Although genre is a hugely important factor when discussing film, there are several movies that have recently proven just how difficult it can be for the entirety of a story to be contained within one particular genre. One example of this is Dan Trachtenberg’s recent horror sequel Prey, which starts off as a slow drama but eventually becomes a bloody battle between The Predator and protagonist Naru.
Sometimes, even the most acclaimed and popular movies can’t quite be pinned down to one particular genre or style – but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Switching styles halfway through the story can be a great way of subverting audiences’ expectations, and Reddit users have recently shared examples of the best movies that do this.
10 Bacurau (2019)
Bacurau is one of those rare films that somehow manages to keep the audience in the dark for almost the entire film, yet remain exciting and entertaining nonetheless. There’s an ominous gloom that lingers throughout the film, but the true horrors of the story aren’t clear until halfway through, when many reveals come to light.
Reddit user wink784 believes that Bacurau is best experienced with a “blind watch,” since the true horrors of the film are much more shocking to those who don’t know where this story will inevitably go. It might be a little confusing for the first half, but everything is put into perspective once the truth comes to light.
Often praised as one of the most powerful and emotional films of Stanley Kubrick’s career, Full Metal Jacket offers a horrifying look into the reality of warfare from two very different perspectives. When viewed separately, the two halves of the film could easily stand independently as separate stories – but their messages and ideologies remain the same.
Reddit user chriscool99 notes that “everyone talks about the military school but it’s only half the movie,” referring to the film’s switch of perspective around the halfway point. It’s a little jarring initially, but it proves that there are two very different sides to war, which are equally devastating.
8 The Place Beyond The Pines (2012)
The Place Beyond The Pines is an extremely interesting film for many reasons – not only does it have a drastic twist in the middle that changes the direction of the story, but it also features several complex characters whose personalities and motivations are also changed (at least to the audience) throughout the film.
Reddit user blackironsaturn also notes this, writing that the film “has a really cool character twist that happens… it is love it or hate it with people, super mixed. I thought it was cool.” Bold decisions like these are always going to be conflicting, but The Place Beyond The Pines remains one of the best crime movies of the 2010s thanks to its creativity and willingness to take risks.
7 Sorry To Bother You (2018)
Sorry To Bother You has gathered a bit of a reputation in the past few years for its unconventional and abnormal method of storytelling, by which the audience is lured into a false sense of security before the truth is quickly revealed, and the story takes a completely unexpected turn.
Redditor mybadalternate comments on Sorry To Bother You‘s unusual story, writing: “If anyone has not seen this movie, watch it for the first thirty minutes and then pause.” They suggest that nobody would be able to predict how the film ends from this point, which is proof of its drastic stylistic switch.
6 Palm Springs (2020)
Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti star as two unexpected lovers in Palm Springs, one of the most inventive and original rom-coms in recent memory. But the film’s creativity isn’t exactly clear from the beginning, where it initially presents itself as just another romantic comedy.
It isn’t until the midway-point that the film takes a drastic turn in genre and proves just how dense and full of ideas the script really is. Redditor feisty-replacement-5 notes this, writing that “it abruptly changes” in the middle and takes a bold turn from what audiences have come to expect from the genre.
5 Malignant (2021)
James Wan has been one of the biggest names in horror filmmaking for a long time now, but Malignant might just be his wildest and least conventional movie to date. Whilst the film starts off in a fairly simplistic way, an unbelievable plot twist in the third act completely destroys everything viewers thought they could possibly know about the story.
Reddit user regula96 claims that Malignant executes this tonal shift “in the best way possible”, making for an “absolutely fantastic” viewing experience thanks to the film’s complete dedication to keeping the audience on their toes. It’s a story that’s impossible to predict, with the second half taking a much darker and bloodier approach to the narrative.
4 Adaptation (2002)
Like many of Charlie Kaufman’s movies, Adaptation simply couldn’t have succeeded without a very specific voice to tell the story. Kaufman initially sets up his story as a contemplative drama about the struggles of creativity, but his ideas quickly evolve into sensationalized, entertaining displays of action and adventure that nobody could have seen coming.
Reddit user billionthtimesacharm claims that “the reason [the story] changes is the best,” as it isn’t done solely for shock value, but rather in a way that actually makes sense to the story and allows Kaufman to explore his themes in a meaningful way. Adaptation also features one of Nicolas Cage’s best performances as he navigates not one, but two incredibly complex characters.
3 Million Dollar Baby (2004)
Clint Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby might begin like any other sports drama, but by the film’s closing scenes, it becomes something much more contemplative and emotional – and this is all possible thanks to Eastwood’s fantastic character work and precise writing, which places the foundation for the film’s tonal switch right from the first scene.
One Reddit user believes that Million Dollar Baby is an “excellent movie” that has a dramatic “change of tone” towards the end. There’s one particular moment in the third act when everything changes for these two central characters, and it’s this unpredictability that makes Million Dollar Baby one of the best sports movies of all time.
2 The Cabin In The Woods (2011)
Although it was promoted as a typical horror film (complete with teen drama, bloody gore and a spooky setting), there’s absolutely nothing about The Cabin in the Woods that could truthfully be described as typical. The film is a biting satire of the horror genre, taking everything that audiences have come to expect from teen horror and cleverly turning it on its head.
Redditor desdam0na writes about the “third act…shift” in Cabin in the Woods, where it quickly becomes clear that everything previously established in the film must be forgotten in order to truly understand what this dark comedy is trying to say. With a sharp screenplay and entertaining performances, it pulls off this switch expertly.
1 Parasite (2019)
Bong Joon-Ho’s Best Picture-winning thriller Parasite is unlikely to be forgotten anytime soon, and that’s mostly thanks to the film’s dramatic tonal shift in the second act. What initially begins as a witty drama about the excessive wealth of the elite quickly becomes something much darker and more sinister when external forces come into play.
Reddit user dida_d believes that Parasite’s expert control of tone is “so brilliant” – there are several moments where the film’s genre completely changes, leaving the audience guessing at the true meaning behind the movie. All of these tonal shifts and loose ends don’t come together until Parasite‘s final scene, which is one of the best ever put to film.