The worst movie plot twists
The worst movie plot twists
Last Christmas is finally here (a solid month and a half before actual Christmas, but that's neither here nor there) and with it comes a massive plot twist that changes the entire movie — and not for the better.
Major spoiler alert! Near the end of the Paul Feig film (which is more romantic drama than rom-com, despite what the trailers and posters promise), Kate (Emilia Clarke) realizes her manic pixie dream guy boyfriend Tom (Henry Golding) is...a ghost! And he's not just any ghost: He's the spirit of the organ donor who died last Christmas, giving Kate the heart transplant she needed to stay alive.
Because last Christmas, he gave her his heart. Get it? Ugh.
This is hardly the first movie to disappoint with a lackluster, ridiculous, or downright dumb third act plot twist. Click through the gallery to check out EW's picks for the worst movie plot twists in addition to Last Christmas.
And this should go without saying but again: Spoiler alert! Spoiler alert! Spoiler Alert! We're talking specifics on all these movies and their massive twist endings, so click with care...
What would have been a mildly entertaining romantic/coming-of-age drama is ruined in the final shot when it’s revealed that Twilight-era Robert Pattinson’s main character was in the Twin Towers on the morning of 9/11. Why did this have to be included? What did it add to the movie? All it accomplished was solidifying this film’s legacy as one of the worst twists ever.
Creepy killer children are a huge nope regardless but thankfully Orphan’s Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman) isn’t actually a child; she’s a woman in her 30s with a condition that stopped her growth, allowing her to live disguised as a creepy killer child. That’s … something. Apparently she’s decided to use her condition to continuously get adopted into families and sleep with all the men, killing the ones who reject her. Not only is that offensive to anyone living with a similar condition like hypopituitarism, it’s also just an extremely weak “twist” ending. No thank you!
Last Christmas is hardly the first movie to employ a ghostly twist. This Nicholas Sparks adaptation has a domestic abuse subplot intertwined with the romance which should be more than enough for one movie, but that doesn't stop Sparks from cramming in one last final twist to make it all just too much. The final act in the film reveals that Cobie Smulders' kind neighbor/friend was actually the dead wife of the male lead (Josh Duhamel) the whole time, watching over his new love interest (Julianne Hough) and helping them get together. Sigh.
Like all other M. Night Shyamalan films, a twist in the third act of The Village upends the entire story. But unlike The Sixth Sense’s brilliant revelation, this twist negates all the horror and suspense that had been building throughout the whole movie. The monsters hunting anyone who leaves the 19th century community are actually members of the community dressed in the most ridiculous costumes to keep everyone in the social experiment unaware that they’re actually living in the present. At least make the monster costumes scary? What a letdown.
I Still Know What You Did Last Summer
Like its predecessor, this slasher film has the expected twist of one of Julie’s (Jennifer Love Hewitt) friends revealing himself to be the killer that's been hunting her. But the now-iconic line will forever solidify this movie’s reveal as lame: “Will Benson! Get it... ? Ben’s son!” Ugh.
If handled right, this twist would have been killer (sorry). But instead, the reveal is that Halle Berry’s journalist who has been investigating a murder has been the murderer the whole time. She's just investigating her own crime to find a way to frame Bruce Willis’ executive. None of this makes sense for everything we’d learned about Berry’s character for the entire movie. And don’t even get us started on those useless flashbacks.
Now You See Me
This popcorn flick tries to convince the audience at the very end that Mark Ruffalo’s FBI agent hunting the Four Horsemen magicians has actually been working with them the whole time. But wait, that means... did he spend his entire life working to get into the FBI, just for this one case?! That seems excessive.
A lot of the worst movie twists can be boiled down to: It was all in his/her head. And the all-star cast of Identity -- John Cusack, Ray Liotta, Amanda Peet, Alfred Molina, Clea DuVall, John C. McGinley, and John Hawkes -- can’t save this thriller about 10 strangers trapped in a motel trying to figure out who is killing them one-by-one. It’s the little boy! But wait, it’s actually not even happening, because it’s all in Cusack’s character’s head, and one of his many split personalities is killing off the rest. This reveal immediately destroys any stakes (or interest) the audience has developed throughout a film, so why go down this road?
Another classic terrible trope twist that appears over and over again in movies? It was all a dream! Savages leans heavily into this one to laughable extremes, having Blake Lively’s Ophelia dream that she and her two boyfriends Chon (Taylor Kitsch) and Ben (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) die after a cartel hostage exchange goes wrong. But then she wakes up from her nightmare, the exchange happens again, and nobody dies. It’s too perfect of an ending that has no stakes after all the drama and action fake out that previously played. A runner-up for the worst “it was all a dream” twist ending: Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part II. Nothing. Ever. Happens!
The hero turns out to be the villain and the villain turns out to be the hero? Now that's a great twist, so the Mewtwo reveal in the climax of Detective Pikachu was thrilling. But the next twist just took things way too far: Pikachu was actually the spirit of Tim's (Justice Smith) father Harry the whole time, and Harry was played by none other than Ryan Reynolds. But after voicing Pikachu for the whole movie, revealing him in live-action was inadvertantly hilarious and didn't make any sense. Was Harry dead this whole time? Was he brought back to life? What does this mean for the sequel that's already in the works if Pikachu can no longer talk? It's just confusing!
This might be the best worst movie of the past decade. Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway turn in over-the-top dramatic performances that border on psychotic, so you have to wonder if they were in on the joke. But the third-act reveal that not only is Baker Dill (McConaughey) linked telepathically to his son, he's actually not even real -- his son Patrick (Rafael Sayegh) created a video game version of his dead father to try and kill his abusive new stepfather. The fishing video game turns into a murder thriller until the game finally ends when Patrick picks up a knife to murder his step-father in real life. Okay!
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
When Colin Farrell's high-ranking Auror and Director of Magical Security for MACUSA, Percival Graves, is revealed to be evil wizard Grindelwald in disguise at the end of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, it should have been one hell of an exciting twist for any Harry Potter fan. But the fact that Grindelwald is played by Johnny Depp in hideous white makeup absolutely ruined not only this twist but also potentially this entire franchise. Is it too late to recast this role for all the future films? Please?
This Is Us on steroids is the most accurate way to describe Dan Fogelman's feature film debut. Overly saccharine and soapy to the point of excess, Life Itself leans in to all the worst parts of tragic romantic dramas and yet still manages to be incredibly underwhelming, despite how the melodramtic narrative is overly stuffed. But Oscar Isaac's chapter is perhaps the most disappointing, as the many twists reveal his character Will didn't just get left by his pregnant wife Abby (Olivia Wilde). She was struck and killed by a bus right in front of him, leading to have a mental breakdown and getting institutionalized. When his therapist finally reveals this, Will kills himself right in front of her. We get it, narrators can be unreliable! But did we really need so many grotesque and violent deaths to hammer that point home just to make it clear that we don't know who is narrating this story?