A character isn’t who they appear to be! A time-shift occurred! A far-reaching conspiracy is responsible for a death! So many movies attempt to blow viewers’ minds with plot twists that most of us expect there to be a major turn at some point in a flick. Seasoned film buffs (and properly stoned individuals) can often smell the twist coming from a mile away, but when done right they’re shocking, unforgettable, and analyzed with repeat viewings. Here are five awesome plot twists that’ll have you screaming “No fucking way!” even after a 17th viewing. Bet you didn’t see that coming, did ya?
SPOILER ALERT! If you have not seen these movies, avoid the descriptions of the twists below and just take our advice to watch them!
Denzel Washington has played numerous cops in his career, but it’s his role as Detective John Hobbes in this ’90s supernatural thriller that messed with audience minds the most. The film kicks off with Hobbes saying that he “almost” died, so you expect to see his character fall but survive while pursuing body-hopping demonic spirit Azazel throughout the streets of Philadelphia. Instead, the viewer discovers that Hobbes poisoned himself to death after luring the entity to a remote cabin in the woods—so the spirit would have no nearby host to possess—but Azazel survives by jumping into a cat. The narrator, it turns out, was not Hobbes but Azazel speaking in his voice. Should it have spoken in cat meows? Probably, but that would’ve spoiled the surprise.
Fight Club (1999)
Another cult film that teaches audiences to be more observant of on-screen interactions, Fight Club starts out with our feeble, innocent, unnamed narrator (Ed Norton), who yearns to find confidence in his life. He meets Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), a brash soap maker who partners up with him to form an underground “fight club,” where our narrator can find his inner macho man. Soon things escalate from twisted friendship to terrorist activity and we learn that the overtly aggressive nature of Durden is actually the narrator’s split personality and the two are one and the same. A head wound and some explosions later, and author Chuck Palahniuk and director David Fincher created one of the best twists of all time. The first rule of Fight Club is: You do not talk about Fight Club. You don’t want to ruin the surprise.
The Skeleton Key (2005)
It’s understandable to have doubts when you hear that Kate Hudson, star of many forgettable rom-coms, was trekking through the swamps of Louisiana for this hoodoo-inspired horror movie, but fret you should not. In one of the most underrated movies of 2005, Hudson stars as Caroline, a woman who acquires an extra job working hospice for an elderly, post-stroke man and his wife in an obnoxiously huge mansion (in the middle of nowhere, of course). With a lot of time on her hands, she soon discovers a dark spiritual cult following, led by two of the home’s servants back in the 1920s. Despite being hung, the pair’s use of voodoo spells have allowed their souls to continue transferring from body to body using a trick influence of protection. Eventually, Caroline begins to truly “believe,” but not before she gets possessed herself, and carted away in utter despair.
The Sixth Sense (1999)
M. Night Shyamalan has a penchant for all things unexpected. His films feature some of the craziest twists of all time—some more effective than others—but it’s his first big project, The Sixth Sense, that really knocks you on your ass. Haley Joel Osment spends the majority of the film dealing with his ability to see and talk with the dead, a gift that only child psychologist Dr. Crowe (Bruce Willis) seems to understand. After Osment’s incessant reminding that he can in fact converse with ghosts, things click together when we come to realize that Willis’ character was dead the whole goddamn time and just didn’t realize it. The film’s big reveal shifts the concept and every character’s actions completely, making you eager to rewind and start all over again.
The Mist (2007)
Writer-director Frank Darabont’s adaptation of Stephen King’s 1980 novella The Mist is an homage to classic monster movies, courtesy of the otherworldly creatures that emerge from a massive fog bank engulfing a small Maine town, but it also has an emotional gut-punch. While a group of residents struggles to keep calm (and survive) in a local supermarket, a small group led by a strong father, David (Thomas Jane), tries to make its way to a vehicle and escape. After seeing destruction everywhere and running out of gas, the group determines that death is inevitable. David agrees to shoot everyone, including his son, before taking his own life. Unfortunately, he runs out of bullets after snuffing out his passengers, so he exits the car, steeling himself for a monstrous end, only to find that the mist is lifting and the U.S. Army is rolling in to save the day. If the surprise doesn’t devastate you like it does David, you need to check that you have a pulse.