Top 20 Movies With More Than One Plot Twist
VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
WRITTEN BY: Sammie Purcell
These movies have more twists and turns than a roller coaster. For this list, we'll be looking at those films that made our jaws drop not once, but twice. Our countdown includes "Arrival", "Knives Out", “Spider-Man: Homecoming”, "Get Out", "Psycho", and more!
Top 20 Movies That Pull Off Two Plot Twists
Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 20 Movies That Pull Off Two Plot Twists.
For this list, we’ll be looking at those films that made our jaws drop not once, but twice. Obviously, a big spoiler alert is in effect!
If we missed your favorite double-twist, let us know in the comments below.
#20: “Knives Out” (2019)
This whodunnit begins as all good mysteries do – with a rich dead guy, a greedy family, and a will. The first twist comes when the audience learns the victim, Harlan Thwombey, slit his own throat to protect Marta – his nurse – who accidentally mixed up his medication, giving him a lethal dose of morphine. The story unfolds in Agatha Christie-inspired style (plus a truly incredible cable knit look from Chris Evans)... and then the second twist hits. Turns out, Harlan’s grandson Ransom switched the medications BEFORE Marta did. So, Harlan didn’t take morphine after all. At least Ransom and his sweater got what was coming to them – a face full of puke.
#19: “The Talented Mr. Ripley” (1999)
Italy – filled with golden beaches, delicious food – and murder??? If you’re Tom Ripley, that’s definitely on the list. This thriller follows Ripley, who’s sent to Italy by a wealthy man to convince the man’s son, Dickie, to return. Ripley is quickly swept up in Dickie’s extravagant lifestyle, befriending and becoming obsessed with him. Things escalate until in a shocking turn of events, Ripley kills Dickie – and then proceeds to steal his identity. Some friend, right? Ripley digs himself so far into a hole, it seems inevitable he’ll be caught. But in a second twist, as Ripley’s plans are about to be thwarted, Dickie’s father shows up and absolves Ripley of any blame – right before he commits another murder.
#18: “Frailty” (2001)
Stolen identities are always great fodder for plot twists, but this one goes above and beyond. In “Frailty,” Fenton Meiks tells the FBI his recently deceased brother, Adam, is responsible for a series of unsolved killings. Fenton says Adam thought he’d been chosen by God to get rid of “demons,” and could see a person’s wrongdoings simply by touching them – a claim Fenton did not believe. If you think this is creepy, you’re right – and it’s about to get worse. Turns out, the Fenton we meet is ACTUALLY Adam. Adam murdered Fenton, because – in a shocking second twist – Adam can really sense evil in people, and he knew Fenton was responsible for the killings. God’s will shall be done, we guess.
#17: “Us” (2019)
Jordan Peele’s second feature film had big shoes to fill – and on the plot twist front, he delivered. When we first meet the “tethered” in this horror show, we have absolutely no idea who they are or where they came from. All we know is they look like Adelaide and her family – just a lot freakier. Finally, before the gorgeous final fight scene, Red – Adelaide’s tethered – reveals the government created the tethered to control humans, but something bad happened and they were abandoned. Government conspiracy gone horribly wrong is already a great twist. But the final reveal – that the Adelaide we know is actually a tethered who switched places with her human counterpart as a child – is truly jaw-dropping.
#16: “The Sting” (1973)
Heist movies! They’re chock-full of twists – but “The Sting” delights us more than most. Paul Newman and Robert Redford play Henry Gondorff and Johnny Hooker – two grifters trying to con a mob boss by creating a sham horserace betting parlor. This film has numerous players, fake identities and motives to keep track of, but one of the biggest surprises comes when FBI Agent Polk forces Hooker to play informant and give Gondorff up. When the FBI raids the parlor, Gondorff shoots Hooker for his betrayal, and then Polk shoots Gondorff. Everyone dies...Except they don’t! Turns out, Agent Polk is ALSO a con-man, and Gondorff and Hooker staged the whole thing. Gotta love the con within a con...within a con.
#15: “Gone Baby Gone” (2007)
Sometimes twists can take us to very dark places – and that’s exactly what happens in “Gone Baby Gone.” Private investigators Patrick and Angie join up with the police department and start working the case of Amanda McCready, a little girl who was abducted from her home. They eventually come into contact with the kidnappers and set up an exchange for the girl’s life. In a tragic turn of events, the little girl dies after a fight breaks out during the trade. But as always, it’s not that simple. Patrick later learns that police detectives staged Amanda’s kidnapping to make some quick cash. What’s more – Amanda is still alive. She’s living with the police captain, who lost his own daughter years earlier.
