We all love a truly great movie, whether it’s an action packed romp, a science fiction marvel, a laugh a minute riot, or a romantic cry-fest. Movies still have the power to not only entertain us but to impart something different into our lives that wasn’t there before. The best part of a movie to most people is the ending. The resolution to a story that’s unfolded over the last two hours or so can leave us feeling uplifted, buzzed and even shock us as something happened that we just weren’t expecting.
Of course, we are talking about the movie plot twist. These little gems can change a movie dramatically and even make the movie a hundred times better, that’s when a plot twist is done right. However, over the years Hollywood keeps trying to add twists into pretty much every movie and more often than not, these twist are not only obvious but completely ruin the movie and leave us all angry and frustrated by what we’ve just seen. Here are 15 movies that tried their hardest to surprise and excite us with a plot twist, but failed miserably.
Warning: Serious spoilers lay ahead.
We start our list with a man that has become synonymous with the movie plot twist, and not in a good way, M. Night Shyamalan. Although Shyamalan started out as an exciting director whose movies would surprise and even shock us, nowadays his plot twists, and the fact that he crams them into every movie he makes, have become laughable and more often than not his plot twists damage the movie he’s making.
A great example of this is Signs. This movie follows a family as aliens invade and seek to destroy and conquer our planet. The aliens seem unstoppable and humanity is doomed, that is until near the end of the movie in which we find out that the aliens have a problem with water. That’s right, an alien race who have a fatal weakness of water want to conquer a planet that is basically covered in the stuff!
14. Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire
Ok, so we did feel a bit bad about including a Harry Potter movie on this list as we all love them, really. However, over the course of the eight movies, Harry and his friends have been guilty of a few plot holes and plot twist that just don’t work or make any sense.
The biggest one is pretty much the entire movie Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. In this movie, Harry and his friends get involved in a wizard championship as Hogwarts hosts the Triwizard Tournament, which sees Harry facing off against wizards from other schools in a series of challenges. Harry wins the tournament, sort of, and touches the trophy. As it turns out the trophy is a magical portkey that transports Harry to Voldermort and the two fight. It’s a great story but the problem is that a portkey can be any object in the world. If the forces of darkness wanted to transport Harry to Voldermort than why go to the trouble of trying to fix the Triwizard Tournament? Why not just have a pen or something as a portkey, Harry picks it up and then boom, Voldermort has his prey? The entire movie is pretty much pointless because of this.
13. Fight Club
Next we come to a movie that used the plot twist extremely well and became an instant hit with fans. The story follows an unhappy, and unnamed man played by Edward Norton, who suddenly finds purpose when he joins terminally ill support groups. While in these support group he meets a girl, Marla Singer, and then the charismatic Tyler Durden. The two of them form a fight club in which grown men meet and basically beat the crap out of each other. The group then takes a more serious turn as Durden pushes it to a terrorist group. Obviously we all know the twist, there was no Tyler Durden and it was Norton all along.
It was a great twist and a brilliant movie but when you watch it back, there is one glaringly obvious fail with this twist. The reason the Fight Club started is because a guy saw Norton’s character and Tyler Durden fighting in a parking lot and wanted to join them. But now we know that there was no Durden, it was basically a crazy man alone in a parking lot punching himself in the face. What passer by would go up to this crazy man and ask to join in with him? Out of everything that happens in this movie, we find this the hardest part to believe.
12. Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back
Next we come to not only one of the biggest and most popular movies of all time but possible one of the best and most surprising plot twists in movie history. After the first Star Wars movie saw our heroes destroy the Death Star and defeat the evil Darth Vader, we now pick up the story in Empire Strikes Back as they face off against Darth Vader once more. The twist in this movie is that it’s revealed Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker’s father which shocked us all.
However, when you think about it that whole reveal is silly really. Firstly, considering that Luke uses his father’s last name, Skywalker, and he was proud to tell everyone that he was the son of Anakin Skywalker, Darth Vader would have known right away who Luke was. Luke was hidden away from Vader but on the planet his father was born on and with his only living family. Although it’s a truly great twist, it just doesn’t make any sense how Darth Vader would wait so long in order to confront or find his son.
Over the last few years the James Bond franchise has seen a bit of a reboot as it has taken a much more grittier and realistic approach to the spy genre. Stepping away from the gadget heavy days of yesteryear, Daniel Craig and company have breathed a new life into the franchise and the jewel in this new crown is the movie Skyfall.
