These Horror Movies with Twist Endings Will Blow Your Mind

We did NOT see that coming.


What's better than a killer horror movie? Horror movies with twist endings! From modern-day nightmares to classic horror thrillers, these plot twists movies traumatized audiences with their shocking surprises.

But beware, dear reader: Spoilers lie ahead. Yes, we’re looking at all of you “don’t ruin the end of The Sixth Sense” folks. By the way [spoiler alert]: He’s really a ghost! You were warned.

 1. Identity 

plot twist horror movie endings Identity
  • Photo Credit: Still from Identity via Columbia Pictures Corporation

In this twisted psychological thriller from 2003, a torrential rainstorm strands a set of strangers at a seedy motel. Worse than the crummy weather and soggy shag carpeting? Someone is killing off these individuals one by one. The strangers race to reveal the killer before it's too late when we're hit with the big reveal [spoiler alert]: Both the motel and its trapped inhabitants exist in the head of a man who suffers from dissociative personality disorder. The mysterious murders aren't savage slayings, but attempts by the man to kill off his many personalities, including the psychopath who lurks inside his mind.

2. Scream

horror movie ending plot twists Scream
  • Photo Credit: Still from Scream via Dimension Films

Wes Craven's bloody love letter to the horror genre slayed audiences when it was released in 1996, thanks in large part to its clever writing and twisty-turny plot. Murder is afoot in the sleepy town of Woodsboro, and the killer wears a frightful ghost mask. Everyone figures Billy is the killer—that is, until the killer calls while Billy's behind bars. Then, towards the end of the film [spoiler alert]: the killer knifes Billy. Or so it seems. Turns out, Billy’s “blood” is little more than corn syrup—“same stuff they used in Carrie for pig’s blood.” He was the killer the entire time, and carved up the town with his masked partner-in-crime, Stu.

Related: 9 Slasher Movies That Will Make You Scream Bloody Murder

3. April Fool’s Day

April Fool's Day plot twist horror movie endings
  • Photo Credit: Still from April Fool’s Day via Paramount Pictures

What's better than a relaxing weekend with friends? This is where April Fool's Day begins, as Muffy welcomes a group of buddies to her island vacation home. Everything seems peachy, until the ferry operator gets crushed. Then, the members of the party start disappearing or turning up dead. Turns out, the gang's hostess might not be Muffy at all, but her deranged twin sister Buffy, who recently broke free from a mental institution. All those still standing hope to survive the night, when [spoiler alert:] April Fools! It was all a staged performance orchestrated by Muffy, who plans to host immersive horror weekends at her island home. Everyone was in on the joke, save for the audience, of course.

4. The Cabin in the Woods

Cabin in the Woods plot twist horror movie endings
  • Photo Credit: Still from The Cabin in the Woods via Lionsgate

This brilliant 2012 meta-horror movie produced and co-written by Joss Whedon, of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame, flips the horror genre on its head with its clever twists. A group of college friends venture into the woods for a weekend getaway at a supremely spooky old cabin (of course). Things get bloody when a family of murderous ghouls emerge and terrorize the group. But this isn't some subpar monster flick. Turns out [spoiler alert]: subterranean technicians are behind the slaughter, and the slayings are sacrifices meant to appease an ancient evil that lurks beneath the Earth’s surface.

Related: 8 Ways to Be the Final Girl (or Guy) in a Horror Movie

5. Shutter Island 

Shutter Island plot twist horror movies
  • Photo Credit: Still from Shutter Island via Paramount Pictures

This noir murder mystery aims to mess with your head. U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) ventures to an insane asylum on an island after a patient goes missing. As one might expect, the visit gets spooky real fast, building to an insane plot twist [spoiler alert] : Teddy isn't investigating a disappearance at all. He's actually a patient of the facility who was placed there for killing his wife after she murdered their kids. As for the investigation itself? The hospital staff was in on it the entire time, all in an attempt to bring Teddy back to reality.

