Be warned! Spoilers lie ahead…
The twist ending is a tricky plot device. It can either make a movie or, in some cases, break a movie. When done right, they are often the most memorable part of a film. Here are five examples of movies that were just OK up until the twist ending , at which point they became great.
When the world heard Martin Scorsese was making horror movie expectations were very high. The term “Hitchcockian” was thrown around a lot. The movie he turned in was about a detective (played by Leonardo Dicaprio) who is investigating the disappearance of a murderer who escaped from a mental hospital isolated on a small island and is presumed to be hiding somewhere. At the end of the movie it is revealed that Dicaprio’s character was not a detective at all but was a patient at the hospital who had covered up traumatic memories with an elaborate ruse that he lives out over and over again.
The movie was ok on its own. There were a handful of scary and suspenseful moments but you never felt the main character was in any real danger. Even when he was hanging off the edge of a cliff, you knew it would turn out ok, because he was the main character, after all. They were not simply going to kill him off. The big reveal is satisfying, sad and beautifully shot. It is what made this movie memorable.