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[Video] Were These 10 Great Horror Films Ruined By Their Twist?

High Tension Premise

What happens when a damn good movie… has a pretty bad final act?

I’ll never forget the first time I watched High Tension, a 2003 French film that I’m a huge fan of… for the most part. The movie that put Alexandre Aja on the map, perhaps more than any other horror movie in recent memory, suffers from a final act twist that just doesn’t quite work, damaging what was an otherwise great film up to that point.

What are some other horror movies that are hurt by their twist? The folks over on What Culture just plucked out 10 of their own picks, cutting together a video to highlight what happens when a twist does little more than encourage a star reduction on Letterboxd.

As a heads up, here are all the films spoiled in the video:

  • Tesis (Thesis)
  • [REC]
  • All the Boys Love Mandy Lane
  • The Awakening
  • Take Shelter
  • Sinister
  • The Forgotten
  • The Human Centipede II: Full Sequence
  • The Village
  • High Tension

Now that you’ve been warned, feel free to watch below.



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COMMENTS

114 Comments
  • lupe

    Haute Tension felt like a another rip-off of “Perfect Blue”

    • James

      More a rip off of intensity.

      • DannX68

        Exactly.

      • purplegnome

        love dean koontz someone should adapt twilight eyes

  • J Jett

    HIGH TENSION is in my top 8 horror movies ever. i can see why the twist ending may have ruined the movie for some people but it didn’t bother me at all. we were seeing things through Marie’s fucked mind and not of what actually happened. it’s an incredible movie IMO. Cecile de France (Marie) gave an amazing performance.
    and while this wasn’t a “great film” i’d add BETTER WATCH OUT as a movie that had a twist that completely ruined what could have been a good film. my fucking god i hate that movie’s twist. my fucking god i hate that movie. lol.

    • david

      Yeah. The twist to Better watch Out completely ruined what could have been a great movie. it also didn’t help that the kid was a complete scumbag.

  • scream4ever

    Uh God The Village. Roger Ebert said it best in his review; as soon as the twist was revealed, I wanted to forget it.

  • scream4ever

    Why the hell is REC on this list!? If anything the twist made the context of what was happening even scarier.

  • Aslinn McIntyre

    I actually liked sinister. The village was actually a rip-off of a book. I quit trusting m. Night shamalan a while back.

  • Thesis is maybe my favorite movie ever, I loved the twist. The High Tension’s twist is full of plot holes but is nice.
    The only one of the list that I really hate is Sinister, because in the ending I felt I lost 90 minutes of my life just to watch a little girl killing her family.

  • fasa96

    I do not agree with All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, [REC] and Sinister. Some of them have yet to watch, but Hight Tension twist totally ruined the movie for me.

    • James

      I agree with Mandy Lane on only one detail. I LOVED the twist with her but it’s the next thing she does that bugged me.

      • fasa96

        I think I don’t remember what you are talking about… What is it? (use spoiler tag please)

        • James

          Spoilers
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          That she was in on it but backs out of their plan at the very end and kills her friend. I loved the idea that they were working together but it just felt cheap to have her turn on her best friend at the last minute. Kinda killed it for me.

          • fasa96

            Oh yeah! Didn’t remember that. Agree with you there.

          • Boydon

            when you think about it, it makes perfect sense. she’s a sociopath who was completely manipulating her friend into doing the dirty deeds for her. she never cared for him and she certainly never intended on following through with their suicide pact. it’s just an updated version of heathers, as somebody mentioned here, that sort of turns the final girl trope on its head. i thought it was very clever.

          • James

            Oh I don’t disagree at all. I just really liked the idea that the only person she did care about was the friend that no one paid attention to. I really wanted it to be the two of them against the world. The last twist made sense, it just happened to not be what I wanted.

  • eloycamacho

    I’m with J Jett, I don’t understand the hate for the end of High Tension. I loved the ending!

    • Necro

      I agree! And honestly if you pay close attention you can kind of tell before it’s actually revealed.

      • runcible

        I’ve always enjoyed the ending. Never understood the hate it’s garnered.

        • Necro

          Yep same here!

    • James

      Absolutely agree. The twist was there and it worked nicely. You got the cathartic climax with the villain, and then the real story with an even more disturbing climax.