Although Skyfall is possibly the best of the new Bond movies, the plot and the story are ridiculous and makes absolutely no sense. In Skyfall Bond tracks down the bad guy, captures him, and takes him back to MI6 HQ. Once there, it’s revealed that the bad guy wanted to be caught so he could escape and get Bond’s boss M. However, his plan to get captured relied far too much on implausible circumstances. He would have to make sure Bond followed him and captured him, which in itself is unlikely as Bond is a well known assassin and therefore would have taken out the threat. Even if that didn’t happen, there is no way that anyone could have planned for M’s public inquiry and used that as part of his plan which he no doubt hatched a long time ago.
10. The Sixth Sense
We’ve already mentioned M.Night Shyamalan on this list already, and yes, there is more on him later. But for this entry we turn to one of his most famous and best movies. The Sixth Sense pushed Shyamalan into the public eye as fans and critics went crazy for the movie.
In The Sixth Sense, Malcolm, played by Bruce Willis, goes to help a young kid who sees dead people. The twist is that Willis has been dead all along and only the young boy can see him. The ending is a great one but it throws up so many questions; firstly Malcolm thinks he’s alive and lives his life as he normally would which involves being married. The entire movie sees Malcolm try and talk to his wife but she just ignores him and he assumes she’s just giving him the silent treatment, which is fine for a while but for this long? Secondly, who sent Malcolm to help the boy? No one can see him or talk to him so how did he find out about the boy?
9. Remember Me
After the success of Twilight, Robert Pattinson wanted to break out of the teenage genre and went for a dramatic turn in the movie Remember Me. The movie itself is a decent, if not slightly cliched, drama and romance. However, what people spent a long time debating after seeing this movie was the ending. Towards the end of the movie, Pattinson’s character goes to his dad’s office. The office is empty and then he looks out the window to which the camera pans out and we realize that he’s standing in the World Trade Centre on 9/11.
The ending came out of nowhere but the thing is that it didn’t feel like a twist of a shock ending, it actually felt like the writers tried to force some extra sadness and emotion onto the movie by adding a 9/11 “twist” to it. The movie could have had any number of sad endings or twist but this whole scene felt forced and wrong somehow.
8. The Usual Suspect
We’ve already mentioned The Empire Strikes Back as being one of the most famous plot twists in movie history, the other one comes in the movie The Usual Suspect. The movie tells the tale of a master criminal known as Keyser Soze, but no one ever sees him or even believes he is real. When a group of criminals do a job, one of the group gets caught by the police and is questioned about the crime and the infamous Soze. That man is “Verbal” Kint, played by Kevin Spacey. Over the movie, Kint weaves a tale about the criminals and Soze and then leaves the police station. The twist is that Kint is Keyser Soze and his entire story is made up using information in the detective’s office.
Although a brilliant moment, this plot twist has one glaringly obvious fail. Keyser Soze makes a point of never showing his face or letting people know he is real, in fact the famous line is “the greatest trick the Devil pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.” Yet Soze let a group of criminals see him and then walked into a police station and gave them enough clues to figure out that he was real. This goes against everything that he said he was.
7. The Number 23
There is a common theme surrounding plot twists, especially bad plot twists, and it’s that it usually turns out that the main character did it. Whether it’s a split personality or a massive case of amnesia, we can guarantee that most movie plot twists involve the hero of the story turning out to be the villain. This is the case with the movie The Number 23.
The Number 23 sees Jim Carrey‘s character becoming obsessed with the number 23 after he reads a book all about it. It turns out that Carrey wrote the book but then forgot about it. It also turned out that Carrey’s father killed himself, he then stabbed his girlfriend to death and buried her in the park and then tried to kill himself but survives, hence the amnesia. This plot twist can be seen coming a mile away and the longer the movie goes on, the more ridiculous the twist becomes.
6. Secret Window
As we’ve just mentioned in our previous entry with The Number 23 , a common plot twist is that the main character did it all along. Another movie to do this is Secret Window. This Johnny Depp movie sees him play a writer whose life is being hounded by a mysterious man. It turns out that Depp is that man in yet another case of split personality.
It must also be noted that at pretty much the same time that Secret Window came out, another movie, Hide and Seek starring Robert De Niro, came out and was pretty much the same. Both men were trying to find the answer to some mystery and it turned out the mystery was them all along. This “split personality” theme that Hollywood keeps kicking up is getting tired and lazy, so much so that anytime something mysterious happens on screen we’re all shouting “It’s the main guy!”
