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The Ending Of Inside Explained

Christmas can be a difficult time for those who have recently lost a loved one. Sarah Clarke (former "Criminal Minds" star Rachel Nichols) knows this all too well. In the opening moments of the 2016 horror-thriller "Inside," Sarah's husband is killed in a car crash, leaving her widowed and pregnant during the holidays. As tragic as the accident is, it's unfortunately just the beginning of Sarah's nightmare.

Sarah is home alone on Christmas Eve, the day before she is due to give birth, when she wakes up to find a Woman (Laura Harring of "Mulholland Drive" fame) looming over her bed. The woman has injected Sarah with medication to induce labor and seems prepared to see her birth through to the end. Drugged and terrified, Sarah fights back against her unwanted midwife.

What ensues is a violent struggle for survival as Sarah attempts to save herself from the menacing home invader. In the process, the Woman murders Sarah's neighbors and several unwitting police officers, while Sarah herself accidentally kills her own mother. It's a brutal and horrifying torrent of violence that leaves both women bloody and battered.

Yet, neither will concede the fight. Sarah is determined to make it through her ordeal alive, while the Woman is, for reasons that remain a mystery throughout most of the film, hell-bent on taking Sarah's child. It's not until the movie's final act that Sarah learns exactly who the Woman is and why she has singled her out for this nightmarish evening.

The sad truth about the Woman is revealed

Early in the movie, Sarah tells a cab driver that the suburban neighborhood she lives in is a new development. Later, after she has fled her house and crashed a police cruiser following an altercation with the Woman, Sarah stumbles into one of the under-construction homes looking for help. When she makes her way upstairs, she realizes that she has just walked into the Woman's lair, where she finds surveillance equipment pointed at Sarah's house and detailed instructions on how to perform a C-section. While she was already aware of the Woman's desire to steal her child, she now realizes that this attack was premeditated.

The Woman arrives at the house and the two duel once more. This time, they end up outside on a vinyl pool covering, where the Woman manages to corner a weakened Sarah. As the Woman prepares to give Sarah an impromptu C-section, Sarah asks her, "Why me?" The Woman responds, "Because you took mine, Sarah." A flashback then reveals that the Woman was the driver of the other car involved in the head-on collision that killed Sarah's husband. At the time of the accident, the Woman had been pregnant but she lost her baby following the crash.

While the Woman's actions are monstrous, this twist does put them into perspective. She believes that her child was wrongfully taken from her and the only justice is to take Sarah's in return. The revelation makes the Woman both all the more terrifying. In her mind, she is willing to do anything to right the wrong that was done to her. As she prepares to cut Sarah open with a scalpel there on the pool covering, both Sarah and the audience become fully aware that there is no action too violent or too cruel, so long as it reunites the Woman with her child.

Sarah finds the strength to survive the night

Thanks to some quick thinking, Sarah is able to distract the Woman long enough to cut a hole in the vinyl covering, causing both women to plunge into the pool underneath. They struggle until Sarah passes out. Before she can drown, though, the Woman finds the scalpel and cuts another hole in the vinyl, pushing Sarah to the surface in order to keep her child alive. But before she can resurface and claim the baby as her own, the Woman drowns.

Back on top of the pool covering, Sarah begins to give birth. Although she has been fighting to keep the Woman away throughout the film, Sarah began the day feeling apprehensive about the arrival of her child. In the aftermath of her husband's death, she wasn't sure if she would be able to raise the baby alone. When she's finally holding it, however, she cries with joy and mouths, "Thank you."

We could look at Sarah's emergence from the pool as a metaphor for her own rebirth. Through the horrifying process of defending herself and her child from an attacker, she seems to have strengthened the bond with her baby that had clearly felt complicated before her ordeal.

During a scene at the beginning of the movie, Sarah's doctor suggests bringing an artificial end to her pregnancy, which has been dragging on past her due date. She preemptively tells him, "I don't want to be cut open. I want to do this myself." In the end, she quite literally avoids the former and achieves the latter. Ironically, while the Woman does make several attempts to give Sarah an uninvited C-section, she also ends up helping her give birth on her own.

Although the two women are at odds with each other for the duration of "Inside," ultimately, their fates end up intertwined.