Eric's Top 10 Worst Twist Endings

by Eric Melin on June 10, 2008

in Top 10s

These days it seems that part of the requirement of any suspense thriller is the big reveal; the moment of truth; the I-never-saw-it-coming twist ending. In anticipation of “The Happening” (opening Friday) and its director M. Night Shyamalan, the man single-handedly responsible for the commercial rebirth of the twist ending (thanks a lot, “The Sixth Sense”!), I present my list of the worst offenders in recent memory. In the hilarious Spike Jonze/Charlie Kaufman movie “Adaptation,” Nic Cage’s buzzed-about screenplay called “The 3” has a twist where the killer, the cop, and the female hostage all turn out to be the same person. What’s sad is that there is probably a script floating around right now with that exact idea. This Top 10 is spoiler-heavy, obviously, so if you feel the need to see any of the awful movies below, don’t read about them here. On the other hand, I look at this list as a public service—save your time and money and don’t waste it on any of these movies.

alien signs shyamalan gibson10. Signs (2002)

Let’s start things off by paying tribute to the master of modern twisty mayhem—the man known as M. Night. After the critical (Best Picture, Director, Screenplay nominee) and commercial ($293 million domestic) success of “The Sixth Sense,” it’s been a steady downhill slope for Shyamalan. Give him some credit—he understands that the key to a good twist is that the movie has been hinting to the audience during the entire film what it’s really about. Turns out this alien invasion movie starring Mel Gibson and Joaquin Phoenix isn’t about aliens at all. It’s about spirituality. After rejecting God because of the tragic death of his wife, Gibson’s ex-priest realizes that his wife’s last words—“swing away”—were directed at his washed-up baseball playing brother (Phoenix) in the event that they should find an alien lurking in their living room one afternoon. It’s also lucky that one of Gibson’s children has left glasses of water all over the place because water burns these invaders like acid. When Phoenix starts swinging away at the glasses at Gibson’s behest, the alien is toast. Gibson’s kid: “Did someone save me?” Gibson: “Yeah, baby. I think someone did.” Gibson’s faith is restored, ba-da-boom, ba-da bing. In the last scene, he is getting ready for church. J.D. and I argue about this movie constantly. I won’t debate M. Night’s skill in raising tension and stringing an audience along breathlessly. What I will say is that when the stakes are that high, the payoff better be good. Besides the fact that aliens shouldn’t invade a planet that’s mostly covered in the thing that kills them, the fact that Gibson returns to God because some silly coincidences saved his family’s lives is enough for me to question the very nature of his faith. Is that all it takes? (Sidenote: see #6 for a discussion of the the director’s cameos.)

boxing helena amputee9. Boxing Helena (1993)

What is the laziest surprise ending in the world? If you guessed the “It was all a dream” ending, you’re correct. It shows no imagination on the part of the filmmaker to tack crap like this on at the end of your film. It’s so overwrought that Bob Newhart parodied it to great effect (and you’d have thought he’d put it to death once and for all) when his character woke up from a dream that lasted 184 episodes of “Newhart” from 1982-1990 to discover that he was still the Bob Newhart of “The Bob Newhart Show” that ran from 1972-1978. When Jennifer Lynch (yep, David’s daughter) directed “Boxing Helena” in 1993, she should have known better. Yet, there it is—a lonely neurosurgeon (really?) played by Julian Sands waking up to find that he hadn’t really amputated the limbs of hit-and-run victim Sherilyn Fenn and kept her in his house waiting for the moment when she relents and returns his affections—it was all just a dream. Lame. As an interesting side note, for a true-story version of the whole man-disfigures-woman-and-woman-comes-to-love-man-anyway routine, rent the documentary “Crazy Love.” It’s not a great film, but it proves anything is possible.

sean penn micheal douglas the game8. The Game (1997)

From the director of one of the best twist endings ever (“Fight Club”) comes this labyrinthine mess of a story that tries hard to be more than what it is—an intricately silly game of Mouse Trap. David Fincher followed up “Seven,” his atmospheric take on the serial killer genre, with this trite piece of bullshit that wants to be about corporate greed and cruelty. It piles twist upon twist until the final twist is so unbelievable that in order for it to have been true, somebody would have had to have scripted a whole bunch of stuff for a whole bunch of people, not the least of which is an oblivious main character. Rich businessman Michael Douglas receives the gift of a real-life role playing game that finds his bank accounts drained and attempts on his life. But not really, we find out later. So he goes to the company and shoots the first person who opens up the final door. It’s his brother Sean Penn, who is now dead. But not really—blanks! Douglas is so distraught that he tries to commit suicide by jumping off the roof. But he doesn’t die because there is an airbag placed at just the right spot. Little bro was trying to teach him a lesson. All the actors who were in on the scam, including his “dead” brother, appear and the game is over. Or is it? This movie is a real patience-tester. How many times can you show something is true and then take it back again? By the end, does anyone even care? Nope.

cary elwes saw7. Saw (2004)

Here’s another flick where the primary plot device is some stupidly insane person who wants to teach people that he views to be lesser than him how to appreciate life. What better way to do that than to concoct a devilish reality game where someone must make a ridiculously gory choice while chained to a radiator? The first in the wildly successful “Saw” series was the only one that worked—until the big surprise at the end, that is. There is no redeeming social commentary or inherent cultural value in “Saw,” but it poses questions so ridiculous that they could have been dreamed up for the Heathers’ lunchtime poll at Westerburg High. “Would you rather….cut through your leg with a hacksaw and murder an innocent man you don’t know, or let your wife and child die at the hands of a maniac?” Now, that’s a good one. Unfortunately, it stretches an already non-existent credulity to have the mastermind suddenly reveal himself as the corpse that has been lying on the floor next to you the entire time. You can’t have an “a-ha” moment when there was nothing to suggest it was coming in the first place. It’s a cheap trick for a movie that didn’t need one. The shock value of the first one is all gone now that we know who the Jigsaw killer is and why he does what he does anyway.

high tension french slasher6. High Tension (2003/5)

It wasn’t enough for Alexandre Aja to skillfully pay homage to the slasher genre and actually generate some real—no pun intended—tension from a genre that has been severely lacking in that department for years. For most of the film, “High Tension,” is a visceral, terrifying experience which recalls obvious influences like “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” By staying just one step ahead of a mad trucker with a dismembered-head fetish and a big knife, a young French girl (who else?) narrowly escapes the gory death that everyone around her falls prey to and manages to stay alive until the end of the picture. At which point we find out—ready for this?—that she is the killer. The entire time she’s been the one killing everyone; not the trucker. I guess that means she didn’t have a car chase with herself or beat herself with a barbwire post. Granted, with her obsessive behavior towards her best friend (among other insignificant clues), Aja hinted this was coming from the beginning (and even more so in the alternate title of the movie, which was released as “Switchblade Romance” in the U.K.). But that doesn’t excuse a twist that, whether plausible or not, is a remarkable turnaround that suddenly lacks the courage to stick with what the movie does best: be a first-person “what would you do?” horror experience. Now it’s just another stupid serial killer flick and the next time we see it, it won’t be the least bit scary because we know she’s just delusional and not actually in any danger at all. Boo.

the village phoenix5. The Village (2004)

He’s back! Shyamalan’s follow-up to “Signs” (which was a box office success) was this slow-burn of a stinker. Like “Unbreakable,” the twist was pretty unbelievable, but it was the post-twist handling of said twist that really pissed me off. In “Unbreakable,” what angered me were the cheesy end titles that told us of Sam Jackson and Bruce Willis’ fates, “Animal House”-style, as we were still trying to comprehend the fact that the pair were superhero and super-villain. In “The Village,” it was the visage of Shyamalan himself as the Architect of the entire film with a capital A that really rankled me. Okay, I’ll back up. The twist at the end here is that “The Village” is not actually set in the 1800s. The inhabitants live in a wildlife preserve in modern times and that the government is bribed not to fly planes over the area so that the children who were born there will still believe in the group’s olde-tymie lifestyle and live as the “elders” want them to. It doesn’t hold up to logic and it’s kind of insulting, but what really ticked me off about this conclusion is that Shyamalan reveals that he himself is the forest ranger in charge of the preserve through an annoying and pretentious slow camera swivel where he is glimpsed only in a reflection. As if we didn’t already know that he was the man behind the entire film, he had to show us—literally. In “The Lady in the Water,” which doesn’t really have a twist and still managed to suck more than all the rest of his flicks, Shyamalan plays no less than the savior/martyr of the world. Tasteless and stupid.

