New horror films, like the upcoming Pearl, offer unique scares and terrifying twists. However, horror films aren’t the only genre that has the potential for entertaining, disturbing plot twists.
Shocking twists right at the end of a film aren’t uncommon, but it’s the way they’re written that sets them apart from other endings. Classic horror movies like Friday the 13th and Scream have some terrifying twists that keep the genre fresh. However, other movies like Black Swan and Arrival also have some twisted, eerie conclusions.
10 Friday The 13th (1980)
Friday the 13th is one of the best summer camp movies that is commonly known for its infamous undead killer, Jason Voorhees. However, those unfamiliar with the original film may be shocked to learn it was Pamela Voorhees, Jason’s mother, who was the original killer.
Throughout the film, the audience sees an anonymous killer pick off the camp counselors. It’s shocking to learn that instead of some devious, crazy man being responsible, it’s actually an older woman that suffered after the loss of her son. This ending is scary because it deconstructs the viewers’ expectations of whom a killer can be.
9 Shutter Island (2010)
In the psychological thriller Shutter Island, two detectives show up on a reclusive island where an asylum inmate has escaped the premises. However, as the events unfold, one detective, Teddy, begins having strange experiences and must come to terms with his own grief.
The ending of this film reveals one of the scariest plots about the human mind. While the audience thought they were watching a detective uncover dark secrets at the asylum, they learn he’s a patient suffering from the trauma of killing his own wife after she murdered their children.
8 The Others (2001)
A mother and her children live on the English coast as she awaits word of her husband during World War II. However, strange events start to unfold, leading the mother to believe her house is haunted by evil entities.
The Others turns out to be another disturbing revelation by the end, the woman and children learning they are the reals ghosts in the house and the others are the living people. It’s eerie to learn after following the main characters that they are paranormal anomalies and will therefore not get a happy ending, instead stuck haunting their last home for eternity.
7 The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
The Empire Strikes Back has a bittersweet ending, with Luke Skywalker and company defeated but already plotting their next move against Darth Vadar. However, close to the end, this film reveals one of the biggest shocks known to cinematic history.
When Darth Vadar reveals to Luke that he is in fact Luke’s father, it throws one of the biggest twists into the overall plot line of the popular story. This terrifyingly unbelievable news turns Luke’s world upside down, the Jedi-in-training refusing to believe it.
6 Orphan (2009)
Esther’s reign of terror begins when she is adopted by a family looking to fill a hole in their lives, not only killing others but threatening the children within the family. However, the true nature of the girl is more shocking than her terrible deeds.
What the audience thinks is a severely violent child turns out to be a woman with a rare disorder that affects her body’s ability to grow. This makes the killer of Orphan even more dangerous and leads to a run against time as the mother races home to engage in an intense fight with the deranged serial killer.
5 Black Swan (2010)
In Black Swan, Nina Sayers is a perfectionist ballerina that is determined to get the lead in her company’s next performance. As Nina’s determination begins to affect her mental wellbeing, the plot takes a shockingly dark turn.
Black Swan is one of the best horrors to watch on Amazon Prime and a terrifying thriller that delves into a world of dangerous rivalries and unhealthy habits. After seemingly stabbing her rival, Nina performs perfectly only for the audience to learn after her dance that she has stabbed herself and is about to die on stage. Nina’s chilling last line before she dies, “I was perfect” solidifies how disturbed the dancer truly was.
4 Split (2016)
The psychological thriller Split follows a man with dissociative identity disorder who kidnaps three teenage girls, claiming that they are for the supposed beast. In the end, the audience learns that beast is real and is actually one of Kevin’s different personas.
The finale of this film features the lone survivor running for her life as Kevin comes after him in his beast form, climbing calls and bending steel. This final scene is not only one of the scariest in films because of his monster-like abilities, but because Kevin created the physical attributes of the beast seemingly out of his own unique mind.
3 Se7en (1995)
Se7en is one of the best psychological thrillers and one of Brad Pitt’s best movies, following two detectives as they race to track down a sadistic serial killer who is committing crimes according to the seven deadly sins. Promising to bring them to the last two victims, John Doe leads them to a remote site where the final twist happens.
As if the story of this serial killer isn’t enough, the ending reveals Doe killed one of the detective’s wives over envy, and then the detective kills him over wrath, completing the cycle of the seven sins.
2 Scream (1996)
As one of the classic horror movies that still hold up, Scream continues to spook the audience today. In this slasher film, a masked murderer is killing off teenagers in the small town of Woodsboro.
Scream‘s ending was so shocking partly because the killer seemed too obvious. When Sidney finally learns that her boyfriend, Billy, is actually one of the killers, she’s shocked because he was suspected repeatedly. Not only is this ending scary because of the sadistic nature of the two killers, but the murders were meticulously planned out over a year when Billy initially killed Sidney’s mother.
1 Arrival (2016)
Arrival sees Louise, a linguist, recruited to communicate with extraterrestrials to learn why they’ve landed on earth. She learns they’ve arrived to give humans the gift of their communication, enabling mankind to experience time differently.
These beings don’t turn out to be scary, but the reality Louise finds herself in is frightening. It’s revealed that “visions” of Louise losing a child are actually flashes of the future. It’s truly spin-tingling to learn that Louise knows when her child will die before she’s even given birth to her.