Let me amend that. Most of the time, I like a good plot twist. I don’t mind being tricked by an author or screenwriter as long as it’s a fair set up. In my opinion, all the clues leading up to the plot twist should be available to the reader. In other words, the plot should be fair. Misdirection should be based on writing skill, not cheap tricks. Not everyone shares this opinion; some people don’t mind being manipulated by an unfair plot and just enjoy the ride.
When a reader is fooled, they should be able to look back and see the evidence of what was about to happen all along. The first time I was so completely fooled was when I read Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie as a youth. I was totally surprised by the murderer’s identity, but when I went back through the book, I could see Ms. Christie very subtly alluding to the truth all along. It was brilliant. I don’t mind being fooled by brilliance.
I do mind being manipulated. The first time I recall being disgusted by a plot twist like that was when I first saw The Usual Suspects. [Warning: spoilers ahead.] Five suspects tell their stories to police, and an intricate tale of the caper is woven through flashbacks. The tension builds and the audience wonders who is Kaiser Soze, the mastermind of the whole event. Well, the whole thing comes crashing to a halt when it is revealed that the entire story–potentially every single frame in the movie so far–has been made up based on objects around the interrogation room. This would have been a cool plot twist if the audience had ever been given the chance to catch on, but these objects were never allowed to provide their clues. It was a cheap manipulation, and I left thinking I had just wasted two hours of my life.
So, when you are concocting your plot twist, keep fairness in mind. Provide clues to what is going to happen; make it possible–but definitely not easy–for your reader to figure out what is about to happen. This way, they will look back and call you brilliant. But if you launch a radical twist out of nowhere, they will feel cheated and call you a hack.
Be fair to your readers.