Horror films are meant to surprise, startle and terrify. While The Manor, the fourth film in the second season of Amazon‘s Welcome to the Blumhouse, is not as scary as other examples of the genre, the ending certainly leaves viewers asking some important questions.
The Manor stars Barbara Hershey as Judith, a former dancer who, after a stroke, feels she must unburden her family by moving into a nursing home, where she can be taken care of.
However, soon she starts to sense something eerie creeping in the shadows, and only has her grandson, Josh (played by Nicholas Alexander) to confide in.
But while the sense of impending doom catches up with the viewer as the film progresses, the ending is perhaps the most unexpected part of the movie.
Newsweek spoke to the star and writer/director Axelle Carolyn, about that ending, and how it came about.
WARNING: Major spoilers for The Manor ahead.
What Did the Ending of The Manor Mean?
The ending of The Manor saw Judith and Josh discover what was haunting them at night, and it turns out not to be an entirely unknown presence.
However, on making the discovery of the true culprits, Judith does not react in the way many might have expected. According to Carolyn, this was an example of her “rebellious” streak against growing old.
The writer/director said the ending was “a big f*** you” to those who treat Judith like an invalid, and a display of strength from a woman who fears what the end might bring.
Carolyn told Newsweek: “I’m really hoping that this starts a little bit of a debate, by the way that people will be asking themselves if they would make the same choice. But to me, it felt consistent with the character.
“She’s rebellious, she behaves a little bit like a teenager. Sometimes she doesn’t like people to tell her what to do. She will not do something just because she’s told to do it. And she doesn’t like anything that’s associated with old age, and she doesn’t like her agency being taken away from her.
“And there’s a lot about that that’s just kind of… I feel like this ending is a big f*** you to the way she has been treated throughout.”
For Carolyn the decision Judith made also resonated with her, saying she might consider the same thing if given the chance.
For Barbara Hershey, this ending came as quite a surprise on first reading, and it became a topic of deep conversation on set between her and the director.
Initially, these conversations focused on that idea of consistency within the character, and whether the honorable choice is always the right one.
Hershey said: “I had to talk to Axelle quite a bit about it, because I think it suggests some things that I’m not sure I believe in, but I think are interesting.
“The truth is, you don’t know how you’re going to react, like if in life, something happened to you, or you were confronted with the choice that she has at that moment. I’d like to think I would make the honorable right choice, whatever that is, but who knows? Who knows what in reality you would do. So I was open to it.
“And I was open to, you know, all the question mark of it, that it leaves it with the audience to ask, you know, would you do this?… And it’s provocative and satisfying in a weird way.”
What Exactly Happened at The End of The Manor?
At the end of The Manor, Judith and Josh discover various people working in the nursing home are related to three of the residents: Roland (Bruce Davison), Trish (Jill Larson) and Ruth (Fran Bennett.)
They head to Roland’s room and discover him scaling the building, realizing he is the frightening ghoul which has been standing over their beds at night.
The pair follow him and, to their horror, discover he is one of three witches, who prey on the residents of the nursing home to keep their youth.
Judith and Josh manage to kill Roland, and as they decide to end the terror, Trish and Ruth try to convince them to join the group.
Having spent months frightened of aging, and longing to dance again, Judith and Josh accept their offer, and continue the cycle of death plaguing the home, only for their own benefit.
The movie ends with Judith dancing in the moonlight during the witching hour, a young woman once more.
Welcome to the Blumhouse: The Manor is available to stream on Amazon Prime now.