  • I don’t recall The Human Centipede 2 and [REC] having any plot twists to begin with. Then again, I liked both films, so maybe I’m biased in this situation.

    • Necro

      Just thinking the exact same thing!

    • I was about to post the same thing, there was no ‘twist’ as such in either!

  • Necro

    ‘The Village’?!?! Regardless of whatever that movie was shit!

    • James

      The village was really good. Extremely far fetched but still very well done.

      • Necro

        You know James I really should go back and re-watch that, I’ve watched it one time and that’s when it first came out. So MAYBE a second viewing will alter my opinion, MAYBE!

  • What the what? [REC]s ending reveal was what set it apart from every other zombie movie, it was great!

    • ReaperMike83

      I agree 110%, The reveal that it was demons and not just another zombie movie made for an excellent reveal and set up for a sequel that dare I say was better than the original in my opinion.

  • J Jett

    oh i forgot, SINISTER was fucking awesome!

    • Totally love that movie, it’s a shame the sequel let it down

  • J Jett

    i know this is completely off topic but why isn’t this site covering the new horror movie starring Emily Blunt & John Krasinski called A QUIET PLACE? it looks fucking awesome!! here’s the trailer…

    • Alanmac

      I second that J! The trailer looks intense as hell!! WAY more promising than Rampage and the other crap thats being pushed.

      • david

        Rampage shouldn’t even be mentioned on this site since it’s not s horror movie. It will probably be horrible and terrible, but definitely not horror.

    • Russell Reball

      On my radar now. Thanks. And I’m betting there’s a twist, like in the movie Hidden.

    • zombie84_41

      I didn’t want to watch anymore of the trailer. But I think more comedians need to make horror movies, we got John Krasinski, peele, rogen, mcbride.

    • david

      The site is covering A Quiet Place. They posted the trailer on here 2 days ago.

      • J Jett

        oh, oops. sorry. my bad. i guess i didn’t catch it being posted on this site. no harm done. i figured the movie looked awesome so i’d post the link/trailer. 🙂

        • Simon Allen

          Are you on their payroll JJ ?

        • david

          No problem JJett. It would be hilarious if someone would inter cut footage of Michael Scott with this trailer so it looks like he and his family are just trying to make it seem that they’re not home so they can avoid him.

  • Spunker666

    I can’t stand High Tension because of the twist..the movie doesn’t make sense because of it..completely ruins the feel of the movie if you revisit it..too many plot holes

  • Hamilcar Racho

    I’m okay with the twists of High Tension and REC.

  • jurgmandr

    High Tension was fun, even with the twist (as stupid as it is, especially if you actually think about what’s going on). Mandy lane was shit so the twist couldn’t even save it. I can forgive human centipede II for the shit twist only because it’s one of the very few horror movies to actually make me cringe with it’s gore/practical effects (the baby squishing scene).

    • zombie84_41

      Human centipede 2 was awesome sadly the 3rd was garbage

      • Necro

        Yeah that ‘Human Centipede 3’ was a fucking joke! I can’t believe Tom Six would even dare put that out! I know opinions vary, but the first two films were so good and I was so looking forward to that. But then I remember hearing that it was going to have a 500 person centipede, and while all the Horror fans I know around here where I live were all jumping for joy and besides themselves, I remained level headed and knew right away that something was slightly off about that. I’m an honest person zombie and I have no problem admitting when I’m wrong, I so wanted that to be good, but I just knew it was going to suck shit!

        • Yeah it’s like we get it Tom, you get off on making things people don’t like, but there’s not liking the first 2 because they’re shocking and gross, and then not liking 3 because it’s fucking awful

          • Necro

            Yep! I wonder if he’s attached to any other project(s) currently? Nothing that I’ve heard anyway. Part of me hopes so, especially if he’s going to give a shit like he did with his first two films, if not (see part 3) then don’t even waste our time!

          • Last I heard he was going on about his new film Onania Club (I think that was the name) and how shocking it would be, but I haven’t heard anything since!

        • zombie84_41

          Yeah when I first heard 500 people I was like hey this will be sick and demented. And it wasn’t at all. It was very boring. Nothing made sense. I guess after that Six knew he fucked up maybe thats why we don’t hear bout him no more.

      • Spunker666

        Yeah fuck HC3..HC2 is one of my favorite films

        • zombie84_41

          Same.

