depicted the survivors of a post apocalyptic United States reverting to cannibalism, but Eli didn’t linger there as much as Road. One small scientific complaint I have is that “the shakes” that some get in Eli after eating too much “human meat” isn’t realistic. Meat is meat. The only reason some actual cannibals got sick in the brain was because they ate the brains and passed a parasite on to each other. If you didn’t eat the brain, you’d probably be fine...but that’s gross, so don’t do that. The Book of Eli is shot to have actually two twists, the first one (what the book is), however, is so easy to figure out most of us knew it when watching the previews and didn’t think it was supposed to be a twist. What makes a great twist movie is if the movie is fun even without the twist, but when it’s revealed, you’re all “what!?”, and then, if you watch it again, you see little signs leading up to the twist that you didn’t catch the first time watching it. Eli does this perfectly.
      • Review by Nathan R. Carlsen

  • basicBasic
    {extravote 12}
    • Basic stars John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Tim Daily  (that guy from wings), Connie Neilson, and Giovanni Ribisi. This is a military investigation thriller (not as disturbing as Generals Daughter), and a pretty dang good one at that. Replay value doesn’t diminish after first watch because the plot is pretty complicated and deserves a few watches to fully grasp all the ins and outs of the major players of the plot and how everything fits. Makes for a good watch, I recommend it.
      • Review by Nathan R. Carlsen

  • mementoMemento
    {extravote 13}
    • This is Christopher Nolen’s 2nd full length movie, and received critical acclaim. It plays with time even worse than Pulp Fiction, in that, the ENTIRE movie runs backwards at fifteen minute increments. This is all due to the lead character played by Guy Peirce having short term memory loss, he can’t remember anything past fifteen minutes, he only retains his long term memory. This movie just bazaar, probably one of the most inventory and original movies in a long time (I would say even more inventive than Nolen’s later big hit: Inception). This is a must watch of all twist movies. The quality of film and twist are right up there with Usual Suspects and 6th Sense.
      • Review by Nathan R. Carlsen

  • shutterislandShutter Island
    {extravote 14}
    • Extremely well shot, well directed, well acted, good script, cinematography, everything else...accept for the twist, for me at least. Directed by Martin Scorsese (who doesn’t make bad movies and plays a pretty good puffer fish in Shark Tail), this movie worked great for me right up until I predicted the ending thirty minutes into it. This is by no fault of the movie itself, but more when it came out verses how many twist movies I’ve already seen. Had it come out ten years ago, I would have been blown away. However, because I already had seen 6th Sense, Usual Suspects, etc...and am a bit of a movie buff, I called it and wasn’t surprised. However, I can see that if you weren’t a movie buff and hadn’t seen those other twist movies, this would be a completely good movie with a surprising twist ending...just not for me.
      • Review by Nathan R. Carlsen

  • theiinsideThe I inside
    {extravote 15}
    • This is one of those movies where the main character isn’t sure he understands what’s going on, maybe a little or very crazy in a hospital, and therefor, neither does the audience. This makes for a fun trip as he begins to learn the rules of his own existence and begins to put the pieces together. Our protagonist flips between the present and the past against his own will. Because of this, the main lady of his life changes as well, from an ex-girlfriend to a current one. This leads to problems, of course. It’s entertaining and less predictable than Shutter Island.
      • Review by Nathan R. Carlsen

  • totalrecalTotal Recal
    {extravote 16}
    • You may remember this as just a cheesy 80s action flick with Arnold Swartzenager, a stomach mutant named Quade, and a three boobed chick. But, it DID have a twist and a pretty big one at that. Watch it again and see if you can remember it before they tell you what it is. Side note on multiple mammary glands. Many mammals have multiple mammary glands (cats, dogs, cows, etc...). They all have an even number, and all in a vertical line. Therefor, if a human female were to have multiple breasts naturally, they wouldn’t sit horizontally across her chest, but would be grouped more similar to a cat. Her natural two would sit high on her chest, and the extra two would be placed below them. Here ends the human anatomy lesson.
      • Review and anatomy lesson by Nathan R. Carlsen

