GCSE English Language: Top three films with twist endings!

GCSE English Language with a twist!

Twist endings work brilliantly for short stories, and if you can manage one in your English Language exam they can knock an examiner’s socks off.  But what is a twist?

A twist turns the expectations of the audience upside down. In English, we call this “subverting the audience’s expectations.” A good twist ending will reveal that all the things you were led to assume during the rest of the story were not as they seemed. That doesn’t mean that they didn’t foreshadow the twist, however! Writers often start with the twist ending and work backwards, weaving hints about the twist into the story. The audience should be shocked, but should also think, that makes sense!


These are my top three films with twist endings! I have tried to choose films you won’t have seen and I have tried to pick from three different genres.

Questions to ask yourself when you watch:

  • What expectations did the screenwriter/director set up? What were your predictions about the film at the start?
  • What other predictions did you make along the way? Did they change as the story unfolded?
  • Did they trick you into making any assumptions? How?
  • Was there any foreshadowing, or was the twist a complete surprise?

The Sixth Sense (1999, rated15) – When I think of twists, I think of this film. M. Knight Shyamalan’s first film is about child psychologist Malcolm Crowe, who starts treating a young boy who believes he sees ghosts. At first, Crowe thinks the boy is mentally unwell, but as events unfold, it seems he might really have the power to communicate with the dead.


The twist in this is one you probably won’t see coming, but on second viewing it is foreshadowed throughout. Shyamalan’s later films are known for some crazy, unbelievable twists, but this one is very well-crafted!

Psycho (1960, rated 15) – If any of you are into classic cinema, you’ve probably heard of Alfred Hitchcock and his career as a director of suspenseful mystery films. You might even know the twist! Psycho is about Marion Crane, a young woman on the run who stops at the motel of a strange but sweet young man called Norman Bates. On her first night there, Marion is brutally murdered, and the culprit seems to be Norman’s overbearing mother, Mrs. Bates. From then on, we follow Marion’s sister and boyfriend as they try to retrace her steps and solve the mystery of her murder

Coco (2017, rated PG) – This gorgeous animation follows Miguel, a young aspiring musician in a town that has banned music. In order to follow in the footsteps of his musical idol, Ernesto de la Cruz, Miguel travels to the colourful, musical Land of the Dead where he meets a loveable trickster named Hector. Together, the two go on a stunning musical journey to find Ernesto and uncover Miguel’s true family history. Perfect for those of you who want something more modern and less bloody than the previous three recommendations!


The twist in this film involves the music, memory and murder. I will say no more!