perfect stranger berry willis4. Perfect Stranger (2007)

“Perfect Stranger” is an offensively slick and soulless piece of Hollywood crap. Halle Berry is vacant, looking for the killer of an old friend, but poor Bruce Willis gets the worst of it. After playing head honcho in a Victoria’s Secret ad for half the film, his creepy character (in a movie full of creeps) is framed by Berry for the murder; unceremoniously written out of the film without any acknowledgement whatsoever, a cheap pawn in a silly twist ending. Before that, Bruce uses his smirk for evil, trying to lure Berry; but wait—she’s luring him—what a brilliant female-empowering switcheroo! No, wait. It’s not. It’s just the opposite. She’s the killer after all. But we thought it was her slimy porn-addicted stalker friend played by Giovanni Ribisi (who builds his own Halle Berry in effigy—eww). Nope. When Ribisi says he’s onto her scheme, Berry stabs him and suggests to the cops that he was probably the real killer. Slimy corporate weasel or slimy stalker? Make up your mind, Halle! I love it when last-minute flashbacks come out of nowhere at the end of a film to give a character a reason for their sudden turnaround. As a child, Berry witnessed her mother killing her sexually abusive father. Now she’s a murderer herself. Oh, okay. ‘Nuff said. Explained away. Thanks for that valuable piece of character shorthand. Wait—it just gets better from there. Since we can’t have a murderer go unpunished (even one as hot as Halle Berry), we see a man looking out a window who has presumably seen what really happened and will do the right thing. Thank God they didn’t show him turning Berry in or we’d probably have to see a shot of her with a key to her handcuffs under her tongue for another “gotcha!” moment.

color of night willis march nude3. Color of Night (1994)

Sometimes the worst twist is the one that you can see coming from so far away that you start to second guess whether it’s really going to be a twist after all. “It’s just too obvious,” you’re thinking. Surely I’m not smarter than every other person in this film, right? This can’t be an actual twist, can it? Oh yes it can, and in the case of the Bruce Willis erotic thriller “Color of Night,” it is a doozy. A gender-confused young man named Richie and a mysterious beautiful young woman named Rose come into his life at the same time. Despite him being a world-class psychiatrist (and the fact that he sees Rose’s naked body throughout the movie), he’s still not able to figure out that Richie and Rose are the same person, both played unconvincingly by poor 20 year-old Jane March. Could this movie have been inspired by Best Picture nominee “The Crying Game,” which had a similar gender twist, and was released to much well-deserved fanfare in 1992? Regardless, “The Crying Game” is effective whether you saw the twist coming or not (and it doesn’t even come at the end). But the reveal in “Color of Night” is so obvious that the movie becomes a whole ‘nother kind of film. If you can stomach the ludicrousness, then you may as well celebrate it—at which point “Color of Night” becomes high camp.

de niro fanning hide and seek2. Hide and Seek (2005)

One good clue that you are in the middle of a movie with a twist ending is when you notice lots of characters that aren’t remotely credible because they are weird when the manipulative screenplay requires them to be, but totally normal when it doesn’t. This insulting thriller, starring a tortured Dakota Fanning and her mild-mannered father Robert De Niro, spends most of its time throwing out red herrings while lil’ Dakota dresses like Wednesday Addams and talks to an imaginary friend named Charlie. After the stupid, stupid twist is revealed and we learn that the destructive imaginary friend is actually one half of her father’s split personality, the stage is set for a little child endangerment—the kind of thing that really brings the fun out for a scare-iffic night at the movies! De Niro also discovers that under his Charlie personality, he killed his wife and then fixed it appear to be a suicide. Bummer. After the twist, “Hide and Seek” goes from just bad to purely revolting. The hole just gets deeper and deeper. De Niro is reduced to chasing his daughter and reciting dreck like “Come out, come out, wherever you are” as he follows her into a cave. It is so beneath him. It is so sad, the slumming. Sad, depressing, sad, sad, sad. De Niro had done an American Express commercial the year before, and I remember feeling weird about it. I would take a million more of those to not ever have to watch him “paying the rent” in a movie this shitty again. The DVD has a total of five endings on it, but each one of them takes place after the above twist is revealed, so they are more like afterthoughts than anything and don’t really change any of the completely offensive content of the movie. It is one thing for a movie to be boring and awful, but it is quite another to be insulting, in bad taste, and utterly ridiculous at the same time.

planet of the apes thade twist lincoln1. Planet of the Apes (2001)

This is what you get for remaking a sci-fi classic, Tim Burton. Too bad he didn’t learn; he then screwed up “Willy Wonka” not long after this atrocity, which is the worst movie of his career. Since this is a list of terrible twist endings, we’ll skip over the fact that the rest of this movie was awful enough to make any sane person leave before the end. But I, like many of you, remained, hoping that something even remotely involving would happen to Mark Wahlberg. No dice. Because the 1968 original had one of the best twists ever (the crash-landed astronauts realize by seeing the ruins of the State of Liberty that they are still on Earth in the future, where man is extinct and monkeys rule!), the tepid, senseless remake gets the top spot on this list for trying to manufacture its own shock ending and failing so miserably. Let’s dissect: Wahlberg goes back in time and lands in Washington, D.C. in the same period that he left, only to find Ape-raham Lincoln—a giant monument to his ape nemesis-from-the-future, General Thade! This is asinine for many reasons: If apes from the future traveled farther in the past than human astronaut Wahlberg to change Earth’s history, then—with that changed history—the events which made the apes go back would have never taken place in the first place. (Or does that make sense? These time-travel “what-if” rules always make my head hurt and seem to change all the time anyway.) Also, replacing Lincoln’s head with Thade’s seems simply designed for this one dumbass moment when Wahlberg steps out of the pod and is surrounded by armed ape guards. Very convenient. Lastly, the obvious attempt to one-up the original by including another U.S. landmark is so forced and desperate, it’s pathetic.

Eric is the Editor-in-Chief of Scene-Stealers and regular critic for KCTV5. He’s a member of the BFCA, VP of the KCFCC, and drummer for The Dead Girls and Ultimate Fakebook. He is also the current 2013 Air Guitar World Champion Mean Melin. Eric goes to 11. Follow him at:

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{ 102 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ashly June 10, 2008 at 2:32 pm

I so so so disagree with the fact that the The Village is on this list!! I really don’t understand the deep hatred people have for this movie. I really just think that people are mad because they don’t see his endings coming what so ever and thats what I loved about this movie, Signs and The Sixth Sense (minus the creepy Osment kid, I hate that kid). There are too many other movies that will tell you the ending in the trailer before it even comes out. I kinda think that the reasoning is sort of a cop out.. but you do know way more about this stuff then I do.

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2 Kevin Quinn June 10, 2008 at 2:59 pm

I think people hated The Village for the following reasons…

The ending is a complete cop out
The ending is obvious for some time
We expect more from M. Night

On a side note, any movie trailer that shows a scene or glimpse of the third act, a scene that will even slightly impact the power of the climax or ending should never be released to the public.

I hate going to a film and remembering a scene from the trailer, then waiting to see it only to know it will come up towards the end.

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3 Ashly June 10, 2008 at 5:04 pm

something is telling me not to keep this fight going with a movie critic and major>> (Kevin) but I’m gonna anyway..

Maybe I’m naive but I did not see that ending coming.. there was a twist you knew was coming sooner or later, but I did not expect that and I enjoyed the movie more because of it. (I should have really waited a day, this makes me look like I don’t work at work.. which I don’t, but this doesn’t make me look good at all)

And be honest, movie trailers show way more then they need to..

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4 RCM June 10, 2008 at 8:12 pm

If J.D. normally defends “Signs” than I think he’s right. To be frank, that movie scared the shit out of me when I first saw it. I’m not very religious but, I found the spiritual-fate aspect of that movie fairly interesting. You can’t read too deeply into the Sci-Fi aspect of the story and enjoy the thriller elements.

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5 JOB June 10, 2008 at 9:43 pm

My problem with Signs, you would think that creatures of superior intellect would for 5 minutes research a planet they were looking to take over… “Hmmm… this horrifying acid that can kill us sometimes falls from the sky and wow, even sometimes hangs in the air in a fine mist like substance. Maybe we should move on.”