5. The Life Of David Gale
Ok, so our next entry doesn’t have any split personalities, imaginary friends, or amnesia but what it does fall into is the stupidity category. The Life of David Gale features Kevin Spacey playing a man that is accused of murder and rape and if found guilty, will get the death penalty. The twist is that Spacey’s character didn’t do anything and in fact framed himself in order to prove that the death penalty is wrong and doesn’t work.
We can understand what this movie is trying to say but the plot makes no sense. Firstly, in order to prove that the death penalty doesn’t work you have to be arrested for something and then do everything you can to prove you didn’t do it and then get convicted and put to death, which didn’t happen. Also, it turns out the murder victim actually killed herself and Spacey didn’t want to let this go to waste so decided to use her death to prove his point. But where did the rape charge come from? If they had physical evidence that the girl was raped then Spacey’s character is guilty of that. The movie tries too hard to make it’s point about the death penalty, which we do admire, but it forgets to actually tell a plausible and coherent story.
We now take one last dip into the works of M.Night Shyamalan with his follow up to The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable. Keeping Bruce Willis in the lead role, Unbreakable looks at what it would be like if powerful superheroes lived among us but didn’t know that they were special. After Willis’ character survives a train crash, he discovers just that and he is in fact, well, unbreakable. He then meets a new friend played by Samuel L. Jackson, who’s obsessed with comic books but not only that, seems to be Willis’ exact opposite and he’s as delicate as they come.
The twist in this movie is that Jackson was responsible for the train crash that Willis survived. In fact he’s responsible for a couple disasters as he desperately wants to find someone who is unbreakable. Apart from the twist being a little obvious, it was pretty much set up from the beginning to be a hero/villain theme. But Jackson’s character finds Willis pretty quickly. In a world this big and with so many people, it would surely have taken a lot longer to find him, and he would have to have caused hundreds of accidents and disasters, which also leads to the question of how he managed to avoid being arrested for killing so many people for so long?
3. Perfect Stranger
Another example of the main character turning out to be the bad guy, Perfect Stranger is full of secrets and twist and tries so hard to throw the audience off the truth that most of it becomes laughable and even implausible. Halle Berry plays a reporter that investigates a murder of her childhood friend, after her story of a gay senator gets shut down. Her prime suspect is Harrison Hill, played by Bruce Willis.
What follows is a series of flashbacks and misleading clues that try to confuse and intrigue us but with each one that appears on screen, we’re all shouting “Halle Berry did it!” And she did. Not only is Perfect Stranger another case of the lazy and obvious “it was the main character all along” plot twist. But some of the scenes just don’t make any sense. In particular, when Berry is on her own and we see evidence that Harrison Hill might be the killer, she looked scared. Was she trying to convince someone else that she was innocent? Just in case someone was watching her? The whole movie is a disappointing mess really.
2. Planet Of The Apes
Our next entry is another movie that has a hugely famous and popular twist. In the original Planet of the Apes, Charlton Heston finds himself on a planet that is run by apes and then at the end it was revealed that he was on Earth all along as he falls to his knees in front of the Statue of Liberty. Although it’s a great twist, surely Heston would have figured this out long before he saw the statue? After all, the apes all speak English and their world is identical to Earth. This may be a bit of a plot hole in the original, but we are willing to overlook it.
What we can’t overlook is the travesty that was Tim Burton‘s remake. Because of the success and popularity of the original Planet of the Apes, Burton tried to play around with the twist and what we got was a huge mess that we still don’t understand. Instead of the Statue of Liberty, we are confronted by an Ape President Lincoln. Are we on Earth? Were we on Earth all along? Did the Apes somehow manage to replicate our history and monuments? We still have no idea.
1. The Dark Knight Rises
The number one entry on our list is The Dark Knight Rises, from The Dark Knight trilogy, which many fans will argue to be the best movies and interpretation of Batman. However, the final installment of that trilogy certainly has its faults. If we overlook certain elements to the movie (like the character of Bane actually just being a lackey and how did Bruce Wayne get from the prison pit back to Gotham City so quickly?), the ending to the movie, and therefore the trilogy, provides the biggest questions.
The end of the movie saw Batman sacrifice himself in order to save everyone, although he didn’t really, he just let people believe that and then he ran away with Catwoman. Let’s again overlook the fact that how he survived was never explained, we’re assuming the phrase “Because I’m Batman” is involved! The more pressing question is how did Bruce Wayne change his will so quickly? Not only change it but have the foresight to change it for a person he had not long met? This ending still angers fans.
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