#14: “The Departed” (2006)
Do you smell a rat? Because this movie is full of them! The story follows Colin Sullivan – who is working for mob boss Frank Costello as a mole in the Boston PD – and Billy Costigan, an undercover cop trying to infiltrate Costello’s gang. Unfortunately for the characters in this movie, pretty much all the plot twists lead to someone’s death. When it’s revealed that Costello is an FBI informant himself, Sullivan kills him. When Costigan finds out Sullivan is the rat, he’s killed by another dirty cop – who Sullivan then kills to clear his own name. And finally, in the best twist of all, Detective Dignam, who Sullivan wronged, comes back...and kills him. Cue the rat on the windowsill.
#13: “Scream” (1996)
Back in the ‘90s, “Scream” basically revitalized horror movies – and did so in twisty-turny fashion. The set-up is simple – there’s a serial killer on the loose, and he’s targeting high schooler Sidney Prescott and her friends. The audience spends most of the movie trying to figure who the killer behind that terrifying mask is. In the third act, not only is it revealed that the killer is Sidney’s boyfriend Billy – but he’s also not working alone. That’s right, there are two killers! Billy and Stu have already killed so many people, and it’s looking like they’ll kill Sidney too, when – plot twist! – it turns out that two of their presumed victims, Gale and Randy, weren’t dead after all.
#12: “Spider-Man: Homecoming” (2017)
Sometimes a movie pulls off two plot twists that don’t feed into one another – and that’s what happens in this MCU joint. Peter Parker just wants ONE day of normalcy – and hopes he can get it when he takes his crush Liz to the homecoming dance. But when Peter meets Liz’s father, he realizes it’s Vulture – one of Peter’s nemeses. Seriously, it’s hard enough to meet the dad – no need to throw super villains into the mix. The second plot twist comes later. Tony Stark - AKA Iron Man – gives Peter the opportunity to become an Avenger – something Peter has always wanted. But, he declines – because someone has to look out for the little guy, right?
#11: “Friday the 13th” (1980)
There’s nothing more exciting than learning the shocking identity of the killer in a movie. Audiences spend “Friday the 13th” thinking that the summer camp in the movie is haunted by the ghost of Jason, who drowned in the lake. It only makes sense that he would be the vengeful monster killing all the counselors – so audiences were shocked when it was revealed that Mrs. Voorhees, Jason’s mom, was the real killer. Mrs. Voorhees is a much scarier, human villain – but that doesn’t stop the movie from shocking you with the supernatural too. After overcoming Mrs. Voorhees, counselor Alice falls asleep in a canoe. And who should leap out of the water to pull her under but a decomposing Jason – he’s still there...
#10: “Arrival” (2016)
This amazing sci-fi film stunned audiences twice. When strange ships land on earth, linguist Louise Banks must try and communicate with the aliens. In other invasion movies, the aliens almost always arrive intent on destruction – but in a refreshing twist, the aliens want to offer the world their language – which isn’t constrained by time, and allows them to see past, present and future at once. Then, in a bittersweet turn of events, we later learn the flashbacks Louise has been seeing throughout the movie are not flashbacks at all, but visions of the future brought on by her ability to understand the alien language. It’s a gut punch – one we won’t forget any time soon.
#9: “The Mist” (2007)
The original ending of Stephen King’s novella “The Mist” leaves readers wondering what happens to the characters. But, in the 2007 adaptation, viewers got an ending – a twisty one, filled with despair. When a deadly, monster-filled mist descends upon a small town, a group of survivors – including artist David and his son Billy – break out of a grocery store and drive away. Their car runs out of gas, leaving the group trapped. The book ends here, but in the movie, David shocks everyone by killing the group – even his son – to save them from a worse fate. As he’s about to turn the gun on himself...surprise! The mist clears. It was all for nothing.
#8: “The Prestige” (2006)
Christopher Nolan loves a plot twist – see “Memento,” “Inception,” or pretty much any of his other works for proof. But we wanted to focus on this magical thriller and the two twists it pulls off. In Nolan fashion, it’s a bit complicated, so bear with us. The story hinges on the successful execution of the “transported man” trick. Robert Angier pulls off the trick by creating a clone of himself, and allowing the original version of himself to drown. When a dead Angier is discovered, rival magician Alfred Borden is blamed and executed...but that’s not all. Turns out, Borden has a secret too – he’s an identical twin, and that’s how he pulled off his own version of the trick.
