Darkest Movie Twists With No Payoffs

A split image showing Smaug in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, the Lincoln Memorial in Planet of the Apes 2001, and Blofeld in Spectre James Bond

Some plot twists define movies. Whenever anyone discusses certain films, they have to bring up the shocking shift in the narrative when everything changes. Movies like The Sixth Sense and American Psycho are infamous for twists that force viewers to reevaluate everything they’ve seen.

RELATED: 15 Good Movies Ruined By A Bad Twist

Some twists have much less impact. They are an about-turn for the film that turns everything much darker, but they are weightless compared to the transformative powers of the best twists. These dark plot twists changed nothing about the films or narratives. The filmmakers used them purely as unexpected tools to catch viewers off-guard.



10 Walter Is David

Alien: Covenant

Alien: Covenant has a lower-key story at its heart than the conventional xenomorph horror-violence. Much of the film focuses on the relationship between identical androids Walter and David. Walter is a loyal and kind individual, while David has grown callous and misanthropic.

In Alien: Covenant​​​​​​’s last moments, protagonist Daniels realizes that the android putting her in cryo-stasis is not Walter. He is David, who has killed and replaced Walter. The film ends with the colonists helpless at the hands of David and two xenomorph embryos. However, this twist affects little of the narrative before it and doesn’t tie into later Alien films like Prometheus‘ ending does. It’s just a last-minute shock.

9 DJ Sells Out Rose And Finn

Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi‘s Canto Bight storyline is contentious even with the film’s fans. It often comes off as contrived and feels ultimately pointless. Hacker DJ’s betrayal of Rose Tico and Finn is one moment that has almost no impact at all. When they’re aboard the First Order’s ship, he sells them and the Rebellion out in exchange for payment.

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This twist ties into The Last Jedi‘s deconstruction of typical Star Wars conventions and morality. It also makes the film much darker, with the Rebellion further weakened and Rose and Finn facing public execution. However, DJ disappears from the narrative after. Finn and Rose’s infiltration is poorly-planned and apt to go wrong anyway. This twist could have been cut from the film with no real change.

8 Apes Take Over The World

Planet Of The Apes (2001)

The original Planet of the Apes has an iconic twist ending that has gone down in history as one of the best ever made. The 2001 Planet of the Apes remake attempts to do the same. However, its ending is infamous for being nonsensical and pointless.

Protagonist Leo Davidson travels back in time to 21st-century Earth and away from the ape-controlled future. However, the Lincoln Memorial has become a monument to the ape General Thade. Ape emergency services swarm him, revealing that their species has somehow conquered the past. It’s bizarre, last-minute, and not thought-provoking in the slightest.

7 Tommy Jarvis Becomes The New Jason

Friday The 13th: A New Beginning

After Jason Vorhees’ death in Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, the franchise pivots away from him as the villain. Paramedic Roy Burns is the killer in Friday the 13th: A New Beginning. After his death, however, the film reveals a shocking potential killer for the next installment. Tommy Jarvis appears to ambush Pam, wearing Jason’s hockey mask and wielding a kitchen knife.

This twist goes absolutely nowhere. After A New Beginning‘s poor performance, the franchise returns to proven success with Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives. Tommy’s brief lapse into Jason-like behavior never gets so much as mentioned. Instead, he returns as Jason’s enemy after accidentally resurrecting him.

6 Smaug Attacks Laketown

The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug ends on a dramatic note. Smaug spends much of the film a looming presence who provides a significant threat to both Laketown and Bilbo Baggins. In the film’s final moments, the plot to kill him goes wrong. He survives an attack with molten gold and descends on Laketown to burn it to ruin.

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This ends The Desolation of Smaug on a dark cliffhanger. However, Bard kills Smaug within the first few minutes of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies within a single extended sequence. The film then swiftly moves on to the titular battle, with little mention of Smaug and his rampage afterward.

5 Pharmaceutical Trials


Old continues M. Night Shyamalan’s filmmaking style of twist endings. However, its reputation is more like that of The Village or Signs than it is The Sixth Sense. After a day of rapidly aging, Maddox and Trent escape the beach and figure out that their ordeal has been caused by the pharmaceutical company Warren and Warren.

However, Old does away with this revelation almost immediately. Maddox and Trent somehow convince a vacationing police officer to organize the arrests of significant Warren and Warren personnel, almost all of which happens off-screen. It exists solely to explain the film’s events rather than to have any impact on the audience.

4 The World Trade Center

Remember Me

Remember Me has come to be remembered solely for its infamous plot twist, which did much to turn reviewers and audiences against it. After a lengthy, dramatic journey of family and reconnection, Tyler’s life appears to be getting back on track. He waits to speak to his father in his expensive office.

At that point, Remember Me reveals the location of this office, the North Tower of the World Trade Center. The date is September 11th, 2001. This twist uses an awful tragedy simply to shock the audience. Anything else could have been substituted without feeling as exploitative or unearned.

3 Ernst Stavro Blofeld


Spectre is one of the worst-received modern James Bond films. Aside from its poor characterization and unwieldy plot, it tries too hard to tie previous films together and shock the audience with a big revelation. Franz Oberhauser reveals that he is the infamous Bond villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld, and also that he is James Bond’s brother.

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Neither of these twists has any real impact on the film. Bond has plenty of reasons to fight Oberhauser without a personal connection between them. The name Blofeld is fanservice for James Bond fans over anything that affects the film.

2 Killing Ludendorff

Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman touches on the horrors of war in a surprisingly realistic and sensitive way for a superhero film. Although Diana Prince is a superhuman intent on ending the war by killing Ares, the film repeatedly makes clear how it’s a bigger issue than one person can solve. A third-act twist appears to confirm this. Killing Luddendorf, whom Diana thinks is Ares, does nothing to end the fighting.

Wonder Woman seems to point to human causes for the war with this, a key step in Diana’s journey to maturity throughout the film. However, this is all to set up another twist, that Sir Patrick Morgan is actually Ares. Diana’s defeat of Sir Patrick does help to bring about peace. It looks like an intelligent and sobering twist at first, only to be warped into something much more conventional.

1 Failed Experiments


Fans and critics agree that Us is a chilling, thought-provoking, and exciting horror film. However, many also think that it falls apart in its final moments. Adelaide pursues Red underground, where she learns Red’s theory regarding the Tethered. They’re explained as failed experiments to control US citizens abandoned when they proved unsuccessful.

This twist is infamous for undermining Us‘ surreal horror with a poor explanation. It has many holes and doesn’t make very much sense. On top of that, it has very little impact on the film. Neither Adelaide nor the audiences are affected by knowing the Tethered’s origins. However, it is accompanied by a twist regarding Adelaide and Red that is much more effective.

NEXT: 10 Good Movies Made Better By A Great Twist


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