Movie Reviews

10 Most Frustrating Plot Twists In Movies

Summary

  • Frustrating plot twists in movies can impact enjoyment, with some being brilliant and unexpected while others fall short.
  • Unnecessary and overly complicated twists can detract from character development and story coherence in great movies.
  • Some plot twists, like the ones in Remember Me and Now You See Me, were disappointing and lacked proper setup or execution.



Frustrating plot twists in movies have continued to irritate many years after their initial release, but some stand out more than others. The biggest plot twists in movies were brilliant because they were so unexpected and left audiences mindblown, but other titles weren’t as successful. The pressure to provide such a shocking moment has even resulted in backtracking, and some films thankfully canceled their plot twists.

However, twists don’t always pay off the way they’re expected to. There have been several great movies with unnecessary plot twists, like Fight Club, for example. There have also been multiple instances in which a movie plot twist was too smart and made everything overly complicated. Whether the film was Oscar-worthy or a feel-good watch, some plot twists in movies were ridiculously frustrating and impacted the overall enjoyment.



10 Tyler’s 9/11 Death

Remember Me

The 2010 title Remember Me was far from one of the best rom-com movies of all time, but its abrupt ending made it worse. The film observed the blossoming relationship between Tyler Hawkins (Robert Pattinson) and Ally Craig (Emilie de Ravin) but also dwelled on both of their traumatic pasts. Tyler lost his brother, Michael, to suicide, whereas Ally had a complicated relationship with her abusive father. Over time, the two realize their feelings for one another and declare their love, but then, in Remember Me’s ending, it’s revealed that Tyler died in the 9/11 terrorist attack.


This plot twist was frustrating and disappointing for several reasons. There was no setup or foreshadowing for this sudden, heartbreaking moment, and it happened so unexpectedly that it was confusing. It was also rather distasteful and disrespectful for Tyler to be killed in such a historical event, especially one that only happened nine years before the film’s release. Remember Me had nothing to do with that life-changing day, and Tyler’s growth and character development were overshadowed by the seemingly random insertion of the horrific event.

Remember Me (2010) - Poster - Robert Pattinson

Remember Me (2010)

Remember Me is a romantic drama film directed by Allen Coulter, starring Robert Pattinson as Tyler Hawkins, a rebellious young man struggling to come to terms with his family’s past, and Emilie de Ravin as Ally Craig, a free-spirited woman who helps him find redemption.

Director
Allen Coulter

Release Date
March 11, 2010

Cast
Robert Pattinson , Emilie de Ravin , Pierce Brosnan , Lena Olin , Chris Cooper

Runtime
113 Minutes

9 Aliens & UFOs

Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull

Indy and Aliens in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull


The Indiana Jones films were amazing as a trilogy, but its fourth installment stood out for its bizarre and nonsensical ending. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull reintroduced the titular character to screens in an adventure surrounding a mysterious crystal skull. However, its resolution was ridiculous even by Indy’s (Harrison Ford) standards. The reveal that the skull belonged to interdimensional alien archeologists was totally wild, and although the franchise delved into the supernatural in previous films, extraterrestrials were simply out of place.

In Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull’s ending, the villainous Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett) was killed by the power of the alien’s omniscience, and an interdimensional portal took her soldiers. Indy and his allies managed to escape, but the final scenes were so over the top and absurd it was hard to focus on their survival. A flying saucer was shown disappearing, but the film provided little context about what happened next, and the concept of an alien threat was accepted with no argument. While not primarily a frustrating plot twist, it was definitely bemusing.


Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull Movie Poster

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

The fourth installment in the Indiana Jones franchise, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull sees the return of the legendary hero 19 years after his last outing. In the film, Indy finds himself in a race against KGB operatives to locate a mysterious crystal skull, aided by his former lover Marion Ravenwood and their erstwhile son, Mutt Williams. Along with Harrison Ford, Karen Allen reprises her role as Marion, with Shia LaBeouf joining the cast as Mutt. 

Release Date
May 22, 2008

Cast
Harrison Ford , Shia LaBeouf , Cate Blanchett , Karen Allen , Ray Winstone , John Hurt , Jim Broadbent

Runtime
122 Minutes

8 Dylan Rhodes The Mastermind

Now You See Me

Dylan pointing a gun from Now You See Me

The ending of the movie Now You See Me was irritating because it made significant character development throughout the film redundant. Now You See Me focused on FBI agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) as he chased down an enigmatic group of magicians known as The Four Horsemen. Rhodes was determined to track the Horsemen down throughout the film and was constantly on the tail of their next heist. However, it was eventually revealed that Rhodes had no intention of stopping the Horseman and was actually the mastermind behind it all.


