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11.12.2015by: Alex Maidy

Top 10 Most Shocking Movie Endings of the 21st Century

Twist endings are a staple of movie culture and with M. Night Shyamalan's THE SIXTH SENSE they have also become more prevalent. There have been some major shocking twists over the years, but in the past fifteen years alone we have seen some incredibly messed up cinematic turn of events. Here is our ranking of the 10 most shocking endings of the 21st century (meaning only films released after the year 2000). Be wary as this list contains MAJOR SPOILERS for the films ranked. If your favorite didn't make the cut, make sure to let us know in the talk backs below.

#10 - THE VILLAGE

Many have groaned that the big reveal in M. Night Shyamalan's period drama was that...it wasn't a period film at all! The Twilight Zone-esque curveball that the characters live in an isolated community in the present day but are pretending to exist in the 19th century pissed off many fans, but it was definitely a shocking turn.

#9 - SHUTTER ISLAND

Martin Scorsese's adaptation of the noir novel of the same name leads us down a twisted path at an asylum in the Northeast. We believe we are following Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo on the hunt for an escaped patient but as the labyrinthine plot unfolds, we soon realize not only is DiCaprio's character the escaped inmate, but everyone in the story is actually a doctor or a figment of his insanity. Daniels/Laeddis actually murdered his wife and is the person they have been hunting all along.

#8 - THE MACHINIST

Brad Anderson's cult favorite film features one of Christian Bale's most startling physical transformations in a story of an insomniac man who begins experiencing hallucinations that he cannot explain. As the film progresses, we begin to question the main character's sanity before the ending reveals that he was responsible for a hit and run accident that killed a boy identical to the one we have seen through the movie. Trevor turns himself in and is finally able to sleep while we are left stunned at the turn of events.

#7 - SAW

Before it descended into a mockery of itself, the SAW series started with a small horror film set almost entirely in a single room with two men trying to determine who would live and who would die. While this would have made a decent film on it's own, the twist that the Jigsaw Killer was actually the "dead" body laying in the room between them the whole time caught everyone off guard, along with his true plan. Well done, James Wan and Leigh Whannel.

#6 - MEMENTO

Christopher Nolan's breakthrough feature used the unique narrative device of telling the story in reverse, forcing us to learn twists and revelations alongside the viewer. Leonard's search for his wife's rapist and killer continues to evolve and eventually leads to us learning that the "real" killer was caught a year ago and it was his supposed friend, Teddy, who was involved with the entire thing. No one can be trusted in MEMENTO, but friends who are enemies and enemies who are friends forces you to question just who the hell is telling the truth in this brilliant movie.

#5 - THE PRESTIGE

Between Batman movies, Christopher Nolan made this period thriller about two rival magicians. With numerous twists and turns throughout, the ending reveals that the magic is not a trick at all but rather replicas of Hugh Jackman's character created using a machine devised by Nikola Tesla. Ooh, bet you didn't see that coming!

#4 - BURIED

Ryan Reynolds career has featured some off the wall choices, but this 2010 thriller puts the focus on his acting ability as a man buried alive in a coffin slowly filling with sand. The film features many voices, one of whom is searching for Reynolds' Paul Conroy and assures him they rescued a man in a similar situation weeks before. As the film comes to a close and the rescuers get close to Paul's coffin, they reveal that it is the man "rescued" weeks before, leaving our main character to die. A downer and one hell of a gut punch.

#3 - THE OTHERS

Nicole Kidman is excellent in this period horror film that evokes movies like THE INNOCENTS and THE HAUNTING. Director Alejandro Amenabar amps up the atmospherics in a ghost story that is chilling without having to reveal much. As the film progresses, we learn that the characters are all dead and Kidman's character had smothered her children and killed herself. A nice reverse on THE SIXTH SENSE's twist in that these characters don't see dead people...they ARE dead people!