My problem with the 2001 Planet of the Apes… everything.

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6 K.G. June 10, 2008 at 11:44 pm

The reason the twist ending of The Village pisses people off is that they want the movie to have been something other than what it is. I think that there’s a statement in there about isolationism, and what reveals that isolation more than to find that these people are so cut off from society that you had no idea they were chilling out in a park? Sorry it wasn’t a spooky monster in the woods film.

Let’s talk about bad endings…Donnie Darko. Just because they throw the “Deus Ex Machina” acknowledgment out in the second act doesn’t excuse it when little Donnie simply wills himself back in time and NONE of the prefaced “End of the World” shit happens or would have happened. and where the hell is Contact on this list? The alien is her f’ing father? Why not A.I as well? At least that film was an oscar nod waiting to happen until Spielberg completely dropped the last 10 minutes into the garbage.

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7 Ishani Mehta May 11, 2012 at 10:06 am

I totally agree with K.G. I loved The Village because it was a film about isolationism. I never saw it as a horror or suspense thriller movie at all, even when I didn’t know the climax. I am glad to have discovered someone else who reads the subtext in M Night movies other than the spookiness. This was definitely not a ‘spooky monster in the woods’ movie.
I think the real trouble is that after Sixth Sense people have come to look at M Night as a maker of suspense thrillers; he isn’t. His preferred tool is suspense, agreed, because of his huge fascination of Alfred Hitchcock, but his main interest is in telling stories about relationships between people and how the connect to various emotions (including fear) and react to them.

And I have to defend his cameo performances too. This is a guy who loves to act and loved how Alfred Hitchcock would make cameo performances in his movies. That is all. While you haven’t explored any subtext in his storytelling, you have gone too far in exploring subcontext in his cameo appearances. At least that is my opinion

But thanks for a wonderful list. It is good to know that the same movie can be viewed and experienced so differently :)

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8 Eric Melin June 11, 2008 at 7:32 am

A twist ending is something that changes everything we know that came before it. Darko and A.I. are not twists. Shyamalan’s movies never seem to connect the dots allegorically. To me, The Village was more about control (the elders, limiting freedom, etc.). Again, I have to stress that the complete illogical notion of its twist was only part of the reason it failed. The main reason was the way he went about it. About the best thing I can say for The Happening is that Shyamalan himself is not in it (although he is credited as a character that never apperas onscreen).

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9 Rutkowskilives June 11, 2008 at 1:16 pm

Two comments – obviously, in Sings if you think that the events in the movie were coincidences, you just didn’t get the movie.

Second, the Village had its weaknesses, but the scene where the girl looks around the tree and sees the monster, and then it actually runs at her was a heart stopping moment. A lady in front of me even fell out of her seat.

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10 Stephanie June 11, 2008 at 1:57 pm

Thank you Rutkowskilives. The whole point of Signs is “there are no coincidences. Methinks someone wasn’t really paying attention to the movie.

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11 RCM June 11, 2008 at 3:14 pm

K.G.:
Good call on “Contact”. That has to be one of the lamest “twist” endings ever.
JOB:
“Signs” is full of bad science and poor logic (the aliens came to harvest us?, silly.), but I find the storytelling behind it to be excellent.

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12 ChrisKnudsen June 12, 2008 at 12:49 am

“The 3s” was made into a movie. It was called Identity with John Cusack and it was indeed an awful movie.

Fucking kudos on High Tension man. #1 on my list. That is one of the scariest films to come out this decade but the ending was unnecassary.

One of the best twist endings go to Sleepaway Camp which you thought you saw coming all along (yeah of course she was the killer) but then bam! You didn’t know she had a penis! Damn, that is awesome.

The twist ending of Unbreakable isn’t that bad though. It does a great job of telling the first comic book story arc of a superhero. Unbreakabe is also the only M Night movie worth a damn too.

The ending of Saw made me laugh. I still liked it though.

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13 Scott June 13, 2008 at 8:05 am

I called the ending for the “The Village” before the opening credits even started. I just asked myself, “What is the worst possible twist this movie could have?” And I nailed it.

The entire movie is built on a lie. And I’m not talking about the parents lying to their kids. I’m talking about the screenwriter lying to the audience. That’s sloppy storytelling.

I’m sorry, but “The Village” breaks down at the most basic levels of logic. Why in hell would they pretend they were living in a previous century? If the children have no concept of the outside world, then what difference would the time period be? You could walk around in blue jeans and a t-shirt and still pretend there’s something terrible in the woods. The children’s understanding of the outside world is built entirely around the lie you’re telling them anyway. The “period” aspect exists solely to trick the audience, and to force the amazing twist. Lazy.

Also, why not send one of the numerous deceitful adults into the real world, instead of the blind girl? I can’t remember the half-assed excuse they use in the movie, but there’s not reason for it. Except that Shyamalan thought it would be clever. Sorry, wrong.
And if your whole reason for sending her is that so she won’t grasp the full understanding of the real world, then why tell her the monsters aren’t real. That would be a much more earth shattering revelation for a character in her situation.

And then for more lazy storytelling, and the cheapest of all thrills: after it is revealed that the monsters aren’t real, Shyamalan throws in another monster scene, and actually tries to create suspense with it! We know it’s a guy in a suit. Not scary. Not logical.

Bad Shyamalan, bad!

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14 Will June 13, 2008 at 8:22 am

Um. In Contact, the alien looks like her father as an illusion/hologram/whatever to be more approachable. And it’s not pretending to be her father, she figures it out almost instantly and the alien admits it readily. That’s not really a twist; a (stupid) twist would be that she’s half alien and her father had always been an alien until recalled to Galactic Headquarters.

Planet of the Apes had me gasping in shock through the entire freakin movie. I’m glad I saw it, if only as an example of how absolutely horrible movies can be. And Charlton Heston was hilarious.

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15 Dhsu June 13, 2008 at 4:13 pm

I’m actually quite surprised “The Forgotten” didn’t get a spot on the list. Worst twist ever.

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16 Required Name June 16, 2008 at 2:20 pm

Multiple twists was the point of the plot to “The Game”. Why complain? Can’t keep up?

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17 john June 19, 2008 at 10:49 am

if you think saw is a bad ending and a terrible movie, whoever your boss is needs to rethink his sanity and fire you immediatley.

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18 Scott June 19, 2008 at 11:17 am

Saw was terrible, and managed to make two great actors, Danny Glover and Carey Elwes, give the worst performances of their careers.

The twist is stupid because there is NO REASON for that guy to by lying on the floor. Having a twist simply for the sake of having a twist, as opposed to something that actually informs the story, is stupid and lazy.

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19 Scott June 19, 2008 at 11:31 am

The only part of Contact’s ending that could be considered a twist is the part where they discuss the length of static that Jodie Foster recorded during her voyage (approximately 18 hours).

It doesn’t really count as a major twist, since anyone watching the movie will already think that Foster went on a journey through space. It only serves to reveal that the government knows she was gone for a long time, and that they are covering it up.

The function of a real twist ending (and for this reason I don’t really think the Planet of the Apes remake qualifies), is to completely change the viewers understanding of EVERYTHING that has happened in the movie up to that point. So, in Signs we find out that every seemingly unrelated action was a cog in the mechanics of fate, or in The Village we discover that (gasp!) it’s been modern day all along.

Shyamalan at least knows the function of a good twist, even if his tend to be ludicrous and poorly executed.

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20 kev June 21, 2008 at 10:27 am

How about the Life of David Gale. Why get himself to a whole lot of trouble and got himself killed. The sacrifice is just not logical.

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21 Beth June 22, 2008 at 12:04 am

Oh, you NAILED it with High Tension. I haven’t been that angry with a twist in a long time. Not only was is completely illogical, ignoring even the simplest rules of the twist, it is tremendously insulting to women. This kind of “she kills because she has teh ghey” theme is more suited to a 60s drive-in thriller.

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22 Fingerling June 23, 2008 at 11:17 am

Hahaha, man once you see it add ‘The Happening’ to this list. Alright movie but the ending … what the eff. Is M. Night even trying anymore?

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23 vaudeville villain June 27, 2008 at 11:07 am

I totally disagree about The Game and High Tension being on this list.

