There are a few storylines that you see in movies over and over again. This is generally not a bad thing; they work. But even if every movie that took up these tried-and-true plots were perfect, repetition can get, well, repetitive. With just a little tweak, however, they could be fantastically interesting tales.
Plenty of these stories pay lip service to the idea of the bad guys being sympathetic. Often that lip service is just that, a sad speech revealing their back story. Imagine a movie that actually took the villain seriously as a character trying to make a positive change in the world, only to be foiled by the heroes. That could breathe a lot of life into old stories.
10. The killer who has multiple personalities.
There has always been a bubbling genre of movies solely about an innocent victim being terrorized by a killer only to find that the killer . . . is himself! This is supposed to be deep and interesting, but most of the time it just sucks all the tension out of the conclusion. Looking at it from the point of view of the killer, though, could make it hilarious. Think how much fun it would be if Jigsaw spent an entire movie cackling over his latest trap only to find himself caught in it at the end thinking, "Aw, crap." Alternately, the movie could be done from the point of view of the world's most put-upon psychiatrist. "He's going to kill me!" "No. He's not." "I'm going to kill him!" "No. You're not."
9. The kids are the only ones who can see how things are really going down.
This is mostly a plot convention used to clear out grown-ups in a story so the kids can have a dangerous adventure that no responsible adult would allow them to have. Sometimes the kids understand what's happening by being in the right place at the right time. Other times they are the target of magic that doesn't affect adults. Either way, it would be funny if some precocious kid was going off to meet his destiny only to have an adult shove them aside and deal with it competently.
8. The government agent trying to contain the adorable alien.
Yeah, it's such a shame when those evil men with badges hunt down a totally innocent lifeform. But if it goes on one killing spree, who gets the blame for not getting there soon enough? (I still think this is how E.T. should have ended.)
7. The scared woman is menaced by an unknowable monster/monsters.
She has the mark of the chosen one! They will come for her! They will drag her down to the underworld! But only in the last scene. Up until then we get a series of near-misses which would be much more entertaining from the creature's point of view. And they don't have to be bad! Maybe they're just hungry! Trying to navigate a strange world just so you can hunt down your breakfast every morning would get any audience on their side.
6. Alien invasion!
This would be fun because we would know what the aliens are dealing with before they do, and get to watch the reaction from their side. And the final scenes, when the aliens are vanquished, would be priceless.
"Did that kid just sneeze on me? Oh well. It's probably fine."
"What the hell? He thinks I don't know how to use a doorknob? Oh. I don't."
"Why, oh why did we make our spaceships Mac-compatible?"
5. Any movie involving God giving someone a quest.
In any movie or TV show in which God, or the universe, or destiny picks out a random person to do a random quest, with sometimes dramatic and sometimes comical results, the character has a few questions. Usually they ask, "Why me?" Then they get around to, "Why this?" God just tells them to get a move on, and they end up discovering something about the need for compassion, or the mystery of life, or the strength of the human spirit. Meanwhile, the audience is left asking, "No. Seriously. Why them? And why that?" A really great film would provide answers as to why God chose to bug some schmuck into building an ark, or saved some other schmuck's life so he could find true love.
4. The evil corporation tries to hide evidence of wrongdoing.
There isn't anything too wrong about this plot. It's just that it's been done to death, and it would be interesting to see how these shocking revelations look from the other side; the side that's just doing business.
The Exorcist was a shocking and creative movie. Since then, the genre has been pretty dull. Get a pretty, innocent-looking young girl. Slap some make-up on her and have her contort her body. Then have her say things that are obscene the first time around, but just sound like obscenity madlibs the second and third time around. Seeing this process from the demon's point of view would have the same advantages as seeing the God plot from God's point of view. It would answer the questions of, "Why her? Why that?" Plus, it would be fun seeing a demon trying desperately to shock a modern priest. "Rape and sodomy jokes? That's the material of about ten percent of current stand-up comedians. You'll have to do better."
2. The vampire and his lady-love stand against the evil vampires who wish to destroy them.
I like the vampire genre, and I like this plot. But the vamps who scoff at the pure love of a vampire for his usually-teenage girlfriend, or even the ones who try to kill the happy couple, are in the right. The vampire in question is usually over a hundred years old. The girl is often between sixteen and twenty-one. That's a guy dating someone between one fifth and one tenth of his age. That's not a senior dating a freshman. It's a 80-year-old dating an 8-year-old. The other vamps should roll their eyes at the guy.
Taking it a step farther, you can look at a human as a different species from vampires. In this case, the vampire hero's not even dating someone too young for him. He's dating food. This is like a guy taking a cow to the prom. Or, given the intelligence of some of the heroines of these stories, a potato to the prom. The problem is, that potato has the potential to get the entire species in annihilated. If I were a master vampire, I'd come down hard on the idiots, too.
1. The freedom-loving rebels against the fascist empire.
From the empire striking back, to a ragtag group of serene space-western characters, to a guy who has a fetish for the letter V, this has to be the most popular storyline. I know that those who trade security for freedom end up losing both, and movies show that very well. The problem is, before you get to the point where you lose both, it's still a trade-off. And the term trade-off means that both concepts have value. To the rebels, the fascists who run their world have gone too far. What if there was a movie where, from some perspectives at least, they hadn't?
Isn't there someone on the Death Star who just wants to keep order in a massive system of planets, all filled with Cantinas in which people get shot regularly? Maybe this guy doesn't understand why people keep trying to blow up his workplace. What about the Alliance, which fought a war to try to organize and supply a sprawling galaxy full of colony planets, and is rightly annoyed by people randomly stealing from them? And while it's clear that the intolerant government that V railed against supported monsters, they also kept their country together when others were falling apart. How would a person working in that government react to a guy who takes hostages, shoots cops, and blows up buildings? The rebels want freedom, which sounds good in pop songs, but is that always the best idea? A look at the other side, for once, might make a good movie.