Talking about endings: ever wondered why we as an audience have a much higher affinity towards twist endings than we do towards the overtly romanticized happy endings? It’s simply and trivially because of the reason that we love to be surprised. To drive my point home, while you may not always remember the hero getting the girl, or even the hero killing the villain by the end of the film, as far as staple film plots are concerned, you will always, always remember Keyser Soze correcting his limp and delivering that shudder-inducing monologue he began the film with, among countless other instances.
More than a well-earned payoff, we seem more content with films that are either able to blow our collective minds by the end or leave a lingering question by the times the credits roll, just for that additional fodder our brains require, or simply a jolt to shake us out through our senses. And what better than getting that jolt at the comfort of our couches, courtesy of Netflix, anytime we want? I may be typecasting, but it is surely a true thriller fan’s most vivid dream come true. So, without further ado, here is the list of some really good twist ending movies on Netflix that you can stream right now, and have your mind twisted all over again.
13. Fractured (2019)
Netflix has created quite a niche for itself when it comes to producing intense thrillers, and 2019’s ‘Fractured‘ serves as another solid addition to their repertoire. The film centers around a family of three who are on vacation when a tragedy completely changes their lives. The horrific experience begins when the daughter, Peri, gets injured and has to be admitted to a hospital. While the father, Ray, is waiting in the lobby of the hospital, his wife Joanne takes Peri for some tests. Being extremely tired, Ray passes out, only to find on waking up that his wife and daughter are missing. Nobody in the hospital can give him any information regarding the same and they even deny seeing Joanne and Peri in the first place. Ray realizes that a sinister conspiracy is at work, and he has to get hold of his family before something tragic happens.
The pacing of the film is brilliant, and it ticks off all the boxes one would expect from a psychological thriller. This riveting watch is elevated to a higher status by the powerful performance of Sam Worthington in the leading role.
12. Eli (2019)
A Netflix original film directed by Ciaran Foy, the story of ‘Eli’ centers around a little boy who has been affected by a rather rare disease. This disease has made it impossible for him to step outside his house, which has led Eli to always live a life devoid of friends. After taking him to the best possible doctors and failing to come up with a solution for his problem, Eli’s parents decide to try one last time by appointing a doctor who is using a cutting-edge method to cure his disease. However, his methods have not yet been sanctioned by the government. As soon as Eli’s treatment begins, he realizes that the house where he is living right now is haunted and there are a number of malicious spirits around him. His ordeal keeps getting worse till a shocking twist makes it clear to us the reason behind him experiencing such visions.
‘Eli’ has an ending that will leave you shocked. The only problem with the film is that it is much longer than what should have been its ideal running time.
11. Cam (2018)
‘Cam’ is a Netflix original film which delves deep into the many dangerous the internet is full of and how easily one can get trapped into a web of problems that are far beyond one’s control. The central character of the film is a girl called Alice who secretly works as a cam girl. Her job is to film herself using a webcam as she indulges in erotic acts. Not satisfied with the number of viewers she gets every month, Alice decides that the best thing for her is to think of something out of the box which would take the whole world by shock. She comes up with the idea of live-streaming a fake suicide.
This video proves to be rather effective and gets Alice the popularity she has always craved. But things go haywire from there when a girl who looks exactly like her appears from nowhere and steals away her thunder. Alice is rather shocked to see this, and wants to pursue the matter to the very end. However, this leads her to a shocking discovery that is about to change her perception of the internet forever. ‘Cam’ shows us the dangers we constantly need to avoid in the online world, and how everything we do or say always leaves an imprint on the internet in some form or another.
10. Enemy (2013)
The only reason I liked ‘Enemy’ a little less than I should have is its ending that left me frustrated and scratching my head. I will also admit that it was hard to sit through for all its duration, since the film doesn’t have the appeal or production quality imminent in Villeneuve’s other works, of which ‘Prisoners’ or ‘Arrival’ are stunning examples. Yet in all its chaotic glory, ‘Enemy’ does get to your head and stays there long after the credits have rolled.
The ending may not be as mind-blowing as some of the other films on this list simply because it isn’t spelled out in front of the audience and quite a lot of it is left for them to figure out themselves. But when you get it, or at least think that you do, this story of a man’s struggle with his own identity and identical psychology, in this case, makes the film stand true to its title card caption, “Chaos is order yet undeciphered”.
9. Cloud Atlas (2012)
One of the most vastly divisive films of modern times, and you’ll shook by the extent of it, with a few critics giving it a standing ovation, while others terming it one of the worst films of the year. Professing a theory not too vastly different from the butterfly effect, but in a more grandiose, more mythic way, ‘Cloud Atlas’ particularly drew criticism for its narrative structure and seemingly random cuts that separate its telling of multiple plots across six eras in time, all connected to each other. However, this uniquity is what drew me towards the film, and the ending cemented my likeness for it. As with a lot of twist ending films, it has a love it or hate it kind of consensus, but you simply cannot ignore its vision and scope in trying to tell story differently.
