The 10 Most Asinine Movie Twist Endings

Ever since "The Sixth Sense", Hollywood producers have been trying to capitalize on its success by distributing horribly illogical twist endings, hoping desperately to recapture what made the film such a surprise hit. And fail as they might, that certainly hasn't stopped them from continuing to try.

We should warn you, there are spoilers below. Not that you would ever want to watch the movies to begin with, we should just warn you because the twists are so stupid that reading about them might actually impair your motor functions for the next couple of hours.


Stay (2005)

The gimmick:
All a dream

The twist:
The car crash at the beginning of the movie was the only real event, with Henry the main character having hallucinated the rest in the midst of death. We're going to assume this is due to all the acid he took before the car crash, because that's the only way of explaining the incoherent mess he sees in the moments before death.

Why it sucks:
Apparently too busy sucking themselves off over the stylish transitions and slick effects to bother with actual plotting, the makers of "Stay" created a movie with a plot outline that was actually already used in a Saved by the Bell episode (Rockumentary). There is literally less than ten minutes of the movie that actually occurs.

You'd figure that with only ten minutes of stuff that actually, you know, happens, they'd have managed to at least get that part right. Instead we get two complete strangers hooking up immediately following a horrible car crash. This apparently happens because they're the same people that got to know each other in some dude's dream. We're assuming this was supposed to be some sort of artful statement about death and dreams and seat belt safety, but expecting an audience to care about two people whose personalities were imagined by a man who was clearly under the influence of some sort of psychotropic drugs is pretty ridiculous (basically the equivalent of making the last ten minutes of The Doors a subplot about the Indian getting it on with the Lizard King).

Of course, we're supposed to overlook this minor dramatic incoherence because of the beauty inherent in two individuals being sexually aroused in the midst of several innocent people dying.

High Tension (2003)

The gimmick:
Split personality.
Main character did it.

The twist:
In this French film, it turns out that the obese serial killing truck driver think Larry the Cable Guy except stronger and with more charisma was actually an alternate personality of Marie, a hot lesbian played by cutie Cecile de France.

Yes that French version of Natalie Portman is the one who stalked and killed a handful of grown men using seemingly super human strength to dispatch them with ease. This leads to many puzzling questions, not least of which is, how in the hell did she manage to give herself a blowjob with that decapitated gal's head? (By the way, it's kind of a messed up movie.)

Why it sucks:
Violent, gory, and featuring a sequence of gratuitous lesbian masturbation, "High Tension" was on track to become one of the great horror films of our time. That is, until its final ten minutes, where the filmmakers raised their middle fingers to the audience and said, "Hey, you know that awesome movie you were just watching? ...yeah, well, fuck you. None of it happened."

This might not have been so irritating had there been a logical way of explaining why over half of what was shown on screen was physically impossible for Marie to accomplish like snapping people's body parts off with bookshelves, and being in two different places at once. We guess, as is often the case in life, the answer can be chalked up to superhuman lesbian strength and teleportation abilities. Or maybe it can be chalked up to the fact that the filmmakers stole the entire plot from a Dean Koontz novel called Intensity, and in an effort to conceal their unoriginality, they tacked on an ending stolen from about a thousand split personality movies that came before it.

This one is so frustrating because it didn't even need a twist ending. It could've easily ended like any good slasher film: with a prolonged sequence of the villain being killed, but then not really being dead, and then appearing again at an inopportune moment, but then actually being killed, but oh wait his eyes open up an instant before the credits roll. Except instead of credits, there's a half hour session of the French chicks scissoring. You know, like a good slasher film.

Signs (2002)

The gimmick:
Aliens have ridiculous weakness.
Elaborate scheme (of divine intervention).

The twist:
Aliens are H20 intolerant. Bonus twist: God has a lot of free time on his hands. Extra bonus twist: Instead of being scary looking, the aliens look like naked burn victims.

Why it sucks:
Aliens have conquered interplanetary space travel, invaded and terrorized people across the globe, and yet, somehow, they're incapable of figuring out that Earth is comprised almost entirely of water. Kind of like humans deciding to land naked on the sun.

Further complicating things, it seems God has seen fit to provide the protagonist, a troubled ex-priest, with a spiritual reawakening, in the form of every member of his family having an important quirk affecting their final encounter with those terrifying water-allergic, can't-even-figure-out-how-to-open-locked-doors creatures. It's unclear why God went to all that trouble to work out that complex a plan, when he could have just made it rain. We're pretty sure Mel Gibson would have been just as thankful.

Apparently learning his lesson about twist endings, M. Night Shimmymamalamalan moved on to make "Lady in the Water" where the only twist is that he actually made a romantic comedy about mermaids starring Paul Giamatti.

