The Art of the Twist

Confounding expectation with gut-punches in cinema

While M. Night Shyamalan’s films are famous for their twist endings, he was hardly the inventor of this cinematic device. His chief inspiration, Alfred Hitchcock, stunned audiences when Hollywood darling Janet Leigh was killed just over 30 minutes into Psycho. Another Hitchcock admirer, Wes Craven, would later take the shock to a new level when rising star Drew Barrymore died in the opening scene of Scream. Both Psycho and Scream packed on twist endings, leaving audiences gobsmacked — and doubting their…