8. Ugly (2014)
The only Hindi language film on this list and for every right reason. Anurag Kashyap’s ‘Ugly’ ranks, for me, at least, right after ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’ in the director’s dark filmography. It’s an excellent little film, one that I won’t completely blame you either for missing since it originally had a hush-hush release and had virtually no “stars” to boast of. However, the film turned out to be one of the better surprises that year, and one of the year’s best films overall, with a twist so shocking and vile, it has the devastating power to keep you up at night, accompanied by a build-up that is cut out like glass but hard like nails. Saying anything more will be just taking away from what the twisted ending has in store for you.
7. Bird Box (2018)
One of the most popular Netflix original films of 2018, ‘Bird Box‘ stars Sandra Bullock in the leading role as a woman who is facing an apocalyptic threat while trying to protect the lives of her children.
The film is set in a time when the world has been ravaged by the presence of a strange collection of entities that has a deadly effect on whoever lays eyes on them. The people who commit this mistake instantly lose their minds and kill themselves. The only way to traverse through this deadly situation is by tying pieces of cloth around one’s eyes to avoid direct eye-contact with the entities at all costs. The people who have survived this ordeal are heading towards a special community where people are safe from this nuisance. The woman in question also tries to take her children to the same place while navigating through some extremely dangerous and violent situations. ‘Bird Box’ is a fresh approach to zombie apocalypse films and its case as one of the best in the genre is also aided by Bullock’s fine performance.
6. The Invitation (2015)
‘The Invitation’ is one relentlessly thrilling ride and a very well-crafted thriller, but believe me when I say that you are not ready for the final twist. Centered primarily along with conversations that you do not want to be a part of, with mounting, slow-burn tension in every scene, ‘The Invitation’ just furthered my hypothesis coupled with last year’s ‘Upgrade’ of Logan Marshall-Green’s excellent eye for effective scripts. One of those indie films that you unassumingly start watching but instead turns out to be one of the better decisions you’d have made in a long while.
5. ARQ (2016)
Directed by Tony Elliott, this film premiered at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival and was later picked up by Netflix for international distribution. ‘ARQ’ is set in a certain point of time when the world’s energy resources are getting depleted. This has created an intense situation between big industries and governments.
The central character of the film is an engineer who, along with his girlfriend, is hiding with a machine that can generate unlimited energy. They realize their lives are in danger when a number of armed men break into the room where they are hiding. But the thing is, each time the central character Renton dies, he wakes up in the same room. This makes him realize that he is stuck in a time loop. The film uses the concept of a time loop quite interestingly and on top of it, brings in a twist that immediately changes our perception of the situation and takes us by shock.
4. The Perfection (2018)
A Netflix original, ‘The Perfection’ is a film which does not have only one twist ending. It boasts of several twists and turns throughout the narrative and makes for a rather exciting watch. The film starts with the story of Charlotte, a talented young cellist who quits her music school after her mother is suddenly hospitalized. After the death of her mother, Charlotte contacts her teacher Anton again, and heads off to Shanghai alongside Anton and some other musicians to join an elite music school. Once there, she comes across Lizzie, another one of Anton’s students. It is the meeting of these two characters which starts off a chain of sinister events with twists and turns along the way. ‘The Perfection’ might offer some genre cliches, but this is a film you should not miss out at any cost.
3. Velvet Buzzsaw (2019)
Love it or hate it, there is one thing that you absolutely cannot deny about this year’s early Netflix release. It is easily one of the most bizarre films that you will catch this year with an ending that should give the plot’s bizarrity a run for its money. There is frankly so much going on: social commentary, art critique, critique on the act of critique, and a horror plot in there somewhere, that you will have little to think about as the film progresses. There is also enough craft involved from the sizeable lineup of actors involved and from ‘Nightcrawler’ director Dan Gilroy to keep you involved as well. It is when the film ends that the inevitable questions start coming at you. If you can avoid those, ‘Velvet Buzzsaw’ can be a delightfully weird watch if you have the taste for it.
2. Black Mirror: Bandersnatch (2018)
Talking of twist endings, this film doesn’t have just one, but 5 main ones and close to 10-12 ones that you can reach if you are willing to spend the required amount of time. We all know ‘Black Mirror’ to be a favourite owing to its cerebral subject matter and innovative presentation techniques. However, with ‘Bandersnatch’, both Netflix and Black Mirror push the envelope to introduce interactive TV to a curious audience, and it scored on those very aspects.
Akin to an RPG, you are allowed to make choices that lead to separately devised narratives further leading to different endings, or you go back to make a different choice in case the choice you made turned out to be a dead end. I was glued for hours at end trying to figure out all the endings, and ended up having a baller of a time despite being stuck in front of my screen for close to three hours. The marketing may have been more centred on the gimmicky nature of interactive TV and selling that, but trust me when I say that even the plot is well thought of, tailored to deliver you the definitive ‘Black Mirror’ experience with an additional edge.
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1. Pulp Fiction (1994)
What more can be said about this film that has not been said yet? If you are one of those people who still have not watched ‘Pulp Fiction‘, stop everything you are doing and go to Netflix right away. Quentin Tarantino’s sophomore effort uses twists in a brilliant way. It is the way he assembles his scenes in his unique non-linear way of storytelling that makes him stand out from the rest of the filmmakers we see. ‘Pulp Fiction’ is basically three short films told as one where some of the major characters in one story become supporting characters in the other ones. The writing is brilliant and each character of the film has now become pop culture icons.
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