So when watching a movie, often we’re left with a deep desire for something fresh, something to keep us on our feet. Generic high-budget action blockbuster #3456623 isn’t cutting it,  and those artsy indie films aren’t doing it either.So now you’re looking for something in between, that’ll throw you for a curveball with a major plot twist.  And here I’ve picked out a few movies that’ll definitely put you on the edge of your seat with surprises that will leave you gasping. These movies are particularly underrated and often overlooked, but hold some great plot twists to leave viewers agape during a watch.

But before we begin, let’s just preface this list with an obvious disclaimer:  

there will be spoilers

So if you want to watch them unspoiled, ignore the parts where I talk about the twist and just skip to the next entry. With that in mind, let’s start:

1. Moon (2009)

moon
Director: Duncan Jones
Starring: Sam Rockwell, Kevin Spacey
Genre: Science-fiction

This British film is lauded with accolades from film critics and festivals, including the coveted Hugo Award in the Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form) category, and a nod for BAFTA’s Best British Film award. The film is also quite well received by NASA for its scientific realism.

The movie itself is about an astronaut named Sam Bell who mines moon rocks, and after a three-year long solitary stay on the Moon, is ready to come back to Earth. However, he is plagued by mental conflict, particularly hallucinations, and then realizes there is something suspicious going on regarding his entire mission.

What’s the twist?:  Early on, Sam gets involved in a lunar rover crash, and upon waking up in the infirmary, goes to investigate the crash, and finds a doppelganger injured in the rover. Upon bringing him back and some serious argument, they come to realize they aren’t simply doppelgangers, but clones. The Sam who woke up after the ‘crash’ was not in fact the first Sam, who was the one in the crash. Both are however clones, and uncover the knowledge they die in 3 years, and never actually return to Earth, where the original Sam Bell has been for years. They decide to take revenge on Lunar Industries (the company that runs the moon mining operation) and expose their unethical actions, and escape to Earth.

Why the twist works :   The movie is particularly screw-y with the twist, which effectively blindsides the viewer with almost zero foreshadowing. Surprisingly, despite happening close to middle, the movie is still quite tense and thrilling watching the protagonist(s) try and deal with the revelations presented to them.

2. Unbreakable (2000)

Unbreakableposterwillis
Director: M.Night Shyamalan
Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis, Robin Wright
Genre: Superhero, thriller

Night Shyamalan is (in)famous for his plot twists, ranging from the mindblowing (like the Sixth Sense) to plain terrible (The Happening), Unbreakable is one such movie that happens to fall oddly in between, but I prefer calling it more on the mindblowing side.

The movie is an odd one, a superhero movie not owned by a major comic book franchise. Centering around the titular ‘unbreakable’ hero David Dunn (Bruce Willis) who cannot be injured, trying to find meaning in his life by doing heroics. He is assisted by Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson) — a comic book store owner with a disease that makes his bones quite weak and fragile — who uses his knowledge of comics to help David figure out the meaning of being a hero.

What’s the twist?: The twist is one that is admittedly a little preposterous, but all the more surprising. Elijah Price is in fact, the perpetrator of terrorist acts that David got involved in, including the initial train crash where he had discovered his powers. Elijah, calling himself Mr Glass after a nickname used to taunt him in his childhood, tells David all his actions were a way to find his opposite, someone unbreakable, namely David. He explains his purpose in life is to be the villain to David’s hero, thus being directly responsible for David’s suffering and multiple deaths all in attempt to be a ‘villain’.

Why the twist works: Unbreakable is a unique film in creating a kind of reluctant hero outside of a comic book adaptation, and offers a good look at a more realistic superhero. While the reveal is a little ridiculous, it still presents the working of a dangerous villain whose actor offers great charisma to the role. Unbreakable is without a doubt one of the best superhero movies made, and should definitely be given a chance in an era of superhero movies dominating the box office.

3. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

monty

Director: Terry Gilliam & Terry Jones
Starring: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin
Genre:  Comedy

The hilarious British comedy sketch group Monty Python made a movie that still stands today as one of the finest comedies of all time. The movie centers on a spoofy retelling of the Arthurian legend of the Holy Grail, and the attempts to search for it by the Knights of the Round Table. The Knights, played by the Monty Python members, are wacky and amusing, and their antics in their attempt to find the Grail just make the movie all the more funny.

What’s the twist?: The twist is quite simple — they’re all escaped mental patients pretending to be knights. All of the movie takes place in modern times, with absolutely none of the ‘quest’ being real. There is no King Arthur, no Grail, no Knights: just some really crazy people.

Why the twist works: The twist just adds an extra layer of absurdism onto the antics of the Knights, making all of their actions much funnier in hindsight. Throughout the movie, little hints are dropped to the reveal at the end, effectively building up to a gigantic hilarious reveal  perfect for a comedy movie. All in all, the Monty Python group know comedy very well, making this a perfect movie for those in need of some serious laughs.

4. Citizen Kane (1941)

kane

Director : Orson Welles
Starring: Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten
Genre: Mystery, drama

While underrated would be a gigantic stretch, Citizen Kane is a movie that is largely forgotten by audiences today. Heralded as one of the greatest films ever made,  the movie centers on the life of newspaper magnate Charles Foster Kane (Orson Welles) whose dying last word was the cryptic “Rosebud”. After his death makes waves in the news, reporter Jerry Thompson is tasked to find out the meaning of Rosebud.

The movie is largely told through flashback reels depicting Kane’s start from poverty to his growth and eventual success as a rich successful businessman.

What’s the twist?: The meaning of Rosebud. Early on, Kane’s childhood shows him playing on a sled while his parents discuss the arrangements of sending him away for his education. Rosebud turns out to be the sled’s trade name, which was something important to his childhood, but is ultimately destroyed by the staff of Kane’s estate in a furnace.

Why the twist works: The Rosebud twist is quite famous in film history, usually a late arrival spoiler to audiences of today. This still does not stop it from being a poignant symbol in the life of Kane, and works as a perfect thematical conclusion to his legacy presented throughout the movie. The movie is still brilliant, even with the twist in mind, due to its great use of unreliable narrators and brilliant storytelling technique to tell a tragic tale of one man’s success.


by Nuhan B. Abid