10 Shocking Movie Endings No One Saw Coming

All films follow the same recipe for their plot: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and conclusion. Some movies are so predictable that it’s easy to guess the ending halfway through the story. Many screenwriters rely on typical plots to write stories. Fighting a monster, rags to riches, quests, travels, comedy and tragedy are some of the most common in movies.

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But sometimes the filmmakers create an original plot that keeps the audience guessing until the end. Unexpected twists and shocking endings can leave audiences scarred for days when skillfully used and can make these films iconic and unforgettable.

This article contains spoilers for each entry.


“The Sixth Sense” (1999)

Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis), a child psychologist, takes on the case of a young boy named Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment), who can see the dead. The boy reminds Malcolm of an old patient he failed to diagnose correctly who, as an adult, walked into his house one night, shot Crowe, then turned the gun on himself .

This movie, by M.Night Shyamalan, left the audience gasping at the revelation that Malcolm died that fateful night. And he is now one of the ghosts that Cole sees. The clever clues throughout the story are subtle and come together beautifully at the end. A masterpiece of its kind, this disconcerting ending is still referenced today as one of the best surprise endings of all time.

“Incident in a Ghost Country” (2018)

Colleen (Mylène Farmer) and her two daughters survive a horrific home invasion. Years later, Beth (Emily Jones) became a bestselling author. However, Vera (Taylor Hickson) suffers from severe PTSD and still lives with his mother. A disturbing call from Vera prompts Beth to pay them a visit.

Pascal Laugier, the writer and director, drops the stunning plot twist altogether in this disturbing horror flick. Beth imagines her bright future in her head to escape her terrible situation. The intruders killed Pauline. And the two girls are still teenagers and at the mercy of the two sadistic men. Vera desperately tries to bring Beth back to reality. The film’s happy ending is questionable. Beth spots her mother inside the house. Did they survive, or are they still trapped, and Beth escaping reality once again?

‘Twilight: Breaking Dawn – Part 2’ (2011)

Edward (Robert Pattinson) and beautiful (Kristen Stewart) are looking for witnesses to prove that their child is not immortal. They want to convince the Volturi that they haven’t broken any laws. But Aro (Michael Sheen) has sinister intentions, and when Alice sees through him, a battle ensues.

fans of Stephanie Meyer were flabbergasted to see the film include an epic final battle that wasn’t in his book. The fierce fight causes many beloved characters to die but ends with Aro’s death. And the revelation that it was all just a vision Alice showed Aro as the two separate armies confronted was a huge relief to the many bristling fans watching the movie.

‘The Mist’ (2007)

Thick mist floods a town in Maine. In a grocery store, the customer’s curiosity soon turns to horror when he realizes that terrifying creatures lurk in the mist.

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Based on Stephen Kingthe novel, Frank Darabont, who wrote and directed the film, changed the ending to one so stunning King wished he had written it himself. David (Thomas Jeanne), his son and a few others escape from the store by car. David shoots them when they run out of fuel, but misses a bullet. David gets out of the car to give himself to the creatures, but the mist clears. Military trucks full of survivors pass him as he falls to his knees in shock and despair.

“The Departed” (2006)

The Boston PD recruits Officer Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio) to infiltrate Frank Costello’s notorious group (Jack Nicholson). Unbeknownst to the police and FBI, Costello also has a man inside, Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon), into their ranks, helping him avoid getting caught.

Realized by Martin Scorsese, it is an anxiety-provoking tale. Several characters die, but the most shocking deaths come during the dramatic ending. Knowing that Sullivan is Costello’s rat, Costigan lures Sullivan on a date and arrests him. At this point, the movie looks like it will have a satisfying conclusion. But Costigan is shot by another of the men inside Costello and frees Sullivan. Taking no chances, Sullivan then kills him. The film ends with the murder of Sullivan by Sergeant Dignam (Mark Wahlberg).

“Fight Club” (1999)

The narrator (Edward Norton), the main character, is an insomniac disenchanted with his work and possessions. When he meets Tyler Durden (brad pitt), who tells him that his problem is consumerism, the two have a cathartic fight. They both start a Fight Club, where they bring more men into their cult group.

Fighting provides psychological and physical release for men, which also helps Tyler promote his ideals. But as the group becomes more destructive, the Narrator wants to stop their activities and makes a shocking discovery. he and Tyler are the same person. His sleep-deprived mind created Tyler, and the Narrator wants to get rid of him. In the heartbreaking final scene, Tyler, under the control of the Narrator, shoots him in the cheek, causing Tyler to disappear.

‘Dragonfly’ (2002)

Dr. Joe Darrow (Kevin Costner) is a grieving man. His pregnant wife, Emily (Susanna Thomson), also a doctor, died in Venezuela when the bus she was traveling in was swept away in a river during a mudslide. Joe soon receives messages from beyond that appear to be from Emily.

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The plot does a great job of kicking off the posts as unsettling coincidences. But as the messages get louder and scarier, Joe is convinced that his wife is somehow alive, especially knowing that local authorities have never found her body. When all the clues lead Joe back to Venezuela, he understands why Emily’s ghost is communicating with him. In one of the huts of the natives which his wife took care of, he finds his little girl, who miraculously survived the accident.

‘Gothic’ (2003)

After a chilling encounter with a young girl showing signs of a violent assault, Dr. Miranda Gray (Halle Berry) wakes up as a patient in the prison where she works. She killed her husband with an axe. Having no memory of the event and being haunted by the apparition of the young girl she saw, Miranda suspects that the two events are connected.

A cast of outstanding actors backs up this understated and engrossing plot. In the end, Miranda’s husband and the sheriff have been killing girls for years, and the young girl who haunts Miranda is one of their victims. But the story has a strange conclusion as it seems that Miranda can now see ghosts when she spots the apparition of a young boy who has disappeared.

“The Others” (2001)

Grace Steward (Nicole Kidman) is waiting for her husband to return from the war. After hiring three new servants, Grace and her children experience unexplained events in the house, supposedly caused by ghosts.

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Alejandro Amenabar, the writer and director, weaves a plot that is quite unique in its genre and, from the start, leaves slight hints of what is happening. Grace has recurring nightmares, the children are ghostly pale, and the new servants seem unfazed by the disturbing events plaguing the house. And the explanation is lamentable. After her husband died in the war, Grace shot her children and herself. Their violent deaths prevented the family from realizing that they were dead and that they were the ones who haunted the house and its inhabitants.

‘Memento’ (2000)

Someone attacked Leonard Shelby (Guy Pearce) and his wife, murdering him and leaving him with no short-term memory. Relying on Polaroids, written notes and tattoos on his body, he successfully finds his wife’s killer and kills him.

Written and directed by Christopher Nolan, this thriller stands out for the way the story unfolds. Leonard finds his wife’s killer and shoots him, and from there the plot shifts backwards to how he did it. Teddy, a corrupt cop, takes advantage of Leonard’s condition to kill and rob drug dealers. During an argument, Teddy reveals that his wife survived the attack and that Leonard’s condition is the cause of her death. Refusing to believe Teddy and knowing that he will soon forget about him, Leonard marks him as his new target. Teddy is the one Leonard kills at the start of the film.

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Elizabeth J. Harless