30 unexpectedly great movies that blew people away

By The Lego movie nasty Edge of tomorrow, there’s a lot of good in this.

Sometimes… okay, maybe very often, people go to movies with pretty low expectations (I know I definitely do). Whether it’s because the trailer made it look bad or you just “heard bad things,” not all movies are as excited when audiences go to the cinema or sit down to stream.

Sometimes, though, movies really do tell people to surprise! So when Reddit user u/Corn-G asked the question, “What was the most unexpectedly amazing movie you’ve ever seen?” to the AskReddit community, well, I took notes. These are the top-voted comments:


The Lego movie (2014)

Warner Bros / Courtesy Everett Collection

“Might as well have been a two-hour cop.”



Arrival (2016)

Paramount / Everett Collection

“I thought it would just be another alien movie, hadn’t really paid attention to trailers either. Was pleasantly surprised.”



Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)

Walt Disney Co. / Courtesy Everett Collection

“When it came out, I was 12 (perfect age for that movie), and nobody could have predicted it would be this big. I went in with my sister, expecting nothing, and came out amazed. I still think that the movie’s first movie was great.”



Edge of tomorrow (2014)

Warner Bros / Courtesy Everett Collection


Everything is lit (2005)

Warner Independent Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

“It was a flop at the box office, didn’t do very well at all. My ex took me to weird movies. I was like, ‘uh… fuck it, at least Frodo (Elijah Wood) is in it.’

That movie surprised me like a train. I enjoyed it very much. People generally loved it too, but some critics left it out for some reason. Whatever.”



Tucker & Dale vs. evil (2010)

Maple Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

“It was a random decision, but now I’ve rewatched it with several friends! It’s incredibly funny, and of course Alan Tudyk crushes it.”



District 9 (2009)

Sony Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection


“Yes!! Breeding Shrimp. As a South African I am particularly proud of this one.”



The cabin in the woods (2011)

Lions Gate / Courtesy Everett Collection

“A friend of mine who worked in the cinema got some friends and me free tickets to two movies in a row. We usually went for the first and Cabin was just a perk, but oh man. I can’t even remember what the first movie was. We came in with zero expectations and just thinking it would be a standard horror movie deal, but we were completely blown away when the twist started to unfold. And it doesn’t even depend on the twist like a crank; the twist doubles as an excuse to have fun, and it was a super fun movie.”



Guardians of the Universe (2014)

Walt Disney Co. / Courtesy Everett Collection

“I was a little burned out with comic books since the cross-dressing that was… Iron Man 3. And here was this movie with a completely obscure set of characters that I had never heard of. So I wasn’t interested. But my family wanted to go, so I decided to go. What followed is one of my all-time favorite movies. Bless James Gunn, you even managed to make a good sequel.”



Second hand lions (2003)

New Line Cinema / Courtesy Everett Collection

“It’s a childhood favorite, and yet few people seem to have heard of it.”


“Such an unexpectedly moving film!!”



Princess Mononoke (1997)

Miramax / Courtesy Everett Collection

“I thought it was just another anime, then I watched it and was sucked into the world of Mayazaki. Great movies.”



John Wick (2014)

Summit Entertainment / Courtesy Everett Collection


“I did it one night when I was in the mood to just rest and watch something before going to bed, and ended up staying awake the whole time. Keanu Reeves was great in that movie, the fight scenes were like watching the crazy things in the matrix for the first time, and the story actually wasn’t half bad.”



What we do in the shade (2014)

The Orchard / Courtesy Everett Collection

“Had no expectations. Probably one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen.”


“I absolutely love that movie. Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement are hilarious in it. I have to see it again now.”



The Labyrinth of Pan (2006)

Picturehouse / Courtesy Everett Collection

“I really love that movie. Not at all what I expected.”

Lord Of Hunger__

“That’s one of the few movies I got so into, I forgot I was reading subtitles. Definitely one of my all-time favorite movies and made me like Guillermo del Toro movies.”