That said, I love you guys and I listen to you every Friday on Dick Dale :)

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24 V August 21, 2008 at 8:12 pm

Not to be bringing back up, but I need to toss out my feelings on The Village. Namely, that I read a book that was almost identical when I was a kid. It was called “Running Out of Time”. Basically, there is a disease killing the children in an 1800′s village, and no one knows what to do about it. But, oh wait, the main character’s mother, who is the village midwife, does. So she sends her daughter out into the real world, where it is 1997. The main difference was that the book I had read was actually entertaining, as opposed to $8 and over 2 hours of my life, neither of which I will ever get back.

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25 Melusine August 21, 2008 at 10:12 pm

I think we are also missing the “I cannot decide on what monster to use” travesty that was the Mist. Obviously people who are stupid enough to stand in front of a window and hold up lights that are attracting giant bugs who slam into and then break through the glass as well as swinging flaming mops around inside of a store to “kill” said bugs/creatures are going to be stupid enough to sit around inside of a car contemplating a four bullet to five people suicide ratio only to be seconds away from rescue. I spent the entire car scene wanting to scream at the guy to put the kid in front of the woman and shoot them both with one bullet so he would still be able to die. But noooooooo, he had to go for his drama moment and pull the trigger hoping for a magic bullet. Then, after he boohoohoos for a few minutes the cavalry moves in and saves his stupid ass.

I’m surprised I was even able to watch the movie because I spent so much time rolling my eyes at how ridiculous it was. The “twist” at the end had me doubled over laughing and telling my boyfriend that from now on I pick the movies we go see. Stephen King needs to get back on the drugs or hang it up.

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26 Moeez August 27, 2008 at 2:20 pm

IMO, I thought “Identity” had a great twist ending, I wasn’t expecting that at all and it all made sense. It wasn’t really a twist “ending” though, because the twist is revealed pretty far back as that the character had many personalities when they’re interviewing him.

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27 Daymare October 2, 2008 at 12:56 pm

People complaining over High Tension’s ending are people who just can’t wrap their head around the fact that High Tension is something *more* (not less, by any fucking chance) then just a straight homage to 70′s horror. It’s *not* just a simple gore-fest, no matter how much you want it to be. You just have to turn on the “Lynch viewing mode” the second (and subsequent) time you watch it and try not to be so pissed off just because you were fooled into thinking it’s just a dumb slasher flick. And ask yourself who’s the narrator of this movie while you’re at it.

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28 Eric Melin October 2, 2008 at 2:06 pm

I completely disagree. I ask myself who the narrator is during this and it’s just a cheap “Usual Suspects” trick that takes all tension away from any repeat viewings because you know none of this is ACTUALLY happening. Things are scarier when they are permitted, within the rules of the movie, to be real.

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29 Daymare October 3, 2008 at 5:22 am

What’s happening in pretty much *any* movie is Not Actually Happening;) We’re just watching somebody’s imagination, played by real people in real locations, but that doesn’t make the whole thing Real per se. All movies are like that (Lynch knows, he’d tell ya’;)), High Tension just dares to hammer that point home, unapologetically, not before tricking you into believing what you’re seeing is somehow real (even if only within the movie).

High Tension was tense the first time, but the rules change at the end, which transforms every next viewing. What, at first, seems to be a very traditional genre flick with a simple narrative is suddenly turned into a very “post-modern” movie with a psychoanalytical edge (cue somebody calling me pretentious). Of course people freaked out, all pissed off – everyone feels like that when the proverbial rug is pulled underneath their feet. But it’s their fault they felt balanced on that rug:)

It’s not the movie’s fault we’ve grown too “comfortable” with what we’re looking at on the screen (it’s funny we still do, in this day and age, after so many movies proving us we shouldn’t) – it’s our fault. Just because most of the movies follow a very traditional narative structure or just because Sixth Sense’s (and many others’) twist ending “falls into place” so nicely, that doesn’t mean that there are rules on how this should be done. High Tension is just not traditional and it’s not trying to be “comfortable” – it challenges the way we watch movies (which is nothing new in cinema and yet people are still complaining) and that’s not “cheap” in any way. People either accept the movie on its own terms or they don’t and hate it because it’s something they don’t want it to be.

There are no rules; there shouldn’t be any – especially not in horror movies. Not all movies are here to please us. And you/we should never ever *really* trust the narrator/director – especially not the one as clearly deranged as in High Tension:)

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30 Eric Melin October 3, 2008 at 8:59 am

Hmmm…I dig what you’re saying about there being no rules. But individual movies set their own rules about their environment and when they betray those rules, it’s either a revelation that adds deeper understanding, or it comes off like a cheap trick. In this case, the reveal at the end changes everything you know for the worse. Like you said, on a repeat viewing, it’s no longer a first-person horror journey. You called it a ‘post-modern movie with a psychoanalytical edge.’ Ok, granted. But what I’m saying is that that same internal, psychological journey that you’re defending just doesn’t work. There is no suspense left knowing that you are watching someone’s invented “version” of what really happened, and it becomes a rather boring movie. The tension only exists if you believe the character is in danger. As soon as we know who she really is there a couple of clues for us to go “Oh, yeah, the director was trying to tell us that the whole time,” but the fact remains that the film turns into a cold, dead fish. Great discussion, by the way!

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31 Daymare October 3, 2008 at 12:01 pm

I enjoyed it the first time as a pure emotional roller-coster ride, now I enjoy it as movie about something “more” then that – as a movie that actually has something to say about the medium and the genre itself, instead of just offering us an hour and a half of suspense. There’s nothing wrong with that kind of simplicity in this genre, if done right, but High Tension is, just, not, that, kind, of a, movie:)

I could also argue that *all* (horror) movies change after the first viewing, since you then know where the ride will go and you know all the twists and turns. You can never experience that “first time” again. Especially so in High Tension which practically forces you to either watch it differently or hate it.

What was radical (and so awesome, to me) about High Tension is that its cruelest murder was the cold-blooded killing of our suspension of disbelief:) Most movies – intent on pleasing us, on giving us the Bang for our buck, on making us forget our lives for an hour – don’t have the guts to do that. It lured us in (with such exquisite flair and gusto, I might add) and then *bang*, “ha-ha, you’re watching a movie pal, wake up – I wasn’t the narrator, SHE was and she’s crazy!”:) We have no problem watching someone’s imagination turned into a movie but we can’t stand watching a movie *about* someone’s imagination – a movie that turns out to be told “through” imagination of an imagined character? Is that *really* any less real then a more traditional narative? High Tension challenges that (by no means the first time) and you either hate it for that (most of people) or love it (myself, for instance, as you’ve probably gathered hehe). It’s certainly not a “main-stream” movie, I’d say:)

Oh and one last thing before we just agree to disagree; I always though most of the killings we see in the movie were pretty much “real” so the ending shouldn’t really take much away – you just have to replace the homicidal maniac with a homicidal female maniac (and accept that some things were completely fabricated or twisted by her, the narrator). It’s of course open to interpretation, but, for me, High Tension (its story) is about a woman slowly coming to terms with her guilt, her Demon, her crime (that’s just a simple version – there’s also the whole gender angle and so on). In her troubled mind she tries to “frame” some unknown maniac for the crimes she did and make herself a victim, even a hero, but in the end, the truth comes through.

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32 Diane R December 4, 2008 at 2:45 am

Completely on a different track. I was completely surprised and caught of guard with “Sting” with Robert Redford and Paul Newman. anyone seen that movie? Probably I was asleep and it really was a bad twist ending. But it really worked on me.

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33 mathew December 17, 2008 at 12:02 pm

Saw is absolutely a excellent movie and ur review is the worst review in the world

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34 Joseph December 22, 2008 at 5:38 pm

I disagree about Saw’s ending; one of the best twists I’ve ever seen, and in context with Jigsaw’s voyeuristic nature, it makes PERFECT sense.

Another twist that is absolutely awesome is the revelation that closes Shattered, with Tom Berenger. Not a GREAT movie; just serviceable, but the final revelation is a doozy.

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35 ceefo January 5, 2009 at 4:00 pm

While we’re talking about terrible endings, can someone please explain to me what the crap happened in Lost Highway??? I’ve seen this movie a few tiems and i still can’t quite grasp what is going on. The guy CHANGES into someone else, and then CHANGES back with NO explanation, but he also goes back in time (also unexplained) and warns himself of the future that he’s already gone through? I think that Lost Highway deserves to be on this list.

