In honor of Halloween, I decided to do a list of my favorite horror movie twists of the 00’s. So many films end up falling into the same unoriginal pattern, where you can’t even tell some of them apart after a few short months. However, the horror films on this list managed to surprise horror enthusiasts and rejuvenate our love of the genre… Oh, and by the way, full SPOILERS ahead!
Goodnight Mommy (2014):
Twin boys Lukas and Elias do everything together, from exploring outside their house to feeding stray animals. When their mother comes home after reconstructive face surgery the brothers begin to question if this woman is really their mother. Goodnight Mommy is drenched in dark horror dread and is a slow burn with a great twist.
TWIST: One of the twins, Lukas is actually dead. He was killed in an accident that left their mother disfigured and the surviving twin traumatized and delusional by not being able to accept that his brother is gone. The film does a great job keeping audiences guessing if it’s the twins or their “new” mommy whose really crazy. In fact, by the end of the movie, MY mind was going crazy trying to wrap my head around what was happening on screen.
The Orphanage (2007):
Laura has happy memories of her childhood in an orphanage, so she convinces her husband to buy the place to turn it into a home for sick children. When their adopted son goes missing Laura begins to hear spirits, who she believes may be trying to help her find her son.
TWIST: After a fight with his mom, Simon runs and hides in a secret room in their closet. While his mother tries to find him, she knocks over a post that blocks the secret door. Simon is then trapped in that room and eventually falls down the stairs and dies. This film definitely benefits from repeat viewings. When you realize Laura accidentally traps her son in the hidden room while re-watching, it makes the film that much more poignant.
The Others (2001):
TWIST: The house is haunted, by them. Their family has been dead the whole time and bothering the living people in the home. This twist was shocking, to say the least, I sat in front of the TV jaw dropped in awe. The film is heartbreaking and manages to provide an incredible horror experience with little to no blood.
The Descent (2005):
An all-female group of spelunkers becomes trapped in an underground cave and learn a race of beasts want them to be their next snack.
TWIST: The European ending is much more depressing than the American ending. In the original ending, the last survivor escapes the cave and drives to safety, only to realize that her escape is a hallucination and she’s still trapped in the cave. I know America tends to lead to the more happy endings that test well with focus groups, but I would LOVE for the European ending to be the ending everyone has the pleasure of seeing.
The Witch (2015):
Set in 1630’s New England, a family moves to the outskirts of a forest in hopes of prosperous crops. When their youngest child goes missing suspicion and paranoia grow as they begin to expect Thormasin of witchcraft.
TWIST: Their goat, Black Phillip is actually the devil and converts Thormasin into a witch to live a delicious life. The film has a great twist, but the journey is just as eerie. The disturbing imagery makes the audience feel as though they’re looking into a story that’s forbidden and makes the ending borderline scandalous. Such a deeply unsettling film mixed with slow-burning horror excites me for the future of director Robert Eggers.
The film is set in present-day Texas, and centers on an FBI search for a serial killer who self-proclaimed himself “God’s Hands”. A young man goes to the lead investigator, claiming he knows the identity of the killer.
TWIST: The man who goes to the lead investigator (Matthew McConaughey) is actually the killer. Not only does the film have a great ending, but seeing McConaughey play a serial killer was a surprise in itself! In 2001 the actor was known for his rom-com’s and charming demeanor, and this was one of the roles that showed a glimmer of what was yet to come.
The Visit (2015):
Two siblings board a train to meet their estranged maternal grandparents for the first time. Soon the siblings begin to notice increasingly strange behavior.
TWIST: While video chatting with their mother, the siblings learn that the couple they’re staying with killed their actual grandparents, and have taken over their lives. Knowing that M. Night Shyamalan directed the film, should tip off audiences to the fact that there would be a twist, but most people still couldn’t guess it! Which is why I have to give credit to Shyamalan for still being able to surprise audiences (In a good way, thankfully)
You’re Next (2011):
An estranged upper-class family attempt to mend broken family ties by celebrating their parents’ wedding anniversary at their weekend estate. However, when masked murderers suddenly try to take over their house they must fight to survive.
TWIST: You find out the lead Erin, is actually an amazing badass survivalist who ends up killing all of the intruders. Horror movies are full of stereotypes. The dumb slutty friend dies, never go in the basement alone, a poltergeist is in the house, blah blah blah. But surprisingly a lot of horror films have a lot of badass chicks such as Scream, Alien, and Halloween. This film managed to surprise me with how tactful and resourceful our lead, Erin ended up being. It felt GOOD watching a girl destroy a whole group of heavily armed intruders.
Saw (2004) :
Two men find themselves chained up in a room with a dead body. A recording state that one of the men must kill the other within eight hours or his family will die.
TWIST: The mastermind behind the game was in the room with them the whole time. The once dead body rises and states “Game over’ before locking the player in the room to die. Say what you want about the rest of the never-ending horror series (Jigsaw being the latest) this movie still sticks in my mind as one of the best horror movie twists. Try to not let the other much weaker films in the series diminish the firsts’ memory.
A reporter (Manuela Velasco) and her cameraman record the horrifying outbreak of a disease that turns humans into vicious cannibals.
TWIST: The reporter and her cameraman go to hideout in a supposed abandoned penthouse, only to discover that the apartment they’re in is where the breakout contamination started. As if that’s not bad enough the original carrier is still living in the attic. Sometimes a movie gives the characters a golden carrot of sorts. This came in the form of a way out of the horribly contaminated town. To find out that their silver lining is actually their undoing is gut-wrenching. I don’t think I’ve ever had my stomach sink faster than in this film.
A Tale of Two Sisters (2003):
After being institutionalized in a mental hospital, Su-mi a girl reunites with her sister as they return to their country home. The girls’ father has remarried and the siblings are resentful of his new wife. As the sisters try to go back to their normal lives. strange occurrences loom over the house.
TWIST: Su-mi and her father were alone the entire time, revealing the other characters were figments of Su-mi’s imaginations, due to her dissociative identity disorder. This film feels like Goodnight Mommy with a female angle. The film is haunting and has a surprisingly down to earth premise in dealing with Su-mi’s father and his new wife. Just make sure you give 100% of your attention to the film because it’s easy to get confused with so many twists and turns.
Get Out (2017):
Chris and his girlfriend, Rose go out for a weekend getaway at her parent’s house. Soon after arriving Chris begins to expect her family is having difficulties accepting their daughter’s interracial relationship, but as the weekend progresses he begins to suspect something sinister is happening.
TWIST: Chris finds out Rose and her family lure African American men to their home to perform a brain transplant to white privileged folks. Wow, that sounds like a crazy twist even for me. Maybe that’s why it landed itself on my list of favorite movies of the year. With politics, religion, and all around controversy, I think this film couldn’t have come at a better time.
The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016) :
A father and son coroner team begin to perform what they thought was a routine autopsy on a Jane Doe, but they quickly realize this isn’t’ their average autopsy.
TWIST: The corpse manages to kill the coroner and gets sent off to a morgue in another country. In the final shot, the corpse wiggles it’s toe, off to terrorize the next victim. The film delivers a smart thriller that manages to make the most with its small budget by effectively terrifying audiences.
April Dawn | Editorial Intern