Top 10 Plot Twists in Horror Movies
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Top 10 Plot Twists in Horror Movies


Script written by Thomas O'Connor

These are some killer plot twists. From Friday the 13th, to Scream, to The Sixth Sense, these horror movies feature some truly shocking swerves. WatchMojo ranks the top plot twists in horror movies.

Check out the voting page for this list and add your picks:
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Special thanks to our user PacMan MK for suggesting this idea!
Transcript
Script written by Thomas O'Connor

Top 10 Plot Twists in Horror Movies


We didn’t see it coming… and we’re betting you didn’t either. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Plot Twists in Horror Movies.

For this list, we’re looking at the horror movie plot twists that left our jaws on the floor, and kept us coming back to the movies to discover new ways that the twists were cleverly foreshadowed. As you may have already figured out, this video is filled to the brim with spoilers, so proceed at your own risk.


#10: The Call Is Coming from Inside the House

“Black Christmas” (1974)

In this 1970s Canadian slasher flick, the residents of a sorority house are plagued by a string of obscene and disturbing phone calls. But things just get worse when several of the residents are found dead, and the killer is behind the obscene calls. In the film’s most iconic scene, a telephone company employee frantically traces the location of the mysterious caller, and eventually discovers that the calls are coming from a second line inside the sorority house! It’s a terrifying reveal, one that kicks the tension in the film into overdrive with the revelation that protagonist Jess is far from safe despite being indoors and under police watch.


#9: It’s All in the Killer’s Head

“Identity” (2003)

In this horror/thriller from “Logan” director James Mangold, a group of strangers find themselves stranded in a secluded motel and stalked by a mysterious killer. But this isn’t your run-of-the-mill slasher movie. It’s revealed late in the film that almost everything we’ve been seeing has been taking place inside the mind of a convicted serial killer. The “victims” are actually the killer’s multiple personalities, and they’re being killed off as part of his treatment. The “it was all a dream/hallucination” twist is honestly a little bit played out, but this version offers an admittedly fresh spin on the well-worn idea, to great effect.


#8: The Girl Isn’t Missing

“The Wicker Man” (1973)

Before it was remade with Nicolas Cage and turned into an internet meme, this 1973 horror film was a darling of British horror cinema. The film begins when a police detective arrives at a small town on a secluded island after a local girl goes missing. But it quickly becomes clear that something is terribly wrong, and that the villagers are part of a dangerous pagan cult. The detective suspects the girl might have been taken as a human sacrifice, but it’s worse: The girl was never kidnapped, and it was all a ploy to lure him to the island to serve as the sacrifice himself.


#7: Mrs. Voorhees Is the Killer

“Friday the 13th” (1980)

The machete-wielding, goalie mask-wearing Jason Voorhees is without a doubt one of the biggest slasher icons. But as horror aficionados are fond of pointing out, he wasn’t the primary villain in the first film in the “Friday the 13th” series. After a number of her fellow camp counselors are brutally murdered, the film’s protagonist Alice discovers that the killer is in fact Mrs. Voorhees, the mother of a deformed boy who drowned while the counselors were...shall we say….distracted. Needless to say, the revelation that the seemingly kindly old lady in a sweater is a crazed killer doesn’t do much to make Alice’s day better.


#6: Jigsaw Is the Dead Body in the Bathroom

“Saw” (2004)

This infamous horror flick not only kicked off an entire franchise, but arguably started a whole new subgenre. While the sequels went on to more gruesome and elaborate gore, the first one keeps it fairly simple. Two men find themselves chained in a bathroom, with a corpse between them and a hacksaw each. The only way either of them can escape is to take that hacksaw to their own ankle. After much bloodshed, it’s revealed that Jigsaw, the mysterious killer who orchestrated the whole thing, has been in the room the whole time, posing as the corpse lying between his two unlucky victims. Shocking, effective, and oh so twisted.


#5: The Family Are Ghosts

“The Others” (2001)

This spooky, atmospheric horror gem stars a woman named Grace and her two children, who live in a secluded mansion following World War 2. As anyone might if they lived in a house this creepy looking, Grace begins to suspect that her home is haunted. It turns out she’s right, but not in the way she expected. After a series of terrifying encounters with what seem to be spirits, it’s revealed that Grace and her children are the ghosts haunting the house, and the visions they’ve been seeing are the new residents. It’s a clever inversion of the classic haunted house scenario that caught most cinemagoers completely by surprise.


#4: Stu and Billy are the Killers

“Scream” (1996)

This trend-setting slasher movie revitalized the genre for a new generation by injecting a dose of self-aware meta-commentary to liven things up. This mainly takes the form of the teenage characters, who recognize that the mysterious killer stalking them is following the traditional rules of slasher films. Namely stuff like if you have sex, do drugs or say “I’ll be right back”, you’ll be the next one to die. But rather than just two horror movie fans familiar with the tropes of the genre, the characters of Billy and Stu turn out to be the killers themselves, making the horror movie awareness of the Ghostfaced-killer suddenly make a whole lot of sense.


#3: Angela Was the Killer and Is Biologically Male

“Sleepaway Camp” (1983)

In this cult favorite slasher flick, yet another summer camp becomes the site for murder and mayhem when bodies start stacking up thanks to an unseen killer. It sounds a lot like “Friday the 13th”, but the film’s shocking twist does a lot to give the film its own unique character. In the closing moments of the film, the killer is revealed to be the quiet, introverted Angela. And not only that, but it’s revealed that Angela is biologically male. The shocking final shot, which shows a naked and maniacally grinning Angela standing over their final victim, is (for better or worse) the film’s enduring legacy.


#2: Malcolm Crowe Is a Ghost

“The Sixth Sense” (1999)

The twist so infamous that it started an entire meme remains a fan favorite, even if it turned a promising new director into “the twist ending guy”. The film tells the story of a young boy with the ability to see ghosts, which obviously leads to a near non-stop parade of terrifying encounters with the unquiet dead. Things look to be getting better when he meets a child psychologist determined to help the boy, to make amends for a previous failure. But in the end, it’s famously revealed that Bruce Willis’ Doctor Crowe is a ghost himself, having died after the film’s opening scene. For cinemagoers in 1999… it was one blown mind after another!


Before we reveal our shocking top pick, have a look at some of our honorable mentions.


It's All Staged
“April Fool's Day” (1986)


Crispian, Zee and Felix Planned the Whole Thing
“You're Next” (2011)


Sarah's Escape Was a Hallucination
“The Descent” (2005)


#1: Norman Bates Is the Killer

“Psycho” (1960)

Even before the shocking reveal at the film’s climax, Alfred Hitchcock’s horror opus already had audiences scared out of their minds. But that ending just made things worse. After watching numerous characters seemingly die at the hands of the apparently demented Mrs. Bates, audiences were stunned to learn that the killer was in fact her soft-spoken son Norman, who had preserved his dead mother’s body and taken on her identity. Even decades after the film’s release, and subsequent enshrinement in popular culture, the reveal at the end of this legendary film still remains the most shocking and memorable twist ending in the history of horror cinema.

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