Reverse horror is a sub-genre that's been doing the rounds online lately. The term itself is a fun way to explain a simple concept: Most horrors have a clear villain, but what if the protagonists weren't so virtuous after all? Could the villain actually be the real hero, and consequently could the film's protagonists, by extension, be the true antagonists?
For example, is Frankenstein's monster actually the villain? He may be a reanimated corpse with anger management issues but cursing a sentient creature to a lifetime of rejection and necrotic genitalia? That's just cruel.
With consideration, it's actually Victor Frankenstein who's the REAL monster, something understood particularly well by the Peter Cushing Hammer movies.
There's also plenty of examples in mainstream cinema, like the closet hero Severus Snape in the Harry Potter franchise, but the ole' switcheroo in a horror can be a tough sell - when you've invested two hours in a high concept villain it's hard to convincingly pull that rug, so which films nailed the flip?
Featuring ghosts who think they're people, the last man alive on the planet and a classic movie monster who unexpectedly warmed the hearts of millions, here are ten exquisite horror movies that REVERSE all expectations...
10. The Others (2001)
In 2001, Nicole Kidman was hot property; she had carved out a separate career from then-husband and sofa-leaping loon Tom Cruise with films like the commercially huge (but artistically questionable) Batman Forever, Baz Luhrmann's camp theatrics in Moulin Rouge! and period thriller The Portrait Of A Lady.
Still, The Others was an interesting choice for Kidman. Directed by Alejandro Amenábar, the Spanish talent behind Vanilla Sky/Open Your Eyes, this is a seemingly traditional British ghost story that transforms into a reverse horror.
Grace (Kidman) awaits the return of her husband from conflict in Europe. The year is 1945 and although the war is over, he still has not returned. Adding to her worries, the servants have mysteriously vanished overnight and she has two young children who suffer from extreme photosensitivity - meaning exposure to anything brighter than a candle could be fatal.
When they begin to hear voices and locked doors start to open themselves, Grace eventually becomes convinced that the house must be haunted.
The film initially seems to play out like many a standard spook fest, with creepy sequences centred on Victor, the 'ghost' of a boy the same age as Ann, Grace's daughter.
The film's climax, however, gives the audience a sobering twist - Grace, her children and the servants are in fact the ghosts, murdered by their own mother. The 'ghosts' are the new owners of the house, attempting to contact the dead through a (terrifying) white-eyed medium. Sorrowful, scary and switched.