Rhodes confirmed that he was the son of Lionel Shrike, a magician who was exposed by Horseman member Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman) and so plotted his revenge. While this plot twist was supposed to be a huge shock, it was more illogical than anything else. He was clever, but Rhodes’ actions throughout the film never implied that his thought process was that layered. The plot twist wasn’t necessarily terrible, just badly executed. If Rhodes’ motivation had been established from the start of Now You See Me, it would have made him a more interesting character.

now you see me

Now You See Me

In the 2013 heist movie Now You See Me, a group of magicians known as “The Four Horsemen” perform elaborate heists during their shows. Meanwhile, FBI agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) and Interpol detective Alma Drey (Mélanie Laurent) track them down to stop them from pulling off their biggest crime yet. Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, and Dave Franco star as the criminals, while Morgan Freeman plays an expert magician and Michael Caine portrays the team’s sponsor.

Director
Louis Leterrier

Release Date
May 31, 2013

Runtime
115 minutes


7 It Was All A Dream

Next

next-nicolas-cage

Next followed the story of Cris Johnson (Nicolas Cage), a man who could see into the future, but only for two minutes at a time. One day, he saw a vision of Elizabeth Cooper (Jessica Biel) walking into a diner and started waiting around until the two met, which they eventually did. However, after a crazy journey involving the FBI and a group of terrorists, Cris and Elizabeth found themselves at a crossroads and forced into fighting back against the national threat. Like many action films, Cris was successful in safely deactivating the bomb, except it wasn’t real.


In one of the most frustrating examples of the “it was just a dream” trope, the bomb detonated and destroyed huge chunks of the city, and it was revealed that Cris and Elizabeth were still sitting in their motel room. The whole day’s timeline was reverted, explaining that the events in the last quarter of the film were a vision of Cris’. The very last scenes were ambiguous, and this plot twist resulted in no proper conclusion to Next. While the twist wasn’t that remarkable, given Cris’ psychic abilities, the lack of resolution made it even more annoying.

6 A Movie Within A Game

Serenity

Serenity 2019 movie poster


The thriller movieSerenity had a simple hook to its story but a ludicrous plot twist. The film was led by fisherman Baker Dill (Matthew McConaughey), whose ex-wife, Karen (Anne Hathaway), asked him to kill her new husband, Frank (Jason Clarke), so they could keep their son safe. However, it quickly became apparent that Dill’s reality wasn’t what it seemed. In a shocking turn of events, it was revealed that the world was actually a modded video game designed by Dill’s son, Patrick (Rafael Sayegh). Dill wasn’t actually Dill, but rather Captain John Mason, who was killed serving in Iraq.

While the reason behind the twist was sweet, as Patrick used memories of him and his late father fishing to immerse himself in a new world, it ruined the overall story of the film. The main plot initially seemed to be about Dill’s guilty conscience over his decision whether to help Karen or not, but the sudden change in the narrative made Serenity feel like another film. Although Patrick’s need to be reunited with his father somehow was an interesting concept, it should have been explained from the start, as the jump in protagonist didn’t pay off in Serenity.


Serenity movie poster

Serenity

Serenity is a dramatic mystery thriller that follows Baker Dill, a fishing boat captain haunted by a mysterious past. When Baker’s ex-wife tracks him down with a desperate plea for help to save their son, he finds himself wrestling with the dark choice he may have to make to save his son – tossing him into a world that feels almost surreal.

Director
Steven Knight

Release Date
January 25, 2019

Cast
Jason Clarke , Garion Dowds , Rafael Sayegh , Djimon Hounsou , Jeremy Strong , Robert Hobbs , Anne Hathaway , Matthew McConaughey , Kenneth Fok , Diane Lane , Edeen Bhugeloo

Runtime
106 minutes

5 The Return Of Palpatine

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Emperor Palpatine's resurrection in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

In 2019’s Star Wars:The Rise of Skywalker, Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) returned, but the villain’s sudden reappearance wasn’t well received. After more than a three-decade absence from the franchise, Emperor Palpatine’s return to the Star Wars timeline created plenty of confused reactions. As he’d supposedly died, many were confused as to what Palpatine did between Return of the Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker. However, these mixed responses could have been limited if the film had executed the Sith Lord’s survival better. Palpatine only survived because of cloning, which was why he was residing on Exegol.


News of the Emperor’s reappearance was made so early on that it threw off the pacing of the entire film. However, this was because yet another twist was on the way. It was later revealed that Palpatine was Rey’s (Daisy Ridley) grandfather. Star Wars famously used a similar plot twist before, revealing that Leia (Carrie Fisher) and Luke (Mark Hamill) were twins. But in The Rise of Skywalker, the same family revelation felt lazy and simply a repeat of the same storyline. Unfortunately, the first frustrating plot twist made the second even more painful.


4 Tom Is Kate’s Organ Donor

Last Christmas

Kate speaks to her imaginary lover Tom

The overly convenient plot twist in Last Christmas was foreshadowed but so obvious that it seemed unlikely that it would actually happen. The Christmas-themed movie was based on the song of the same name by Wham! Sadly, its lyrics spoiled Last Christmas’ bizarre plot twist. Throughout the film, Kate (Emilia Clarke) is taught by Tom (Henry Golding) how to enjoy life to the maximum and to look after herself more. Their relationship progressed, but after Kate fell in love with Tom, it was revealed that he was the ghost of the organ donor who provided her with a new heart.


