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ONTD Original™: 20 More Strange Twists in Horror & Suspense

Sometimes the best thing about horror, suspense, and thriller movies are the endings. Whether it be the movie is so bad that any conclusion will do as long as it's over, or because the writer actually put some thought into the resolution. Movies designed to scare you are more likely to resort to surprise endings that catch you off guard or make you scratch your head. Here are twenty random films with twists that range from obvious to outright kooky.


The Boy
Directed by William Brent Bell

"Every child needs to feel loved."

Plot: An English couple hires an American nanny, Greta, to care for their child, Brahms.  To the caregiver's surprise, the son is a actually a doll. While the parents are away, the nanny is given clear instructions on how to treat her ward. Greta goes along with it, but eventually starts to think that Brahms is more than just a doll...

The trailer for this movie admittedly seems ridiculous, and it might be hard for you to give it a chance. It will not win awards for originality as it borrows from other movies, but the ending rewards your patience.

[What is the twist?]Brahms, the couple's son, supposedly died as a child after committing a crime. However, Brahms never physically died and he was still living in the house. Every creepy thing the Brahms doll did was actually of the adult Brahms' doing. He was hiding in the house the whole time.


Dressed to Kill
Directed by Brian De Palma

"... the latest fashion in murder."

Plot: After an escort named Liz witnesses a murder, the killer targets her.

This classic erotic thriller is not the most enlightened when it comes to transgender issues. So be prepared to deal with that as you watch. That withstanding, the movie has some suspenseful chase scenes that remind you of a slasher.

[What is the twist?]The murder victim, Kate, was a patient of the psychiatrist Dr. Elliott, played by Michael Caine. The tall, blonde killer Bobbi was one of Elliott's other patients, and she was transgender. In the end, Bobbi turned out to be Dr. Elliott. His male personality would not allow him to fully transition, and Bobbi would emerge to dispose of any woman that sexually aroused Elliott. The (other) blonde lady that had been following Liz was a cop assigned to trail her since the detective investigating Kate's murder did not believe Liz's report. Dr. Elliott was committed to a psychiatric hospital after Bobbi tried to kill Liz in the therapist's office.

White Settlers
Directed by Simeon Halligan

"Cross the border into fear."

Plot: A couple from London moves to a remote country home on the Scottish borders. After moving in, they are attacked one night by men wearing pig masks.

The home invasion niche of horror and thrillers has been done again and again, and the end results are usually about the same. This British entry, also known as The Blood Lands, was surprising due to the way it resolved.

[What is the twist?]The assailants in the pig masks were the couple's Scottish neighbors, who really did not want these people from England living nearby. They seemed to only want to scare the couple, but things got out of hand. The movie ends with the man and woman being taken back to London, left bloodied, gagged, and tied up in public. Meanwhile, their former neighbors throw a house party as if nothing happened. The children can be seen playing around with the pig masks.

They're Watching
Directed by Jay Lender, Micah Wright

"Which house? Witch house."

Plot: A home improvement TV show visits Moldova to follow up on an American artist, Becky, and the rundown house she was going to renovate. While there in the remote village, the crew experiences the bizarre when interacting with the locals.

This found footage horror comedy is a gem that has somehow already gotten lost. It takes its time to build up the story, and the characters might be a bit irritating. Yet They're Watching has one of the best payoffs in a horror movie in quite some time.

[What is the twist?]The tour guide/real estate agent told the crew about a local legend involving a witch that cursed the town with a plague. She was then burnt at the stake. A mural in Becky's basement depicts this. Meanwhile, Becky's boyfriend was secretly having an affair with the TV show's host, and the crew recorded footage of their tryst in Becky's barn. Later in the film, one crew member saw in the footage that Becky was standing outside the barn window, watching the entire scene. So when the locals started surrounding Becky's house, they thought that maybe Becky was involved and all of this was part of some kind of revenge scheme. As it turns out, Becky was the witch (or a reincarnation of her) in the fable. Everything that was going to happen from that point onward was painted on the undisclosed half of the basement mural. Becky wanted to bring the show to Moldova to witness and film her taking revenge on the villagers. Becky killed all but one person from the crew, and then she murdered the locals that raided her home.

Directed by Tomm Coker, David Elliot

"Below the city of lights exists a world of darkness."

Plot: A troubled woman, Victoria, visits her sister, Carolyn, in Paris, and then accompanies her to a huge  rave held in the catacombs. The party is broken up by the cops and Victoria is left alone in the labyrinth. Or so she thinks.