Hide and Seek (2005) / Secret Window (2004)

The gimmick:
Split personality.
Main character did it.

The twist:
In "Secret Window", Johnny Depp plays a writer whose life is being wrecked by a mysterious character named John Shooter. In Hide and Seek, Robert De Niro's life is being wrecked by Dakota Fanning's imaginary friend "Charlie." In both cases their wives are killed by the menacing characters. In both cases, it turns out they have split personalities and are themselves the menacing character. Both films attempt to dress up the clichd "split personality" cop-out by calling it "dissociative personality disorder." In both cases, you want to take the writers by the shoulders and violently shake them until they apologize.

Why it sucks:
Coming out within months of each other, two films that try desperately to have startlingly original endings made basically the exact same movie with the exact same twist ending. Sure there were differences: one ending was obvious (Secret Window) while the other was irritatingly illogical (Hide and Seek). One managed to get an actor that was too good for the role by appealing to his fetish for playing writers while the other got an actor that was too good for the role by approaching him in the midst of a 17 year firesale on his artistic integrity.

But both movies boil down to "Husband investigates mysterious man only to find out he is the mysterious man. Upon realizing this rather than being repentant, he for some reason becomes the bad guy and tries to kill stuff." You could describe the movies as eerily similar if the twist ending they employ wasn't the laziest screenwriting clich that anyone's ever employed. So rather than looking on the two similar screenplays as eery, it should be looked on with the wonderment one reserves when finding out that two of their stoner friends both spent last Saturday laying on the couch watching a Friends marathon.

The Forgotten (2004)

The gimmick:
Aliens did it.

The twist:
Julianne Moore's kid was taken by aliens. Goddamn aliens.

Why it sucks:
You honestly get the feeling that the idea for the movie started out having nothing to do with the aliens. The movie certainly starts out having nothing to do with aliens. For the first 45 minutes it's like an ultra-intriguing Lifetime Movie. Julianne Moore is grieving a child that died in a plane crash but she's the only one who remembers him. How could this be? We honestly wanted to know. Apparently, so did the filmmakers. And that's when they had this conversation:

Clich Hollywood Producer #1: OK, so how do we end that film where the broad loses her kid nobody but her remembers? We need a rock solid explanation that will give immediate understanding to all of the bizarre occurrences that have happened up to this point in the movie. Any ideas?

Clich Hollywood Producer #2: Aliens.

Clich Hollywood Producer #3: Yeah, aliens.

Clich Hollywood Producer #1: ...well that was easy. Who wants lunch?

Basic (2003)

The gimmick:
Elaborate scheme.
Characters aren't really dead.
Rashomon effect.

The twist:
It took about eight viewings, but we think we've finally worked it out. Sector 8 was a super-secret anti-drug unit being led by John Travolta's character and the whole thing was a meticulously planned con meant to make the army believe the team was dead so they could maneuver undetected in the future, and everything shown in scenes prior was simply part of the fabricated story they created to find out who was behind the drug dealing operation they were currently investigating. Pretty simple, really.

Why it sucks:
Hearing characters get interrogated for an hour, only to find out everything they said was a lie, and then those lies were lies, and the lies about their lies were lies, and them admitting what lies were and weren't lies makes you stop caring, and start counting statistics such as number of characters that come back from the dead (about a dozen) and number of times that Samuel Jackson calls someone a motherfucker (not enough).

The filmmakers behind "Basic" seem to follow the principle that as long as you throw out enough twists in a film, eventually one will stick and hold the picture together.

By the end you're forced to conclude that "Basic" doesn't want you to understand what's happening. There are flashbacks revealing parts of the plot that may or may not have happened before. Just about everything you find out in the film is revealed to be false ten minutes later. In Roshomon, this same technique is used to evoke the subjectivity of the truth. In this film, it is used to evoke the feeling of being kicked in the nuts repeatedly while watching John Travolta try to act.

Perfect Stranger (2007)

The gimmick:
Main character did it.
Elaborate scheme.

The twist:
Halle Berry was the killer.

Why it sucks:
Name any good twist ending movie, and you can rest assured it foreshadows its finale in earlier scenes. "Perfect Stranger" attempts to emulate this with flashbacks of Halle Berry as a little girl, shots of a bathtub, and some weird guy eyeballing her. We've gotta say, as soon as we got to the ending, we smacked our forehead and cried out, "How could we have not seen that coming? There was that bathtub! And that weird guy! Not to mention shots of her as a young girl. Of course Halle Berry is the killer!"

