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Famous Movies with Shocking Plot Twists

What makes a good movie?

A gripping plot is a good factor, but when it’s predictable, tendency is, it won’t leave a lasting impression. A plot twist is defined as an often shocking change of where the movie is expected to be going. Filmmakers use it as a device to pique audience interest, something that would leave them talking about it even after the film has ended.

Numerous filmmakers are known for creating the best plot twists. Among them is M. Night Shymalan, who takes after Alfred Hitchcock—the man behind the most mind-bending stories in cinematic history.

ExploreTalent brings you the list of the most famous movies with their equally shocking plot twists. Be warned, these contain spoilers.

1. Psycho, 1960

Director: Alfred Hitchcock


Alfred Hitchcock wasn’t the named the Master of Suspense for nothing. His most famous work had to be the movie Psycho, which featured the iconic maniac Norman Bates and was set in one of the most memorable fictional structures in movies—The Bates Hotel.

The plot twist: the movie’s plot twist was something audiences definitely did not see coming. First off, Norman’s mother was not involved in the murder of the protagonist Marion Crane during that iconic shower scene. Instead, it was Norman all along, disguised as his mother whom he murdered several years ago.

2. The Orphan, 2008

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra


The Orphan has to be one of the best psychological thriller films in history. It revolves around a young couple who adopted a mysterious girl named Esther. Esther proves to be a problematic child who can’t fit in with her family and has several run-ins with her adoptive mother played by The Conjuring actress Vera Farmiga.

The plot twist: Esther really wasn’t who she seemed. First off, she was a murderer and if that’s not shocking enough for you, then the second thing about Esther was that she was not really a little girl—but a grown woman with a growth disorder.

3. Secret Window, 2004

Director: David Koepp

Based on the novella Secret Window, Secret Garden by Stephen King, this movie adaptation follows Mort Rainey (played by Johnny Depp) as he fights off writer’s block and a bitter divorce by going to a remote cabin in the woods. Rainey is unexpectedly visited by a mysterious man named Shooter who accuses him of plagiarizing his story.

The plot twist: Shooter wasn’t real. In fact, he was just a figment made up by Rainey due to his dissociative identity disorder. The name “Shooter” was derived from the words “Shoot Her,” pertaining to Rainey’s desire to murder his wife.

A good thing to note here is that the movie’s ending veered away from the original novel. The novel ended with Rainey being killed by his estranged wife after he tried to attack her. Later, she found out that Shooter was in fact real, and that Rainey was so absorbed in his novel that his character was brought to life. That sounds even more terrifying, right?

4. Shutter Island, 2010

Director: Martin Scorsese


Martin Scorsese has always been a brilliant filmmaker, and Shutter Island is one of his most iconic works to date. He teamed with Leonardo DiCaprio, who plays U.S. Marshal Edward “Teddy” Daniels who travels to a criminally insane facility to investigate the disappearance of inmate named Rachel Solando, who was incarcerated for murdering her children.

The plot twist: Teddy Daniels was actually an anagram for Andrew Laeddis, a patient in the facility who murdered his wife, Dolores Chanal (another anagram for the name Rachel Solando). Daniels then realized that he had been a subject of an experiment all this time.

5. The Sixth Sense, 1999

Director: M. Night Shymalan


Shymalan’s name has long been synonymous to plot twists, and Sixth Sense wasn’t any different. This horror movie gave birth to the iconic phrase “I see dead people.”

Cole was a young boy who confided about his secret ability to see the dead to a friendly but troubled psychologist named Malcolm Crowe (played by actors Haley Joel Osment and Mel Gibson, respectively). Even if Crowe was dealing with problems himself, he still offered a hand in helping Crowe deal with his powers.

The plot twist: it wasn’t just Cole that was being saved in the story. As the movie came to a close, it was revealed that Crowe was a lost soul himself, which explained why Cole could see him in the first place.

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