  • fightclubFight Club
    {extravote 17}
    • Directed by David Fincher, this is probably one of his best. The movie holds up without the twist, and actually, didn’t even need one. The story could have gone a totally different direction and still been completely entertaining. The style of the movie didn’t lend itself to be thought of as a twist thriller, so it was all the more surprising when it was revealed. If you haven’t seen it yet, don’t let anyone ruin it for you. It’s as good or even better than Usual Suspects and with Brad Pitt and Edward Norton, you can’t go wrong.
      • Review by Nathan R. Carlsen

  • nowayoutNo way out
    {extravote 18}
    • Here’s an old one with Kevin Costner. It’s a good political, investigation thriller that has a huge reveal/twist at the end that you DO NOT see coming. This is a good one to check out because it’s so old, no one will have ruined it for you yet.
      • Review by Nathan R. Carlsen

  • theprestigeThe Prestige
    {extravote 19}
    • Christopher Nolen really knows how to make a thriller, and this is no exception. Prestige was made after Batman Begins, so I had a small hope that the huge twist was that Christian Bale was really Batman and the whole movie was a little Batman sub-plot. But no, it’s all about magic and how Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) and Batman (Christian Bale) are fighting for the same woman, but also for notoriety in the magic and illusionist industry. There are two, really big twists that I didn’t see coming. One of them you can probably see coming if you’re really paying attention to it, but I don’t know of anyone who called both. Also, the Goblin King is really good as Tesla (David Bowie).
      • Review by Nathan R. Carlsen

  • thegameThe Game
    {extravote 20}
    • Here’s another one directed by David Fincher with Michael Douglas. The movie itself is building to a huge reveal the entire time, and we’re all wondering (along with poor Douglas) what the hell is going on? Douglas was signed up for a real world “game” in which certain experiences and events are planned and orchestrated by the games company. But when things go very wrong and his life is obviously in danger, it becomes clear that this is no ordinary game, and is looking more like extortion than just something fun to do. This movie is even more relevant with new, real world RPGs out there that do pretty much the same thing. If you haven’t seen it, watch it, it’s a really good one.
      • Review by Nathan R. Carlsen

  • donniedarkoDonnie Darko
    {extravote 21}
    • Here’s a weird one for ya. This one plays with time and space and some kind of large, angry, evil bunny. I’m not going to say much more than that, but it’s well done, good story, well acted, and well directed. Git it a shot if you haven’t seen it.
      • Review by Nathan R. Carlsen

  • luckynumberslevenLucky Number Sleven
    {extravote 22}
    • Staring Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Ben Kinsgly, Josh Hartnett and Lucy Liu, if you haven’t seen this one, definately grab it.  Don’t be fooled, although the genre doesn’t lend itself to feel like it has a huge plot twist, it definitely does, and one of the better one’s that I’ve seen. Replay value is also quite good since it’s just a fun one to watch through. Come to think of it, I should watch this one again.
      • Review by Nathan R. Carlsen


  • themessengersThe Messengers
    {extravote 23}
    • I chose to include this one, even though, as you may have notices, I didn’t include any other horror movies, because it was only rated PG-13, and the story and acting are quite good. This a good watch for Halloween. It's also a movie with that chick from the Twilight series...before she got all popular.
      • Review by Nathan R. Carlsen

  • 13thfloorThe Thirteenth Floor
    {extravote 24}
    • This is a movie about a company who built a virtual reality inside a computer and weird things start happening inside. This came out around the Matrix, and has a similar idea, so I’ll bet you can guess what happens. But don’t let that ruin it for you, it’s still a good watch. Replay value not great, but it’s a fun one.
      • Review by Nathan R. Carlsen

  • theislandThe Island
    {extravote 25}
    • This is an action movie directed by Mr. Action himself, Michael Bay. It’s a pretty fun one that I didn’t expect, and I wasn’t expected the twist either. Ok, it’s not a HUGE twist, but it’s a good one, and no, it doesn’t happen at the end of the movie, but more in the middle, but still, it’s a good reveal and a fun movie to watch. Replay value is good simply because the movie doesn’t take itself so seriously and just has fun with itself.
      • Review by Nathan R. Carlsen

  • flightplanFlight Plan
    {extravote 26}
    • Here’s a decent one with Jodie Foster. She is a passenger on the largest jet ever made and can’t find her daughter but there is no record of her having a daughter on the plane...or anywhere. Through out the movie she is trying to prove that she does in fact have a daughter and that she is not crazy, though it’s looking more and more like she is just plain nuts. Good stuff.
      • Review by Nathan R. Carlsen

