I am a huge movie buff, and what I love the most are movies with unexpected endings! Most of my all-time favorite films had surprising endings that left me speechless because I just couldn't believe how everything tied together! So, because I love sharing my favorite things with my readers, I'm going to list 15 movies with endings that leave you speechless. Don't worry though, I won't spoil the ending so you can still watch it and be surprised!
Table of contents:
- the sixth sense
- requiem for a dream
- the prestige
- the mist
- american history x
- star wars episode v: the empire strikes back
- shutter island
- the devil's advocate
- the life of david gale
- the others
1 The Sixth Sense
Probably one of the most famous movies with unexpected endings, The Sixth Sense had audiences in disbelief when the movie's end credits rolled. I'm sure most of you know what the big twist is, but I'm not going to spoil it for the few of you who still don't know. This 1999 film tells the story of Cole Sear, a troubled, isolated boy who is able to see and talk to the dead, and an equally troubled child psychologist, Dr. Malcolm Crowe, who tries to help him. The film was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture. So if you haven't seen the movie yet, even if you know what the surprise ending is, see it!
The first Saw movie is undoubtedly my absolute favorite horror movie of all time. This 2004 independent horror film revolves around Adam and Lawrence, two men who wake up to find themselves chained in a windowless bathroom. They are each given instructions via a cassette tape on how to escape. Adam is told he must escape the bathroom, while Lawrence is told to kill Adam before a certain time, or Lawrence's family will die. Meanwhile, police detectives investigate and attempt to apprehend the mastermind behind the "game." It was also one of my most fun experiences regarding movies with unexpected endings because it was like playing my own game in seeing if I could figure out who the killer was. There is no way, in a hundred years, I would have figured it out on my own!
3 Requiem for a Dream
This is another one of my all-time favorite movies and I promise it is not just because Jared Leto is in it! Requiem for a Dream is a 2000 drama that depicts different forms of addiction which inevitably lead to the different main characters' becoming trapped in a world of delusion and desperation. The reason this movie ending left me speechless was because it is just so depressing and dark. I've never felt more distraught while watching a movie than I had at the end of that movie. If you haven't seen this movie, definitely watch it, but don't do it when you are extremely happy because afterwards, you won't be.
In my college film studies course, we had to watch the 2000 film Memento. A word of advice, don't watch Memento unless the movie is going to get your undivided attention or else you are going to get completely lost in the story. Memento is presented as two different sequences of scenes: a series in black-and-white that are shown chronologically, and a series of color sequences shown in reverse order. The two sequences "meet" at the end of the film, producing one common mind blowing story! I don't want to give too much away but the story revolves around Leonard Shelby, a man with anterograde amnesia who has developed a system for memory recollection using hand-written notes, tattoos, and Polaroid photos.
5 The Prestige
The Prestige is a 2006 British-American mystery thriller film that follows rival stage magicians Robert Angier and Alfred Borden in London at the end of the 19th century. Obsessed with creating the best stage illusion, they engage in competitive magic tricks with tragic results. This is actually the only film on this list that I haven't seen. I have definitely been wanting to see it though because it is always on people's lists of movies with unexpected endings. At least that means I definitely can't ruin the twist ending of this film for you!
Not only is this film amazing by itself, but it is even better because it has a young Brad Pitt in it! The newly-transferred David Mills and the soon-to-retire William Somerset are homicide detectives who become deeply involved in the case of a serial killer whose well planned murders correspond to the seven deadly sins: gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, pride, lust, and envy. This movie has one of those endings where the twist happens, and then it cuts directly to the ending credits. I love those kinds of endings, the ones that leave you hanging! Some people absolutely hate them and want explanations, but where's the fun in that?
7 The Mist
Honestly, the film as a whole wasn't that great to me. However, I will never ever forget how the movie ended! This 2007 horror film is based off Stephen King's novel of the same name. Although considered to be a monster movie, the central theme explores what ordinary people may do under extraordinary circumstances. The plot revolves around members of the small town of Bridgton, who, after a severe thunderstorm that causes the power to go out the night before, meet in a supermarket to pick up supplies. While there, an unnatural mist envelops the town and conceals vicious, otherworldly monsters, causing extreme tensions to rise among the survivors. The director actually revised the ending of the film to be darker than the original novel's ending, and holy crap is it dark!
Being the oldest film on this list, made in 1960, you would think it wouldn't shock you as much as newer movies with unexpected endings. But honestly, I saw this film in High School without knowing how it ended and it was totally unexpected! The film depicts the encounter between a secretary, who goes to a secluded motel after embezzling money from her employer, and the motel's disturbed owner and manager, and the aftermath of their encounter. Alfred Hitchcock is definitely still a force to be reckoned with and I can't wait for the movie "Hitchcock" that's coming out in January 2013.
9 American History X
In another film course that I took, we were required to watch American History X. After we finished the film in class and I went home, I didn't want to talk to anyone because the ending affected me so much. The film tells the story of two brothers, Derek and Danny, who are drawn into the neo-Nazi movement. In the beginning of the film, Derek brutally kills two black gang members and is sentenced to three years in prison for voluntary manslaughter. The story shows how Danny is influenced by his older brother's actions and ideology and how Derek, now radically changed by his experience in incarceration, tries to prevent Danny from going down the same path as he did. It is definitely a big eye-opening film that everyone should see at least once.
10 Star Wars Episode V: the Empire Strikes Back
Definitely one of, if not the most famous movies with unexpected endings has to go to Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. This is the only ending I'm going to ruin because if you don't know it by now, you must be living in a cave. This ending brought about the famous line, "Luke, I am your father," and Luke screaming "Noooooooo!" Watching that scene for the first time had to be absolutely mind blowing. The bad guy has actually been the good guy's father all along? What!
11 Shutter Island
I totally thought that I'd get the ending by watching the movie because the book left me super confused. But no such luck. This is the story of man whose wife kills his children and the ensuing entrance into the world of mental health and asylums. You go along thinking you know what's going to happen, but I guarantee you will be knocked off your seat by how this movie ends.
12 The Devil's Advocate
What a totally strange movie this is! The movie stars Keanu Reeves and tells the story of a young actor who finds out he's actually working for the Devil and turns out to be his son too! He is then instructed to create the anti-Christ baby with his half sister. If that's not weird enough wait until you see the twist at the end. You're not going to believe how this one ends.
In this movie a hostage wakes up to find himself buried in a coffin. He uses his cell phone to contact a hostage group who races against time to find him. Wait until you see what they find when they open coffin.
14 The Life of David Gale
Whoa! This movie still gives me the shivers. It centers around a couple of characters who set out to prove that the justice system is flawed. I don't want to give too much away, but they use a pretty outrageous method of proving that innocent people are convicted and even put to death for crimes they never committed. This movie will stick with you for life.
15 The Others
In this movie you meet a family who appears to be moving into a new house. Indeed, the house is haunted and the new residents are terrorized by the paranormal happenings in their home. What you don't realize is that this movie is the ultimate in role reversal. I won't say more than that.
With this new list of movies to go watch, you should have no shortage of date night movie ideas! If you're able to, try to watch these movies with someone else who doesn't know the endings. This way you don't run the risk of them ruining it and at the end you can both excitedly discuss it. What movies with unexpected endings have you seen that left you speechless?
This article written in collaboration with editor, Eliza Martinez
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