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The Ending Of Await Further Instructions Explained

Released in 2018, "Await Further Instructions" is an overlooked indie horror gem that deserves more attention. The film tells the story of a broken family whose Christmas is thrown upside down when they are locked in their house and receive strange messages through their television that put their beliefs to the test. Directed by the late Johnny Kevorkian and starring Sam Gittins, Neerja Naik, and Grant Masters, this Yuletide horror may not be especially well-known, but those who have seen it have given it high praise. A review by Starburst reads, "It's perfect anti-Christmas viewing, subverting the nativity, tradition, and heritage equally, and will hopefully have audiences questioning what they are told by the idiot box in future."

And indeed, it is certainly a film that will have audiences questioning quite a bit by the end. While the film starts off relatively straightforward, the events that follow are nothing short of puzzling, especially by the final act. It's a finale that throws a lot at its audience and it's easy to become confused by all its intricacies. Fortunately, we're here to break down this whirlwind of a movie and its ending as best we can.

A broken family and their trusty TV

"Await Further Instructions" mainly focuses on Nick (Sam Gittins) and his girlfriend Annji (Neerja Naik). Nick hasn't seen his family for three years and he brings Annji to meet them for the first time. Although Annji is open-minded initially, after meeting the family it becomes clear why Nick holds this sentiment. While his mother is very nice, Nick's father Tony (Grant Masters), pregnant sister Kate (Holly Weston), and grandfather (David Bradley) treat him with disdain for being "too soft." To make matters worse, both Kate and Nick's grandfather react with extreme prejudice towards Annji, who is Indian, making discriminatory comments about her throughout the film.

The broken family is discovered to have fractured some time ago. Tony's father was incredibly rough on him, and even in the present time, he criticizes Tony's way of raising Nick. Things get more problematic when news reports start streaming in, talking of rolling power surges throughout the country and suspected terrorist activity that might have caused it. Tony, Kate, and grandad make their strong opinions regarding the matter, immediately believing the reports and accusing Indians of taking over their country — much to the offense of Annji and Nick. When the two do bring up their arguments, the family all defend grandad and refuse to hear what either has to say.

In this, we see the seed of the idea that the film intends to communicate: our inherent trust in media and the strong opinions we adopt from what we see. This theme will become more present down the line, but even here, we can see how modern news can create such strong opinions.

Follow the leader

Later, Nick and Annji try to sneak out but discover that they are trapped within the house. The television turns on telling them to stay inside and await further instructions. At first, despite the odd scenario, the family decides to go with it as they presume that it's an emergency broadcast. Tony insists that they continue with their Christmas holiday as if nothing is wrong. However, just as they prepare to eat dinner, another message tells them that every piece of food is contaminated and they need to throw it out. Tony, without thinking twice, complies.

This is followed by the TV ordering them to scrub their bodies down with bleach and take used syringes that are delivered through their chimney. Nick and Annji, the latter of which is a trained nurse, refuse, knowing the danger present. Tony precedes to inject himself and everyone in the house, and Nick and Annji eventually give in. Moments later, the grandfather violently dies and Tony considers it a freak occurrence. What follows are a series of grueling acts that the TV orders them to do that Tony blindly agrees to.

This section of the film presents the dangers of putting your trust in the media, but also showcases Tony's downfall as a character. Given his past trauma, Tony ignores his family in favor of taking control, no matter the logic. His own fear drives him, and eventually much of the other family members, to madness. And if it seems bad now, nothing can prepare you for where this movie ends.

Faith vs fear

Nick attempts to destroy the television, but a new message appears, reading: "I am reborn, I bring salvation, resurrection." This turns Tony onto a new train of thought, believing that the messages must've been for a judgment day of sorts, and the orders they have been given were a test of their faith. The others discover that Kate, who died earlier in the film, still has a living baby in her stomach. 

The television then demands a sacrifice be made to save the unborn baby, so Tony and Kate's boyfriend, Scott (Kris Saddler), attempt to kill Annji. She escapes and Scott tries to defend Nick but is killed by Tony, and Nick drops the television on Tony's head. However, the TV bursts open with a series of cables that proceed to use Tony's body like a puppet. The force kills Nick and Annji, and Tony places a television next to Kate's body. Kate disintegrates and reveals a fully formed baby, who first sees the television that welcomes it to the world. The film ends by showing that the world outside the house is also overrun by these cables.

The finale sees this cautionary tale transform into a haunting mirror of our modern world. It showcases a terrifying state of mind where media can control us like a puppet and Kate's baby will be literally raised by that same media that destroyed their family. Will they be able to question any of their beliefs or will they grow up a prisoner of this mind-numbing system?