  • darkcityDark City
    {extravote 27}
    • Starring Rufus Sewell, William Hurt, Keifer Sutherland and Jeffifer Connolly, Dark City, is definately one of my favorites. This is Film Noir to the core, dark, rainy, investigation, damsel in distress, murder, identity, all that. If you haven't seen this one, pick it up, it’s a modern classic.
      • Review by Nathan R. Carlsen

  • fanklynFranklin
    {extravote 28}
    • Here’s a small, little known one. It’s fun investigation/fantasy movie, sort of a rabbits whole type of thing going on here. I found it in the “horror” section at my local movie rental store...but it was only there because someone didn’t know what it was. This isn’t horror, it’s not thriller either, I guess drama, but just watch it. It’s a decent flick with a fun creativity you don’t see with a lot of movies these days.
      • Review by Nathan R. Carlsen

  • session9Session 9
    {extravote 29}
    • This is the only rated R horror movie on this list simply because I love it so much. It’s about a group of guys who score a job removing asbestos from an old insane asylum. That right there should be scary enough, but no, it’s gets worse. There isn’t much violence or gore (almost none) but it’s still one of the scariest movies I’ve seen just because of the fantastic writing and directing. If you like a good scare, and a good twist, see this one.
      • Review by Nathan R. Carlsen

  • exestenzExestenZ
    {extravote 30}
    • Jude Law co-stars in this older, small film about a new virtual reality game that is so real, you almost forget you’re in it. That’s the premise, and that’s as much as I’m going to tell you. It’s a good watch if you haven’t seen it, and replay value is pretty good just because of how creative it is, and fun for those of us who play RPGs.
      • Review by Nathan R. Carlsen

  • soylentgreenSoylent green
    {extravote 31}
    • This is an old post apocalyptic, sci-fi flick with Charlton Heston. If you don’t know what Soilent Green is, then you haven’t been paying attention. I won’t ruin it for you, so, if you haven’t seen it, watch it, and all the jokes and references made about it will make sense to you.
      • Review by Nathan R. Carlsen

  • tillhumanvoiceswakeusTill Human Voices Wake Us
    {extravote 32}
    • Here’s one with Guy Peirce and Helen Bonham Carter. This is a very sweet, long, and sad movie. I can’t recommend this movie ‘cus I hate it for making me cry so hard. If you don’t like to be sad for a full day after watching a movie, don’t watch this movie.
      • Review by Nathan R. Carlsen

  • returnerThe Returner
    {extravote 33}
    • Here’s one that is cross between Terminator, Transformers, and Independence Day. Not even kidding. It plays with time travel and aliens and it’s pretty much kinda awesome. Check it out, good foreign flick.
      • Review by Nathan R. Carlsen

  • moonMoon
    {extravote 34}
    • Not since 2001: A Space Odyssey has there been such a good sci-fi film dedicated to exploring the roles of human and robot AI interaction. Kevin Spacey voices the very friendly robot and Sam Rockwell plays the dude on the moon running the station. I won’t tell you anything else, this movie is fantastic.
      • Review by Nathan R. Carlsen

  • thestingThe Sting
    {extravote 35}
    • Staring a very young Robert Redford and Paul Newman star in this con man movie with one of the most classic endings of all time. If you’ve never seen this movie, grab it, it’s very much a classic.
      • Review by Nathan R. Carlsen

  • easternpromisesEastern Promises
    {extravote 36}
    • This is a pretty intense one about the Russian mafia, staring Naomi Watts and Viggo Mortensen. It all starts out with a woman who shows up at Naomi Watt’s door, having pregnancy issues. It goes on from there as Watts’ character investigates the girls history and we get introduced to Mortensen’s character as a nasty mafia hit-man type. The fully nude knife fight seen is worth a watch in and of itself. Brutal and impressive.
      • Review by Nathan R. Carlsen

  • duplicityDuplicity
    {extravote 37}
    • This a fun one with Julie Roberts and Clive Owen about corporate espionage. The opening scene is extremely fun and well done. The dialogue in this film is fantastic, and the twist is quite fun as well. This is worth a second watch.
      • Review by Nathan R. Carlsen



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