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The best PLOT TWISTS in horror movies

What are the most memorable horror plot twists?

Krzysztof Dylak

27 July 2023

The best PLOT TWISTS in horror movies

Plot twists in horror and other genres can be important plot points, surprising the viewer with a sudden and unexpected change in the situation and giving a new meaning to the story being told on screen. Sometimes it remains the basic attribute of the movie, and sometimes it complements its value and marks the point as the dot over the “i” in the case of the climax of the film. In the horror movie twists are generally welcome, as the plot’s surprise component often integrates with the sense of fear, creating a double impression.



Alien ash ian holm

Ridley Scott’s sci-fi horror classic is the first installment of one of the movie’s most iconic monsters, spawning a series of sequels and reboots. Alien based on the atmosphere of danger and closing the crew in one space with a space predator. The scenery of the ship modeled on the technological design of the Gothic, along with the design of the Alien, inspired many important artists. Scott’s film also has an important twist in the third act that pushes the plot forward. The crew of a ship with Ripley on board must fight for survival not only against an alien life form, but also against a member of their own group. Ash, the science officer, had been rather suspicious from the start, and rather irritated than liked with his stiff and slightly haughty attitude. First, in the initial phase of events, he breaks the rules and ignores Ripley’s order. Few, however, expected that Ash would reveal himself as a saboteur intent on killing Ripley, as his goal is to bring the Alien to earth as a living subject for study. In addition, he exhibits superhuman strength and endurance during combat, and when the rest of the squad rushes to Ripley’s rescue, it is revealed that Ash is not human, but an android. Ash, partially torn apart, reveals the purpose of his mission assigned by the company after the power is restored, even at the expense of the rest of the crew. By the way, he expresses admiration for the monster hiding in the recesses of the ship as a creature devoid of morality, guided by the instinct of killing, and at the same time impossible to be annihilated by man. With taunting words, he denies the chances of Ripley and her colleagues surviving before they kill it.

Angel Heart

Angel Heart mickey rourke

Crime-themed horror or horror-themed whodunit. Alan Parker’s film can be considered in these terms. We are dealing with a devilish mystery and occult clues. A private detective accepts a job from a mystery client and becomes entangled in his own identity. Finding the missing musician means for the hero to discover the truth about himself through bloody killings, rituals and mysterious clues. Meanwhile, the detective starts an affair with the daughter of the missing soloist, which will prove to be the nail in his coffin. The investigation does not end happily for Harry. His client is the devil, and the wanted man is the detective himself who owes him a soul, driven into a hellish web. Unfortunately, a debt to Satan cannot be canceled.

Ringu (The Ring)

Ringu The Ring

The Japanese Ringu by Hideo Nakata restored or maybe even started the fashion for jump scares in productions about ghosts or other supernatural phenomena. It has had sequels, imitators, and an American version. The basis of the plot is a cursed videotape causing death in the viewer after a week. The two main characters, after watching the footage, try to unravel the secret of the recording and avoid the curse. In the course of their investigation, the pair reach the well depicted on the tape and find the remains of Sadako – the murdered girl who haunts the viewers of the video as a ghost. The deadline is exceeded and the main character does not lose her life. That is, the curse has been overcome, and the viewer thinks that the danger has passed and there is no reason to be afraid any more. However, the next day, Sadako unexpectedly haunts a man watching TV, driving him to death of fright. In fact, the condition to avoid the curse was to give the copied tape to be watched by another person before the time ran out, and the heroine’s partner, unlike her, did not do it.



Another horror from Asia; this time a different theme, giving the illusion of a love story, preserving the aspect of the female protagonist during revenge, with an admixture of metaphysical and cultural message. Takashi Miike films a widower who, at the instigation of his son, organizes a casting for his future wife. Among the numerous candidates, the man falls in love with the young and innocent Asami. A mutual feeling is born, but the girl suddenly disappears. A widower in love, ready to marry her, begins his search and discovers strange events related to Asami, who may even be responsible for kidnapping and murder. The girl reappears in the protagonist’s life, but not as the love of his life, but as a tormentor. Convinced that another man is cheating on her and does not love her, she drugs him and paralyzes his muscles with an injection. With his nervous system functional, he tortures the widower with acupuncture and cuts off his foot with a string saw. Suddenly, the man wakes up in a hotel bed next to Asami demanding to confess her absolute affection, anticipating his intention to propose. It seems that the hero had a nightmare about his beloved. Nothing could be more wrong. In fact, the dream is the idyll with Asami in the hotel, and the reality is the intervention of the widower’s son, who appeared in the apartment to save his father at the last moment.


