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The Ending Of The Devil Below Explained

Recently, fans of terrifying movies have been intrigued by "The Devil Below," an Appalachian horror mystery that's been heating up on Netflix. The film, which is also known as "Shookum Hills," combines the age-old story of a group of people venturing in a strange place with some classic survival horror action, with a touch of "Aliens" and "Tremors" thrown in the mix. 

As a team of researchers tries to locate a lost mining town called Shookum Hills in the Appalachia, the viewer is introduced to a whole host of increasingly creepy mysteries. The town's population disappeared in the 1970s, seemingly in thin air, or perhaps in one of the numerous sinkholes that pockmark the geography. The locals seem to be up to some pretty strange business, and it's said that the area is plagued by a long-running underground fire  — much like the real town of Centralia, PA.  

Combine all this, and the Shookum Hills area is plenty scary, even before the monsters attack. Because, yeah, there are monsters — and they're pretty creepy ones, even by horror movie standards. As such, you can probably expect that the survival rate among the characters isn't particularly high. Apart from that unavoidable horror movie fact, though, the ending of the film manages to land in a number of ways that might not be entirely obvious during the initial viewing. Here's the ending of "The Devil Below" explained.

Who's the real monster?

While there are monsters here — oh, are there ever — they're ultimately just a particularly nasty and massive hive species, doing what they were born to do. As "The Devil Below" readily notes, the most pressing immediate problem the poor locals face isn't the mine monsters. They've mostly managed to contain those with electric sinkhole covers, massive enclosures, and whatnot. No, the real threat is the adventure groups like the one we see in the movie, which keep wandering the area, and pose a risk to the barriers that keep the monsters at bay.

Following this train of thought, one could argue that the true villain of the movie is the worst person in the group that sets the monsters loose. This honor would likely go to Darren (Adan Canto), who, ironically, is also the closest thing "The Devil Below" has to a male lead. Though ostensibly in charge of a team of researchers, he's actually been hired by a mining company to sniff out a rare mineral. However, that's not to be. Darren and Arianne (Alicia Sanz) find themselves down in the mines, captured by the monsters — and, while they manage to seriously hurt the colony's apparent leader, Darren ends up sacrificing his life during the escape. 

To be fair, the film's ending does appear to take the stance that the literal monsters are also the figurative ones. After all, Darren may have been duplicitous, but at least he redeems himself in the very end. Besides, unlike the monsters, he didn't eat Schuttmann's (Will Patton) son ... or anyone else, for that matter.

Arianne's redemption

The biggest individual force of good in the movie is Will Patton's gruff Schuttmann. He's the owner of the mines that the monsters call home, and because they took his son, he's dedicated his life to keeping them in check — which, sometimes, involves holding unruly adventurers at bay. This is another one of the movie's character alignment swerves, because Schuttmann's interests don't exactly align with Arianne and her group at first. By the time it becomes apparent that the old man is more or less on the side of the angels, things have already taken a drastic turn.

Since "The Devil Below" likes to play with the concept of heroes and villains, it's only fitting that it ends with the main character choosing her side in the grand scheme of things. Arianne is haunted by survivor's guilt, and sees herself as the weak link who ends up abandoning others, so it wouldn't be all that shocking to see her make a spirited attempt to get out of Dodge as soon as she escapes the mines. Yet, at the end of the movie, she stays with Schuttmann and joins his efforts to contain the monsters, having finally decided to stop running away. Redemption arc complete!

"The Devil Below" is great at setting up potential sequels

Most horror movies keep their eye on the ball when it comes to setting up potential sequels, but it's impressive just how many possible routes for future installments the ending of "The Devil Below" manages to set up. The fact that it's outright stated that groups like Arianne's keep trying to solve the mining town's mystery — and, thus, unwittingly messing with the containment efforts — means there could be any number of new adventurers heading toward Shookum Hills at any given moment. A potential sequel could also easily amp up its monster game, because the creatures' hive structure could hide all sorts of new, even more horrifying members of the species in its depths. 

That's just the tip of the iceberg, too. Possible future movies could easily delve deeper into the ingenious methods that the locals have devised against the creatures, or perhaps even give viewers a period piece that tells the story of the mining town's downfall. Of course, there's also the most obvious and pressing plotline: Showing the audience what became of Arianne and Schuttmann. Do the survivors manage to contain the mine monsters, or will some hapless future adventurer find two familiar-looking skeletons scattered in the tunnels? Perhaps one day, the world will find out.