Written by Becca Johnson / August 24, 2022
Though it didn't exactly take the number one spot in anyone's 2022 rankings, the release of Orphan: First Kill last Friday seemed to remind the movie community of one thing; how effective and well loved a good plot twist is. In vain of this, we have decided to create a list of the best horror movies that feature a shocking twist, perfect for binging after both Orphan instalments. Don't worry, this list is completely spoiler free - we'll leave the surprises for you to discover.
The Sixth Sense (1999)
Let's get the obvious out of the way first; even those who haven't seen the movie likely know the twist. Widely regarded as one of the best, most shocking and most well known twist endings, The Sixth Sense is a must watch for the few that haven't taken the time to check it out yet and have miraculously avoided spoilers. Director M. Night Shyamalan is famous for his plot twists, but The Sixth Sense will likely always be his best. When an eight year old boy claims he can see dead people, child psychologist Malcolm Crowe comes to help him deal with his problem.
Though it's light on the scares, The Sixth Sense is a competent thriller with phenomenal performances from Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment and Toni Collette. Every character is well written and easy to root for, and it explores the theme of loneliness well.
The Others (2001)
Another horror well known for having one of the best twists of all time, The Others follows a mother and her two children who live in an old house, which must be kept dark due to the children's sensitivity to light. When the family begin to suspect the house is haunted, Grace must fight to protect her children at all costs.
With an immersive gothic vibe and a killer lead performance from Nicole Kidman, The Others has way more than it's shock ending going for it. Once again, it is light on the scares, but uses tension building and an eerie setting well in order to get under your skin. It utilises shadows and lighting perfectly, letting the audience know danger is afoot.
Goodnight Mommy (2014)
Considerably gorier, scarier and more disturbing than the previous two mentions, Goodnight Mommy is an Austrian horror movie from the directors of 2019's The Lodge. The story follows nine year old twin boys who await their mothers return after cosmetic surgery. However, when she comes back bandaged, nothing is like before, and the boys begin to doubt whether this woman is really their mother.
Not for the faint of heart, Goodnight Mommy is filled with shocking imagery that'll send a shiver down your spine and may be too much for some viewers to stomach. The score and cinematography are utilised well to amplify the horror, and the child performances are terrific. Is this woman really their mother, or is something far more sinister afoot?
Unless you've been living under a rock, you will have at least heard of the Saw franchise by now. If there's an odd chance that you haven't yet viewed the first instalment, it is definitely worth your time. Obsessed with teaching his victims the value of life, a sadistic serial killer abducts those who have not behaved morally and gives them impossible tasks in a horrific game of survival.
Though the franchise has now spiralled a little out of control (pun intended), the initial movie has more than just blood, guts and traps. With two strong performances at the helm, an intriguing mystery and an ending that will force your jaw to drop, Saw is a fantastic, wild horror film that subverts expectations.
The Visit (2015)
It's impossible to only include one Shyamalan movie, so let's draw some attention to one of his lesser viewed horror features. The Visit tells the truly terrifying story of two siblings who are visiting their grandparents for a week-long trip. It doesn't take the pair long to realise that their grandparents are involved in something sinister... they just can't quite work out what.
There's always something extra scary about old people in horror, and during The Visit, Shyamalan pushes that trope to the very max. Full of jump scares, disgusting scenes and an ending that will likely stay with you forever, The Visit is an underrated gem.
Don't Breathe (2016)
Let's ignore the sub-par sequel that released last year. Don't Breathe focuses on a group of young people who break into a blind man's home in attempt to steal a large sum of money. However sure they are that they'll get away with the perfect crime, the group couldn't be more wrong.
Don't Breathe is a strong horror/thriller that manages to throw in more than one twist, letting you in for one hell of a wild ride. With solid direction, cinematography and performances, particularly from Stephen Lang, Don't Breathe is an unmissable modern horror that isn't afraid to shock. It's brutal, it's violent, it's gory and it'll stay with you for a while.
You're Next (2011)
Underrated horror flick You're Next follows Erin, a badass individual who must fight for survival after a wedding anniversary getaway goes awry, and herself and her partners family become the targets of a gang of mysterious killers.
Whilst You're Next is a single location mystery that isn't afraid to have some fun and entertain, it has gore and kills aplenty. Though it's a little more predictable than a few of our other picks, the final scene is totally worth checking out the movie for. You're Next is full of great performances, unique and interesting kills and a whole lot of energy.