frailty axe

Bill Paxton decided to try his hand at both sides of the camera and made a horror based on Stephen King’s novels with an unpredictable ending for many viewers. The content of the plot is Fenton’s story about his father and brother Adam in front of an FBI agent. Adam was a serial killer before he committed suicide. Like their father once, who believed he was killing human-looking “demons” in the name of God, because he had the gift of detecting such people through vision when touched. Fenton confesses to the agent the details of his father’s childhood and crimes, his brother’s belief in their rightness as opposed to his own fears. Adam helped his father in his murders, to Fenton he was a mentally ill man with the theme of a higher power in his mind. The father kills the sheriff sent by Fenton and discovers that Fenton is a “demon”, but spared his son’s life and tried to enlighten him. Purified, Fenton promises to support his father in the killings, however, he kills his own father instead of the kidnapped victim in order to free her. However, Adam kills her. An FBI agent uncovers a discrepancy in Adam’s suicide, and Fenton reveals that he is Adam, and that Fenton died by Adam’s hand as he became a serial killer of innocent people, a “demon.” Their father’s gift was not a fake, now Adam has inherited this ability and touches the agent to prove to him in a vision that he is the perpetrator of his mother’s murder. Adam kills the agent, himself avoiding responsibility due to unexplored factors – possibly a higher power protecting him from legal consequences. The crime committed against the officer goes to Fenton’s account, while Adam – as sheriff – will continue his father’s work.

Friday the 13th

Friday the 13th

One of the first slashers and the beginning of a series about Jason Voorhees, a killer wearing a hockey mask and armed with a machete, which he makes bloody use of. Horror lovers from that period do not need to be reminded too much about the plot. The story takes place at Crystal Lake, where there are murders of young campers. An unknown perpetrator lurks nearby, watches future victims and takes their lives one by one. Everything indicates that it is Jason, the ghost of a drowned man who drowned in the lake due to the negligence of the caretakers at the camp. Well, no. This is his crazy mother, driven by revenge for the loss of her son. He will take over the reins in the next installments, which he expressed in one of the classic jump scares in the history of the genre.

Get Out

get out Daniel Kaluuya

Jordan Peele’s horror garnered considerable applause; was appreciated – not only on the American market – for the ironic smuggling of ideology and original treatment of the issue of racial divisions. Well, for me it is not a particularly innovative work or an example of innovation in horror cinema, but it has some interesting solutions. From the beginning it was known that the family of the black main character’s partner has a lot to hide and hides behind a facade of hospitality, openness and tolerance. In turn, she – the future son-in-law’s partner of her wealthy and educated parents – appears as a normal, natural, sympathetic person, full of charm. We think that the mother and father are up to something, have evil plans for her beloved, because we see bizarre and unnatural behavior of black people around them; something is clearly not right here. The hero’s chosen one seems unaware of this, she does not even put up much resistance when he decides to leave her family home, it seems that she is on his side, intends to support him, being willing to understand his anxiety. Her understanding attitude puts the man’s vigilance to sleep. Suspicions towards the girl’s parents are absolutely right, and she also takes an active part in the whole process; pretending to be a sweet and in love person, she lures black and physically fit men into the trap set by her parents.

Jacob's Ladder

Jacob's Ladder tim robbins

Adrian Lyne became known to moviegoers as an expert in erotic spheres and fatal passions. Jacob’s Ladder is an exception in his oeuvre, it is a dreamlike thriller on the verge of reality and dream. The main character, a former soldier fighting in Vietnam, struggles with nightmares and hallucinations concerning his deceased son. He learns that his colleagues in the unit are having similar problems, as they were involved in government experiments conducted on their minds to increase aggression and efficiency on the battlefield. Now the side effects are showing up. But that’s only part of the truth. In fact, a Vietnam veteran was wounded fighting with his comrades on the front lines and is suspended between life and death until his dead son takes him to the afterlife.



Before Vera Farmiga took part in The Conjuring series, she managed to show herself in Orphan as an actress who feels good in horror vibes. A married couple, after losing their child to a miscarriage, decide to adopt a nine-year-old girl. Over time, strange and puzzling incidents begin to happen around her, proving her serious mental disorder. The mother discovers that these are not accidents, but the girl’s conscious actions that threaten the environment, including her biological children. As events unfold, we are led to believe that the titular orphan is a bad child due to traumatic experiences. At some point here is a twist revealing the true identity and origin of the adopted girl. She’s an adult in a child’s body, masking her innate dwarfism, a demoralized psychopath with blood on her hands.

