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    The 15 Most "What The Actual Heck" Movie Plot Twists Of All Time, Ranked

    Plot twist: This post is ONLY spoilers.

    Hi, I'm Allie. I like movies. A lot. Some might even say "love." I love movies. I love movies so much, I'd marry* them if I could.

    Walt Disney Studios

    *And I kind of did marry them, since I majored in film production in college, and — as with a wedding — I am in debt because of my love!

    I also enjoy ranking oddly specific things about movies for BuzzFeed dot com, the website. A task that — I cannot stress enough — no one has asked me to do.

    Paramount Pictures

    So, next up, I've decided to rank my personal favorite movie plot twists because, well, I love plot twists! And, as with every other one of these posts I've done, it cannot be stated enough that these are just the humble opinions of little ol' me. You're allowed to have your own favorites! In fact, please tell me about them in the comments! I love you and your taste deeply!

    LucasFilm Ltd.

    Also, WARNING: Given, ya know, the entire point of this post, there will be MAJOR SPOILERS ahead for absolutely all of these movies. Like, if I read one comment about "spoilers," I swear I will allow everyone else to make fun of you.

    Anyway, buckle up, buttercups — HERE WE GO:

    15. The Usual Suspects (1995)

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    Gramercy Pictures

    Some context: The police spend the whole film looking for criminal mastermind Keyser Söze without ever once SUPPÖZE-ING he's right in front of their eyes the whole time. (Listen...I tried.)

    Why it's here: I mean, it's a classic that kind of has to be on this list if I don't want to get comments about it. Don't get me wrong, it's very well shot and it also has one of the top 10 best last lines in a movie EVER, but it's just not one of my personal favorite twists and this is MY post, so...here, I guess!

    14. Planet of the Apes (1968)

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    20th Century Fox

    Some context: A trip gone wrong lands an astronaut on — you guessed it — a planet where humans are seen as animals and apes dominate all. Our protagonist fights tooth and nail the whole movie to get back to his precious human-ruling Earth, only to discover, WHOOPS, he's been on Earth the whole time...well, a version of Earth, at least.

    Why it's here: 1) It's a classic. 2) Charlton Heston was really givin' it his all with that dramatic fist-in-the-sand "DAMN YOU!" moment. 3) This lady's hair is just incredible. Overall, it's just an iconic, "Um, excuse me, I don't mean to be rude, but...what the fuck?" moment in cinema.

    13. Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011)

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    Warner Bros.

    Some context: A frumpy, middle-aged man's life goes up in smoke after his wife cheats on him with David Lindhagen. They say the word "cuckold" a LOT. Anyway, he gets "help" with his appearance and performance with women from a local lothario, only to discover in the comedic twist to end all comedic twists that local this lothario is currently dating his beloved oldest daughter.

    Why it's here: This movie is at like a steady 7 for energy the whole time, and this reveal cranks it up to an 11 real quick. IDK why, but it murdered me. Plus, as you'll see the farther we move down this list, your girl here really loves plot twists that show up in nonthriller/nonhorror movies, because — if they're executed properly — you will never see them coming, and this is a top-tier example of that. A twist in a rom-com? Gotta love it.

    12. The Sixth Sense (1999)

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    Buena Vista Pictures

    Some context: This little boy sees dead people. No, like, he's literally looking at a dead person the entire movie.

    Why it's here: I don't think I'd legally be allowed to publish this list if this movie wasn't somewhere on it. It's so well executed if you're lucky enough not to know the twist going in. Still, I know what you're thinking: Well, if it's so well executed, why is this so far down the list?! Well, in the interest of full disclosure, this twist was actually ruined for me in the first five minutes of the movie when my best friend brought it over for us to watch and my twin sister (jokingly) said, "LOL, what? Is Bruce Willis going to be dead the whole time?" Instead of laughing or letting it slide unmentioned, my BFF got mad and blew the cover...so I didn't get the full experience unspoiled and have literally never let it go.

    11. Get Out (2017)

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    Universal Pictures

    Some context: A Black man travels to meet the parents of his white girlfriend, only to find out that they're harvesting the bodies of Black people to implant the consciousnesses of rich old white people. It's like an episode of The Twilight Zone on steroids. It'll make you hate hypnosis, Froot Loops, AND Catherine Keener all in two hours or less.

    Why it's here: I LOVE this movie and the way it slowly unfolds the twist throughout, rather than just dropping it mid–third act, which sets it up perfectly to deal the final blow — the reveal that his unassuming girlfriend was in on it the whole time. I'm a big fan of Alfred Hitchcock's whole "bomb theory" of suspense (I told ya I went to film school), and this movie is one of my favorite examples of why that theory works. There's no denying that it's quickly become quintessential viewing, and Jordan Peele EARNED that Best Original Screenplay Oscar.