6. Saw

Saw horror movie plot twists
  • Photo Credit: Still from Saw via Evolution Entertainment

James Wan blew our minds and scarred our psyches with this breakout horror flick from 2004. Two men are trapped in a grimy room, chained to pipes. Among the room's contents? A body with a revolver in its hand, separate audio tapes for each captive, a pair of hacksaws. Clearly, a madman is behind this twisted game. The movie builds to one grisly climax, but the real kicker lies in the reveal of the madman’s identity. [Spoiler alert]: He’s been watching the show entire time, as the not-so-dead body on the floor.

Related: 17 Surprisingly Smart Horror Movies

7. The Sixth Sense

Sixth Sense plot twist horror movies
  • Photo Credit: Still from The Sixth Sense via Buena Vista Pictures

Take yourself back to 1999, a spoiler-free age devoid of smartphones, social media feeds, and infectous memes. Little Cole, a profoundly haunted young man, tells us up top that he “sees dead people,” so we should have seen this coming. And yet, when moviegoers first learned that [spoiler alert]: Bruce Willis’ character had been dead the entire time, it still knocked them out of their seats.

8. High Tension

High Tension plot twist horror movies
  • Photo Credit: Still from High Tension via Lions Gate Films

This French horror movie makes for a smart and gruesome watch—so gruesome in fact that a number of scenes were cut from the flick so it could receive an R-rating in the United States. Yet the truly shocking moment centers on the killer's identity. Viewers are led to believe that Marie is our Final Girl. [Spoiler alert]: Truth is, she’s actually our killer.

9. The Ring

horror movies plot twist endings the ring
  • Photo Credit: Still from The Ring via DreamWorks

This American remake of Japan's Ringu is a rare horror treat in that it conjures fresh scares while preserving the spirit of the original. After the death of her niece, Rachel Keller (played by Naomi Watts) investigates rumors of a cursed video tape that kills anyone who sees it. She uncovers what she believes is the truth behind the video—one that involves child abuse and the watery grave of a little girl named Samara Morgan. Rachel seeks out Samara's final resting place, believing this will break the curse. [Spoiler alert]: WRONG. As it turns out, Samara’s parents had a terrifyingly good reason to toss their sinister child down that well.

Related: 7 Creepy Japanese Horror Movies

10. Sleepaway Camp

horror movie best plot twists sleepaway camp
  • Photo Credit: Still from Sleepaway Camp via American Eagle

Using Friday the 13th as its inspiration, this beyond-bonkers slasher flick from 1983 takes the twist-reveal of the killer’s identity to an entirely new level. The campers at Camp Arawak are just trying to enjoy their summer when bodies start piling up. Suspicion falls on the introverted Angela. As it turns out [spoiler alert]: Angela is not exactly Angela. She’s her brother, Peter, and the real Angela died years ago. Thanks to the killer acting chops of young Felissa Rose, and the help of some super creepy prosthetics, the final twist to this slasher flick is beyond disturbing: way scarier and weirder than any of the kills in the movie.

11. The Others

The Others plot twist horror movies
  • Photo Credit: Still from The Others via Miramax

Loosely based on Henry James’ classic short story, The Turn of the Screw, The Others is a thrill for movie fans with a taste for gothic horror. Grace (played by Nicole Kidman) and her two children reside in a sprawling country house where the curtains are drawn and they rarely see the light of day. The reason? In Grace's mind, the children suffer from hyper sensitivity to light. Right, right. As it turns out [spoiler alert]: Grace and her children are dead, doomed to forever roam the empty rooms of the estate.

Related: 9 Ghost Horror Movies That Will Haunt You for Days

12. Psycho

horror movie best plot twists Psycho
  • Photo Credit: Still from Psycho via Shamley Productions

It's the mother of all plot twist flicks. Alfred Hitchcock’s psychological horror classic remains a thrilling watch, even if everybody now knows who really holds the knife. Sure, Norman shouts out at her mother upon viewing Marion Crane's body crumpled in the shower. The ominous silhouette of someone peering out from the Bates' abode on the hill only confirms our theory: this is one mean mom. Of course [spoiler alert]: Mother’s been dead for years, living on in the fractured mind of her son who dresses up as her and goes out on killing sprees.

Feature still from "The Others" via Cruise/Wagner Productions

Published on 3 Aug 2016