If used properly, a great plot twist can be utterly transformative, and it can get to the point where it overshadows everything else that came before it. Even in a poor film, a good twist can sometimes distract from all of the plot holes and boring characters that had preceded it. But sometimes, a good plot twist isn’t enough.
Even when a twist is glorious - whether clever or delightfully revelatory - some movies are just so bad that there's no redeeming them.
But that’s to say nothing of the twists themselves, however. Whether revealing the true villain, explaining the insane premise, or reshaping how we understand the story, all of these twists were still utterly mind-blowing. When taken on their own merits, these twists are quite wonderful, but when taken with the entire film, they just weren’t quite enough to rescue their entire movies.
Even in their awfulness, though, the twists here offered glimpses of what might have been, highlighting great ideas that could have turned terrible movies into something less difficult to watch. In some cases, making awful films great. But because nobody really paid attention, they now just look like missed opportunities and strange footnotes in entirely forgettable films.
13. The Devil's Advocate - Al Pacino's Satan Will Never Stop
The Twist: After lawyer Kevin Lomax (Keanu Reeves) sells his soul to win a court case, he quickly finds himself working for John Milton (Al Pacino) at a massive New York firm. With Lomax slowly falling into despair, Milton reveals himself to be Satan, his father, who wants him to conceive the anti-Christ.
When Lomax refuses and kills himself, he finds himself back in the original courtroom, choosing instead to step away from the case. Thinking his ordeal is over, Milton re-appears as a reporter, apparently never going to stop tormenting Lomax until he decides to obey him.
Why It Almost Saved The Movie: The twist is emblematic of why the film failed as a whole. Its over-the-top bombast overshadowed the more subtle, but interesting message underneath. For example, Pacino delivers the twist by turning right to the audience and proclaiming, “Vanity, definitely my favourite sin.”
In doing this, we focus more on the fact that he’s speaking to us instead of the more interesting notion that he will keep coming after Lomax over and over again. It’s entirely possible that Milton’s done this before but the movie isn’t smart enough to place a focus on that.