Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Great Twist Endings to use in movie scripts

Dancing House, the famous twisting building in Prague cityAre you writing a movie script? Want to write a great twist ending? As you may know, M. Night Shyamalan has made a good living writing twist endings. Even though M. Night tries to detach from the Mr. Twist Endings signature label, his movies almost always feature a twist at the movie end. Ready to write great twist endings?

Twist endings and or plot twists are revelations that occur in the ending to change the entire outcome. In movies, twist endings make movie fans rethink the plot design. Recent movies such as Chernobyl Diaries, Intruders, The Woman in Black, Shutter Island, and Cabin in the Woods feature twist endings.

The later movie is debatable since many Cabin in the Woods supporters argue that Josh Whedon throws out many hints to warn viewers that his movie is making fun of the horror genre. In any case, Cabin in the Woods never warned viewers of.. close your eyes if you haven't watched yet ... nightmares, past horror characters, fears, and the end of the world.

According to most twist ending or plot twist definitions, the ending spins the plot into another direction to provide new truth. The serial killer is another person. Examples of movie spoilers are below:

  • Twisted (Samuel L. Jackson is the killer instead of Ashley Judd) 
  • The Sixth Sense (Bruce Willis is a ghost)
  • Silent Hill (Rose and her daughter are dead)
  • Sleepaway Camp (Angela is a boy raised as a girl)
  • Psycho (1960) (Norman acts as his dead mother he killed - he is the killer)
  • The Game (Michael Douglas is in a game that seems too real - all staged up until he realizes his fate while following through the window)
  • Fight Club (Brad Pitt and Edward Norton are the same person - alter egos)
  • Shutter Island (Leo is a mental patient who lives in a fictional world - while working as U.S Marshall, he find that his wife murdered his children due to her depression - he kills his wife)
  • The Uninvited (Emily left a mental asylum to kill father's girlfriend - suggesting the girlfriend killed the mother in a fire she accidentally started. In the fire, the sister is also killed. The twist ending reveals the trickery involved in the plot)
  • The Usual Suspects (Kevin Spacey is the killer that uses content in the office to make up a false story - he is no crippled man - great twist ending)
  • Scream (two serial killers - one is Sidney's boyfriend)

When you experience movies with twist endings, the first thing most viewers claim is that I knew the twist would happen. Cabin in the Woods movie supporters informed us the predictable ending is obvious. Predicting endings can also serve as twist endings, though the screenwriter prefers to trick the viewers. 

How do you write great twist endings in your movie script? You can write out the twist ending first. This way, you can work backyard to tell the story. Another good screenwriting technique is to give small hints in small plot points throughout the story such as in Passengers movie. Watch the movie to get an idea of an effective twist ending with a major revelation to explain the entire plot. 

Great twist endings spin the plot into a new direction. Insert a surprise in the ending to show viewers a completely awesome twist. Psychological movies deliver great twist endings. Think back to Mr. Brooks ending in which Mr. Brooks calls Atwood to reveal Smith is not the Thumbprint killer. He asks Atwood the reason she chooses to become a detective rather than choose to be wealthy. The falling action is that Mr. Brooks daughter is like him - another killer with an alter ego such as himself. 

Want to write great twist endings? Watch movies with twist endings that compliment your movie genre. If you are planning a horror movie, watch horror movies with a twist. Enjoy psychological movies and psychological thrillers? Watch these types of movies to understand how the write shapes the twist from beginning to end. 

There is an art in writing twist endings? The twist ending relies on the setup. You are essentially revealing an untold truth to reshape the plot. M. Night Shyamalan is known as Mr. Twist Endings since his movies end with a twist. He presented his name as a billing on Devil. This movie features a twist ending that answers the questions presented in the setup.

Make sure you write twist endings that make sense. Throwing out a confusing ending will lose your audience. In our opinion, Cabin in the Woods has a bad twist ending. Avid fans will think otherwise that plot clues were available throughout the movie, and the movie end is an expected outcome. We suppose most movie viewers knew the ending would involve a dumb twist. We doubt it. A good writer wrote a bad ending. 

Practice writing short films with twist endings. A rule of thumb is to create a 10-20 page script. Once you get comfortable writing twist endings, then go after the full feature film. Write a twist ending that spins the plot. Flashbacks are the best writing technique to convey a twist ending. Write an awesome movie script with a great twist ending!  


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