  • David Nagle

    no faults with SINISTER its one of the best horror movies in all long time 🙂

    • Nahuel Benvenuto

      it has a good start but it gets bad quickly

      • Rohan

        I think the movie is overall not that great, but it has the most terrifying soundtrack I have ever heard.

  • RJ MacReady

    Sinister? The ending/twist was by far the best part of the movie.

    • zombie84_41

      for real

  • DrewHamster

    I only watched to see what they said about Take Shelter because I wasn’t aware it had a twist and it is one of my favorite movies. The maker of the video clearly didn’t understand that film,

    • DrewHamster

      Also it isn’t even remotely horror….

    • zombie84_41

      take shelter had no twist it had a badass ending which I wish went on for a little more.

    • SupernaturalCat

      My recollection of the public’s reception of Take Shelter is that there was a strident percentage of its viewership who needed Michael Shannon’s character to simply be mentally ill, instead of being imbued with psychic visions, which is what the story’s ending makes perfectly clear: their deaf child signs “storm” to dad just prior to wife/mother walking out and seeing the impending dark clouds of a gathering storm off in the distance. Hence, he knew bad omens were brewing, and that something ominous was about to occur. He wasn’t just “crazy.” Even Michael Shannon, and director, Jeff Nichols, admitted as such during interviews.

      However, there were some who bitterly, militantly refused to acknowledge this aspect of the story for no other reason than their personal disbelief in the paranormal, and obvious contempt for the notion of its existence …which is truly odd, when you think about it. I remember the commenting section for the Youtube trailer being overwhelmed by the exact type of bullying, name-calling and vitriol that was commonplace among those who comprised what I refer to as the backlash against talk of “conspiracy theories” that, for obvious reasons, arose online in the wake of the installation of Bush/Cheney’s PNAC admin, and the false flag attack of Sept 11th, 2001.

  • Valery Latulippe

    Je ne suis pas d’accord, la fin est merveilleuse.

    • Doctor Dementor

      la fin de quoi?

  • lonestarr357

    Though the twist kind of reeked of the writer writing himself into a corner, I liked a good deal of The Forgotten.

    But holy mother of fuckballs, do I agree with Mandy Lane. The film itself wasn’t any great shakes, but that twist was just stupid and (in my view) may have solved the mystery of why the film spent close to forever on the shelf.

    • DrCakewalk

      So the twist caused the legal struggles of the company that bought the distribution rights of Many Lane?

      That’s a new one.

      • lonestarr357

        It’s unprecedented, I’ll admit.

  • david

    Most of you will disagree with me, but I’d also include The Cabin In The Woods on this list. Not only did I absolutely hate the movie, but the ending was incredibly stupid. The ending just made me hate the movie that much more.

    • Doctor Dementor

      yep you’re right…….i totally disagree xD , well everybody has different tastes

    • Josh Blitzenbrox Myers

      WTF?

      • david

        Sorry, not sorry. I just really hated The Cabin In The Woods. I didn’t find it to be scary, or funny, and it definitely wasn’t clever. To me it was basically like an R rated episode of Scooby Doo.

    • macguffin54

      Totally agree. It was absolutely ridiculous and ruined the movie.

      • Doctor Dementor

        the ending was perfect , it’s not the ”let’s go to the sunset crying” one , a choice was made ,a difficult choice , and in a sense they made the good one

  • joewaters

    Look sometimes the formula of horror movies gets boring and played out so a twist ending if done well is a breath of fresh air bur i cant speak for m nights movies except 6th sense. High tension was totally believable for me as a gay person and it was one of the first in that atrospect next to sleepaway camp but for me it was a fresh take on horror. As far as some of the other films go on your list well thats up to the rest of you all

    • joewaters

      Oh and what was wrong with rec? The original spanish version was spot on true horror!

      • MeeGhoulz

        Both REC movies are great, you can tell by the outrage in the comments…

    • JR H

      How does being gay make this movie more believable? Do you typically form obsessive relationships with men? Do you think gay people have a disassociated identity? The twist is an awful, lazy way of trying to create a clever ending instead just ending it nicely with a final battle. The movie also largely rips off plot points in the book Intensity by Dean Koontz.

      FYI the character in Sleepaway Camp wasn’t gay.