    10. Atonement (2007)

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    Focus Features

    Some context: One child's lie turns the lives of an entire family upside down, and just when you think you're finally going to get the happy ending you deserve...it's just ANOTHER lie told by THAT SAME CHILD, but as an OLD LADY. It's a really mean movie. This movie taught me that I could, in fact, hate a child. Pretty dresses, though.

    Why it's here: As I said earlier, I love a twist thrown into a nonthriller/nonhorror movie. Atonement did an incredible job of hiding its tragic ending by using its genre and marketing as a romance/war movie to distract you, and then absolutely DESTROYS you in the last 10 minutes. I cried a lot, and I still haven't forgiven Saoirse Ronan, which is really only a testament to her great performance.

    9. Coco (2017)

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    Pixar

    Some context: A young music-loving boy is weighed down by a family who hates music because of an ancestor who abandoned them to chase his dream of being a singer-songwriter. The boy initially believes that his ancestor is a wildly famous singer, only to later discover that he's actually a wonderful skeleton man — who is the songwriter the famous singer stole all his songs from...and then MURDERED. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll...nah, you'll mostly just cry.

    Why it's here: I'M SORRY, BUT HOW Y'ALL GONNA PUT A BRUTAL TWIST LIKE THIS IN A MOVIE FOR BABIES?! LIKE, HOW DARE YOU?! LIES?! CONSPIRACIES?! MURDER?! THE HECK?! I was shooketh to my core-eth. That took some real Mickey ears to pull off, Disney, if ya catch my drift (balls, it took balls).

    8. The Game (1997)

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    PolyGram Filmed Entertainment

    Some context: A successful banker's boring-as-all-heck life is flipped upside-down when his weirdo brother gives him a one-of-a-kind birthday gift: participation in a "game" that slowly integrates itself into your everyday life and becomes more and more personal as it goes on. In the end, our main character is on the brink of insanity — having been made to believe that he's just shot his own brother by accident — when...well, THIS happens. Basically, it's like LARPing, but without all the fun parts.

    Why it's here: This is one of those classic, "My mom made me watch it when I was 13 and it was on, like, TBS or something at 2 p.m. and now it's burned into my dumb brain forever" movies. We all have those, right? RIGHT?! Anyway, it's a really freaky movie as a whole (which also happens to be my exact brand of thriller), and IMHO, it's one of David Fincher's most overlooked films. It's also Michael Douglas at his most Michael Douglas–est. I like it a lot, and I certainly didn't see this ending coming at the ripe age of 13, so check this one out if any of this sounds promising to you!

    7. Psycho (1960)

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    Paramount Pictures

    Some context: People keep getting murdered at this motel, see, and it ends up that the murderer ISN'T the old lady whose voice we've been hearing the whole film, but her son, who kept her body in the basement and dressed up like her when killing his victims. Big yikes.

    Why it's here: Psycho is one of those movies that — unlike Norman Bates's mother — will never deteriorate. It's just as satisfying a watch today as I imagine it was literally 60 years ago when it came out. The twist is celebrated for a reason, and it's truly the benchmark for all horror plot twists that followed.

    6. Parasite (2019)

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    CJ Entertainment

    Some context: A poverty-stricken family slowly cons a rich family into hiring each of them on one by one for different everyday jobs (tutor, art teacher, driver, and maid). Everything seems to be going smoothly until, one dark and stormy night, the old maid shows up to pick up ~something she left behind~ when she was let go. It's her husband. She had her husband secretly living in the rich family's basement/bomb shelter the whole time.

    Why it's here: THIS LADY. WAS KEEPING. A WHOLE-ASS MAN. IN THE BASEMENT BUNKER. THE WHOLE TIME?! If you heard some dumbass say, "WHAT?!" out loud in the theater when this was revealed, you should've said, "Hi!" because it was me. I have never in my LIFE seen a movie so cleanly switch genres like four times in two hours. Parasite seamlessly goes from a dark comedy to a thriller to a drama to a straight-up horror movie, and also — if the freakin' Oscars won't say it, then I will — every goddamn performance in this movie is AWARD-WORTHY. There is not ONE PERSON slacking, and it SHOWS.

    5. Fight Club (1999)

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    20th Century Fox

    Some context: A bored everyman's life is given chaotic purpose when he meets a walking ad for testosterone pills named "Tyler Durden." They quickly become besties, move in together, make some soap, and cause all kinds of ~mayhem~, only for our humble narrator to realize that "Tyler Durden" was actually the physical manifestation of his own toxic masculinity all along. Also, isn't it wild how Brad Pitt invented the shaved head in this movie? Iconic.

