Horror movies are arguably the hardest kind of movie to make. Whether it’s trying to terrify people without the use of a cheap jump scare or creating a narrative that actually makes sense, the horror genre is a landfill of schlock-fests, and finding a good one is like finding a diamond in the rough.
Other times, horror movies can be great but fall at the last hurdle, unable to wrap things up in a satisfying and logical way. So it comes as a surprise that there are actually a handful of negatively received horror flicks that actually have some gratifying and shocking finales.
10 Saw II (2005)
There was a huge dive in quality between Saw and its sequel according to critics, as the first was a clever thriller movie and the second focused too much on Jigsaw’s traps and the disgusting nature of it all. However, the one mystery of where Eric’s son is and the reveal of him being in a safe in the same room as Eric the whole time is so satisfying, especially given that Jigsaw told Eric that his son is in “a safe place” at the very beginning. That’s why Jigsaw is one of the most iconic horror villains of the 21st Century,
9 The Village (2004)
The Village is a movie that is divisive, to say the least, especially the movie’s ending. It was arguably the beginning of M. Night Shyamalan’s end, as many critics complained about the lack of character development and the absence of thrills. But the ending is one of the most underrated pilot twists in Shyamalan’s canon of movies, as it reveals that the creatures in the woods are merely people costumes and that the rural 19th century that we thought we were watching is actually modern-day.
8 The Boy (2016)
The Boy is so laughably unscary that it’s insulting, but the movie’s twist actually leaves audiences craving to find out more. When Greta is hired to babysit a doll named Brahms in an eerie mansion, something’s clearly not quite right. As Greta brings over her boyfriend, the two of them start getting tormented by the doll. But hiding within the walls of the mansion is the real-life Brahms, who is now a grown man.
7 Hostel (2005)
Being one of the movies you never knew were produced by Quentin Tarantino, Hostel was generally seen as just another torture porn movie that was made off the success of Saw. But after the majority of the movie showed the protagonists getting tortured, once they escape their captors, it leads to a bittersweet ending.
Kana ends up committing suicide after she sees her disfigured face, and Paxton hears the voice of the Dutch businessman who tortured him when on a train to Vienna. Paxton seeks vengeance and murders the man in a public restroom.
6 Sleepaway Camp (1983)
On the face of it, Sleepaway Camp is one of the schlockiest slasher flicks ever made and one of the so-bad-its-good movies from the 80s. Throughout the whole movie, Angela is being bullied, but at the same time, the bullies are being picked off one by one.
Many people believe the murderer to be Ricky, Angela’s cousin. But at the end of the movie, it’s revealed that Angela is actually a boy and truly her brother Peter, who has been committing the murders the whole time. It’s also revealed that Angela died in a boating accident long beforehand, which leads to one of the most iconic final shots in horror movie history.
5 The Skeleton Key (2005)
Being one of the horror movies that will make you terrified of hospitals, The Skeleton Key transitions from a by-the-numbers horror flick to a body-switching nightmare by the time the credits roll. As an ancient couple keeps using bodies as vessels in order to live forever, they end up switching bodies with Kate Hudson and Peter Sarsgaard’s characters. It’s a chilling conclusion to an otherwise forgettable movie.
4 The Uninvited (2009)
In The Uninvited, Anna keeps trying to warn her father about a woman he intends to marry, Rachel, who Anna perceives to be a woman called Mildred Kemp. Mildred famously murdered three children when she was a nanny.
There is a lot of evidence throughout the movie for this to be true, such as Rachel having the same necklace as Mildred, but it turns out that Rachel was a genuinely nice person. And Anna got so disillusioned that she murdered Rachel, only to be institutionalized afterward.
3 High Tension (2003)
With High Tension being one of those foreign horror movies that took the world by storm every few years, most of its success is owed to the finale. The movie had a mostly negative reception, and it has since been looked at even more negatively in hindsight, but the ending, in which the killer of Alex’s parents is revealed to be her best friend, Marie, is one of the most shocking twists in a horror movie from the 21st Century.
2 April Fools Day (1986)
In what is another bang-average slasher movie, the final moments of April Fools Day increase the enjoyment of the viewing experience tenfold. After a member of a group of friends has gone on a stabbing spree, killing all but one of her friends, the final victim runs into a living room only to find all of her friends, who have previously been stabbed, chilling out and reading magazines. The best thing about this twist is that the clue is literally in the title of the movie, but throughout the whole 90 minutes, audiences were none the wiser.
1 The Shining (1980)
It might seem surprising, but upon its release, The Shining received a miserable reaction from critics. It was derided by the many film critics that could make or break any film at the time, including Roger Ebert. However, the end shot that reveals a photo of The Overlook Hotel in 1921 with Jack front and center is one of the most shocking final few seconds of any movie ever, and it has spawned so many fan theories.
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