But let’s start with honourable mentions. I will reveal the plot twists so if you haven’t seen any of these movies, please DO NOT read the descriptions. This time I could pick pretty much every Hitchcock movie ever, as he was the king of shocking reveals, but I narrowed it down to two: one is below, and the other is Psycho (1960). In this 60s horror/thriller (! last chance to stop reading !), we find that the shy Norman Bates is a killer, and that his mother is actually him, in a wig.
Second honourable mention has to be Gone Girl (2014), where a husband is a suspect in his wife’s disappearance, only we find out halfway through that she actually faked her own disappearance to screw her husband’s life. Now onto to the Top Five!
Thriller Plot Twists That Shocked Me
(and I Still Don’t Get)
05. The Machinist (2004)
directed by Brad Anderson
starring Christian Bale, Jennifer Jason leigh and Aitana Sánchez-Gijón
Christian Bale plays an insomniac factory worker that is severely underweight and is or may be suffering from hallucinations, as a consequence of not having slept in a year. After an incident at work he becomes paranoid, and spirals down consumed by his own psychological issues. It’s a dark and grunge-looking film that I haven’t rewatched but, if thirteen year old me is to be trusted, this movie is the sh*t.
The twist: just your average possibly none of it was real ending, triggered by repressed guilt.
04. American Psycho (2000)
directed by Marry Harron
starring Christian Bale, Justin Theroux and Josh Lucas
Any chance I get I’ll pick this movie, eh? Wall Street yuppie Patrick Bateman is a bit bored and annoyed with a superficial society that doesn’t understand the important message behind Hip To Be Square. And so he goes on a killing spree of prostitutes, homeless people, cops, innocent bystanders, and superficial colleagues – 20-40 people, give or take. Except, did he…?
The twist: again, maybe it was all in his head. Or maybe not.
03. Shutter Island (2010)
directed by Martin Scorsese
starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Emily Mortimer and Mark Ruffalo
A detective investigates the disappearance of a killer who escaped from an asylum. Set in the 1950s, and in a really scary looking island, Scorsese’s last great thriller is the kind that gets weirder and weirder as the ending approaches. Until of course, the mystery is solved.
The twist: HE’S THE KILLER WHO ESCAPED!! God, it feels good to say that out loud.
02. Vertigo (1958)
directed by Alfred Hitchcock
starring James Stewart, Kim Novak and Barbara Bel Geddes
Here it is, my one Hitchcock pick. Of course it had to be his most mind-boggling film, Vertigo. In it we follow a detective who meets Judy, who looks almost exactly like Madeleine – a woman he once knew, and who in turn was the wife of an old friend and could be possessed by a spirit. Our detective fell madly in love with the elusive Madeleine, but sadly couldn’t prevent her death because he suffers from vertigo. So now he thinks Judy is Madeleine, and becomes obsessed. A bit confusing, but it gets better:
The twist: turns out Judy is Madeleine, but the real Madeleine is actually dead. And now Judy is dead, too.
01. The Shining (1980)
directed by Stanley Kubrick
starring Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall and Danny Lloyd
With previous films I may have not been immediately sure of what actually happened, but I at least came up with one or two ideas of how everything came to be. But with The Shining? I just stared at the screen frozen by utter confusion, much like Nicholson over there. Jack Torrance heads up to an isolated hotel with his family, to take care of it during the low, freezing season, as it is shut down. There’s a history of violence in past keepers of the hotel, that repeats itself as Jack descends into raging madness and tries to kill his family.
The twist: Torrance has been in the hotel before… in 1921?! The “official” theory seems to be one of reincarnation and let me tell you, that only makes the story ten times more creepy.