In spite of the potential for scares and atmosphere, the catacombs are rarely used as a setting in horror movies. This 2007 flick with Shannyn Sossamon and Alecia Moore (P!nk) is not exactly high caliber, but the twist is at least memorable if not infuriating.

[What is the twist?] During the party in the catacombs, someone mentions the story of a subterranean killer called the Antichrist. The rave gets shut down and Carolyn is murdered by someone in a goat mask. Victoria wakes up alone in the catacombs, and she believes the Antichrist is after her. She kills someone who she believes is the Antichrist, but it turns out to be Carolyn's friend. Carolyn is alive and everything was just a prank. After Carolyn berates her sister for what she did, Victoria snaps and kills Carolyn and her other friends. She then escapes the catacombs and goes straight to the airport.

Jack Goes Home
Directed by Thomas Dekker

"Let the condolences begin."

Plot: After his father dies in a car accident, Jack returns to his childhood home to care for his disturbed mother, who was in the car as well. This homecoming stirs up dark memories in Jack, including those he never knew he had.

This psychological horror movie delves into some heavy subject matter, but it fails to correct or redeem its disjointedness. This story is so convoluted that you are not sure what to believe anymore.

[What is the twist?]In the attic, Jack finds a video tape with footage of him and the twin brother, Andy, that he does not remember. Their father, thinking that Andy was Jack, apparently killed the wrong child one night. In addition, Jack found police reports about him being abused as a child. His mother confessed that their 19-year old neighbor and his father molested Jack when they babysat. During his stay, adult Jack became acquainted with the teenager, Duncan, next door. It is suggested that this neighbor is a figment of Jack's imagination, possibly resembling the 19-year old boy that abused him. Or there really was a Duncan and Jack was projecting the memory of his abuser onto this boy. This is never made clear, and there are two particular scenes that either confirm or deny Duncan's existence. Finally, Jack can no longer deal with his deranged mother, and he tries to kill her. Jack's friend, Shanda, shows up to reaffirm that his mom also died in the car accident. Jack may have been imagining her as alive as a way to recall all the memories he had forgotten. Whether or not there ever was an Andy is not entirely known either since that information was relayed to Jack by his "mother" (she is dead after all). The video tape he watched might not have been real, but the police report was at least real since Jack showed them to Shanda. Andy may have simply been a representation of Jack's childhood being taken from him rather than an actual person.


Fear, Inc.
Directed by Vincent Masciale

"Making a killing, one client at a time."

Plot: A jaded horror fan gets involved with a company that makes their clients' greatest fears come to life.

This horror comedy is is darker than you would expect it to be, and the twists can be tiring. But it keeps you on your toes.

[What is the twist?]Joe's girlfriend, Lindsey, and their friend Ben and Ashleigh secretly worked with Fear, Inc. to pull this huge prank on Joe during Halloween night. Joe initially thought it was all fake, but soon realized it was not. Yet when he kills one of his attackers, Lindsey admits it was a gag. Ben and Ashleigh bail, leaving Joe and Lindsey to clean up the mess. Fear, Inc. tracks the couple down as they tried to bury the actor's body. Lindsey is killed and Joe is left to find his way home. He stumbles upon a diner, which is actually the venue for the wrap-up party. Again, it was all a prank - Lindsey and the actor were alive. The celebration comes to an end, though, when, the Fear, Inc. actors really do kill Joe, Lindsey, and their friends.

Scream of Fear
Directed by Seth Holt

"For maximum thrill . . . we earnestly urge you to see this motion picture from the start!"

Plot: In spite of being told that he is away on a trip during her visit, a wheelchair bound woman randomly sees her estranged father's corpse at his estate.

This classic Hammer story is a taut thriller with a superb twist and satisfying ending. They really do not make movies like this anymore.

[What is the twist?]Penny, the paralyzed daughter, was seeing her father's dead body all around his home. She suspected that someone in the house was doing this, and the family driver, Robert, helped her look for the body on the grounds. Penny was left to believe that Robert had found the corpse in the fountain, and he and Penny went off to alert the police. The stepmother, Jane, stopped their car and Robert got out to speak to her. When Penny looked in the back of the vehicle, she found her father's actual body. The car suddenly rolled off the cliff road and into the water below. Jane and Robert were having an affair, and they needed Penny out of the way so that Jane could collect her inheritance without it being divided up. As Jane finished up the paperwork with the lawyer, she's told that only one body was found in the car: her husband's. And he goes on to say that Penny killed herself several weeks ago. The woman posing as Penny was her best friend Maggie. She jumped out of the car before it crashed. Maggie, tired of seeing her friend suffer, wrote to Penny's father unbeknownst to Jane's knowledge. He told her that it would not be a good time for Penny to visit as things were not good at home. Maggie later informed him of Penny's passing, but a letter from Maggie's father to Penny was received after the girl's death. Maggie knew something was wrong and she pretended to be Penny to draw out the the truth. With everything out in the open, Maggie left the wheelchair sitting on the cliff edge. Robert, now knowing "Penny" was alive, rushed over to the same spot and pushed Maggie to her death. Except it was not Maggie - it was Jane sitting in the wheelchair.


Directed by Stephen Gaghan

"Watch who you leave behind."

Plot: A detective helps a college student who believes  that her boyfriend, who went missing two years ago, is now stalking her.

This Katie Holmes mystery was deservingly panned by critics all around. The twist ending should have been easy to figure out early on.

[What is the twist?]Holmes' character, Katie, killed her ex-boyfriend, Embry, when he dumped her. She has abandonment issues that stem from her relationship with her father. When Embry cruelly broke up with Katie, she had a psychotic break and murdered him. This happened in an abandoned dorm. So Katie only imagined that Embry had returned, possibly as a way to cope with what she did. The detective helping Katie, Wade, became romantically involved with the student, but then broke up with her in the same spot that Embry was killed at. This set Katie off again, and she murdered Wade. The dorm was eventually demolished so evidence of Katie's crimes were lost in the building's reconstruction. The movie ends with Katie working at her dream job. Her co-worker, with whom she was dating, breaks up with Katie after being promoted. This suggests that Katie will repeat her psychotic behavior.

The Orphanage
Directed by J.A. Bayona

"No secret stays locked away forever."

Plot: When Laura reopens an orphanage to cater to disabled children, her own son Simon goes missing.

This Spanish language movie is a modern made mystery set in 1975. It boasts beautiful sets, haunting imagery, and some soft frights. The story is a bit confusing if you overthink everything, but the ending tries its best to answer the most pertinent questions without spoiling all of the fun.

[What is the twist?] Laura's son Simon has imaginary friends at the house. Or so the mother thinks they are imaginary. One of his friends is Tomas, a boy his age that wears a sack over his head. During the party at the newly reopened orphanage,  Laura and Simon have a fight. Shortly after, a child with a sack mask locks Laura inside of a bathroom. Upon coming out, Laura learns that Simon is missing. She hears noises in the wall that same night. Weeks go by and Simon is still nowhere to be found, and some think his father, Carlos, and the social worker, Benigna, may have had a part in the boy's disappearance. Benigna worked at the orphanage when Laura was living there as a young orphan, and Tomas was Benigna's son. He wore a sack to hide his deformed face. Following Laura's adoption, the other orphans took Tomas to a cave and stole his sack. The boy was so embarrassed that he refused to come out of the cave, and the rising tide killed him. Benigna took revenge on the orphans responsible for her son's death by poisoning them. These spirits may have been Simon's imaginary friends. Finally, Laura is led to a room in the house where Simon's body is found. On the night Simon disappeared, Laura accidentally sealed her son in the secret room. The noises she heard that same night were caused by Simon as he tried to find a way out. As a result, Simon fell and broke his neck. Laura overdoses on sleeping pills so that she can be with Simon and take care of the orphans' spirits.


Directed by Jae-shik Park

"Do not open... for God's sake!"

Plot: A teenager, Soo-na, feels responsible when her best friend, an unpopular girl at their school, kills herself after suffering an emotional trauma. Much like her friend, Soo-na develops symptoms of hikikomori (severe withdrawal from society). This entire ordeal unearths dark secrets hidden in Soo-na's family.

This fairly obscure Korean mystery/thriller borrows from the popular ghost girl movies that were popular throughout Asian horror of the 2000s without overusing it. It is more of a suspenseful drama that shows how dangerous family secrets can be.

[What is the twist?]Soo-na's uncle, Se-jin, is revealed to be her father. He and the grandmother long claimed that Soo-na's mother and father died in an accident when she was young, causing her to move in with them at a young age. Soo-na is the product of Se-jin's affair with a student, Song-Yi, years ago. Since then, the family has refused to let Song-Yi see Soo-na. Song-Yi later married another man, one that abused her. With the truth of her parentage and the loss of her friend fueling her isolation, Soo-na locks herself in her room. The other people in the house believe they hear a second voice coming from the girl's room. The maid, the dog, and the grandmother are all killed by someone thought to be Soo-na. Se-jin's girlfriend Yoon-mi is murdered, too, shortly after discovering another secret: Se-jin and Song-Yi had a second daughter, Mi-jung. Se-jin never stopped loving Song-yi, who is dead at this point, but he let her go since she married another man while he was serving his mandatory military duty. He did not know that Song-yi was pregnant with their second child. Soo-na met her sister Mi-jung before everything started to unravel. Her long lost sister plotted against Soo-na's father and grandmother as payback for her having to be raised by an abusive man. Mi-jung finally dies by impalement from a fall, and Soo-na is sent to a psychiatric hospital. Se-jin, now a hikikomori himself, confirms that Mi-jung was behind the deaths in his house from the girl's diary.

The Quiet
Directed by Jamie Babbit

"Her family betrayed her trust. Now she's breaking her silence."

Plot: Dot, who is both deaf and mute, is sent to stay with her godparents and their daughter, Nina. Since Dot cannot hear, people start to share their deepest, darkest secrets with her.

This disturbing drama may not be the most expertly written or substantial in terms of creativity, but this hot mess thriller is hard to turn away from.

[What is the twist?]Dot is neither deaf or mute. So she knows all of these secrets, including that Nina's father was raping his daughter. Nina pretends that she's pregnant so that can she get money for an abortion from her father. When he figures out that Nina is lying, he tries to kill her. Dot rescues Nina, but also kills her godfather. She then helps Nina dispose of the body. Dot says that she pretended to be deaf and mute so that she could be closer to her late father. Nina's mother finally takes the blame for her husband's murder to atone for allowing the abuse to ever happen.

Happy Birthday to Me
Directed by J. Lee Thompson

"Six of the most bizarre murders you will ever see.

Plot: Ginny's friends start to disappear and she may have something to do with it.

This Canadian movie has one of the weirdest slasher endings ever. The story throws you a red herring that makes you expect an even more peculiar finish, but alas it never gets that far. Had it been better if they did go all out?

[What is the twist?]Four years earlier, Ginny was humiliated when her guests skipped out on her birthday celebration in favor of going to rival Ann's party. The reason why no one showed up was that the community did not like Ginny's promiscuous mother, Estelle. Ginny was dragged by Estelle to Ann's party, but the hostess denied them entrance. This caused Estelle to get drunk, and she had a car accident. Ginny survived, but her mother did not. Those guests as well as Ginny and Ann all grew up to be part of the most popular clique, the Top Ten, at their school. Once her friends, including Ann, start dying off, Ginny is thought to be the murderer. Yet there are no bodies left behind. Back early from his trip in time to celebrate his daughter's eighteenth birthday, Ginny's father finds his sedated daughter, the other Top Ten corpses, and his late wife's body inside of a cottage. A Ginny doppelgänger was behind the murders, but it is really Ann disguised as Ginny. The two are half-sisters since Estelle had an affair with Ann's father, and this secret enraged Ann. In hopes of framing Ginny, Ann killed the people who did not come to Ginny birthday party four years ago. The siblings' struggle results in Ann's demise. A detective shows up and asks Ginny, who is holding a knife and singing "Happy Birthday" to herself, "What have you done?"


Directed by Dave Payne

"Evil is in the air."

Plot: On their way to a rave, a group of people get stranded in a desert oasis. They are then attacked by a decaying creature called the Reeker that is recognizable for its foul stench.

This breathes some life into the slasher category, but the twist is not exactly unfamiliar either. The lone sequel is more or less a retread of the original, too. Reeker does skirt by by having better than average production values for an indie horror. If you want some actual information about the Reeker's origin, you'll have to see the sequel.

[What is the twist?] Most of the group died when an RV collided into their car. The oasis they ended up was like purgatory, and their deaths there had similarities to how they died in the car (i.e., one guy went through the windshield in reality; his "Reeker" death involved glass).

Final Destination 5
Directed by Steven Quale

"Death has never been closer."

Plot: Death comes for the survivors of a suspension-bridge collapse.

The fourth entry in this franchise is generally revered as the weakest so expectations were low for the latest sequel. Fans were mostly pleased with the results, especially the ending.

[What is the twist?]The movie is a prequel to the original. The story concluded with the characters boarding the same flight that the first film's cast was on.