As for Signs and The Village, I think that people are just expecting M. Night to live up to the same mind-blowing twist he first wowed us with in The Sixth Sense. It’s like a Rookie scoring 3 touchdowns in the Superbowl, and then playing just as well, but without scoring during the following season. it’s hard to live up to those expectations.

As for Saw… I thought the ending was GREAT. not only because you’re like “sonofabiscuit, the guy was in there all along” but also because it left open the option for sequels, which have proven just as successful.

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36 Kurtis Schibbelhut January 30, 2009 at 7:23 pm

I loved the ending to Saw. That was the only movie I ever just jumped up out of my seat and went “HOLY CRAP!!!!!!!” I think the fact that there was very little foreshadowing, besides it showing Jigsaw’s body and then never saying anything else about it, adds to the OMG effect of the whole thing. all but the most recent (Saw V) installments delivered a good twist also, but none as exciting as the original. As for the POTA Burton “reimagining”…it would have been okay…if the original had never been made. I thought The Village was okay…much better than freaking Lady in the Water…why isn’t that piece of crap on here, btw????

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37 James March 13, 2009 at 10:43 am

What?! No mention of Stephen King’s “The Mist”? Now that was a movie with a horrible ending.

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38 sidecarsally March 13, 2009 at 2:53 pm

Wow, it’s so awesome you included The Color of Night. It showed Bruce Willis’s cock in it for a brief second in the pool too.

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39 Andre March 15, 2009 at 3:53 pm

As long as everyone is tossing out their choices, how about the double twist of “The Prestige”. No spoilers here, but the Christian Bale twist was obvious halfway through the film and the Hugh Jackman twist made no sense whatsoever.

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40 Mario March 25, 2009 at 2:55 pm

Don’t be hating on Stephen King for the end to the movie, “The Mist.” That was NOT the ending he wrote in the novella- an ending that was far superior and very ambigeuous.

Blame that crap movie ending on Frank Darabount.

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41 Oz April 1, 2009 at 9:08 am

Why can’t people understand for even the briefest of seconds that the aliens in Signs are a MACGUFFIN! C’mon, people! That’s why it’s so hokey! Tin foil hats, classic saucer-based craft, landing on a planet filled with toxic substances, and USING CROP CIRCLES AS A FORM OF COMMUNICATION?! He practically begged you to ignore the alien significance. *sigh*

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42 reepicheep April 2, 2009 at 4:45 pm

Thank you, Mario, for pointing out that Stephen King’s original version of The Mist doesn’t really resolve the story, and that makes it a better read…it’s a lot like the ending of The Birds, where the survivors drive off at the end, totally surrounded by killer birds as far as the eye can see. Do they make it? Not likely, but that’s up to the viewer to decide. That film, to me, does a far better job talking about mankind’s sins against nature being revisited upon them than something like The Happening.

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43 Anderson April 15, 2009 at 8:11 am

What about Reindeer Games with Charlize Theron & Ben Affleck? Thats is the NUMBER 1 worst twist movie ever. It was so bad you probably didnt even watch it! Please strap yourself into a chair & subject yourself to it. Critique it & then seek conselling (you will need it)

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44 K_is_for_Kara May 1, 2009 at 8:24 am

I’ve never seen the Mist, but it’s apparently so bad that not one but TWO of my mates on separate occasions in one week told me never to see it. Both spoke of the stupidity of the Brooms when they could have used guns so readily accessible and the car scene at the end. Thanks all who have warned society to never view the movie. On the other hand, I may rent out the book!

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45 Locke89 May 13, 2009 at 7:56 pm

Oh yeah, the Game is such a mindfuck. It is a good idea but it’s illogical. You could never predict everything that happens in this movie.

Saw is one of the best endings ever. And if you think it doesn’t make sense you just failed. Jigsaw wants to watch the sense and this time it gave him both the kick and also the kind of “if I just knew it from the beginning” moment like when Adam noticed he had the key at the beginning but lost it.

Why do you people complain about the Mist ending. I like both and the movie one was great. This whole “I dunno what might happen” is just lazy and King proved himself he can do better. I really was like “shit, dude” at the ending. SPOILER!! I mean really, he killed his son only to discover that all of them would have been saved if he just waited one minute longer. I felt truly sad. And for me the film did a great job making me feel for the father and son. What would you do. Just fight and die in pain (That spiders coming out of the one guy must have been terrible) or give up and rest in piece without trouble.

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46 gsw May 14, 2009 at 9:32 am

I thought the SAW ending was simply ok rather than being oh so clever or oh so bad. In fact i find it strange that many seem to think the film had a lot to say, it really was meaning-lite and suggests that the fans who think it really clever need to see a broader range of movies and then go back to see that SAW is just a slightly better put together horror flick.

Oz, I don’t think the aliens really qualify as a macguffin, that is really more a vehicle to drive the plot in thrillers and tends to be ambiguous. In signs there is no subtlety about the aliens and the gaping stupidity of their ‘invasion’ makes the film laughable, you can’t set aside the aliens, and ending becomes feeble as a result. It would have been a better movie without the silly distractions of aliens. It was a wasted opportunity.

I saw ‘the mist’ and the movie ending was the cheap pessimism that has managed to stay fashionable for so long. I wouldn’t call it a twist.

good article

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47 tommy bahama May 17, 2009 at 3:29 am

“You can’t have an “a-ha” moment when there was nothing to suggest it was coming in the first place.”

Wow!
dumbest…statement…ever. That’s what makes it an excellent TWIST ENDING. After reading many of the Top 10s on this website, I have come to the conclusion that this website is a joke. Not because it has poor ideas for for top 10 lists, or because the authors don’t really seem to have a good understanding of the movies in said lists. but because these guys seem like comedy writers, especially when u write statements like the one I quoted.

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48 Eric Melin May 17, 2009 at 2:20 pm

Actually, Tommy, that “dumbest” statement is one of the tents of good screenwriting and is taught in every class across the globe. Maybe you should do a little homework yourself before you start talking about others’ dumb statements. As far as being comedy writers, yes I try to write in an entertaining fashion, but I never put snark or insults above serious criticism. I stand behind all my opinions and I don’t go for cheap laughs when I could be saying something about film.

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49 Ben Belden June 20, 2009 at 5:40 am

No one has mentioned what is perhaps the funniest part of the whole Planet Of The Apes ending: it was originally used in a comic book written by Kevin Smith as a joke. I don’t remember the specifics of how it happened in the comic’s story, but one of the characters has a dream or tells a story about monkeys taking over and there’s a picture of the monkeys removing Lincoln’s head from the statue and replacing it with a monkey head. Tim Burton claimed he had no knowledge of this, which I can believe, but it’s still entertaining to hear about.

On a completely unrelated note but just as funny to me, I bought the remake of Planet Of The Apes when it came out on DVD and just to drive home the point of how illogical and mind-numbing the ending was, there was actually a piece of paper including with the booklet inside the DVD case that explained the science and timeline of the film in order to properly explain exactly how the ending worked. There were illustrations with various time loops mapped out to show exactly how the chronology of the film worked. I loved seeing that.

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50 Reed June 23, 2009 at 1:52 pm

While I agree Signs fails in the fact that the aliens didn’t research very well, I thought the twist was pretty good. And the point was, as stated, there are no coincidences. But the twist was hinted at throughout the movie, and I thought it was a great moment when you realized the little girl was leaving cups around the whole movie.

I disagree completely with your ranking Saw on the list. I thought it was a brilliant, brilliant ending. Because really, it was an unexpected twist, but does it really change anything? It’s not like we suddenly found out a good guy, like a cop or something, was a killer the whole time. All it did was show that he liked to be up close to his victims, and that he had been there the entire time. It wasn’t really a ‘plot twist’ just a ‘circumstance twist,’ which I really liked.

And I will agree that High Tension had a bad ending, but I’ll do you one more: I rank it as the worst movie I’ve ever seen, how about that? I was never scared (I usually scare easy in horror films), it was poorly acted/directed/everything, and then had a stupid plot twist to boot.

Hide and Seek was bad. Agreed. Planet of the Apes of worse. I predicted the Village from the previews (except that it was modern times).

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51 Matt July 2, 2009 at 1:11 pm

Wait, The Game’s twist ending was lame but Fight Club’s was awesome? I think you’ve got it backwards.

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52 Haley M July 8, 2009 at 9:48 pm

I don’t want to get into any debates or anything but I disagree about their choice with SAW. I thought the ending was fantastic and fit in perfectly. That’s just my opinion.

