Have you ever seen some movies that make you go, “What on earth did just happen?” Surprise is not an easy-to-achieve effect in the human psyche, and Freud says it’s because of the Thanatos or the death drive. Since death is the final destination (and we’re keeping ‘Final Destination‘ out of the list), the surprise feels mundane in the next moment. However, some movies defy the stance and still pack enough mind-bending twists to keep you bewildered for a day or an eternity. So for your consideration, we have prepared a sumptuous list of the best twist-ending movies on HBO Max.
7. Perfect Stranger (2007)
Directed by James Foley, the psychological thriller ‘Perfect Stranger’ is indeed the perfect way to kickstart this list. The Halle Berry and Bruce Willis– starter follows reporter Rowena Price, who sets out to seek revenge against wealthy advertising executive Harrison Hill for the murder of her childhood friend. Helping Rowena is her researcher Miles, but little do they know about the shocking secrets they hide from one another. Though the movie initially proceeds as a typical revenge drama, the surprise revelation in the climax surely keeps you pondering even after the end credits roll.
6. Moon (2009)
Duncan Jones helmed the sci-fi horror movie ‘Moon,’ painting the tale with acute claustrophobia. Astronaut Sam Bell is stationed at a lunar mine, and his three-year tenure is finally coming to an end. He is excited to head back to Earth and meet his family, but his health takes a drastic southward turn. Soon, Sam starts having hallucinations and headaches, and reality collides with subjectivity when he meets a younger version of himself in the station. As he embarks upon an investigation, it leads him to truths he does not want to know. The movie begins as a modest sci-fi venture, though after the final twist, the effect should linger in your mind for a while.
5. The Departed (2006)
Martin Scorsese directed ‘The Departed,’ an epic crime thriller movie that unveils ambition and deception in the Irish mafia. Based on the 2002 Hong Kong movie ‘Infernal Affairs’ and borrowing from the real-life Boston Winter Hill Gang, the film follows a tug of war between the criminals and the police. Mob boss Frank Costello plants a spy in the Massachusetts State Police to stay ahead of the curve. Unbeknownst to him, the police also assign state enforcer Billy Costigan to remain undercover in his troop. In the end, people cannot trust each other, and there remains a heap of dead bodies. While it may not be Scorsese’s best, it still bagged Four Academy Awards; even if just for the twist ending, the movie deserves a watch.
4. American Psycho (2000)
Directed by Mary Harron and based on the eponymous novel by Bret Easton Ellis, ‘American Psycho‘ is a case study of how capitalism manufactures depravity. Patrick Bateman, a suave and metrosexual investment banker, leads a double life as a serial killer. While he goes about his day keeping the chin up, he is outraged easily- however, is he committing the murders, or is it just his repression talking? Since its debut at the Sundance Film Festival, the movie has gathered a cult following, partly due to Christian Bale‘s immersive performance in the central role. If you are looking for a horror thriller with a mind-boggling twist, look no further than this turn-of-the-century gem.
3. North by Northwest (1959)
Alfred Hitchcock‘s celebrated spy thriller ‘North by Northwest’ does not require an introduction to the budding cinephile. Nobody knows who the hell George Kaplan is. However, ad executive Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant) finds himself at the center of a Kafkaesque mystery as he is mistaken for the former. The narrative spirals out of control too soon, and you must readjust your anticipations when the final scene hits the screen. While the twist ending, in this case, is a bit more demure, it still packs a significant surprise that will make you jump in your seat. If you are looking for a classic mind-bender, this movie is where you should head next.
2. The Shining (1980)
The combined geniuses of director Stanley Kubrick and author Stephen King do not meet and decide to make movies every day, and when they do, you get a stomach-churning horror like ‘The Shining.’ Jack Nicholson shines in the role of Jack Torrance, a dreary winter caretaker at the Overlook Hotel in Colorado, overlooking a maze. He is also a writer facing a block, and his son starts having these macabre hallucinations.
What follows is a flood of blood, topped off with creepy twins and a maniacal Torrance ready to chop off his family to pieces. Moreover, the final shot of the image hanging on the hotel corridor bears a revelation that changes everything. If you like horrors and twist endings, this movie conjoins the best of both worlds.
1. Memento (2000)
Christopher Nolan‘s second feature-length venture, ‘Memento,’ is possibly one of the most distinctive in his filmography. Adapted from Jonathan Nolan’s short story ‘Memento Mori,’ the narrative follows Leonard, a drifter who must find the perpetrator who murdered his wife and child. However, he suffers from a rare form of memory loss, forgetting the things that happened mere fifteen minutes ago, resulting in his investigation spiraling out of control.
And who is on the other side of the phone? Mingling monochrome and color and stretching and contracting time at will, Nolan delivers a mind-bending ending that is simply missing from most movies claiming to be thrillers. Here is a mystery film bound to give you thrills, and it is fortunately available on HBO Max.
Read More: Best Twist Ending Movies on Netflix