Some plot twists are so woeful that they manage to undo all the goodwill that an otherwise solid movie has earned from its audience, as seen in these seven terrible twists. Plot twists are tricky. For every jaw-dropping revelation that leaves viewers staring at the screen in stunned shock a la the endings of Fight Club and The Sixth Sense, there are dozens of movies whose twists are a little too telegraphed, whose big revelations are a touch too predictable, or whose ambitious last-minute reversal doesn’t really add up on a re-watch. That said, this is not the worst type of plot twist.
Even though not every M Night Shyamalan-style plot twist can be an instant classic, most twists at least belong in their movies of origin. Horror movie twists might be clumsy and a little too obvious, but they are still generally revelations that belong in the horror genre. Similarly, an ambitious thriller or mystery movie might have a last-minute reveal that seems a bit too far-fetched or silly, but the twist will generally still be built on tropes familiar from earlier, stronger thrillers or mysteries. However, a truly terrible plot twist can completely kill a movie, turning a previously solid horror movie or action thriller into an unintentional comedy.
7 Shrooms—The Killer Was The Final Girl
Irish director Paddy Breathnach brings a lot of style to the largely-forgotten ‘00s slasher Shrooms, and the indie horror movie’s remote rural setting is foreboding and stunning. The premise (a group of students uses psilocybin mushrooms, start tripping, and get killed off one by one) is unoriginal but serviceable, and the idea of an otherwise-conventional slasher movie revealing that its seemingly sweet Final Girl was the secret killer all along is a pretty solid twist. However, since Shrooms opens with all the major characters taking a heroic dose of the titular hallucinogens, the revelation that one of them has been hallucinating everything isn’t exactly worthy of the Scream franchise.
6 Switchblade Romance—The Giant Trucker Was The Tiny Heroine All Along
For the first 80 minutes of its 95 minutes runtime, director Alexandre Aja’s Switchblade Romance lives up to its original title, Haute Tension. A legitimately terrifying masterclass in horror filmmaking, Switchblade Romance sees a faceless murderous trucker stalk a pair of petite college girls, Alex and Marie, after murdering Alex’s family. Switchblade Romance pulls no punches, with the movie even killing off Alex’s child brother in the opening scene. However, about 10 minutes before the ending, it is revealed that the hulking serial killer has actually been Marie all along. Too quickly, things take a turn from high tension to high camp as viewers wonder how the tiny, skinny Marie managed to wield a concrete saw.
5 Remember Me—It Was Secretly A 9/11 Movie All Along
For the majority of its runtime, Remember Me is a solid if utterly unspectacular romantic drama about a troubled teen opening up about his family trauma to a sensitive girl. However, the final five minutes of this romantic drama take a massive, unearned swing as Remember Me’s wild ending suddenly reveals that the movie is secretly about 9/11. When Robert Pattison’s troubled antihero goes to confront his distant father at his NYC workplace, an awkward shot of a school blackboard reveals the date is September 11, 2001, a revelation that was so unexpected and ill-timed that it prompted gales of laughter from cinema-goers. Understandably, this development undermines almost all the narrative drama that precedes it.
4 Spectre—Blofeld Was Bond’s Brother All Along
Spectre may not be the worst of Daniel Craig’s James Bond movies, but it does feature the worst twist in the entire James Bond franchise. Blofeld, Bond’s long-standing nemesis, reveals that he is secretly the spy’s long-lost brother in a bizarre twist that Spectre does nothing to justify. Jarringly, this was a twist that 007’s most famous spoof Austin Powers and Dr. No acted out over a decade earlier in 2003’s sequel Austin Powers in Goldmember. When a series begins to borrow plot twists from the franchise’s own parodies, something has gone badly wrong with the overarching narrative. Fortunately, No Time To Die got the series back on track.
3 Last Christmas—He Gave Her His Heart
The revelation that Last Christmas is adapted from the Wham song of the same name in painfully literal terms makes the previously fun rom-com almost unwatchable in its closing act. When Henry Golding’s charismatic charmer Tom meets Emilia Clarke’s cynical Christmas store clerk, Kate, he becomes determined to convince her that Christmas still holds a little magic and there’s still hope for her troubled existence. However, when Last Christmas reveals that Tom is a ghost who literally gave Kate his heart (via a transplant) last Christmas, the rom-com takes a turn for the absurd and wastes all of its potential in the process.
2 Hide & Seek—Charlie Is Exactly Who You Think He Is
Dakota Fanning has a creepy imaginary friend and her therapist father Robert DeNiro is going to find out who it is in 2005’s Hide and Seek. Traumatized by the death of her mother, Fanning’s young character starts to take solace in communicating with the mysterious, unseen “Charlie.” However, as things start to go wrong and bodies begin to pile up, DeNiro needs to work out whether Charlie is a real supernatural presence, his daughter’s alter ego, or his own alter ego. For viewers who immediately and accurately guessed that Charlie is obviously DeNiro’s split personality, Hide and Seek is a terribly slow walk to a terribly obvious destination.
1 Sweet Girl—Jason Momoa Was His Daughter All Along
Early in 2021’s divisive Sweet Girl, Jason Momoa’s tough-as-nails antihero is stabbed. He then spends the rest of Sweet Girl’s fast-paced, action-packed story hunting down, chasing, and beating up henchmen from the shady pharmaceutical company that killed his wife while accompanied by his young daughter. Then it turns out that Momoa’s character actually died from that stabbing, and his small teenage daughter has been the one doing all of that ass-kicking and blood-letting in Sweet Girl. Of course, the problem with Sweet Girl‘s plot twists is the fact that its petite teenage heroine defeats dozens of armed attackers in hand-to-hand combat, but Jason Momoa’s character dies instantly from a stabbing.