Image Credit: IMDB

That surprising twist that makes you gasp when the horror movie villains aren't who you expect can make a scary film even more exciting. It's hard to believe, but it has been seven years since Fede Alvarez's Don't Breathe was released. In horror, the idea of the bad guys going into a situation and discovering that they have made a grave mistake is a favorite trope. Having those bad guys become the victims can be satisfying. Turning the narrative upside down keeps the narrative fresh and keeps the audience on their toes. Don't Breathe was meant to be a more realistic horror film without supernatural elements that could still thrill. Of course, as in real life, morality is complicated, and people do wicked things for reasons that only make sense to themselves. Sometimes, those actions hurt others, and that kind of harm has always been a part of horror storytelling. Let's check out some horror films where the villains become the victims, and the victim is much scarier than they could have ever suspected. Read more about Don't Breathe and Don't Breathe 2's complex morality in this interview with Fede Alvarez: Seeing Shades of Gray: Fede Álvarez On Don't Breathe 2.

  • From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)

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    Talk about hard left turns. From Dusk Till Dawn starts as a satirical black comedy crime film where two homicidal brothers can't stop taking hostages and committing mayhem. After taking a family hostage and driving to Mexico, the film becomes entirely new. The Gecko Brothers enter a biker and trucker bar in Mexico, waiting for their contacts to go to a haven for criminals with the family. Richie Gecko (Quentin Tarantino) gets bit, and suddenly, Seth Gecko (George Clooney) and the Fuller Family (Harvey Keitel, Juliette Lewis, and Ernest Liu) find out that the bar is a front for a large group of ancient vampires. Read more about KNB's makeup effects for the series spin-off in this Q&A: Makeup Master Greg Nicotero Talks From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series.

  • Monster Party (2018)

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    When a group of thieves decides to rob a mansion in Palm Springs, little do they know that the guests at the party happening at the estate are more dangerous than they could have imagined in Chris von Hoffmann's Monster Party. The film stars Sam Strike, Erin Moriarty, Robin Tunney, Julian McMahon, and Lance Reddick. Monster Party is a more obscure film that takes the concept and runs with it. There are chainsaws and katanas in this one. I won't divulge the twist, but it's not one that I have seen before in horror films.

  • Villains (2019)

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    Villains is a black horror comedy movie where two armed robbers stumble into what they think is an abandoned house and find a little girl chained up in the basement. While they aren't trying to rob the place, Mickey and Jules (Bill Skarsgård and Maika Monroe), the admittedly amateur criminals, make some disturbing discoveries. The couple who appear, George and Gloria (Jeffrey Donovan and Kyra Sedgwick), seem suspicious. This movie has flown under the radar, but with such good actors and a strange story, it deserves to be seen by more people. It was written and directed by Dan Berk and Robert Olsen. Read more about 11 Chilling Villains Who Would Make The Best Boss.

  • The Aggression Scale (2012)

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    The Aggression Scale has been likened to a much more violent version of Home Alone. A mob boss sends a group of hitmen to kill the people who stole his money while he was in jail and recover what they can. When they arrive at the last family on the list's home, the people they find are at first easily cowed. The son, Owen (Ryan Hartwig), who was previously institutionalized for his emotional disturbances, fights back and protects his sister Lauren (Fabianne Therese), the only other surviving member of the family. Steven C. Miller directed the film, featuring Ray Wise, Dana Ashbrook, and Derek Mears.

  • The Last House on the Left (1972)

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    Wes Craven's most horrific film is his 1972 feature film debut, The Last House on the Left. The film still enrages people with its lurid violence and sleazy ambiance. However, the most strange thing about the film is that it is based on Ingmar Bergman's black-and-white film about vengeance, The Virgin Spring. Sandra Peabody, Lucy Grantham, and David A. Hess, in a genuinely loathsome performance, star in the movie. It belongs on this list because a quartet of murderers picked the wrong house to stay overnight. The gentle parents of Mari, Estelle, and Dr. John Collingwood, figure out that their guests murdered their daughter and go on a gruesome revenge-killing spree.

  • No One Lives (2012)

    Image Credit: Anchor Bay Films

    No One Lives is about a group of robbers who kidnap the wrong person. While trying to make up for a botched robbery, the group grabs a couple, Betty and a man known only as The Driver (Luke Evans). When they try to interrogate the woman, she dies rather than give them any information, and The Driver escapes. The member of the gang who takes the couple's car finds an heiress in the trunk. She was kidnapped herself, and her 14 friends were slaughtered. So yes, they have a large problem. Ryuhei Kitamura directed the movie, and Adelaide Clemens, Lee Tergesen, Laura Ramsey, and Derek Magyar star in No One Lives.

  • Intruders (2015)

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    We're back in a home for Intruders, released in 2015. Anna Rook (Beth Riesgraf) is an agoraphobic who has cared for her brother Conrad while he was dying of cancer. She has made a friend with Dan Cooper (Rory Culkin), the man who delivers her groceries, and offers him a lot of money to leave town as he cannot afford to. Dan refuses, but three men come to the house to rob the woman. Anna cannot leave the house but starts to turn the tables on the robbers with the help of devices in the home that allow her to trap people in the basement, and she is more than able to fight. It turns out that Anna's brother was a serial killer, and that's the one bit of information Dan couldn't have told them when he spilled the information about the money. Adam Schindler directed Intruders, which also stars Martin Starr and Jack Kesy.

  • The Owners (2020)

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    The Owners is a bleak horror movie where the villains are the lovely old couple who own the house that three young men decide to rob because they heard the home has a safe. It stars Maisie Williams, Sylvester McCoy, and Rita Tushingham, and since it was released in 2020, the release was somewhat obscure due to the closures of movie theaters. Julius Berg directed the film based on a French graphic novel, A Moonlit Night or Une nuit de pleine lune. When you get to it, the twist is a real stomach dropper. Read more about the new slasher film and exclusive Dark Windows Clip: Someone Else Is In The House.

  • House on Willow Street (2016)

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    But is there a supernatural version of this trope? There certainly is! House on Willow Street is the demon version of the story. It's directed by Alastair Orr and stars You're Next's final girl, Sharni Vinson, Carlyn Burchell, and Steven Ward. Four criminals led by Hazel (Vinson) plot to kidnap a diamond heiress named Katherine. The feat accomplished, they investigate the house and find dead bodies, two priests, and Katherine's parents. Katherine herself is sick and doesn't resist them. The situation is strange but comes into focus when the kidnappers are haunted by their dead family members. Who's the biggest villain in this movie? Demons.

  • Project Wolf Hunting (2020)

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    Even though I could easily continue listing movies where people are surprised by the evil inhabitants of homes, let's switch things up for this last film. Project Wolf Hunting is a South Korean movie along the lines of Con Air on a cargo ship. When a most dangerous group of South Korean criminals are being repatriated from Manila by sea, you think they will be the source of trouble, and at first, you would be right. The real problem with this mission is the government's secret test subjects that are also being transported on the boat, and after the bad guys take control of the ship, they and the surviving police have to survive a monstrous threat from beyond the grave. Project Wolf Hunting was directed by Kim Hong Sun.

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