    Why it's here: Oooh, a second David Fincher joint on the same list — someone's playin' favorites! "And none for Christopher Nolan, byeee." Okay, okay, okay, listen...I just really enjoy this movie. It's just...good? That's all I've got, that's my defense. As with The Sixth Sense and The Usual Suspects, everyone with a pulse knows this twist now, which is pretty lame, but it remains maybe the only perfect execution of the now super-overplayed, "Aw shucks, it was me the whole time!"–trope twist.

    4. Saw (2004)

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    Lions Gate Films

    Some context: Two dudes wake up in a nasty nightmare room, each chained to a separate wall. There is a dead dude between them with a gunshot wound in his head. Some weird stuff happens. At the end of the movie, the dead dude stands up and reveals he was 1) alive and 2) the evil dude pulling the strings all along. Even worse, the key they needed to get out of the room was lost down the drain of the tub within the first 10 seconds of the movie. John Kramer, you tricky trickster, you.

    Why it's here: I somehow managed not to have the end of this movie spoiled for me for FIVE FULL YEARS (I wasn't allowed to see it when it came out, since I was only 13 at the time and my parents were like, "LOL, no"). So, despite my love of horror, I didn't actually start watching the Saw franchise until I was in college and had the time to dedicate to all of them. Let me tell you, it took me OUT when this son of a puppet stood up. I audibly gasped. It's a shock-induced high that the Saw franchise hasn't reached since, and for good reason.

    3. Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)

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    Paramount Pictures

    Some context: A no-nonsense businessman struggles to get home to his family for Thanksgiving, a task that is only worsened when he meets and travels with an all-nonsense shower ring salesman. They become unlikely friends and genuinely help each other, only for you to discover at the end that the shower ring salesman is homeless, and the wife he'd been "traveling" to see is dead the whole movie. He was truly traveling alongside the businessman to curb his own loneliness. Then you sit and cry alone for several hours.

    Why it's here: I know what you're thinking...how could I do something "so controversial, yet so brave" as to put a nonthriller/nonhorror film in the top three on a list about plot twists. It's simple: This one's FUCKED. UP. Maybe even more fucked up than your traditional Saw- or Psycho-style twist. It's so sudden and knocks the wind out of you, and then you go back and question everything that you laughed at up until that point in the film. It reminds you to be kind because you never truly know what another person is going through. It also has two of comedy's greatest actors (Steve Martin and John Candy). I'll never be over it.

    2. Oldboy (2003)

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    Show East

    Some context: A man is confined to a single room for 15 years but is not told what he did to be imprisoned. Upon being released, he discovers that he was locked up by a schoolmate for spreading rumors after he caught said schoolmate having an incestuous relationship with his own sister — rumors that lead to the sister's death. The schoolmate then completes his revenge by revealing that he orchestrated the entire imprisonment and release, including — take a deep breath — hypnotizing the main character so that he'd fall in love and begin a sexual relationship with HIS OWN DAUGHTER, whom he hadn't seen since she was a small child. IT'S. ABSOLUTELY. BONKERS.

    Why it's here: If you checked out my fight-scene ranking before, you already know I ride pretty hard for the original Oldboy (the remake is awful — I'm sorry, but I'm also not). It's the best revenge film ever made, period, no further questions — and it's made that way by all of the unforgettable twists and turns. To me, it's a perfect movie. Whenever people talk about wishing they could "see something again for the first time," I think of Oldboy.

    1. The Others (2001)

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    Warner Sogefilms

    Some context: A lady lives alone in a giant house with her two creepy children who physically can't go out into sunlight or they'll die. Seemingly out of nowhere one day, they are terrorized by a family of ghosts. However, nothing is as it seems, and it's revealed that the mother and children we've followed this whole time are ACTUALLY the ghosts, and the other family is just some nice, living family tryin' to make it one day without being terrorized by these creepy, pale-ass kids.

    Why it's here: HECK YEAH, THIS IS NUMBER ONE. This! Movie! Is! Criminally! Underrated! And! Made! Me! Scared! Of! Sheets! Seriously, if anxiety were a movie — it'd be this one. Nicole Kidman gives one of the best performances of her career, and it's untouchable. But why do I have this as number one, you ask? WELL (and this is probably controversial, but IMHO), this movie took what The Sixth Sense did and improved on it. I never saw it coming for a second. Plus, the casual reveal that the MOTHER killed her own CHILDREN never fails to give me GOOSE BUMPS. A+, encore, perfection.

    Now, I know I missed a bunch — I could only do 15; I am just a human woman, after all! — so please share your personal favorites in the comments below. Also, is there something else oddly specific that you'd like me to rank in the future? TELL ME. I have an addiction, and the only cure is more ranking (and maybe a little cowbell).

    Okay, love y'all, please exit safely through the comment section.

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