The second half of Last Christmas embraced Tom as a ghost, but it made the film’s motivation redundant. As it wasn’t possible to root for Tom and Kate’s love, it was hard to understand what was pushing the film’s narrative. The jump from a light-hearted romantic comedy to a story about the supernatural was out of place in the Christmassy world and made little sense. However, the most frustrating thing about this plot twist was how the movie took the lyrics, “Last Christmas, I gave you my heart,” so literally.

Last Christmas movie poster

Last Christmas

Last Christmas is a romantic comedy movie that stars Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding. Kate is a young woman with a knack for bad decisions who can’t seem to get her life back on track. Working at a year-round Christmas store and hopping from couch to couch, everything seems like it’ll never get better. But when she meets Tom, a lovely fellow who seems too good to be true, her fortunes begin to change just in time for the holidays.

Director
Paul Feig

Release Date
November 8, 2019

Runtime
103minutes

3 Blofeld Is James’ Brother

Spectre

James Bond and Blofeld walk through Blofeld's lair in Spectre


Spectre saw significant changes to James Bond‘s lore that impacted not only the film but the entire franchise. Believing Blofeld (Christoph Waltz) to be dead, Bond (Daniel Craig) discovered his arch-nemesis was secretly his long-lost foster brother. However, this was absolutely nonsensical for James Bond. Bond didn’t offer much of a reaction to this revelation, but despite Blofeld’s changed appearance since childhood, it seemed odd that the spy didn’t recognize him.

The forced sibling connection didn’t fit, and one reason why the James Bond films were so successful was that the lack of personal links made villains easier to hate. The main reason why this plot twist was so aggravating, however, was that it offered nothing to the plot of Spectre. If removed, the outcome of the film wouldn’t be impacted whatsoever – Bond still saved the day, and Blofeld is arrested. Spectre’s Blofeld twist would have worked brilliantly for a new villain, but as he was already established, it contributed nothing to the narrative nor raised the stakes.


Spectre 007 Movie Poster

Spectre

The twenty-fourth installment in Eon’s James Bond series, Spectre follows Bond (Daniel Craig) as he encounters a new threat to global security. After a mission goes wrong, Bond ends up on the trail of a shadowy organization with ties to countless governments and influential figures. With MI6 compromised by those working toward an unknown goal, Bond must rely on his instincts as an agent to root out the truth.

Director
Sam Mendes

Release Date
November 6, 2015

Runtime
158 Minutes

2 A Modern Day Experiment

The Village

Bryce dallas howard The village M Night Shyamalan

Although M. Night Shyamalan’s movie plot twists have been generally praised, The Village failed to meet the same expectations. The story, which appeared to be set in a 19th-century isolated village, was actually set in modern times, throwing the whole film off. The movie started as engaging and interesting, following a small community who lived in fear of strange creatures that threatened their lives. However, it was then revealed that the small village was actually part of a crazed experiment.


The sudden jump from supernatural to thriller was overly complex and shifted The Village’s narrative. It was made even worse when it was explained that the mysterious creatures lurking about were actually the village elders in cloaks. This made many feel that The Village was incorrectly marketed and its story was glaringly different from what was advertised. Unfortunately, The Village’s twist ending was laughably stupid and not as tense and mindblowing as Shyamalan likely expected it to be.

The Village (2004)

The Village is a drama-thriller by director M. Night Shyamalan, set in a 19th-century village surrounded by woods inhabited by mysterious creatures. To maintain their safety, the villagers have a pact with the creatures never to enter their woods. However, this shaky agreement is tested when a young villager ventures into the forest to uncover its secrets.

Director
M. Night Shyamalan

Release Date
July 30, 2004

Runtime
108 minutes

1 Erin Is Haunted By Her Boyfriend’s Dead Wife

Safe Haven

Julianne Hough by a lake in Safe Haven


Safe Haven started with the assumption that Erin (Julianne Hough) sparking a new relationship with widower Alex (Josh Duhamel) meant that she had something to hide, but it was quickly proved otherwise. Under the guise of “Katie Feldman,” Erin promptly fell in love with Alex but was haunted by the memories of her abusive husband and was constantly worried about him or the police catching up to her. However, her real fear was right in front of her – Jo (Cobie Smulders). It was eventually revealed that Jo wasn’t real and actually the ghost of Alex’s late wife, Carly.

What was so absurd about this plot twist was that it was implemented right at the very end of Safe Haven. The twist’s late arrival contributed nothing to the overall storyline of the film, nor would it have if placed elsewhere in the plot. The only thing that Jo/Carly’s presence provided was Erin’s dream about her husband’s arrival, which was useless because she found him already towering over her when she woke up. In theory, Safe Haven’s frustrating plot twist was an interesting concept, but it was applied to a movie that didn’t need it.


Safe Haven (2013)

Director
Lasse Hallström

Release Date
February 14, 2013

Runtime
115 Minutes

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