Everybody with a brain likes a good mindf*ck once in a while, right? The damage done to your scalp from repeated head-scratching is nothing compared to the satisfaction and pleasure from a nice confusing narrative jolt. Of course, this doesn’t apply to the characters involved, who are often left shattered by the onscreen twists and turns. The characters in Retreat are no exception. So, in honor of the film’s DVD release on 2/21, open your mind up to five of the best cinematic mindf*cks of all time.

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Total Recall

Unlike the other movies on this list, Total Recall actually refers to its central twist as "a mindf*ck." It goes like this: Arnold Schwarzenegger is an average, everyday family man living in the far-off future of 2084. One of the benefits of living in the future is that instead of going on an expensive vacation, you can get the memories of a vacation implanted in your skull - and these memories can even be exciting and dangerous adventures. That's the option Arnie goes for, but it all goes awry when the dangerous adventure turns out to be real - or does it?


Revenge stories aren't generally known for their complicated mindf*ck plots, at least not outside of Korea. But Oldboy has one of the best and most troubling twists ever. The main character is locked in a room for 15 years, his wife murdered and his daughter sent to live with foster parents, and he has no idea why. Then, he's set free, and a complicated chain of events transpires that eventually results in, among other things, incestuous sex with a woman revealed to be his own daughter. No amount of exposition can make that OK, man.

Fight Club

Ed Norton in Fight Club is the type of average schlub they're always making movies about. Generally they find out their true purpose in life and live happily ever after, but in Fight Club he finds out his true purpose in life is causing chaos and destruction (and beating the shit out of other guys on Saturday nights). The mindf*ck comes in when the person who allowed him to discover all these wonderful things, Brad Pitt's Tyler Durden, turns out to be the other half of Norton's personality, which he then blows out of his head with a pistol. Disclaimer for all amateur psychologists out there: Don't try that at home. They make pills for it.

Minority Report

Another movie mindf*ck from the mind of Philip K. Dick (he wrote the story that Total Recall is based on, as well), Minority Report deals with the concept of Precrime, in which people are arrested for crimes they are shown to commit in the future according to three "precogs" with the power to look into the future. If you think that's a mindf*ck, just wait until you see the twisty noir plot, in which one of the higher-ups in the Precrime organization, played by Tom Cruise, is shown as a future murderer. Luckily, Tom Cruise is really good at explaining things while running, so it never gets too confusing to follow.


One perfect way to get to mindf*ck land is to start messing around with the world of the subconscious. There are no rules there, and anything can happen. That's the world that Leonardo DiCaprio works in - more specifically he's a thief who can jump into yours subconscious while you sleep and steal your ideas. But Christopher Nolan's blockbuster thriller deals with an even more complicated procedure: It's called "inception," and it's the process of digging deep into a person's subconscious mind and planting an idea there so it seems like the person had it himself. As you might imagine, the depiction of dreams within dreams within dreams makes for one of the best movie mindf*cks in recent memory.

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