#2 - OLDBOY

Not only one of the best twists of the last fifteen years, OLDBOY is one of the best films of the century. Park Chan-wook's film is part drama, part romance, and all mystery. Oh Dae-su, imprisoned for years, must now solve the reason for his incarceration that involves the death of a schoolmate decades before. As we learn that Oh Dae-su is not the nicest person and that part of his punishment included the woman he recently had sex with was....his daughter! The revenge and "happy" ending combine for one hell of a f*cked up ending.

#1 - THE MIST

Frank Darabont's adaptation of Stephen King's novella takes the monster movie to a new level and rewrites the story to include this absolutely devastating ending. The remaining survivors, piled in a car, are forced to venture into the Mist. When they run out of gas, Thomas Jane's character decides to spare everyone a horrible death and kills each of them, including his own young son. Without bullets, he is left on his own and exits the car to accept his fate. Only then does the Mist clear. If only he had waited a couple more minutes! Absolutely the most shocking ending of the last fifteen years.

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10:06AM on 02/27/2016

Nope

Not shocking. Saw the ending coming 20 minutes in to the movie.
Not shocking. Saw the ending coming 20 minutes in to the movie.
Your Reply:



+0
6:11PM on 11/15/2015
I'd swap the awful "The Village" out and probably put "Drag Me To Hell' in.
I'd swap the awful "The Village" out and probably put "Drag Me To Hell' in.
Your Reply:



+0
6:07PM on 11/15/2015
This wasn't shocking, it was stupid
This wasn't shocking, it was stupid
Your Reply:



8:25AM on 11/15/2015

The Mist

The ending for The Mist was terrible. Not only in a plot sense, but Thomas Jane crying was impossible to watch. His acting in that scene was awful.
The ending for The Mist was terrible. Not only in a plot sense, but Thomas Jane crying was impossible to watch. His acting in that scene was awful.
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-1
1:50PM on 11/13/2015
-4/10: SHUTTER ISLAND*
-6/10: THE MACHINIST*
-7/10: SAW**; THE OTHERS*
-8/10: BURIED**
-9/10: THE VILLAGE**; OLDBOY**; THE MIST**
-10/10: MEMENTO**

I also would've added Denis Villeneuve's INCENDIES, Joon-ho Bong's MOTHER, Mateo Iribarren's EL TIO and Damien Chazelle's WHIPLASH.

*I predicted the twist.
**I didn't predict the twist.
-4/10: SHUTTER ISLAND*
-6/10: THE MACHINIST*
-7/10: SAW**; THE OTHERS*
-8/10: BURIED**
-9/10: THE VILLAGE**; OLDBOY**; THE MIST**
-10/10: MEMENTO**

I also would've added Denis Villeneuve's INCENDIES, Joon-ho Bong's MOTHER, Mateo Iribarren's EL TIO and Damien Chazelle's WHIPLASH.

*I predicted the twist.
**I didn't predict the twist.
Your Reply:



+0
6:56AM on 11/13/2015
For me, no. 1 has to be the Korean film A Tale of Two Sisters. It's one of those films with multiple layers to it and the ending is not only shocking but unsettling. If you saw the terrible remake The Uninvited, you have an idea as to the ending, but the original goes even further. I don't necessarily want to give anything away as it's a classic horror film that really must be seen, but my jaw practically dropped when they start revealing things.
For me, no. 1 has to be the Korean film A Tale of Two Sisters. It's one of those films with multiple layers to it and the ending is not only shocking but unsettling. If you saw the terrible remake The Uninvited, you have an idea as to the ending, but the original goes even further. I don't necessarily want to give anything away as it's a classic horror film that really must be seen, but my jaw practically dropped when they start revealing things.
Your Reply:



12:13PM on 11/13/2015
Tale Of Two Sisters is based off a Korean lore which is why people who saw the film, in the US, were confused. I get the ending but never really understood the movie. It was never creepy to me. It was only until I researched the film that I found out that the movie was based off a Korean lore of sorts. Korean culture would find this film more unsettling than the US.
Tale Of Two Sisters is based off a Korean lore which is why people who saw the film, in the US, were confused. I get the ending but never really understood the movie. It was never creepy to me. It was only until I researched the film that I found out that the movie was based off a Korean lore of sorts. Korean culture would find this film more unsettling than the US.
+0
6:51AM on 11/13/2015
I remember watching this in theaters and getting chills from this ending. The whole movie creeped me out, but that ending was unforgettable.
I remember watching this in theaters and getting chills from this ending. The whole movie creeped me out, but that ending was unforgettable.
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+0
6:50AM on 11/13/2015
Good movie, but I agree with Movies below. The ending wasn't all that shocking. In fact, it was fairly predictable, one of only a handful of logical possible ways the film could have ended.
Good movie, but I agree with Movies below. The ending wasn't all that shocking. In fact, it was fairly predictable, one of only a handful of logical possible ways the film could have ended.
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6:47AM on 11/13/2015
Also after having seen the film numerous times i think the twist of all twist is that Jackman never made replicas, they were acting doubles, he never created magic since the only time this information is revealed is through his diary that Bale is reading, therefore we don't know its true. It always bothered me that Caines narration at the end hints at something more so this my conclusion.
Also after having seen the film numerous times i think the twist of all twist is that Jackman never made replicas, they were acting doubles, he never created magic since the only time this information is revealed is through his diary that Bale is reading, therefore we don't know its true. It always bothered me that Caines narration at the end hints at something more so this my conclusion.
Your Reply:



10:42AM on 11/13/2015
No. Tesla's machine worked. It actually cloned Hugh Jackman every night. The drowned corpses revealed in the film's final shot are all him.
No. Tesla's machine worked. It actually cloned Hugh Jackman every night. The drowned corpses revealed in the film's final shot are all him.
5:53AM on 11/13/2015
How can they leave off Identity from the list?
How can they leave off Identity from the list?
Your Reply:



5:50AM on 11/13/2015
Unbreakable,Orphan (2009),Source Code,The Orphanage,Donnie darko,Incendies,Kaun?,Choke (2008),Mulholland Drive,The Departed,The Skeleton Key,The Book of Eli,War (2007)
Unbreakable,Orphan (2009),Source Code,The Orphanage,Donnie darko,Incendies,Kaun?,Choke (2008),Mulholland Drive,The Departed,The Skeleton Key,The Book of Eli,War (2007)
Your Reply:



6:29PM on 11/14/2015
I wouldn't say The Book of Eli had a shocking ending. Preposterous, yes, but not shocking.
I wouldn't say The Book of Eli had a shocking ending. Preposterous, yes, but not shocking.
5:22AM on 11/13/2015
I liked the ending to this movie but I don't think I can call it shocking. It was actually incredibly predictable. Still a good ending though.
I liked the ending to this movie but I don't think I can call it shocking. It was actually incredibly predictable. Still a good ending though.
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4:07AM on 11/13/2015
My personal No. 1
My personal No. 1
Your Reply:



+3
2:17AM on 11/13/2015
The Mist's ending was only shocking because it was completely nonsensical (nobody would have given up THAT quickly). Easily one of the worst endings to any film in the last couple of decades.
The Mist's ending was only shocking because it was completely nonsensical (nobody would have given up THAT quickly). Easily one of the worst endings to any film in the last couple of decades.
Your Reply:



6:24AM on 11/13/2015
Haha my thoughts exactly. And the solution is so easy: have the monsters surround their car, making their situation seem utterly hopeless. Cue (the now understandable) murders/suicide, then the reveal of the soldiers. Done.
Haha my thoughts exactly. And the solution is so easy: have the monsters surround their car, making their situation seem utterly hopeless. Cue (the now understandable) murders/suicide, then the reveal of the soldiers. Done.
1:27AM on 11/13/2015

So glad

to see the mist on this list, great choices too. I wasn't a fan of the whole shutter island movie though I thought to be honest it ripped off a huge twist from jacobs ladder and identity. I know there are some movies that should be on here but I can never think of them when I need too. A Serbian Film should be on here a huge fucked up twist that was, ummm Take Shelter should be on here too great ending and twist, also the end of THE DIVIDE also should be on here too, wasn't really a twist but I
to see the mist on this list, great choices too. I wasn't a fan of the whole shutter island movie though I thought to be honest it ripped off a huge twist from jacobs ladder and identity. I know there are some movies that should be on here but I can never think of them when I need too. A Serbian Film should be on here a huge fucked up twist that was, ummm Take Shelter should be on here too great ending and twist, also the end of THE DIVIDE also should be on here too, wasn't really a twist but I didn't expect to see that kind of ending. You should do another article with BIG PAID off ENDINGS.
Your Reply:



1:19AM on 11/13/2015

The Mist

One of the few times that adding or changing something from the book/short story was a good idea. What a gut-punch ending that was. Just brutal. But awesome.
One of the few times that adding or changing something from the book/short story was a good idea. What a gut-punch ending that was. Just brutal. But awesome.
Your Reply:



1:18AM on 11/13/2015

wrong page

oops
oops
Your Reply:



1:17AM on 11/13/2015

oops

again oops
again oops
Your Reply:



+2
12:20AM on 11/13/2015

You mean most shocking beginning, right?

See what I did there? (Well, technically, see what Nolan did there?)
See what I did there? (Well, technically, see what Nolan did there?)
Your Reply:



+0
12:19AM on 11/13/2015

Oh My God!!!

Oh my God! It's Lash, the inhuman from Agents of SHIELD! :D
Oh my God! It's Lash, the inhuman from Agents of SHIELD! :D
Your Reply:



+1
12:07AM on 11/13/2015
Great underrated movie.
Great underrated movie.
Your Reply:



+2
12:06AM on 11/13/2015
That wasn't the twist, that was the plot! The twist was that Christian Bale was twins.
That wasn't the twist, that was the plot! The twist was that Christian Bale was twins.
Your Reply:



+0
12:04AM on 11/13/2015
Good movie but not terribly rewatchable.
Good movie but not terribly rewatchable.
Your Reply:



+2
11:59PM on 11/12/2015
I love the original Saw. The sequels... not so much.
I love the original Saw. The sequels... not so much.
Your Reply:



+0
11:58PM on 11/12/2015
Bad movie all around. Poorly written, pretentiously directed. Bryce Howard gives the least convincing blind performance of all time. This is the film that put me off Shyalaman for good.
Bad movie all around. Poorly written, pretentiously directed. Bryce Howard gives the least convincing blind performance of all time. This is the film that put me off Shyalaman for good.
Your Reply:



6:51AM on 11/13/2015
Poorly written, but well directed. The atmosphere, the style, the use of music is great.
Poorly written, but well directed. The atmosphere, the style, the use of music is great.
11:43PM on 11/12/2015

#9 and #3 were easy to figure out

Good list but #9) you could guess by the trailers and #3) when her husband came back you knew what was up.
Good list but #9) you could guess by the trailers and #3) when her husband came back you knew what was up.
Your Reply:



11:06PM on 11/12/2015
Now This is a very sad ending. It really was devastating. The first time I watched it my jaw just dropped to the floor. Great ending, nevertheless.
Now This is a very sad ending. It really was devastating. The first time I watched it my jaw just dropped to the floor. Great ending, nevertheless.
Your Reply:



11:04PM on 11/12/2015
The whole third act was one heck of a rollercoaster ride. Didn't see the ending coming either. Nicole Kidman at her best.
The whole third act was one heck of a rollercoaster ride. Didn't see the ending coming either. Nicole Kidman at her best.
Your Reply:



11:03PM on 11/12/2015
It is a gut punch. I literally yelled at the screen "Dig, man, Dig!!" at the climax. It was very thrilling.
It is a gut punch. I literally yelled at the screen "Dig, man, Dig!!" at the climax. It was very thrilling.
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11:00PM on 11/12/2015
Now this is the ending that I NEVER see coming. It's one of the best ending in horror movies.
Now this is the ending that I NEVER see coming. It's one of the best ending in horror movies.
Your Reply:



10:58PM on 11/12/2015
It is a shocking ending but makes sense to the story. Christian Bale at his best.
It is a shocking ending but makes sense to the story. Christian Bale at his best.
Your Reply:



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