Sleepaway Camp
Directed by Robert Hiltzik

"...you won't be coming home!"

Plot: Ricky and his shy cousin Angela go to a summer camp that is later targeted by an unknown killer.

By now, the twist in this Friday the 13th clone is known by many people, even  non-horror fans. If Sleepaway Camp did not have that ending, it could have been forgotten along with many other slashers in the '80s.

[What is the twist?]Young Angela, her brother Peter, their father and his boyfriend were all involved in a boating accident. Years have gone by and Angela, the only one to survive, was sent to live with her aunt and her son, Ricky. It is revealed at the very end of the movie that Angela is Peter, and the real Angela died in the accident. Ricky's mother always wanted a daughter so she raised Peter as one. Angela/Peter was the one who had been killing everyone at the camp, and the final shot of the movie shows Angela/Peter fully nude, hissing while holding a fellow camper's severed head.


Directed by Adam Schindler

"They should have left her alone."

Plot: An agoraphobic faces off with burglars in search of money.

The twist in this home invasion thriller was revealed early on so audiences do not have to wait long. Many viewers felt divided about whether or not the switch up was worth it.
[What is the twist?]Anna cared for her sick brother Conrad, who died of pancreatic cancer at the beginning of the movie. The criminals learned of a small fortune inside of Anna's house and broke in when she was supposed to be at Conrad's funeral. With her condition, Anna was unable to leave her home. The tables turn when Anna kills one assailant and traps the other two in the basement. Conrad was a serial killer that went after child molesters (like his and Anna's father). The house was rigged with traps and a secret room especially designed for Conrad's victims.

Enter Nowhere
Directed by Jack Heller

"Three strangers. One mysterious connection."

Plot: Three strangers must uncover the reason why they were brought together at a mysterious cabin in the woods.

Although categorized by some as a horror movie, this is not one at all. It is more of a sci-fi mystery in the vein of The Twilight Zone. Enter Nowhere is a small scale production with a big idea.

[What is the twist?]The movie opens with Jody robbing a convenience store with her boyfriend. After the clerk says something cryptic, Jody wakes up with no memory of how she ended up in the cabin with Tom and Samantha, both with no recollection as well. They are unable to leave the area. When sharing information, they each believe that they are in different states. They also give different answers for what is the current year (which is really 1945): 1962 (Samantha), 1985 (Jody), and 2011 (Tom). The trio are joined by a German soldier, Hans, who cannot speak English. The film continues with Hans surviving an Allied bombing of Poland by hiding in a bunker. The other three disappear from 1945, and it is revealed that they are related. Samantha is Jody's mother, and Jody is pregnant with Tom. Hans became an American citizen and millionaire since he survived the bombing, and he left his his fortune to Samantha, Jody, and unborn Tom after he passed away. With her newfound wealth, Jody never became a criminal.


The Forgotten
Directed by Joseph Ruben

"You'll never forget the ones you love."

Plot: A woman and a man look for answers when they are told that their respective children never existed.

Julianne Moore has become well versed in playing the distraught mother in her recent filmography. The movie's critical reception was harsh, but Moore was commended in some reviews. The ending is neither groundbreaking or really well thought out. Anyone who has seen an episode of The Outer Limits could have probably figured it out early on.

[What is the twist?]Everything was a test conducted by aliens to examine the bond between parent and child. Moore's character, Telly, and her friend Ash were both brainwashed into forgetting their children. The test is suspended when an alien agent fails to fully wipe Telly's memories, and the children are returned to their rightful parents. Telly remembers what happened, but Ash does not.

Mr. Jones
Directed by Karl Mueller

"If you see him... Run."

Plot: When a couple relocates to a cabin, they learn that their neighbor is the renowned and enigmatic artist Mr. Jones. They soon wish that they had never found him.

The first part of Mr. Jones is a good setup for what could have been a better movie. Instead it verged into utter surrealism and confusion. What were they thinking?

[What is the twist?]The couple, Scott and Penny, somehow upset the balance between the worlds of reality and dreams, and Mr. Jones was a shaman-like entity that guarded the border. Scott then replaced Mr. Jones, and he became the guardian.

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This is a follow-up to my previous post from last Halloween. Again, some popular twists are excluded to make way for lesser known ones, or they have already been mentioned. Feel free to discuss them in the comments. Remember to use tags when posting spoilers! The code is below.

What are your Halloween plans this year, ONTD?

Tags: creepy post, film - horror, film - suspense / thriller, list, ontd original
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