Written by Melissa Allen, who you can follow on Twitter at @melissajournal
When it comes to a shocking plot twist, directors and filmmakers now have to go above and beyond to leave us surprised. There have been lots of attempts at diverting audiences, but filmgoers are smarter than ever before; so screenwriters have to be clever, too! With that in mind, we've put together a list of some of our favourite film twists which really did take us by surprise...
(Note that there will of course be spoilers!)
5. Us (2019)
Jordan Peele’s latest thriller involves a family, headed by Adelaide (Lupita Nyong'o), on a family vacation – back to the place that traumatised her as a child. Haunted by Red (also played by Nyong’o), she must fight for her and her family’s lives once Red catches up with her. Red and her family are essentially clones of Adelaide and her husband, son and daughter, but cannot speak and are not usual people... The twist comes when the audience is let in on the secret – Adelaide and Red swapped places when they were children, meaning that Red lived Adelaide’s life. Adelaide was kept underground with the other ‘clones’, and was stripped of a regular life – thus why she hunted Adelaide and her family... This twist is hauntingly perfect.
4. The Sixth Sense (1999)
Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis) is a child psychologist who begins to treat a boy who believes he can communicate with unhappy spirits. After a break-in in his own home, Willis is shot by the man who broke in. He survives and continues to treat the young boy... However, his wife is constantly ignoring him and the only person who seems to speak to him is the young boy. Here’s the twist; the young boy can “see dead people”, and has been seeing Willis' character ever since he was shot and killed near the start of the film... A twist that many people now know, but none forget.
3. Fight Club (1999)
Fight Club stars Brad Pitt and Edward Norton as two men who become unlikely friends. Norton's character is unsatisfied with his life and begins to spiral downwards when he meets Tyler (Pitt), a soap salesman with unsettling charisma. They both realise they enjoy danger, so they set up an underground fight club with any and all men who wish to join. Tyler then seems to be taking over Norton’s character's life as they begin to live together; Tyler seems to be taking away his new friend's girlfriend, his manner of authority… until the twist – Norton’s character has been Tyler the whole time. They are the same person. Norton’s character - The Narrator - may suffer with an alternative personality or schizophrenia, that is unclear – but this is a twist that’ll stick with you.
2. Orphan (2009)
Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman) is a young girl who is adopted by a family who have recently lost a child. While having two other children at home, they felt that adopting this lovely, talented young girl would fill a void in their hearts. When Esther enters their home, all seems fine except that she is shy and sometimes a little unorthodox... While her relationship with her new adoptive father flourishes, she does not get along with her new mother; Esther begins to show odd signs as she goes to great lengths to appeal nice and loving to her new father at the expense of her new mother... Here’s when things get sinister; the chilling twist is that Esther has a condition. The condition makes Esther look like a little girl, when she is in fact 30 years old and tends to try to seduce her adoptive fathers and get rid of the other family members... This twist just keeps on giving!
1. Ex Machina (2014)
This masterpiece follows Caleb Smith (Domhnall Gleeson), a young programmer, who gets a chance to become a part of a strange scientific experiment where he is expected to assess artificial intelligence (AI) by interacting with a female robot. Caleb is invited to spend a week with Nathan (Oscar Isaac), the mind behind ‘Ava’, an AI he has created. Caleb, however, begins to notice Nathan’s strange behaviour and also takes note of Ava – who he begins to fall for...
The twist here is phenomenal and had many sitting on the edge of their seat; Ava is simply using Caleb in order to escape – just when the audience comes round to the idea that she and Caleb can escape Nathan, Ava believes she has been imprisoned and used her whole ‘life’, so decides to kill Nathan and trap Caleb in order to escape.
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