With narrative fiction comes certain tropes and expectations, and with those come oh-so-shocking WHAT A TWIST moments. Some of the most memorable moments in cinematic history are when movies zag on you something FIERCE, kicking you right in the nether regions with a swerve that will leave you scratching your head for days. Here are five plot twists so severe, they might have given you whiplash.
Warning: there are spoilers for Saw, The Sixth Sense, Psycho, The Usual Suspects, and Seven
Sure, it might have been overshadowed by six more increasingly gruesome sequels, but the OG Saw had one of the best swerves of all time. OF ALL TIME. The reveal that the Jigsaw Killer had literally been lying on the floor for the entire movie was so gasp-worthy, it nearly distracted from the immense amount of scenery that Cary Elwes had just chewed up and spat out for an hour and a half. My first foray into cosplay was lying on a dirty bathroom floor in my underwear pretending to be dead, but for some reason it didn’t have quite the same effect.
The Sixth Sense
If you don’t know this plot twist by now, I’m honestly so, so impressed that you’ve made it this far. At the end of two hours of ghost-hunting and hamming it up with Haley Joel Osment, it turns out that Bruce Willis had been straight up deadsville the entire time, and that… wait, Donnie Wahlberg was in this, too? Damn, M. Night, you done did it again. I consider Donnie Wahlberg’s involvement with anything ever a significant twist, and I welcome it each and every time. Bring on more Wahlbergers!
Think of Psycho as the Saw of its time (just bear with me here, all right?). The way people almost certainly puked from seeing faces ripped apart in the 2000s, people were fainting at the sight of chocolate syrup as blood in 1960. Psycho was the story of Norman Bates as the ultimate mama’s boy, killing whoever she disapproved of… until we learned that she was basically a mummy in a dress and he was a VERY capable ventriloquist. In fact, can we just remake the movie with Jeff Dunham? I have a feeling it’d be just as funny as one of the guy’s stand-up specials.
The Usual Suspects
In one of the most famous twists around, at the end of The Usual Suspects, we find out that Kevin Spacey’s Verbal Kint had been Keyser Soze all along. If you think about it, that movie is the ultimate improv scene, as Kint is literally just taking cues off of the wall and “Yes, And”-ing them into an elaborate story. And now, thanks to that analogy, I’ll never trust that improv comics aren’t also crime lords on the run.
It’s a Kevin Spacey double-feature, y’all! Sure, some might say that the twist is that Kevin Spacey’s John Doe helped Gwyneth Paltrow lose about eight pounds in a very specific way (don’t ask what’s in the box). But really, a large part of that twist was that Kevin Spacey was even in the film to begin with, specifically requesting that he not be credited or appear in any marketing materials. Couldn’t he have asked for the same thing with Nine Lives? Or maybe he could’ve asked for that movie to be jettisoned into outer space?
Do you have a game-changing secret that you’re waiting till your death bed to reveal? Let me know on Twitter!