Kung Fu Hustle (2004)

Sony Pictures Classics / Courtesy Everett Collection

“My boyfriend forced me to watch it and I didn’t have it. I didn’t feel like reading subtitles for the next few hours while watching a foreign movie. It’s easily one of my favorite movies and I even prefer the subtitles above the dubbed version. Okay, I’m going to check it out now.”



Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014)

20th Century Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection


“Yeah! I thought it was just going to be some basic action/comedy that I wasn’t interested in, and I only saw it because my boyfriend picked it on a whim. It was the best movie I saw that year. I can’t listen more to ‘Freebird’ without on That scene.”



Ex Machina (2014)

A24 / Courtesy of Everett Collection

“I didn’t fucking know about it, and that’s exactly how you should see this movie.”

Hello Friend_

“My wife and I rented it because it looked interesting. What a great movie. I was completely surprised.”

stack of brains


Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Rogue Pictures / Everett Collection

“Expected Scary Movie kind of parody (i.e. so unfunny, it’s horrifying) but turned out to be epic.”



Captain Fantastic (2016)

Cathy Kanavy / Bleecker Street Media / Courtesy Everett Collection

“Had no expectations and honestly didn’t know about going in. Went with my sister and loved it.”



Fantastic Mr Fox (2009)

Greg Williams // 20th Century Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection

“A beautiful film with some crazy adult humor in it.”


“It was a really strange one. The first time I was confused and didn’t really understand it, but after the second it really poked my imagination. Really well done.”

time chuck


10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

Michelle K. Short / Paramount / Courtesy Everett Collection

“I went in because I wanted to watch a movie at the theater and it was the only thing I was kind of interested in. Loved it. Had no idea what it was about. Thought it was a sequel to clover field, but wasn’t sure due to the lack of aliens and any kind of mention of the first movie. I can’t wait for the next one.”

davis ladies


Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017)

Frank Masi / Columbia Pictures / Everett Collection

“I expected it to be absolute nonsense, but in the end I laughed myself to tears.”


“Yeah, I thought there was no way a jumaji ‘sequel’ could be good… boy was I wrong. I was rightly laughing out loud at some of the scenes, especially Jack Black’s.”



The nice guys (2016)

Daniel McFadden / Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

“I had a few hours to kill before starting a shift at the cinema I used to work at, and I got free tickets, so I thought I’d see it.”



big fish (2003)

Columbia Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

“I loved that movie, never heard of it, but it came on Saturday afternoon when I was home alone. It just gripped me from start to finish.”



The prestige (2006)

Touchstone Photos / Courtesy Everett Collection


“Just watched this movie a few days ago after it was referenced in a YouTube video I was watching. I’m so glad I decided to watch it on a whim.”



baby driver (2017)

Tristar Photos / Courtesy Everett Collection

“The name sounded stupid to my ears, but the movie is really good in every way – script, cinematography, acting, music, stunts…”



Children of men (2006)

Universal / Courtesy of Everett Collection

“I knew absolutely nothing about it, loved the story and the way it was shot was incredible.”


“The battle scene they walk through at the end is deservedly one of the best scenes I’ve ever seen. It gives me the shivers every time.”



the matrix (1999)

Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

“My ex wanted to see it and I thought it was okay to please him. Then Carrie-Anne Moss, in a damn black leather catsuit, started climbing walls and doing somersaults and knocking down a bunch of cops, and I was hooked.”



Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind (2004)

Focus Films / Courtesy Everett Collection


“I saw it when it came out (huge Gondry fan) and happened to go through a breakup, and wow, that movie is such a real representation of what it feels like to go through a relationship that ends up a little rough. Easily one of my top 10 favorite movies of all time.”



And finally, hitman (2015)

Lions Gate / Courtesy Everett Collection

“I just knew it had something to do with the drug trade and it was Benicio Del Toro. I took my girlfriend who knew less than that…

… we were in the theater just a few minutes after the lights came on, just trying to process how cool it was. One of my favorite movies that year.”


Which movie were you pleasantly surprised by? Tell us in the comments below and you might be featured in a future BuzzFeed post!

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