      • KSE1977

        Good points. I also would like to know why being gay made High Tension more believable to you. I think I read somewhere that the director was not trying to copy Intensity. There is/was a phenomenon they called Cryptoamnesia, where you hear something and over time your mind strips away all associations and you end up thinking that you created or invented something in the creative space, not realizing that your mind cribbed it from elsewhere. This was either that or an intentional homage/ripoff of the premise, that ultimately was not as good as the book source.

      • joewaters

        Hey troll first of all fuck you for assuming you know anything about my relationships. I rarely see gay people represented in the horror genre so when i saw High Tension in 2004 it appealed to me the same way sleepaway camp appealed to me at 12. Its obvious that the character of Marie is batshit crazy so it made sense to me she made up the fight scenarios with herself bc up til the end we are seeing things being played out thru her eyes. I saw the dean koontz movie and tho it may be similar high tension is way better and less boring.

        • JR H

          I made no assumptions; that’s why I asked questions. Your statement was “High tension was totally believable for me as a gay person” and I wanted to know what exactly that meant. Based on what you’ve said since, I don’t think there really is any connection between your sexuality and the awful plot twist of this film. The only connection seems to be your appreciation of a gay lead character.

          As far as the movie goes, they only made her batshit crazy so they could make an excuse for this ridiculous plot twist. Why not just have an actual villain? One that she fought to the death with to save her friend? What was the point of making a twist? It wasn’t clever and has been done to death before. There was no need for it because the movie was amazing up until then.

          Lastly, two things: Dean Koontz is an author. Situations in this movie were directly taken from the BOOK, like for example, how Marie cleans up her room when the intruder is in the house to make it look like she wasn’t there, including drying the sink with a towel. (Side note: you really should read it because it’s an awesome page-turner). Secondly, there wasn’t a gay lead in Sleepaway Camp. The villain’s behavior, as it relates to sexuality, was a result of a form of abuse inflicted upon them by their guardian.

  • MeeGhoulz

    If you’d have added the original ending of ‘The Descent’ to the list ,I would be sure you’re trolling… REC, Mandy Lane, Sinister and High Tension are defined by their twists, okay not to like them, it’s an opinion, but they would make no sense otherwise.

    • J. Moses

      High Tension makes little to no sense BECAUSE of it’s twist. Like the two vehicle chase sequence. That said, if you have a redeeming explanation for this the rest of us missed I’d be genuinely interested to hear it; it’s a good film in all other respects and I want to like it.

      • MeeGhoulz

        She was crazy.

        • DrCakewalk

          Yeah, except that’s not how crazy works.

          • MeeGhoulz

            In a movie it’s acceptable.

      • Saying Like It Is

        Things shown on screen should not always be taken literally. What is shown to us is sometimes what a character sees in their head and not necessarily what is actually happening.

        • MrX13

          She was a crazy b!tch and she saw herself doing things when her true self was driving that truck

          • J. Moses

            So if the car parts are imaginary, why does the car crash create real injuries? “She’s crazy” is only enough of an answer for all the holes in the story as long as you don’t consider it a story teller’s obligation to, at least, imply the things they want the audience to be able to figure out narrative-wise. In films like Memento, Videodrome, Fight Club, and Under the Skin, inconsistencies and ambiguity relating to the narrative feels purposely placed, there to shape the story, and any conclusions meant to be made by the audience are at the very least hinted at. Where as High Tension, to me, just feels like plot holes caused by iffy writing.

          • MrX13

            I understand where you are coming from with that certain scene but I don’t know. It’s still a great movie

        • J. Moses

          I get that, I do, but damn it feels forced. Also, unless I remember it incorrectly, don’t we see from a bound and gagged characters perspective that she is in an actually existent van? Implying the second vehicle really does exist. I get scenes involving other characters being told from the main’s deluded perspective when she’s in the scene too, such as during the murders, but when it’s literally just a side character alone it doesn’t make sense to for it to include her delusion. If she’s actually in the boot of a car why would she herself perceive the imaginary van? But the car is also in existence because the injuries the main character receives in her crash remain on her, implying they are real and so was the accident. But what about the bound person in relation to all this? If she’s in a real van where does it come from? So many questions. Yes, nothing can be taken for granted when the main characters is crazy, but still, there’s a lot of inconsistencies that aren’t acknowledged at all. Or, am I just missing things?

          • MeeGhoulz

            She crazy.

