Horror whodunits like Scream and Bodies Bodies Bodies have managed to deliver both scares and twists with their murder mystery plots. But twist endings can backfire and end up hurting the film. Unfortunately, many horror films have disappointing final acts that are doomed either by an ill-conceived twist or reveal that sinks the whole concept.
So the horror fans of Reddit have gotten to talking about those twist endings that were so bad that they ended up dragging down the rest of the movie, even good ones. Here are 10 twist endings that ruined horror movies, ranged from how badly the twist in question hurt the film overall. Needless to say, spoilers are abound.
Brahms: The Boy 2 (2020)
The original The Boy was a surprise hit with horror fans that craved a new creepy killer-doll movie. Unfortunately, the writers got carried away with the sequel and wrote in a twist that not only disappoints but actively ruins the ending of its predecessor. As Reddit user kuraxt put it, “The Boy 2 had such a bad twist that not only did it ruin the movie it also retroactively ruined first movies twists.”
This sequel follows a family that moves into a new house after their son becomes traumatized. The son becomes attached to Brahms the doll, who turns out to be supernaturally possessed by a demon in search of a human host. This directly contradicts the ending of the original, where Brahms the real boy was revealed to be alive. Horror series can get convoluted down the line, but it’s bizarre to see a franchise contradict itself so fast.
In a franchise already known for convoluted plot twists and storylines, it seemed like Jigsaw would try to be an attempt at course correction after the underwhelming Saw: The Final Chapter. Instead, it practically rehashes the same twist from previous installments and only muddies the water of the Saw mythos even more.
Taking place years after The Final Chapter, this reboot-slash-sequel sees a new Jigsaw copycat pop-up. While it tries to build suspense and intrigue, almost anyone who’s seen a previous Saw movie could’ve guessed the ending: it’s another one of Jigsaw’s apprentices. Reddit user u/iHaveAHeavyFlow voices the frustration of other fans, writing “But, I wasn’t really mad at it until they worked in yet ANOTHER apprentice that just convolutes the OG that much more.” It begs the question of why they even bothered to reboot the franchise.
The Rental (2020)
In this directorial debut from Dave Franco, a couple fears that they’re being stalked after renting a house. Filled with tension and mystery, The Rental could’ve been a huge hit for Franco if he could’ve brought it home in the 3rd act. Sadly, in an attempt to subvert expectations he ended up deflating the whole film.
Instead of the villain turning out to be the mysterious landlord, the real villain turns out to be… a random guy. While it might’ve been surprising, it was equally underwhelming for Reddit users like elljana, who writes “I could’ve sworn it was building up to something good and it was gripping up until the reveal that it wasn’t the landlord/caretaker guy… I guess it’s realistic but pretty anticlimactic.” While Franco’s intentions were noble, his twist ending undercut everything he had set up.
After the mega-hit that was Get Out, all eyes were on Jordan Peele for his sophomore effort, Us, to see if it could meet the unbelievably high standards of his debut. While Us certainly has its supporters, there are fans who thought that this film ultimately sunk under the weight of its third act revelations.
Having set up genuinely intriguing lore with The Tethered, it looked like Jordan Peele was ready to drive home another masterpiece. But according to Reddit users like u/spicymemories19, who writes “The beginning was really interesting and creepy but towards the middle the motivations of the Tethered became very convoluted and nonsensical.” While nobody could call Us a failure, the third act makes it Peele’s most divisive and polarizing movie to date.
The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014)
Both a legacy sequel and a meta exploration of the blurred lines between fiction and reality, The Town That Dreaded Sundown had the ingredients to transcend its genre trappings. Unfortunately, it ended up becoming a Scream wannabe with a twist that betrays both the original film and the real murders that inspired it.
As Reddit user Jamesthefanboy puts it, “The thing that made me like the original is that they kept The Phantom Killer’s identity unknown, the remake just ruins that and turned into a whodunnit.” Since the real Phantom Killer has never been discovered, one would think that this sequel would honor true events as much as it could, but instead, it just reveals its killers in the manner of a generic murder mystery with no relevance to its subject matter.
Jeepers Creepers (2001)
Already the subject of massive controversy, Jeepers Creepers is one of the most polarizing horror films of recent films due to the crimes of writer/director Victor Salva. Even if one separates the art from the artist, this original film has a third-act reveal that just went too far for some fans.
As Reddit user Grodd writes, “Saw it in the theater and I’m not sure why but when it was revealed that he was a monster it lost all scariness.” While some enjoy the fact that the Creeper turns out to be a supernatural creature, that twist totally detaches it from any reality and suspense that the film had built.
Nobody is more famous(or in this case infamous) for their twist endings than M. Night Shyamalan. That’s probably because his O Henry endings can range from brilliant to baffling. Unfortunately for Signs, a significant amount of viewers think the twist here is closer to the latter.
Signs is Shyamalan’s take on the alien-invasion genre, and it’s quite a tense one. Since it takes place from the perspective of just one family, the film’s suspense just builds and builds, and viewers were on the edge of their seats. That is, until they learned that the oh-so-scary-aliens had a critical weakness: water. Reddit user jimnast30 points out how bizarre this is, writing “The twist in Signs that water is like acid to the skin of the aliens undercut a genuinely frightening and genuinely sad story.”
Don’t Breathe (2016)
Horror filmmakers have a tendency to go for broke in order to push the envelope. Sometimes that’s welcome, but other times it can turn a terrifying film into a revolting one. That’s how some Reddit users felt about Don’t Breathe, which was otherwise a highly-effective subversion of the home invasion genre.
The film creates a truly intimidating villain in The Blind Man who uses his military training to stalk and kill his victims. For some, that was enough, and the twist that the Blind Man was keeping a woman captive so that she could forcibly carry his child crossed the line into being upsetting and even mean-spirited. That’s how Reddit user PSB2013 seems to feel, writing “There were other, better options they could’ve chosen to make him more “menacing”.
The Village (2004)
Shymalan appears on the list again with this period-thriller that many considered to be the start of his downward spiral. It’s a shame because The Village brings together haunting cinematography and a brilliant cast to create a suspenseful film with atmosphere. Unfortunately, Shymalan ruins it by revealing that the villagers who were being terrorized by monsters were actually modern-day peasants being stalked by men in a crude monster costume.
As Reddit user asromatifoso puts it, “Not Shyamalan’s worst movie (Lady in the Water) but definitely the worst ending/twist.” That might seem harsh, but Shymalan took a compelling period creature-feature and took out both the “period” and “creature-feature” part with his twist, removing everything that made The Village even remotely interesting.
High Tension (2005)
This foreign film could’ve gone down as one of the most hardcore, white-knuckle thrillers of the 2000s. Sadly, its legacy has been stained by an infamous twist that makes the whole film feel irrelevant. In the words of Reddit user HippoSoupLava, “It doesn’t make sense and definitely ruined the film.”
After two French students become targeted by a serial killer, they have to fight for their lives in a visceral and ultra-violent ballet of death and gore. But then, in a twist that Roger Ebert called a “plot hole big enough to drive a truck through,” it turns out that the killer was one of the girls the whole time. It’s an ending that turns the whole story into a brain-numbingly convoluted mess and taints what could otherwise be considered a modern grindhouse classic.