Inspired by Sherlock’s “unhappy ending” in the last episode of season 2, I decided to collect the most shocking endings in film, literature, and Television. Endings which left us astonished, in awe, and downright confused.
1. Atonement by Ian McEwan
When I was finished reading that novel, I simply had to read it again because the ending changes everything that you have believed in and let’s you see the world of the Tallis sisters with other eyes. This is a happily ever after gone bad.
2. Fight Club
Sigmund Freud would enjoy himself gloriously watching that movie. You can picture him lying on couch, giggling with amusement because he would understand what’s going on here. The unconscious strikes back!
3. The Grey’s Anatomy Season Finales
Is there anything in the world that you can trust more thoroughly than the creative genius of series creator Shonda Rhimes when it comes to scripting a finale? Every year, Grey’s Anatomy blows my mind and it leads its characters into situations which suddenly leave them hanging in the air not knowing where to go. The only catastrophe that has not (yet) taken place is probably dinosaurs taking over Seattle.
4. The Sixth Sense
No need to talk about that. You all know the ending, don’t you?
When this movie starring Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman hit the cinemas, it was not yet known who the villain would be. So imagine sitting in a cinema and expecting to watch a Brad Pitt-flick and then there is… No, I’m not gonna tell who plays the villain just let me add that I met him personally, twice.
Plus, the overall plot of the movie is just genius, I think. “What is in the booooox?”
6. Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days
You knew they were gonna make it, but then they didn’t and you thought “Oh, no!”? Well a nice twist in the end can turn losers into heroes!
7. The Life of David Gale
Maybe for some of you, the ending was not a surprise but I clearly couldn’t get my head around it. It was surprising, smart, and moving… Plus: The movie offers a sequence of Kevin Spacey explaining Lacanian psychoanalysis. This does render it a must-see!
8. Shutter Island
I mean… let’s admit it. Was any of us really sure what had happened on that island? Really, really sure? If so… would you please explain it to me??
9. The Prestige
This movie is about the competition between two magicians. Just when you thought that the one of them now finally triumphed over the other you have a look at your watch and see that the movie goes on for one more hour. Then the game begins. You are never quite sure when this movie will end because you constantly think “Now, that’s it! He won.” and then the other magician comes back with a vengeance. Great popcorn cinema.
10. Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber
Angela Carter is a feminist writer who re-writes fairytales. Her stories are so uncanny and twisted that somehow you anticipate the outcome but somehow you are still a bit shocked in the end.
And my special prize goes to….
The ending of John Rambo is surprising because after having watched it, you will wonder how you could actually watch the whole movie. This movie earns the pole position on my “Why the hell did I watch that?”-list.
And yes, I do own this movie on DVD but just to force others to watch it, too.
I know that there are a lot more twisted movies for me to see and this page list the 50 Best and Worst Twist Endings in Movies. Some of which I like are rated fairly low by them but I stick to my list. I like a good twist in a story and could babble on for ages about the genius of Atonement. What are your WTF-moments in TV, film or literature?