That's not to say those extremely revelatory flashbacks were our only indication. The ending was also apparent in that Halle Berry's character's actions and emotions were clearly those of a person who was not the killer and didn't know what was going on, even when she was by herself. For instance, when she snooped around Bruce Willis' apartment trying to find evidence, and looked scared when she found pictures that indicated that he was a killer even though nobody was around, we should have known that she was just trying to get into the character of an innocent person, to throw people off her trail. Because she's so obviously the killer.

But the real mind fuck came from the promotion for the film, which brazenly advertised that it's twist ending would blow our minds. Based on this, we assumed it was going to be the only twist a film called Perfect Stranger could possibly use to blow our mind: Cousin Larry and Balki were really the same person all along.

The Number 23 (2007)

The gimmick:
Main character did it.
Unintentional elaborate scheme.

The twist:
Jim Carrey's goes on an idiotic quest to find out who wrote a book he is reading about the number 23. When the ridiculous quest ends after two weeks, we find out he is the one who wrote the book, thus explaining both why the story gave off the vibe of a 5th grader's failed English assignment and why it has ultimately taken him weeks to reach the end of a 100-page novel.

Why it sucks:
In an attempt to conclude with as few plot holes as possible, "The Number 23" spent its final half hour forcibly explaining an astoundingly convoluted chain of events adding up to some of the most convenient coincidences that would never logically happen. Kind of like "Lost", but with half the IQ points.

So, here's a step-by-step guide explaining the wondrous nature of the film's amazing twist:

  • Jim Carrey's dad killed himself and his suicide note merely consisted of things adding up to 23. Apparently not a Michael Jordan fan.

  • Jim Carrey became obsessed with the number 23 because of his father, regardless of the fact that his dad was a psychopath of "Norman Bates" proportions.

  • Jim Carrey stabbed a woman who cheated on him, and buried her in the park.

  • Jim Carrey went to his hotel (room #23), wrote the book about the number 23, left out chapter 23 (which revealed his identity), put it on the walls of the hotel room, made every 23rd word in the book clues leading to that hotel room, and then jumped off the balcony. Because when you think about it, why wouldn't he do all of that?

  • Jim Carrey survived the fall, but suffered amnesia, so he forgot everything that happened in his past, allowing him to find the novel he wrote in a bookstore (with the author's handle listed as "Topsy Kretts" ZOMG! Top Secrets!), become obsessed with the number 23 all over again, and find out bit by bit the events leading up to his sordid past.

We don't think we're alone in the world when we say: That's retarded. Also, it should be noted that Carrey doesn't once talk through his ass throughout any of this.

Planet of the Apes (2001)

The gimmick:

The twist:
We still have no idea. We guess he goes back to Earth...? Or he was on Earth all along...? Or he goes back to the planet he was already on, which wasn't Earth...? Except it's further in the future...? And they've somehow replicated Washington, D.C. in this place that may or may not be Earth..? And the place has magically... uh... Screw it. Nevermind.

Why it sucks:

The Life of David Gale (2003)

The gimmick:
Main character did it.
Elaborate scheme.

The twist:
It's fitting that Kevin Spacey should be responsible for our shittiest twist ending since his vastly overrated Usual Suspects is responsible for 90% of the films that appear on this list. In this movie, it turns out that in an effort to prove that the death penalty doesn't work, Kevin Spacey framed himself for raping and murdering his friend. Because apparently, the best way to prove something doesn't work is by making absolutely sure it can't. Much like if we were to point out this film's twist ending doesn't work by snapping the DVD in half. See? Conclusive evidence.

Why it sucks:
Because Kevin Spacey and his gang of cohorts are morons. If you're on trial for something you didn't do, isn't the only way to prove the death penalty is faulty by doing everything in your power to defend your innocence, and then still being convicted anyway? Otherwise all you're doing is proving what a jackass you are for intentionally getting yourself killed.

Also, the film leaves huge braying elephant unmentioned. In the final reveal they explain that the vicitm killed herself, Spacey and his friends found her and hatched their plan, and Spacey put his finger prints on the scene. What they don't mention is why Spacey was also charged with rape? Where'd that physical evidence come from? Did they decide to keep it classy and just jerk off onto their friend's dead body? Was a turkey baster involved? The question is inexplicably never addressed.

Honestly, it's not that hard to reveal the problems inherent to the Texas judicial system, where blacks are more likely to be executed than whites, where real innocent men have been executed in the past twenty years. This makes it all the more pathetic that this film needs convoluted plot contrivances to fail to prove a point that could have been made by simply telling the truth. Couple this with the movie's final scene having Kate Winslet receive a video from David Gale guaranteed to instantly undue everything he just died for, and you have yourself one hell of a shitty twist ending.

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