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53 Andy R July 19, 2009 at 6:32 am

To be honest, I’m also suprised at people’s reaction to The Village. The group of elders were disatisfied with the modern world and hoped to create a new one for their children based on what they considered to be a more simple and pure time period without the problems of modern society. Naturally, however, the problems of humanity still reared their ugly heads because they couldn’t get away from human nature. I don’t really see what’s so hard to understand about that and the fact that you’re immersed in this supposed old-timey world only to find it to be the present day is quite a clever twist and is required for necessary exposition.

I have a theory that the only reason most people resent this film is that it offends their conservative sense of reality that the film turned out ultimately not be set in the period it initially appeared or that there were no real monsters (except those inside the village). Shame, really.

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54 Ada July 19, 2009 at 10:20 pm

I’ve only seen The Game, and I rather enjoyed it. I mean, I saw every twist coming, but I’ve gotten to the point where I know how a movie will end when I turn it on. There aren’t any original ideas anymore, and that saddens me.

I’m going to weigh in with my favorite twist movie of all time: Frailty. Normally I hate Matthew McConaughey movies, but this one is the exception. I loved it, and I couldn’t predict a bit of it (very nice change). No one’s ever heard of it though. I ask people if they’ve seen it and they say they’ve never heard of it. Totally underrated.

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55 aboleyn24 July 20, 2009 at 6:16 pm

The reason I hated The Village was because there was no “twist” for me. I knew what was coming almost from the begining. I felt like I was being hit over the head with this social commentary. The movie was marketed as somthing completely differnt then what it actually was (which was garbage). I loved The Sixth Sense and even like most of Signs despite the stupidest aliens in the world but The Village was just a bad movie. To be it wasn’t subtle in any way, more like an anvil.

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56 Aynber July 21, 2009 at 7:35 pm

The Village, for me, was no twist at all. When I can guess it from the trailers weeks before the movie even opens? The only thing I didn’t know was why. And even that was fairly lame.

And Planet of the Apes (2001) still confuses me.

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57 Chris Francis July 22, 2009 at 9:46 am

What constitutes a “twist”? Every effective murder/thriller seeks to have that moment of revelation in which our beliefs, expectations and instinct are thwarted. We expect “A” and it is actually “B”. Non-crime films such as “No way out”, “The Usual Suspects”, “Deep Red”, “Psycho”, “12 Monkeys”, “The Others”, “Sixth Sense” do this. Having an incomprehensible story can give the feeling of a twist (eg Donnie Darko, Mulholland Drive) but I think that’s probably just the viewer’s brain exploding. What we all agree on is that a poor twist is when we predict the ending based on the clues – there must be clues otherwise it would be complete nonsense to watch – or the outcome is improbable based on the clues. By the way, the “it’s all a dream” is similar to the “I am dead/dying and this is all imagined” technique used in eg “Jacob’s Ladder” and “November (with Courtney Cox)”. I’d add “Jacob’s Ladder”, “Angel Heart”, “Lost Highway”, “November”, “Siesta (with Ellen Barkin)” and Jodorowsky’s “The Holy Mountain”.

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58 Joshua July 22, 2009 at 1:51 pm

I agree with the “Signs” comments.

The whole point of him finding his faith is that he realized it WASN’T a coincidence, it was all planned.

As far as the aliens trying to take over a world made up of 86% water, a substance that burns them to death. Wow. How did they miss that? What about rain? Typhoons?

Identitys “twist” ending was awesome, I thought. But i’ve been fascinated with multiple personality disorder (now called disassociative identity disorder) since I was 12.

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59 ♠♦♠♦♠♦♠♦♠ August 2, 2009 at 3:15 pm

I couldn’t help but post in response to the people commenting about Contact earlier. You should go back and re-watch it with subtitles on or something. The alien never even hinted at the fact it was her father. He specifically made the point that given the situation, showing her what he really looked like might be a little too much for humanity’s first time in contact with an alien race. To make the situation easier on her, he made himself appear to be something she would comfortable with –her father. And before you try to shit on the possibility of that scenario, take into account the situation. If you were sent to an alien planet as a human ambassador… would you feel more comfortable around your father or Xenomorph?

There was no twist ending to Contact.

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60 Jono August 9, 2009 at 10:00 am

The twist ending of Saw is meant to be absolutely gutting for the protagonists. They try desperately to work out who would do this to them, and it turns out he’s been within killing distance the whole time. All they had to do was think about it. Jigsaw was a mastermind, everything was meticulous; why would there be an unrelated body on the floor beside them?

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61 Matthew Tyler Thackray August 15, 2009 at 12:43 am

So…………..are you serious?
Saw has one of the best twist endings ever, and is actually the move that got me into movies with twist. Also, if you say that nothing leading up to that would make us suspect that he is there, then let me offer you this advice next time you watch the movie, LISTEN! In one of the crime scenes there is a separate room with a peep-hole, presumably designed so that the killer could get front row seats to his own sick shows. This was stated by one of the detectives and to anyone of a good amount of intelligence, was a clue to the fact that, somehow, he is watching this game as well.
Also, the point of the whole thing is to make the decisions hard. I mean come on, what would you choose if your only options were cut off your leg and get out or go home without any problems. Seriously, I don’t want to know what you guys think a GOOD twist is, because before you say it, Usual Suspects is NOT a good twist.

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62 Derby August 27, 2009 at 3:55 pm

“So…are you serious? Saw has one of the best twist endings ever…Seriously, I don’t want to know what you guys think a GOOD twist is, because before you say it, Usual Suspects is NOT a good twist.”

My faith in the human race, albeit limited at best, has been shattered in one fell swoop by this comment from MT Thackray. I literally can’t write anything else. My anger…boiling over…ugh.

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63 Jandhi August 27, 2009 at 8:19 pm

The worst for me was the recently released The Uninvited. That was the worst movie with the worst delivered twist in history. It blatantly copied the Sixth Sense(don’t worry I’m not spoiling it for you, just don’t see it) and the delivery in the end was so bad it made me want to shoot myself for watching all of it without any fast forwarding. Just boring and bland script writing and acting.

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64 Matthew Tyler Thackray August 30, 2009 at 1:28 pm

I’m just saying, in my personal opinion, Usual Suspects was not a good twist. It may just be me but any movie without a proper amount of closure, or one where the movie lies to you repeatedly to make the twist more “shocking” simply because they showed you someone else doing the actual killing. Also, most of what was done in the movie was inconsequential and never happened, which is actually a very lazy way of doing a twist and just pisses me off because it gives you the feeling of; “Oh, so here was no point to the last hour and thirty minutes I just watched ……………… is there.” I mean the delivery of the twist was good but come on, it’s just another lazy “Main Character did it.” twist. That movie was really just a waste of time for me.
And it did not have that good of a twist. I mean if I lied to you the entire movie, and gave no hint as to what the truth was, then that would essentially be the same as this movie.

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65 Struff September 7, 2009 at 11:01 am

“I mean the delivery of the twist was good but come on, it’s just another lazy “Main Character did it.” twist.”

So…you guessed it right at the start, then?

No, thought not.

You can call it lazy cinematography if you want, but if you didn’t get it, you didn’t get it, and therefore it worked as a twist. The very fact that, with hindsight, you’ve been able to identify it as a commonly used theme, and yet the vast majority of viewers were stunned off their asses when they dropped it, makes it even better, in my book – talk about hiding in plain sight.

Also, I’m glad someone mentioned that Darabont screwed with Stephen King’s ending for The Mist – it’s always been my favourite of his short stories, and while the movie ending certainly had impact, I felt it was a little too jarring and bleak, and didn’t really fit with the atmpsphere of hope that the rest of the film exuded. That said, I love an unhappy ending – no-one seems to like doing those any more.

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66 ewj October 22, 2009 at 4:57 pm

saw shouldn’t be on this list, is the best saga i’ve ever seen, considering i hate gore movies. the endings of all the films are fucking brilliant i totally disagree with saw being on this list… the first time i saw it i was completly shocked at the end, and that happened to me with the ones who came after… i mean, is your opinion and i respect it but, personally, i believe that saw doesn’t deserve under any terms being on a list of bad twist endings…

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67 Twisted Endings October 31, 2009 at 7:08 pm

Whoever did these reviews obviously doesn’t understand plot twists, AND is inconsistent. First he says that we need some sort of sign that a twist ending is coming, which he said was absent in Saw (it wasn’t; if you re-watch the movie, everything points to it) THEN he says that he doesn’t like the twist in The Color of Night because we CAN see it coming. Get consistent, man.

