Managing to surprise us hardened film watchers is not an easy task. In fact, even when the true identity of Keyser Soze was revealed, we pretended that we called it, just to save face.
But as the year draws to an end, we're commending the twists that managed to have us a tad gobsmacked, or at least raised an eyebrow. Needless to say, spoilers...
SET UP: A depressed woman is put on experimental drugs by her psychiatrist, which cause her to stab her husband in her sleep. She's found not guilty of murder due to diminished responsibility but her psychiatrist's entire life is left in tatters.
TWIST: The woman was faking all her side effects because she hated her husband for going to jail for illegal trading and ruining her privileged life and she'd been in cahoots with another psychiatrist who was also her lesbian lover! But then her new psychiatrist - the ones whose life she ruined - tricked her into confessing to murder and she wound up a drugged up vegetable in hospital!
SET UP: Simon, an art dealer, is knocked out during the theft of a very valuable painting. Inconveniently, this causes him to forget where he has hidden the painting, which he was stealing with the aid of some professional criminals. A psychiatrist is hired to hypnotise Simon and extract the whereabouts of the painting from his addled brain.
TWIST: The psychiatrist is actually Simon's ex-girlfriend who started erasing his memories with hypnosis when he became abusive and engineered a situation in which he'd need her help and would ultimately bring her the painting, and also there was something about shaven vaginas that was important but there were quite a lot of twists and it was confusing!
Robot & Frank
SET UP: Frank is suffering from dementia and is given a robot to assist him in his day-to-day life. Part of his daily routine involves chatting up the local librarian who is now single after a long relationship.
TWIST: The man the librarian divorced was actually Frank but he couldn't remember! And then the audience cried!
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
SET UP: Former victors of The Hunger Games are sent into a new arena to kill each other off and show the people of Panem that the leaders in The Capitol have power over all.
TWIST: Most of the victors have been conspiring together to destroy the Hunger Games arena and start an uprising to overthrow The Capitol! They just didn't tell Katniss!
Iron Man 3
SET UP: A terrorist named The Mandarin is bombing sites across America, which have left the authorities baffled with their lack of forensic evidence. When Tony Stark threatens The Mandarin on TV, his home is attacked and he flees and is presumed dead. He discovers The Mandarin's headquarters and confronts him.
TWIST: Turns out 'The Mandarin' is actually just an actor called Trevor Slattery who has been hired by Kirin, the head of a tech company who is developing a drug that turns people into bombs, and has no idea about any of the attacks!
SET UP: Vanelope, a glitch in the game Sugar Rush, dreams of racing with all the sprites and being a real part of the game, and seeks to do so with the help of Wreck-It Ralph, a villain from another game who wants to go straight. But Vanelope is told by King Candy, the ruler of Sugar Rush, that if she's allowed to compete it will destroy the entire game.
TWIST: Turns out Vanelope's not a glitch at all and that King Candy is really Turbo, a jealous character from a game that was retired, who messed with Sugar Rush's code so he could live again!
SET UP: When his daughter and her friend go missing, Keller is convinced that mentally troubled Alex took them, even though the police can't pin anything on him. He kidnaps and tortures Alex in an effort to extract information from him.
TWIST: Alex's aunt was actually the kidnapper and had been abducting children and killing them for years! Alex was one of the children she stole!
SET UP: Corrupt police detective Bruce Robertson is investigating a murder, which was witnessed by his doting wife. That is when he's not suffering increasingly bizarre hallucinations and torturing his colleagues and friends.
TWIST: It was not actually Bruce's wife who witnessed the murder but Bruce himself in drag, his wife having left him months ago!