I have watched many movies such as Sixth Sense, where there is a major twist that if known prior to watching the movie can potentially spoil the enjoyment of viewing. I tend not to watch this type of movies again, or certainly no more than once, and wondered if this is a common reaction.

Is there any evidence that would suggest that comparatively, this type of films, whilst they may do well at cinema, have relatively poor post-cinema sales (I am thinking of the ratio between box-office and DVD/BluRay sales). So, for any budding directors, is this the type of movie to shy away from?

  • 2
    I saw the Sixth Sense for the first time when it premiered on TV (years after cinema release) and had somehow not heard what the twist was. Dec 1, 2011 at 11:48
  • 2
    I'm not sure a movie can be great if the only distinguishing feature is a major plot twist. I'd like to see numbers on some of the twist movies I've enjoyed watching repeatedly. Here are some: The Sixth Sense; Lucky Number Slevin; Unbreakable; Pulp Fiction; The Prestige; The Usual Suspects; The Crying Game; Fight Club; Planet of the Apes... Others might add Star Wars (whichever one has "I am your father") Shutter Island ...
    – matt_black
    Dec 1, 2011 at 23:02
  • 4
    @matt_black: I don't remember the twist in Pulp Fiction. What was it?
    – tshepang
    Dec 2, 2011 at 8:36
  • @Tshepang I may be stretching the definiton of twist by this, but the audience-surprising thing is that the Travolta character (vincent Vega) is killed in the middle of the movie and alive at the end. Of course this isn't a twist in the actual timeline, but the movie is told out of sequence, so it kind of feels like one.
    – matt_black
    Dec 2, 2011 at 17:30
  • 5
    @matt_black: Yep. You really are stretching the definition of twist. I don't even remember being surprised, considering that it was very clear that the last scene is a continuation of the first.
    – tshepang
    Dec 5, 2011 at 7:44

1 Answer 1


A properly executed plot twist often causes opposite reactions of what you've just described. People want to watch the movie again because the ending was so unexpected that they need to review the whole thing to get all the puzzle pieces together. "Fight Club" is a great example, in my opinion. There's a lot of dialogue (especially the lines from Helena Bonham Carter) that doesn't make any sense if you don't know the ending. You will enjoy and understand Fight Club much better after a second view.

There are many ingredients that define the quality and longevity of a movie. Directors should not be afraid to use a plot twist, but relying only on this trick - especially if it is predictable - may ruin the whole experience.

  • 2
    "Fight Club" is indeed a perfect example of a plot-twist giving a whole new experience when watching it again. Though the movie's impact on me was significantly stronger when watching it the first time (but this is rather normal and doesn't need to be only due to the twist, I still enjoy watching it).
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Dec 2, 2011 at 18:03
  • 8
    "The Usual Suspects" is also a good example of a movie that can be enjoyed even after finding out who Keyser Soze is. I think the problem is that M. Night got so into the idea of a 'twist ending', he didn't know how else to find the ending of a film. Jan 12, 2012 at 14:13
  • 2
    "Book of Eli" is another good example. It's very different watching it the second time. Aug 30, 2012 at 16:04
  • 1
    Other examples of movies with properly executed plot twists: "The machinist", "Memento", "Old boy"
    – jsedano
    Oct 11, 2013 at 21:29

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .