Top 5 Twist Movies

It’s that day of the week again, except oops, it’s not (twist!). Thanks to the insane atmosphere of college, this time, you’ll be treated to the first (and probably not last)

Top 5 Saturday!

Everybody loves a great twist ending. If you don’t see it coming, it’ll blow you away and change your entire perception of the film you just watched.

Today I’m gonna list for you the top 5 Twist Movies.

Now, it’s not necessarily the top 5 movie twists, and it’s not the top 5 movies that involve twists. We’re talking about the top 5 movies that rely on a major twist. So they’re great films, the twist is great, and without the twist they wouldn’t be anywhere near as good. And watch out. Beyond this sentence, there be SPOILERS.

If you haven’t seen the movie, don’t read the write-up!



The Usual Suspects

The name Keyzer Söze haunts us all, but who is he? Who is Keyzer Söze? In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, Kevin Spacey plays a criminal with cerebral palsy, who, after having been caught, sits in the office of a police station, trading his testimony for immunity for his crimes. He weaves an intricate and gripping tale of theft, violence, and betrayal, all the while unraveling the mystery that surrounds the ominous and untraceable Keyzer.

In one of those, it’s-all-a-dream endings, right after Kevin Spacey walks out of the police station toward freedom, the officer glances around his office, suddenly realizing that every detail in Spacey’s testimony was improvised, inspired by the objects in the room. None of it was true. Kevin Spacey is Keyzer Söze! Whoa.

Mind-Blowing Level: 2.5/5

Yeah, that’s pretty crazy, but like, what were we watching that whole time? And it’s just basically one guy lying.



Planet of the Apes

Ranking in at #4, we have one o’ them old-timey movies, the kind my parents popped into the VCR (what’s that?) sometime during my childhood to help round out my classic movie knowledge. Unfortunately for me, those same parents also raised me on a steady diet of cat food, ramen, and most importantly, The Simpsons. We watched it every night, so I’d already had the ending spoiled in Troy McClure’s comeback musical version of the Planet of the Apes. The only youtube version is in Spanish (and for some reason, it’s reflected across the x-axis. Maybe that’s what keeps it from getting deleted?). Anyway, it’s still great.


Just like the movie itself. In fact, that last scene of PotA is so iconic, that the film inspired 6 follow-ups and 2 tv shows, including this summer’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes. If you missed my Super Simian review, you’re more than encouraged to check it out here. It was earth all along.

Twist! “Oh my God. I’m back. I’m home. All the time, it was… We finally really did it. You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!”

Mind-Blowing Level: 2/5

Damn. That sucks. I always thought we were one-up on those apes, but I guess that all changed with ALZ-113. I think people could’ve seen this coming.



Fight Club

I know I’m not supposed to talk about this, but as a self-declared film critic, that’s sort of my job, so my apologies, Tylers. Fight Club is an intense drama about a man who frees himself from the constraints of his blasé and unimportant life by, you know, blacking out and committing a bunch of acts of terrorism. The loyalty of his club members is fun to watch, and it’s interesting to try to figure out what the crap is wrong with the main character. Plus, the whole premise speaks to inherent tendency toward violence inherent in the nature of man. It’s so heavily suppressed in modern society, who wouldn’t enjoy the chance to blow off a little of that bestial energy?

Everybody knows the first rule of fight club, and everybody knows the twist.

Mind-Blowing Level: 4/5

If you didn’t see this one coming, don’t beat yourself up. And what’s that ending all about. I was dying to see one shot of Edward Norton’s wound. How the hell did he survive that?




When a freak storm strikes in the middle of nowhere, ten strangers are stranded at a creepy motel. In this Agatha Christie style movie, each character is picked off one by one, and the survivors have to band together in a desperate attempt to stay alive, all the while knowing that one of them is probably the killer. The greatest thing about this movie is the mood. From the beginning it is creepy as hell, and you’ll be completely captivated the whole way through.

And it stars John Cusack, who’s basically the most likable actor since ever (eh, maybe Jimmy Stewart). I don’t even want to say the twist because the movie’s so good, and of all of them on this list, it’s probably the least well known. Just go watch it. It’s one of the greatest who-dunnit mood piece thrillers around.

Mind-Blowing Level: 4.5/5

This will blow your mind.



The Sixth Sense

I know. I know. This isn’t a shocking choice, but it’s the best twist movie ever made. The acting and mood are incredible, and most importantly, nobody saw it coming. M. Night Shyamalan used the conventions of film to trick us into a false belief. Movies are short affairs, so almost all the action has to be skipped. Someone walks toward a building and you cut to that character sitting in an office. The audience fills in the rest: the opening of the door, the waiting for the elevator, etc. We don’t want to waste time watching it happen. In The Sixth Sense, Shyamalan skips over Bruce Willis’s death, and, since that would’ve been a major detail, we assume we just missed all the boring time in the hospital on the way to recovery instead. Brilliant.

Shyamalan is truly the master of the twist, though according to my screenwriting teacher, when he started writing The Sixth Sense, he was just setting out to make a realistic horror movie. It wasn’t until the 6th or 7th draft that he even realized Bruce Willis was dead the whole time! But he quickly learned his lesson and moved on toward the biggest twist of them all!

Mind-Blowing Level: 5/5

Shyamalan’s #1 twist was his prank on the world—making The Last Airbender Suck! We all thought it would be good. Nobody saw that utter travesty coming. Nobody.

Honorable Mention: Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.

I originally had this on the list, but I realized that the second Star Wars film didn’t rely on a twist, so much as happen to include a great one. The film would be basically the same whether or not DV was LS’s dad. Can you imagine tossing a ball around with the force? Man, father-son relationships must be so weird in the Star Wars universe.

Written by Russ Nickel


Filed under Feature

3 responses to “Top 5 Twist Movies

  1. The only one on the list I disagree with is Identity, mostly because I saw the twist coming very early in the movie.

  2. I guess I can’t accurately judge since I’d had it spoiled for me, but it seemed like it would’ve been hard to guess! Haha.

  3. Dinny Rex

    Personally, I think Memento should’ve made the list…

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