#7: “Mulholland Drive” (2001)
Buckle up for this one, folks. David Lynch’s “Mulholland Drive” is a weird one. When aspiring actress Betty arrives in L.A., she finds a strange woman in her apartment. The woman calls herself Rita, but is suffering from amnesia and can’t remember who she is. At one point, Betty and Rita look for a woman named Diane – they find a dead body, but it’s unclear if the woman is Diane or not. Then, in a strange turn of events, Betty wakes up, but she’s not Betty – she’s Diane! The story continues to unfold in bewildering style until Diane – or Betty? – shoots herself. She was the dead body all along! Or was she? Listen, this could take hours to unpack.
#6: “Shutter Island” (2010)
This psychological thriller follows U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels as he investigates the disappearance of a psychiatric facility patient. Teddy and his partner follow a series of convoluted clues as they look for Rachel Solando – the missing patient who drowned her three children. The clues become increasingly hard to decipher, leaving the audience to wonder … seriously, what the heck is going on? But, “Shutter Island” makes up for all that creeping uncertainty and delivers on two shocking twists. First, the movie reveals the investigation is an elaborate trick – Teddy is actually a patient at the hospital who murdered his wife. The second twist? Rachel isn't real, but based on Teddy’s wife, who drowned their children before Teddy killed her. Dark stuff.
#5: “Parasite” (2019)
“Parasite” won big at the Oscars – and for very good reason. The Kim family schemes their way into the employ of the wealthy Park family, partying it up in the Park’s huge house when they’re gone. But when the old housekeeper shows up one night, a shocking discovery is made. Turns out, there’s a bunker in the basement of the Park’s house where the old housekeeper hides her husband, who’s on the run from loan sharks. Sound wild? Just wait. Everything comes to a head at the Parks’ son’s birthday party. The housekeeper’s husband breaks out and sparks a murderous rampage that ends with Mr. Kim killing Mr. Park. Two of the best twists of all time, no doubt.
#4: “Get Out” (2017)
The aforementioned Jordan Peele’s directorial debut was one of the best films of 2017 – and filled with twists to boot! When Chris, who’s African-American, goes to meet his white girlfriend’s family, things feel … a little off, to say the least. Strange housekeepers, a deranged brother, hypnotism – all red flags! The first twist comes when the Armitages’ plans for Chris are revealed. Turns out the family is literally auctioning Chris off to the highest bidder – a horrifying, insane twist in its own right. But wait, there’s more! When Chris gets away and the cops show up, the audience assumes the worst ... but it’s not the cops! It’s Chris’s best friend Rod, there to save the day!
#3: “The Others” (2001)
Who are the real ghosts? And can we ever be sure? According to this spooky 2001 flick, no we cannot. “The Others'' is a fairly standard horror film at first – Grace Stewart and her two young children Anne and Nicholas are haunted by ghosts – we’ve all seen this movie before, right? But then – the twists start coming. Turns out the ghosts haunting the house… they’re alive. Grace realizes this when she walks in on a seance where the “others'' are trying to contact the dead. And then comes the second twist – Grace and her children are the real ghosts. Grace learns that she smothered her children and ended her own life – and had been haunting the home unknowingly ever since.
#2: “Gone Girl” (2014)
This one’s for all you “cool girls” out there. This movie completely tricks you in the beginning. When Amy Dunne disappears, everyone thinks her husband Nick is responsible – even the audience. But the first huge plot twist comes with a bang – “I am so much happier now that I’m dead,” Amy says. We then learn how Amy staged the whole thing. It’s a shocking turn – but not the most shocking thing in the movie. When Amy decides to come back to Nick, it seems inevitable that he’ll leave her. But she reveals she froze some of his sperm and impregnated herself, tying them together forever. We’re with Tyler Perry here – these two are the most messed up people we know.
Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
A Workforce of Cloned Sam Rockwells
There’s No Worse Way to Go
“Saw II” (2005)
Amanda & Jigsaw Working as One
#1: “Psycho” (1960)
Ah, the mother of all double twists. Hitchcock’s horror masterpiece may be spoiled for everyone today – even if you’ve never seen it – but that doesn’t change just how shocking the movie was in 1960. Marion Crane, played by Janet Leigh, is on the run after stealing some money. She stops at the Bates Motel and meets Norman, who runs the motel with his mother, Mrs. Bates. Then – in the most famous scene in cinema – someone kills Marion in the shower. Janet Leigh was a massive star at the time – so it was a shock to see her gone so quickly. The final twist reveals that Norman is the killer – and he killed Mrs. Bates, but manifests her as an alternate personality.