The Others

Others nicole kidman

As I mentioned earlier, the Japanese Ringu has brought back the ghost horror trend. The more successful ones include the films The Sixth Sense, which will be discussed later, and The Others by Alejandro Amenábar. Nicole Kidman plays the mother of two children who suffer from a morbid condition characterized by an aversion to light. Therefore, in 1945, they live in a historic house in the countryside, which is drowning in semi-darkness. Employed servants to take care of the house and children cause confusion, and inexplicable footsteps, noises and whispers indicate that the household is infested with ghosts. A woman discovers photographs of dead bodies, presumably previous tenants, and new servants claim that they once worked at her house before they left it due to an outbreak of tuberculosis. The ghosts reappear, and from their words it is clear that the house belongs to them. The woman’s husband returns from the war, presumed dead at the front. The activity of the apparitions intensifies, everything indicates that they are the previous inhabitants of the building. In turn, the woman’s husband, after a short stay, must return to the front. At the end of the film, an extraordinary conclusion is reached. In fact, the woman, her children, her husband and her servants are ghosts. The new inhabitants responsible for strange phenomena are living people during a spiritualistic séance.


psycho anthony perkins janet leigh

The classic by the master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock is not a horror, but rather a thriller, but it is difficult to avoid it from this list in terms of the main theme. It’s about the final scenes explaining who is behind the Norman Bates motel murders. I can imagine what impact they had on the audience when Psycho was made, and it is not without reason that they are treated as a role model having an unquestionable influence on the next generations of filmmakers. Norman Bates runs a motel and lives in a house on a hill with his mother under his care. We never see her face, only hear her voice in its possessiveness scolding her son for his contacts with women. Someone murders a tenant in the shower (a canon of quoted scenes), and the figure’s shadow suggests that it is Norman’s jealous mother. Shocked, Bates removes the corpse and traces of the crime. In the final stage of the film, it is revealed that the hero’s mother is dead, her body is hidden in the basement, and finally it’s Bates who kills. Wearing his mother’s wig and clothes during the crime, he reflected his jealousy towards her before he himself killed her because of it, when caught her with her lover.



In the middle of the decade, a new villain entered the screens with a good chance of winning the approval of fans of bloody, often sequeled slashers. Jigsaw somewhat resembles masked butchers like Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, Leatherface or Ghostface, but he kills his victims not directly, but using their will to survive. He does this by trapping them in elaborately constructed traps, which become the murder weapon. This happens in the sequels, because the first one shows only two people chained in a dingy toilet, with a corpse lying in the middle of the room. Kidnapped by the mysterious Jigsaw, the men are instructed on the tape found with the deceased, why they are here and what they must do to save themselves and their loved ones. One is to kill the other, the other is to do whatever it takes to survive. The photographer and the doctor want to get out of the trap, they tell each other the stories of their own lives and kidnapping. Clues lead the viewer on false tracks suggesting that one of them is the kidnapper and blackmailer. Time is running out, the police is investigating, the perpetrator is manipulating the situation from hiding. The trapped men are forced to self-mutilate and attempt to kill each other before the real Jigsaw reveals himself as an individual pretending to be a corpse in the restroom, like Hannibal Lecter in the ambulance during his escape in The Silence of the Lambs.



Currently, the next installment of Scream is promoted as a next level of the series, while Wes Craven in 1996 cleverly used the longing of film horror amateurs for the motives of a killer hidden behind a mask in slasher films. Sticking to the rules of the genre, he winked at the viewers, referring to well-known titles. The main factor was the viewer’s curiosity, who, in addition to the obligatory properties of a slasher film – namely the splashing blood, the scream of the victims in the title, the glow of a kitchen knife or other sharp tools – is waiting for the effect: learning the identity of the perpetrator wearing a mask and a ghost costume. Craven plays with the viewers’ suspicions and uses similar methods in the sequels. At the end of the film, it turns out that there are two klillers, always in the center of events as would-be victims of the attacker. The main character’s boyfriend and his friend are driven not only by revenge for the affair of her mother (whom they killed much earlier) with the former’s father. They also plan to kill the girl and frame her father for all the previous crimes.

The Sixth Sense

The Sixth Sense bruce willis

Some viewers accuse M. Night Shyamalan of often breaking promises and failing to follow the rules he introduced in his film. However, this does not apply to his cinematic debut. The Sixth Sense remains his best film and an instant classic. An intimate horror about a boy with an extraordinary gift of seeing the dead and his psychologist is also a supernatural drama focusing not so much on scaring as on the sensitivity and care for the feelings of the child protagonist, whom the director looks at with great care. We get a story with a thrill, but also a reflection on topics not fully explored and known. And, of course, the essence of the film, which is surprising to many viewers, giving the story a new dimension and overtones. The boy’s psychologist shot in the prologue by a former patient is actually dead. He helped him already as a ghost, being sure that he was a living man.