GHOST STORIES – When Revelation Undercuts Execution

Spoilers ahead for the 2017 film Ghost Stories, as well as a handful other films that share its big twist.

I can’t remember the last time a plot twist in a short story, film, television series or novel truly startled me. The ones that come to mind at the moment are from Unbreakable and Fallen, but both of those are from before I even reached drinking age. The final twist of Us also stood out to me, but just made me think, “Oh, okay,” rather than, “Holy shit! Didn’t see that coming.” Surely some other “unpredictable” twist must have had an impact on me in the last fifteen years of movie watching, but I can’t think of one at the moment. I’ve enjoyed–even loved–plenty of other movies that featured a twist, but the twist is rarely near the top of the reasons why most stories stand out to me. That leaves me to believe that the plot twist, one of the most deliciously irresistible devices available in any writer’s toolbox, is somewhat overrated. Not bad, just not the thing that ought to be the most important element of a story in most cases. read more

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Us: “Obvious” Twist Beats “Cheap” Twist

I have a lot of thoughts about Jordan Peele’s Us, about 95% of which are positive (with the remaining 5% being “less positive,” though not outright negative), which should make it  difficult to pin down the one thing related to it that I most urgently want to blog about. Fortunately, all the lines on my multi-track mind occasionally get switched over to a single track with no bottlenecking, so here I am, ready to devote several hundred words or more to the movie’s twist ending, as it relates to twist endings in general. read more

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