There are movies and there are movies. Most films which we watch are easily forgotten, put on in a moment of haste to stop a gap in our open schedule. They entertain us for a time but pretty soon, they are shoved to the backs of our minds, never to be thought of again. There are some movies, though, which do things a little differently and some way or another, stick around for the long haul.
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The film twist. The endings you didn’t see coming. The big reveal. It’s more than likely that you’ve encountered at least one film which contains a surprise at the end, a sudden close which left you sitting agape at the cinema screen in its aftermath. Lucky for you, there are a whole load of these bad boys out there in cinematic history and if surprise is your thing, you’re pretty well catered for.
The Sixth Sense
Ok, so chances are, you’re already aware of this film’s shock ending. Even people who have no idea what the film is about seem to know what happens in the end. The film’s notoriety, however, has not made it any less effective and even if it’s the third, thirtieth or three-hundredth time you’ve seen the film’s fateful ending, it is still as shocking and bone tingling.
*SPOILER*: Bruce Willis’ character is a ghost the whole time.
The Crying Game
The denouement of The Crying Game comes pretty early in the film and the reasons for this are more than a little obvious. Watching from a modern day perspective, it is easy to – ahem – uncover the film’s secret but at the time, audiences were blown out of their minds.
*SPOILER*: The beautiful Dil is actually a man.
The best thing about Fight Club’s surprise ending is going back and watching it all over again. Even after dozens of viewings, it’s possible to find things that you never noticed before. Now that’s good cinema.
*SPOILER*: Brad Pitt’s character is a manifestation in Edward Norton character’s mind.
F is For Fake
The clue’s in the name with this cinematic gem and even if you see the ending coming, it doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. Orson Welles shows us why he was such a master of cinema and despite his smug, satisfied smile, it’s hard to begrudge him his title.
*SPOLIER*: Even though Welles seems to tell the truth, the last story in the film is completely made up.
Whilst the whole franchise went a little off the rails after the second instalment, the first film was a genuine shock-fest. The film itself is one of the most stressful movies you might ever watch and the reveal at the end will have you banging your head against the wall. Simple, yet so effective.
*SPOILER*: The dead body lying on the floor is actually alive and the perpetrator of the whole sick game.
The ending of The Descent is more than a little cheesy and yet, when you watch the film, you will get completely wrapped up in the moment. If you’re unfamiliar with this subterranean horror-romp, then watch it now. There’s a reason your teachers wouldn’t let you use “then I woke up and it was all a dream” in your stories.
*SPOILER*: Even though she appears to escape, Maya is still inside the cave – it is all a dream.
The Vanishing (Spoorloos)
Despite being subject to an inevitable subpar Hollywood remake, the original Dutch film is genuinely creepy and haunting. Whilst it certainly won’t leave you uplifted or optimistic, endings like this one are what cinema’s all about.
*SPOILER*: Rex, like his girlfriend, is buried alive by Raymond, who gets away with it.
Apart from being one of the best films to have ever been released, Oldboy has an ending that will simultaneous knock your socks off, make you shout out loud and leave you feeling a little bit sick. The entire film’s a wonder to behold but it is in the ending that you will really become obsessed. Prepare to have questions.
*SPOILER*: Dae-su finds out that the woman with whom he has fallen in love is actually his daughter.