A good plot twist can be the thing that takes a movie from being pretty great to being totally amazing. Think Fight Club. Think Planet Of The Apes. Hey, think Star Wars! But you know what’s even better than a good plot twist? A weird plot twist. The ones where you watch the film again and you still don’t get it. Here are a few of the best. Spoilers ahead!
Hancock starts off like a pretty interesting subversion of your usual superhero movie. It takes the idea of someone having powers and applies it to the character of a homeless alcoholic in LA, a role Will Smith clearly had a lot of fun breaking out of type to perform. But then, about halfway through, things get confusing. It turns out Charlize Theron’s character also has powers, and that she and Will are 3000 years old, and that they’re Gods or... something? The whole thing comes outta nowhere. Suddenly we’re not watching a film about the superhero genre, we’re watching a film about just a load of crazy stuff. It’s like the writers couldn’t figure out how to follow through on their original premise and just decided to take things in as random a direction as possible. Well, we didn't see it coming. We'll give them that.
Aw, come ooooon. Water? You’re telling me these guys can master intergalactic space travel but they can’t figure out whether they’re allergic to one of the most prevalent substances on our planet? An M. Night Shyamalan production, of course, had to make it onto this list. But whereas his other twists, if sometimes slightly tedious, usually have some kind of logic behind them, the way Signs ends pretty much makes no sense whatsoever. It felt less like a resolution, more like a way of shoehorning a wacky surprise into the final twenty minutes.
The Wicker Man
Wait, so is he actually going to get away? Wait... what, now you’re panning out? And those are the credits? Ah, geez! Although it’s not really a "twist," the main character just failing and dying at the end, as he does in The Wicker Man (both the original and the remake) is such a strange way for the movie to conclude that it almost feels like an intentional subversion of what the audience were expecting. It’s safe to say the writers of this movie weren’t too concerned about giving folks a happy ending.
It takes a lot of effort to retrace the entirety of Shutter Island in your head and figure out what was happening at each point based on the information you get at the end (that Leo’s character was never investigating the disappearance of a patient, but was in fact a resident at the Asylum all along). The reversal is so complete that it's actually worth just watching the whole thing again.
The Usual Suspects
Revelations about Bruce Willis’ corporeality notwithstanding, this movie surely features the king of all twists. Not only does Keyser Söze fool Detective Rabin by making up the events of the entire plot based on objects he sees in the interview room, he fools the audience too by tricking them into thinking they actually knew what the movie was about. Sometimes big plot twists make you feel like a bit like you got played. This is one movie where that’s pretty much literally the case.
What is the craziest movie twist you've ever seen?