Expecting the Unexpected: A Short List of Some of the Best Thriller Movies

Hear every tick of the clock. Get excited in the chase. Feel the rush of blood through every vein. Sense every quiver of a beating heart. Play with every human emotion. These are only several of what thriller movies have to offer to people who continually patronize this genre over the past years and even until today.

A thriller movie is basically characterized by the intensity of events which gives the viewer a heightened anticipation of what the outcome may be. It is very different from the other genres because emotions are being played with, and excitement is its center of attraction. Aside from this, the elements that quite spice up every scene are the twists and turns which may come out in an unexpected manner, ready to astonish everyone even until the closing credits roll. But what makes a thriller movie worth to see is its ending that can surprise the audience.

There are countless films which have a great story plot with thriller as the genre. Some of the best thriller movies with twist endings include:

1. Now You See Me (2013).

Now You See Me

This movie is directed by Louis Leterrier and starred Jesse Eisenberg, Morgan Freeman, and Mark Ruffalo. It is about four excellent magicians who have received four different tarot cards reflecting their own style of doing magic from an unknown man. They came together as “The Four Horsemen” and performed unfathomable magic tricks of stealing cash and leaving it divided among their audience. They are being investigated by an FBI agent, which seems to be always two steps behind them. It is included in some of the lists of IMDB’s best thriller movies with twist endings of 2013.

2. The Tourist (2010).

The Tourist

This film is among 2010’s best thriller movies with twist endings. It featured the cleverness and chemistry of Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie which is really exciting and fun to watch. It depicts the story of a man named Alexander Pearce, who is being hunted by the police due to his $744 million worth of credit. He is believed to have undergone plastic surgery to change his appearance and the only person who seems to know anything about him is his lover, Elise. She received instructions from Pearce to frame up an American tourist named Frank Tupelo. Blinded by lies, Frank will then encounter a lot of fast-paced events that he never expected to happen during his trip, including falling in love with the lover of one of the world’s notorious robbers.

3. The Prestige (2006).

The Prestige

Magic is indeed undeniably exceptional, however the methods behind it is what it makes it extraordinary. This is the highlight of this film starring Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, and Scarlett Johansson with Christopher Nolan as director. The story involves two magicians each obsessed with their craft: magic. Set back in the 1800s were top hats and theaters are very popular, both magicians who are co-workers which eventually turned into rivals had their lives entangled with each other, both full of betrayal, greed, and revenge. This movie, which won Best Cinematography and Best Art Direction in the 2006 Academy Awards, is considered by many critics as one of the best thriller movies with twist endings.

4. Inception (2010).

Inception (2010)

Included among Netflix’s Top Ten Rented Movies of All Time, Inception is also directed by Christopher Nolan and starred Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon Levitt, and Tom Hardy to name a few. The story follows a man and his team who rob by getting into the subconscious of their victims. Known as extractors, they obtain information of a person’s deepest secret through “inception” or “shared dreaming”. Together, they are bound into performing its most impossible task: planting an idea into a person’s subconscious.

5. Non-stop (2014).


Still among the best thriller movies with twist endings is Non-stop with Liam Neeson portraying a US Federal Air Marshall with a dark past. Set in a plane where the altitude is 40,000 feet above the ground, his trust will be tested and his dedication to service will be assessed. A series of mysterious text messages have been sent to his phone demanding a handful amount of money or somebody aboard the plane will die every twenty minutes. The enigma starts when he is about to identify the killer as well as disarming a bomb planted inside the plane.

6. Angels and Demons (2009).

Angels & Demons (2009)

Not only included among the best thriller novels, but the film as well is also among the best thriller movies with twist endings. Fanatics of Dan Brown’s novel series of intriguing mysteries encountered by Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon will surely not miss this movie. The story revolves on Langdon’s quest in discovering the secrets of the Illuminati, an ancient archenemy of the Vatican, in the midst of tragedy of the Pope’s death and the commencement of the papal conclave. Moreover, he is also bound on finding the deadliest weapon ever created in the world: the antimatter, before it destroys millions of innocent lives who are witnessing the historic event of electing a new Pope.

7. Exam (2009).

Exam (2009)

Taking an exam in real life is boring, but maybe this movie will change the way one thinks about how it goes. This British film is realistically set in England, wherein a company is conducting an employment assessment test which is the final step towards a notable job position. Eight candidates were about to take the exam and only one question is asked to be answered in 80 minutes. Bounded with three rules to avoid disqualification, the applicants will be tested on how far they are willing to risk to have the most coveted job and prove their worth to the company.

8. Players (2012).

Players (film)

What sets this movie apart from the others is that aside from action-packed scenes, it has a lot of singing and dancing. Why? Because it is a Bollywood film. Six robbers who call themselves “Players” are about to do the most difficult robbery in their lives: to steal gold bars worth $1.7 million. Unexpectedly, one of them betrayed the group and got all of the gold for himself. After one year, the rest of the group is bound to find the traitor for revenge and get the rightful amount of money they deserve, and it is done in the most clever tactics one could not possibly imagine.

9. Unknown (2011).


“What is really going on with this film?” This will be the utmost question of any viewer who will be able to watch this motion picture. This follows the story of a man who wakes up from a comatose state where his identity has been taken by someone else and his wife and colleagues denies his existence. With a help of a stranger, he discovers the real truths and lies engulfing his identity.

10. Fermat’s Room (2007).

Fermat's Room (2007)

This Spanish movie is slow-paced at first, but if patient enough, a wait will not be put to waste as it is one of the best thriller movies with twist endings. Although a bit technical due some mathematical terms, Fermat’s Room has an excellent plot. Four mathematicians are invited by someone named “Fermat” to solve a great mathematical enigma. Not knowing each other, they had their identities concealed through the use pseudonyms based on famous mathematicians. However, they will eventually find themselves trapped inside a room and a series of strange math questions are given to them by the mysterious Fermat, each to be answered within one minute. If a question is unanswered, the walls of the room slowly contracts, gradually setting them to their deaths.

The motion pictures featured above are just a few that comprise the long list of the best thriller movies with twist endings which is still currently waiting to be filled with many more amazing stories to be told, lives to be understood, and lessons to be learned. As long as fans sought after it, thriller movies will continue to excite and surprise every one of them.

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