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68 Matt November 4, 2009 at 3:01 am

Saw is exactly what makes up an awesome twist. There is not a single inconsistency in that movie from the side of ignorance, before the twist, and after. That makes it extremely commendable because that’s how it so easily fools the audience. Not to mention, the singular shot that reveals the twist is beyond epic.

The Village is an excellent movie, which needs to be recognized for the genre it is- drama. The script is beautifully written, and has a lot of greater meaning besides the literal. M.Night (while I was dissapointed with the Happenning) is always good at creating bigger pictures and messages. I think people went into the movie expecting it to either be scary or assuming they could figure out the twist because they knew he’d give one, and when the twist was revealed everyone thinks they called it. I doubt thats the case but even if one of your many guesses was the correct twist, it is an excellent film that is horribly unappreciated. I love that M. Night put the twist in the middle of the movie because the second half changes all of the circumstances and another story begins.

Neither of these films should be on the list, and you shouldn’t be able to put your opinions out there without good arguments. Saying you don’t like the way M.Night worked himself into the Village is irrelevant to what your article is supposed to be about.

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69 Eric Melin November 4, 2009 at 1:37 pm

Twisted Endings-
Let’s be clear. There should be clues (or at least some subtle foreshadowing) if your movie is going to have a twist. Check it; it’s in every basic screenwriting guide out there. That said, if it’s TOO obvious (like the fact that a bad female actress is dressed up like a man throughout “Color of Night”), the twist is not a twist anymore, and fails.

Matt-
Thanks for sticking to the specifics in your comment, too. It’s great when people can act maturely and air their disagreements. However, I do believe I laid out very good arguments for each of these. In “The Village,” what I was referring to were the possibilities of planes flying overhead or any other random intrusion of modern life that would completely blow the cover. (I remember there being a mention of changing flight patterns, which is so ridiculous that it further points out why this twist is a joke.)

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70 MovBuff November 7, 2009 at 9:09 am

this was an EPIC FAIL for having saw and the game on the list.

two of my favorite endings ever..

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71 Jeremy November 8, 2009 at 3:15 am

This is more opinion than anything else. To say someone “screwed” up a movie based on your own personal dislike of it and then publish that publicly as though it were common knowledge is not only sloppy writing, but insulting.

Learn the difference between opinion and fact.

That being said, some of the stuff on this list is better researched than others, i agree with the “opinions” shared concerning Boxing Helena and Signs, though countless people have said similar things before.

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72 Lilly November 13, 2009 at 6:05 pm

Where is Mulholland Drive?

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73 Rj November 18, 2009 at 11:59 pm

I so agree with Jeremy (#70). Eric, if you consider yourself so careful and perfect with stories, we would like to see you make a film! Make one and let people criticize. You will be up for a lot of surprises, I assure you.

The Village:
Shyamlan always does a brief 1-scene role in his movies, it has nothing to do with depicting him as the savior!!!!
About wearing old century cloths,(#12) those r easy to tailor without heavy machineries. u need to bring jeans and skirts from outside world, if u want the characters to look smarter and sexier!
When u know that its a story with twist(s), u will still half expect the beast to be real even after the elders assure about the beasts being fake!
Its also easier for young people to travel long distance rather than elder ones. And the blind woman was the best person.
Shyamlan’s storytelling is awesome, but its not necessary that all audiences will get it. some people will always open a site like this!

Planet of the Apes:
There is not just 1 theory for time travel effect. Think of the movie “deja-vu” where Denzel goes back in time, saves the day and the girl. So he now doesnt have a reason to time-travel in the future and he will not even meet Kilmer and co. Then did he actually save the day? well, he did. if u go back in past and cut an arm of your younger self, according to 1 theory, your older self wont lose an arm. coz, that time u r 2 separate entities. …. yes, nobody knows. so chuck this discussion.
The ape-raham Lincoln statue sucks anyway.

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74 abhusan January 1, 2010 at 6:20 am

whoever says “saw” has a bad ending, he can go fuck himself….okay u r trying to make the list of movies with worst endings but no need to act smart..u smart ass, the ending of “saw” is damn gud. when u r watching any movie, watch it like a movie, if try to find errors in movies, even oscar winning movies have them..so next time think hard before making a fucked up list like this…and i personally feel “the forgotten” should be in the no. 1 of the worst twist ever.

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75 Micah January 7, 2010 at 10:45 pm

This is funny reading about Planet of the Apes because I loved the movie and I realize it is because I interpreted the ending differently from others.

I assumed that in fact, Mark Wahlberg’s character had not gone into the past at all, but had gone into the future by accident. The time machine somehow screwed up. So he landed in a future like our present, only with Apes. I thought that made sense (for a movie), since the Ape world had been primitive. And the fact that General Thade is the Lincoln monument meant that the peace that seemed to be emerging between people and Apes did not last, and the people were betrayed. So it meant that Wahlberg had left too early.

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76 DJ February 23, 2010 at 2:03 pm

alright well I don’t care about anything except signs. I gotta say, I liked the movie the entire time. It never occured to you, and I know it’s a movie… but possibly the aliens DIDN’T know because they’d never BEEN to the planet + the reason the didn’t know? it didn’t exist on their planet.

but aside from that, that movie and I have a love/hate relationship.
I love it to death.. but good lord, it’s the first movie I ever saw that still scars me today.

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77 Sarah March 2, 2010 at 10:15 am

The wonderful thing is, we all have our opinions and we all have our different experiences that that influence those opinions.
In regards to twists I am not a fool by any means, so if you manage to surprise me, you’ve done a good job.

A few of my favourite twisty movies
*****************************************
‘Soylent Green’ ’12 Monkeys’ ‘The Others’
‘StarWars The Empire Strikes Back’- “Luke…I…am your father”
‘Seven’ ‘Arlington Road’ ‘Lucky Number Slevin’
‘Fallen’ ‘Hellraiser: Inferno’ ‘The Wicker Man: 1973′
‘Friday the 13th’ ‘The Prestige’ ‘Vertigo’

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78 John March 15, 2010 at 9:16 pm

But Eric, you say Saw’s ending came out of nowhere! That’s not true! Saw’s ending had a logical building up to the twist! It had, like, this one line that this one character said, totally foreshadowing it! Pay attention! Seriously!

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79 Eric Melin March 16, 2010 at 12:23 pm

Ha ha ha, nice, John! I love that this post has inspired such debate. Even better, a screenwriter linked to it on his blog to illustrate the idea of truly bad twist endings.

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80 Dhsu March 16, 2010 at 1:08 pm

It really is no less than amazing that this is still getting comments almost two years since it’s been posted.

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81 Brandon March 21, 2010 at 8:29 am

Planet of the Apes remake…
I guess you bever read the original novel.

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82 Petski April 9, 2010 at 2:31 pm

Well for me the worst twist ending ever has to be Usual Suspects… its all basically one guy telling a lie for the entire movie, yeah brilliant… Well pretty much the same goes for the Village. Signs was just plain bad all the way through.

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83 beast April 22, 2010 at 12:54 pm

ok, 1, u r a complete dumbass mainly because nearly everything that happened in saw, was a clue as to who the real killer was, the end was awesome, and a hell of alot better than any m. night movie

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84 Tony May 7, 2010 at 6:30 pm

Worst ‘twist’of all time – Oceans Twelve. You just watch that movie feeling cheated. They already had the egg? So why go through with all the crap? To make the film probably, and pay the stars. Complete waste of 2 hours (and the first was actually a pretty good flick).

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85 Pezz May 25, 2010 at 11:23 pm

It’s funny that the “It Was All a Dream” gimmick, which failed so miserably in Jennifer Lynch’s “Boxing Helena,” turned out to be one of the greatest twist endings of all time (in fact, an Oscar-nominated and multiple award-winning twist) in “Mulholland Dr.” directed by her father, David Lynch. It just goes to show you that in the hands of an artistic genius, something considered a cliche can become something totally innovative.

