The 12 Best Suspense Movies with Twist Endings You Won’t See Coming
Proceed with caution: Movie spoilers ahead for the best twist endings in cinema history!
The Sixth Sense
“I see dead people.” Everyone felt the chill when little Haley Joel Osment uttered the famous line. But no one suspected that he was actually talking about Bruce Willis, the child psychologist sent to help him deal with his visions of all these dead people. M. Night Shyamalan earned his rep as a director to pay attention to after he pulled a fast one with the ending and made The Sixth Sense a blockbuster. Add these movies about the afterlife to your must-see list.
Edward Norton’s performance is incredible in his role as a mentally ill sweetheart accused of murder. He suffers from multiple personality disorder, so lawyer Richard Gere gets him off on an insanity plea. The audience was stunned when they found out that the violent personality, “Roy,” is actually real. The nice altar boy is the fake persona! And now he goes free. Absolutely chilling. If this movie doesn’t spook you, these 31 scariest movies of all time sure will.
No Way Out
Kevin Costner cannot be a Russian spy! But at the end of this thriller you find out he’s a double agent who has been investigating himself the entire time he’s on a murder trail. We watch him race around in his Navy uniform the whole movie trying to find “Yuri,” a KGB mole. He falls in love with Sean Young—whose other boyfriend is Gene Hackman—whom Costner is spying on. So convoluted! And such a shocking twist.
Here’s another twist ending courtesy of M. Night Shyamalan: The movie takes place in a little forest village back in the olden times. Or so you think! The villagers dress like pilgrims and they’re terrified of some kind of monster living in the woods. William Hurt plays the chief elder and he dissuades anyone from straying too far or looking for nearby towns. Why? Because they might run into a car! Because it’s modern time, actually. He sends a blind girl, played by Bryce Dallas Howard, to get some modern medicine at a ranger station. The audience sees that its modern day time but the poor girl is kept, literally, in the dark.
The Usual Suspects
The movie that made you blame everything on Keyser Soze! Kevin Spacey spends the whole film telling detective Chazz Palminteri a convoluted testimony about the gang of criminals that he runs around with and the master kingpin, good ol’ Keyser. At the end of the movie, the audience finds out that Spacey’s character, nicknamed “Verbal,” made the whole thing up using details around the detective’s office! All of it was fake, including his own character’s limp.
Norman Bates has a really mean mom. Or so you think, until you figure out the whiny old woman sitting up in the bedroom window and berating her poor son never shows up on screen. Vera Miles discovers an empty bed when she investigates—and mama’s corpse in the basement. Because Mom is Norman! He dresses up like her to murder his hapless victims. Alfred Hitchcock knew how to turn up the creep factor in this classic that ends with a shocker.
Nicole Kidman stars in this atmospheric thriller about a widow living in a creepy old mansion with her two kids who happen to be allergic to light. Then some weird housekeepers show up and other “intruders” who seem to be haunting them. But then the audience comes to find, the “intruders” are actually living people and Kidman and her kids are the ghosts. Tragic, scary, and a total surprise!
In this noir thriller, Michael Douglas and Sean Penn play estranged brothers with a tragic past. Douglas’ life starts to go haywire after his brother gives him a “game” for his birthday. He’s told to report to a corporation to get started. They tell him he doesn’t qualify, but then his house gets vandalized and his TV starts talking to him. After more hijinks, he wakes up in Mexico, and as he makes his way home his life is further destroyed. When he accidentally shoots his brother, he’s so distraught he flings himself off a roof. And lands on a huge air mattress. And there’s his clapping brother. It was a fake gun. It was all a part of the game! Crazy twist that no one saw coming!
Leonardo DiCaprio travels to an insane asylum on a distant island to investigate a patient who went missing. All manners of craziness ensues on the isolated island when he gets trapped there because of a storm. DiCaprio investigates the inmates and discoveries a plot to lobotomize all of them. Then a patient wakes up and DiCaprio’s story was all a “dream” to work through his insanity. He’s horrified by his crime (killing his wife—who had killed their kids!) so he willingly wants a lobotomy to end the pain. Wait, what? Audiences were surprised and confused!
“Soylent Green is people!” When Charlton Heston yells the famous line, he reveals the contents of the weird ration everyone eats in the dystopian city. Life is bleak in the future and people eat green wafers that are supposed to be totally healthy and made of ocean plankton. The food is a hot commodity in this sci-fi cult classic. But will anyone ever learn the crazy truth and hear Heston’s yell? The movie ends right after he screams the line. Here are 25 more best quotes from movies.
The Crying Game
Stephen Rea plays an IRA member who helps kidnap Forest Whitaker for ransom demands. Whitaker begs him to find his girlfriend Dil if something should happen to him. Rea does find her, and he falls in love. One of the most famous cinematic twists came when audiences learned that the beautiful Dil, played by Jaye Davidson, is actually (shock!) a man. No biggie. Rea still loved her and took the heat for a crime she committed. Audiences at the time went crazy over the gender-bending twist.
Edward Norton plays a depressed office worker whose life goes off the rails when he meets Tyler Durden, a madcap extrovert played by Brad Pitt. The pair move into together and embark on a series of pranks and mayhem. Then they start a small army of mischief makers intent on destroying capitalist culture. Then we find out: There is no Tyler Durden! He’s just Norton’s imaginary friend. Here are 11 movies you totally forgot were Oscar winners.