There are many classic horror films that are defined by their amazing twist endings. M. Night Shyamalan will always be pressured to create inventive and original twists after the finale of The Sixth Sense had the whole world talking. Then there are the all-time classics like Psycho. That was a twist that kind of changed the game, especially in terms of the way it was marketed. No one was allowed to enter the theater after the movie got to a certain point and people had to sign waivers agreeing not to talk about it.
Even in 1960, Hitchcock had to go out of his way to make sure that audiences were even remotely surprised. And it’s so much worse today. We have so much content available at our fingertips, so much social media that it’s nearly impossible to be surprised by anything, really, let alone the ending of a movie.
With horror films from the 2000s onward, I don’t think there are any twists that are universally beloved. People have huge problems with even the most iconic endings of the time, like High Tension and Saw. Both of those are on just as many, if not more, “worst twist” lists than best.
I’m not really here to talk about worst or best, though. There are many plot twists that I don’t like, but that I didn’t see coming. I didn’t like the ending of Signs but I also didn’t immediately assume that aliens who invaded a planet that’s 75% water would be allergic to it. I’m here to talk about twists that whether they were interesting or made sense for the overall story or not, simply weren’t at all surprising.
Obviously, absolutely everything on this list is going to be a spoiler.
Mr. Marliston is the killer in Cherry Falls
I really love Cherry Falls, but when it comes to the identity of the killer, the movie really doesn’t give us anything to go on. It doesn’t give us another solid suspect other than Jay Mohr’s Mr. Marliston, so when he’s revealed it comes as a total lack of surprise. Luckily, there’s a backstory that’s still engaging and ultimately saves the story point from being predictable and dull.
Blood Rage starts out as a Halloween-esque slasher about twin brothers. One was locked away in an institution for killing someone when he was younger and has now escaped to return home on Thanksgiving. Everyone’s alerted to Todd’s escape, they all think he’s come to kill again and they have to take precautions. It’s a much more interesting twist when it’s revealed that the other brother is the killer and Todd is returning home to stop him, but the problem is that we can kind of guess that from the very first scene.
One of these kids is not like the other in Goodnight Mommy
Goodnight Mommy is an interesting movie, but the twist becomes very, very predictable. It’s a neat, stylish thriller about two twin boys who move into a new home with their mother after she undergoes major face-changing cosmetic surgery. It’s a moody, effective thriller that stumbles a bit under the reveal that only one of the twins is actually alive. The other has been dead for years, and his brother keeps him alive in his memory as an imaginary friend.
The Village is set in the present
In the years immediately following The Sixth Sense, M. Night Shyamalan was churning out content like crazy. And each movie he made had an increasingly ridiculous twist. Depending on who you talk to, he’s on a bit of a comeback now, but The Village was one of his lowest points. The reveal that the film is set in the present is not at all shocking, it becomes clear as soon as the rules and laws of the village are established.
Will Benson is the other killer in I Still Know What You Did Last Summer
This is one of the stupidest twists ever. But it’s one of my favorites because I love how terrible it is. I’ve shown people this movie just to watch their reaction to the ending. The delivery of the line paired with the logic behind it make for comedy gold. Will Benson, who’s been trying to get in Julie’s pants the whole time, turns out to be our other killer. He’s the son of original killer Ben Willis. Or, as he puts it, “Will Benson. Beeennnn’s Soooonnnn.” Just to make sure it’s spelled out loud and clear.
The old woman is the Devil in Devil
I have to admit, I usually don’t predict twists early on. I’m a fairly average audience member. I just want to get into it and get taken away. But I called this one within moments. And once I did, I had to sit there with the rest of the movie. And it was hard. Shyamalan gets a lot of heat for this one, but he didn’t direct it, and it’s not like the movie doesn’t have its genuinely interesting moments.
Angela is the killer in Sleepaway Camp
Now, Sleepaway Camp has an ending that’s regarded as one of the most shocking of all time. And it is. But that twist is also kind of there to cover up a twist that everyone saw coming, which is that Angela is the killer. If we didn’t have the gender bending twist, we’d be left with a really fun but very predictable slasher. It’s a good thing that Sleepaway Camp has the double twist, because one makes the movie genuinely interesting and resonant and aids it upon rewatch, where the other would have really bogged it down if it was the only reveal we were left with.