Warning: There are a metric crapton of spoilers ahead. Obviously. This is an article about movie endings. We're kinda gonna have to talk about endings, ya know?
The first movie I personally remember being shocked by was Old Boy. It's a 2003 South Korean horror/psychological thriller. The ending is such a graphic sharp left turn that it gained instant classic status both in Korea and among horror film lovers worldwide.
I'd tell you about it but I don't have time to explain the relevant spiderweb of character relationships ... or for the amount of trigger warnings it would take.
One Reddit user asked:
So lets take a stroll through Hollywood history. You probably already know the twists and turns in several of these, but there might be some movies here you haven't been punched in the gut by yet.
Grab some popcorn and enjoy!
Planet of The Apes.
It was super surprising seeing the Statue of Liberty at the end. When I first saw it, my 9 year old brain just exploded. The movie doesn't really make sense up until the ending because of the reveal; but even if you saw it coming, its execution was still phenomenal.
My son only recently got into Star Wars. When we got to watching Empire for the first time. The thought that he didn't know what was coming, or the impact it would have, didn't even occur to me.
I wished I'd taken a video of his reaction. He was beyond shocked, like absolutely gobsmacked. He also bombarded me with questions for about an hour straight afterwards. It blew his mind!
How To Train Your Dragon
How to Train Your Dragon.
What other kids movie would dare have the main character get maimed/disfigured during the climax?
And then the second movie was even worse cause Stoic dies! Fck, that death hit me so hard.
Major spoilers below if you haven't seen HTTYD 2:
Him and his long-lost wife had just reunited. You finally got to see the soft, loving side of him. He was finally happy. I almost cry every time I think of that song and dance he does with his wife.
Then like 10 minutes later he gets murdered in front of his reunited family. Like every time Hiccup does the brave, strong thing it costs him. The first time it was his foot, then his dad, then later on his town, and eventually his best friend.
That series is frikin dark.
And just to add salt to the wound, he was murdered by lovable mascot best friend Toothless while he was under the effects of mind control. That really takes it over the edge for me.
And Toothless gives that goofy grin and assumes Stoick is asleep shortly after snapping out of it.
Yeah and how Hiccup angrily shoos Toothless away and Toothless's hurt and confused face before running away. It absolutely murdered my feels.
The Birds. The movie ending is surprising in that the movie ends with the protagonists just ... driving off and leaving town with literally no resolution to the actual problem of a town overrun by murderous birds.
I love how bizarre and bleak that movie is. And that there is no "reveal" to make sense what happens.
It starts out like a cute romance. It's charming.
Then there's a few birds acting strange. And then it goes bonkers, and it's all screaming and inexplicable chaos.
So they run away. The end. What the hell just happened?!
But the movie is like, "Fck you. We don't know what happened. The birds freaked out."
Let's Play A Game
The twist in Saw still ranks up there for me.
Low budget film with no expectations and, Wham, an amazing twist.
I tagged along with a group of friends to see Saw. Didn't know anything about it. Never saw a trailer. Didn't even know what genre it was. Just went because I had nothing else to do. Walked out of the theater two hours later completely terrified. I remember my friend didn't even turn the radio on, on the way home. We all just sat in silence.
First time I watched Saw I was alone, and thought it was fine, pretty neat horror movie. When Lawrence sawed his foot off, I figured that was it, that was the twist everyone was talking about. Kinda underwhelmed, but still all right.
And then it happened.
When I watch movies alone, I don't usually react all that much. Even to horror movies, beyond the odd shudder, I'm usually pretty calm. But this one got me to yell "WHAT?" at the screen.
Fooled By The PrestigeGiphy
The Prestige end lines.
"Now you're looking for the secret. But you won't find it because of course, you're not really looking. You don't really want to work it out. You want to be fooled."
This is the greatest line and set up, because until you get over the twist ending, or "the prestige," you don't realise the whole movies been lying to you.
It's all over the place - during "the turn", the middle of the movie, using unreliable narration of documentation created to distract the rival magicians. We know some of it is a fake diary, but we assume we can take some other information seriously when we can't.
The twist ending was great, but once rewatched you realise you're only ever watching a retelling of events, and as these two famously like to mess with each other what we are being told and shown probably isn't real. More than likely the machine didn't work and Jackman killed off his double to frame Christian bale, and the other tanks probably had dummies in.
We were so willing to be fooled we didn't use our logical thinking skills to break it all down.Well I didn't anyway, not till four or five watches later. We wanted to be fooled and forgot everything after the prestige was revealed.
Even though the movie literally tells us that's what's going to happen!
There's a great video on YouTube explaining it all.
Memento. Absolutely incredible. The ending made the beginning scene even more disturbing.
Me and a few friends watched this one night in college.
When it all comes together at the end and the black and white past meets up with the color present, I went, "gasp Oh sht." Chills ran through my body.
The movie finished, and we talked about it.
I told them, "when it went from black and white to color slowly it shook me."
They both looked at each other slowly and said, "I didnt..... I didn't even realize that happened until you said that".
We went back and watched again lol
Excellent movie, and the highest compliment I can pay it is what happened immediately after the movie on the day I saw it.
Remember, this was released in a time when mid-credits and post-credits scenes were not really a thing. As soon as the credits started rolling, no one, not one single person, got up to leave. I went to the movie alone and thus was able to sit and observe those around me. Everyone sat there, just talking with their companions about what they'd just seen (or thought they had seen). It was probably ten minutes before the first couple finally left.
I've never seen anything like that before or since.
Do you have something to confess to George? Text "Secrets" or "" to +1 (310) 299-9390 to talk to him about it.