Horror fans, and lovers of genre-invigorating cinema in general, you’re in for one hell of a surprise this weekend.

Opening in theaters nationwide, and hopefully becoming the first movie to dethrone The Hunger Games as the new box office chart-topper (wishful thinking, we know), The Cabin in the Woods (co-written by producer Joss Whedon and director Drew Goddard) is many things: It’s a total deconstruction of nearly every horror movie cliché, trope, and supernatural antagonist; it’s the best and smartest meta-horror film since 1996’s Scream, and arguably better than Wes Craven’s tongue-in-cheek slasher flick, at that; and it’s the year’s best, not to mention most giddily off-the-rails, movie thus far.

The Cabin in the Woods does earn another distinction, only this one’s a bit trickier to explain without venturing into spoiler territory, which we’re not about to do. But here’s the carefully written skinny: Whedon’s and Goddard’s script is basically one giant twist. There’s a big secret going on around the five collegiate archetypes (including Thor himself, Chris Hemsworth, as the "jock") occupying the secluded cabin of the film’s title, yet Whedon and Goddard’s self-aware screenplay never makes that a mystery. From its hilarious opening sequence onward, The Cabin in the Woods flaunts an inevitable twist in our faces like a stripper does her twos, and when it’s finally revealed, the payoff is, to put it lightly, exceptional.

Now that Whedon and Goddard have essentially blown apart everything we thought we knew about how a film’s late-game shock is handled, it seems like a good time to look back at the flicks that have left us reeling in bewilderment and/or amazement. Without further jawing, Complex presents: The 50 Best Movie Twists.


Written by Matt Barone (@MBarone)

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