    • DrCakewalk

      High Tension makes perfect sense UNTIL the twist.

      • MeeGhoulz

        The twist justifies it all. She crazy.

        • DrCakewalk

          The twist completely negates everything that happened before it.

          Completely.

          • MeeGhoulz

            Yes. Because she was crazy. She imagined it all. It’s ok not to like the twist. But it’s easy to understand. And personally I would deem it just another slasher if it was not for it…

  • Simon Allen

    The Village twist ……”rolls eyes”.
    I think The Forgotten is a really underrated movie and Julianne Moore is amazing in it .
    Loving Rec as it is the best found footage movie ever .
    Nothing could save the awful Mandy Lane .

  • WOLF

    Identity. The “therapy” being used is beyond dumb and irresponsible.

    • lonestarr357

      The twist was okay (fairly original), but I didn’t care for that ending.

      Fucking punk kid.

      • DrewHamster

        Agreed. The twist I was totally fine with. I mean it explained things, but the ending leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

    • cat

      Yeah sorta.. like it’s a cool concept but it was presented so poorly that by the end I was just like eh

  • ke0vin

    High tension was good, til the twist, which ruined the more shocking and truly disgusting aspects of the opening scene with the killer…

    Seriously, I was excited, but the movie went from reinvigorating a genre that had been plagued by a majority of by the numbers stupidity, to another “maybe it was a dream” type twists… If there is going to be a twist, it can’t be a cliche, and high tension is a cliche.

    Hide and Seek is another movie, where the creep factor was pretty high and if it keep the trajectory of a supernatural entity a hold found in an odd dwelling in the woods, instead of another “split personality hack writing job”, it may have been a decent movie… That said, Deniro had been lost to sea collecting checks by selling every last bit of integrity he had for a long while by that point.

  • splatterhead4ever

    Why all the hate on Mandy Lane? I love that movie. I downloaded it from Australia two years before it came out. Maybe I haven’t seen the US version although I live in Idaho. Amber was super good in that movie. Her character was very detached and cold for the most part. The twist did not surprise me at all. Plus it has some song in it called “fuck the pain away” and the classic line, “okay, smarty cunt”. For me, it was like watching an updated Heathers. The only thing that I didn’t like was the ranch hand being able to drive her away at the end. He was too fucked up physically for it to be believable. Kinda like the the end of Texas Chainsaw 3 or Jason X. lol

    • MeeGhoulz

      Mandy was quite alright. Heathers sure deserves the love!

    • MrX13

      Mandy Lane was an ok movie and that ending was a nice surprise. I totally forgot about her guy friend from the beginning.

    • Anthony Gulino

      i loved the Mandy Lane flick and also had it years before its release… Amber was perfect in that role…No hate here..

  • RipleyCroft

    Twist endings have a very fine line of exceptionally clever and cheap (generic) cop out. And yes High Tension had such a disappointing ending especially since it had a great build up.
    I hate that a lot of movies try the the main character did it all along” or “main character is actually scary and 50 percent of the film you just saw was lie and waste of time”. Its very hard to pull off well.

  • guest

    i thought the village twist would have been ok if the movie ended when the police car showed up. police car drives up-stops- look on whats-her-name’s face-boom! cut to black. having scene after scene after the twist explaining the twist killed it for me.
    and haute tension’s twist was great. the movie that occurred before it and contradicted everything about the twist was the problem.

    • MrX13

      The Village was horrible due to that ending. I think your ending could had made it better but knowing that people live in that park was stupid.
      Haute Tension was an awesome movie and that ending was a surprise! It was perfect

      • guest

        yeah if the village ended it on the road when the cop pulls up all explanations would have been left open at least.

        • MrX13

          Yeah knowing that people are living in there pretending to be in that era just sounds dumb.

  • Seed

    If we’re gonna talk about High Tension, then we have to mention the godawful twist of the My Bloody Valentine remake as well.

  • cat

    I think Rec was fine, the Spanish are more religious than most countries it makes sense why they went the demon route

  • ckmurda1

    No Friday the 13th: A New Beginning? I loved the shit out of that movie when I was a kid but most fans despise the twist ending.

  • James Allard

    https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/1280/1*uvnwMDOs1yyPsB71Bmm8lg.jpeg
    Mr. Serling does not approve. A good twist is a good ending.

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