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86 Eric Melin May 25, 2010 at 11:44 pm

True, but what’s so great about Mulholland is that the first 2/3 is all the dream and the last 1/3 is the reality. The fact that he presents it all with sch tantalizing ambiguity is what’s so clever…

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87 ME June 24, 2010 at 4:35 pm

The Village is the only movie I have ever been to where the audience actually booed at the end. It certainly does belong on this list.

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88 Dennis July 5, 2010 at 1:07 pm

Everyone always has the same stupid criticisms of “Signs.” First of all, why assume the aliens are a “more intelligent” race? So they have space travel… so do we, and we still make mistakes. Maybe water is unheard of on these aliens’ planet. How much did we know about the moon before we landed there? Or, maybe the aliens’ government knew water was deadly, but sent this crew anyway to see what would happen. Maybe they are the lowest-ranking members of the military, unschooled and unexperienced.

There are a thousand more possible explanations to the aliens’ behavior if you just think about it for five seconds.

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89 Scott July 6, 2010 at 12:13 am

The problem is that the same molecules found in water are found in our atmosphere. Since the aliens appear to be naked with no protection from any environmental contamination, a humid day would presumably dissolve their lungs, or burn their skin at the very least. Since crop circles play an important role in the story we can assume that the aliens spent some time scoping us out before they attacked. If they couldn’t figure out that one of the most abundant resources on the planet was their kryptonite during that time, then they are indeed idiots. Especially since they attacked in small numbers, unprotected, with a small puff of gas their only means of attack.
If you have to assume the aliens are morons to explain their lack of foresight, you’re also sapping them of any intended menace.

But of course the movie wasn’t really about aliens. It was about an ex-priest’s wife getting fatally pinned to a tree so she could have a premonition that saved his family from harm, thereby restoring his lost faith. Everything else is just sloppily assembled to support that weak premise. The aliens’ lack of judgment really belongs to Shyamalan.

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90 Dennis July 6, 2010 at 6:33 am

Maybe the water in the atmosphere wasn’t enough to kill them, only to make them sluggish (note the speed of the aliens when they’re first sighted, but near the end of the movie, they’re slow and possibly too weak to escape from a pantry). Or, maybe it’s something else that kills them… one of the minerals in the water, perhaps.

You think a movie villain has to be smart to be scary? Doesn’t that take away the menace from about every horror movie ever made? Jason Vorhees isn’t exactly a genius.

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91 Brandon October 10, 2010 at 1:49 pm

The Midnight Meat Train. The killer is a friggin’ lizard.

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92 AJH October 16, 2010 at 11:15 pm

Night Train. Talk about bad. I hoped I had found a hidden gem with the cast of Danny Glover, Leelee Sobieski and Steve Zahn. I should have known 8 minutes in. Afterward, I couldn’t believe anyone would waste time on this film, including the cast, crew and producers. Sobieski’s character is so ridiculously unbuyable as the innocent-turned-villian that I was surprised she actually signed the contract to make the movie.

Please don’t bother, but if you do, you can fast forward through about 80% of it and not miss a thing.

p.s. “special” effects look like leftover CI from The Polar Express.

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93 kaikaikai December 13, 2010 at 4:50 am

i only really enjoyed one movie on this list.
so for the most part i agree with this.
although personally i think there are alot more movies more deserving to be on the top.

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94 Kat December 20, 2010 at 6:12 pm

Personally, I rather enjoyed Saw’s twist… When I watched Boxing Helena I had just been looking for something to watch and it had sounded interesting, although it did bring me great disappointment to find out it was just a dream, that twist has been played to death…. Also I think Dressed To Kill should be on here because the twist on twist was not very good, and if I do recall correctly it was directed by Brian DePalma, and if you have seen Carrie you’d notice that both movie begin with a shower scene and end with the remaining protagonist waking from a nightmare

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95 Alex K December 26, 2010 at 11:34 am

Saw DOES drop hints. It says that he likes to “have a front-row seat to his own sick games” — remember the hole in the wall when the fat guy was trying to escape the barbed wire, for instance? It should have made you ask “How was he watching what was in the basement?” — Because he was the guy in the middle! That’s the same reason he was able to buzz the chains when they were plotting, whispering in secret together.

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96 Karma December 28, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Wow. You Sawtards in the comments make me just want to lose all faith in humanity as a whole.

Wake up. Saw was nothing but complete and utter cinematic garbage in every way, shape and form. Not just the twist ending, but in fact every single worthless, insulting, pathetic, badly acted, poorly written, abysmally concepulized moment of it from thought, to page to screen. Saw is absolutely the single worst horror “franchise” since Pumpkinhead and you people supporting the film in any way, should all truly be ashamed of yourselves.

The first movie was garbage, the next movie was garbage, and every entry afterward was… not surprisingly… garbage.

Additionally I have no problem openly stating that you’re all garbage for liking it, and I, speaking as someone who actually HAS some semblance of taste in the movies I give regard to, am disappointed and ashamed on behalf of every one of you poor, unfortunately, easily amused Saw fans and your lack of standards to speak of.

Shame on Saw, and shame on you. The only tragedy here is that Saw didn’t place as the #1 worst twist, if by no other virtue of being also the single worst film on this list, entirely. Being that it’s “twist” was as worthless and banal as every single second forced to endure the running time of such cinematic trash of the lowest grade imaginable as that unimaginably godawful film and all of the unimaginably godawful films that followed it.

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97 Greatings from the furute January 30, 2011 at 6:49 pm

Too many people with very little knowledge throwing the word “Logical” around. Most of you only have a star trek defination of the word logic and even some of the stuff in that is illogical.

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98 nikita February 5, 2011 at 8:15 am

The worst twist ending for me has to be in the movie “The Tortured”. The only reason I came across this site was using search engines as a means to explain it to me!
I felt seriously cheated by the end of this movie,having being linked with the makers of “Saw” I was expecting a half decent hour or so of entertainment. Instead I got 72 mins of clunky acting,outlandish storylines,an unnecessary sex scene and an ending that was easily predictable from near the start. My puzzlement came from how abrupt it was and before I knew it I was being slapped in the face with the end credits and left
scratching my head thinking WTF?

What I didn’t understand was the note written in the last scene,an innocent man admitting to his wrongdoing. That confused the shit out of me.

I also felt they could have cut a lot of the opening scenes & concentrated a lot more on the closing ones. Even a small nod in the direction of the parents reactions after the events would have sufficed. :(

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99 Bob February 23, 2011 at 7:37 pm

The Village didn’t have a twist ending. It never looked like it took place in the 1800s. It looked like a modern day Amish village. The villagers spoke of the town, and how it had advanced medicines. The elders having lied about the creatures in the forest was predictable. They obviously just wanted to keep the people inside.

I enjoyed watching the movie. I was only disappointed by the end, and that wasn’t the fault of the movie itself. I had read the brief review on Rotten Tomatoes, and it said “Shyamalan’s signature twist ending disappoints.” I was expecting a twist ending that never happened.

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100 Scott February 24, 2011 at 4:58 am

Just because you saw through the movie’s trickery, doesn’t mean that it wasn’t intended to trick you. I happened to guess the twist ending of The Village before I saw it, but it was still meant to be a twist. Everything in the movie is designed to fool the audience right up until the reveal. Look at the gravestone of the child they’re burying in the first scene. The dates read 1890-1897.
Again, all of time period tricks are purely to trick the audience and don’t actually make sense within the world of the film. If you want to raise your kids separate from the world, you can do that without pretending it’s a different century. They wouldn’t know the difference anyway.
Look at Dogtooth for a perfect example of this.

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101 Xaviersx March 6, 2012 at 3:40 pm

I liked the twist ending for Planet of the Apes (2001). I believe that part of the lack of liking comes from Mark Walbergish acting (a bit stiff and detached) which didn’t lift the film to any great heights, but I also think that the general movie audience left their star trek timeline theories at home and couldn’t think back to the time storm the film took them through at the beginning. Everybody passing thru it came out the other side in reverse order that they entered and at significant differences in time. At the end, the same held true, you’d just have to accept that the invading apes would take over or mimic our moments if they came back during monument building phase.

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102 Polarizing December 27, 2012 at 11:08 pm

The Village was not only an aggressively mediocre film, it’s also almost completely plagiarized from a children’s book called Running Out Of Time. M.Night should be ashamed, so desperate was he to keep the whole ‘surprise!’ narrative crutch that he lifted the plot of a book meant for pre-teens in order to do so.

Unbreakable is his only good movie.

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