When did the near-dictatorship of twist endings — the all-but-mandatory belief in the necessity of “holy shit, didn’t see that one coming!” finales — sink into the minds and souls of screenwriters, directors, producers and studio chiefs? Because outside the realm of modestly proportioned personal relationship dramas like The Way Back or the forthcoming Never Rarely Sometimes Always, it’s a very rare thing to not encounter a twist ending of some kind. Especially in the genre, thriller and fantasy arenas.
I only know that as God is my father, witness, co-partner and cruel taskmaster I’ve come to really and truly hate this affliction, this cancer, this oppression, this entrapment.
People have been bemoaning the twist syndrome for a long while, I realize, but where did it all begin? With O. Henry, right? Rod Serling‘s The Twilight Zone (’59 to ’64), the episodes of which almost always ended with a twist, is also partly to blame. Along with M. Night Shyamalan‘s The Sixth Sense, of course. I only know that this feeling of being cornered and suffocated by twist endings (like the way The Invisible Man ended) is awful. I’m sure there are many exceptions to the rule, but like to assemble a list of significant 21st Century genre films that didn’t end with (a) a twist or (b) a set-up for a sequel.