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The Ending Of The Dark And The Wicked Explained

Horror films have the innate ability to tap into fears that are present in everyday life. Like the examination of grief in "Hereditary" and race relations in "Candyman," the 2020 film "The Dark and the Wicked" has its turn by exploring traumatic elements present in human nature. Set on a rural farm in Texas, siblings Louise (Marin Ireland) and Michael (Michael Abbott Jr.) Straker return home as their father David (Michael Zagst) has taken ill. But when they arrive, they see that their mother Virginia (Julie Oliver-Touchstone) is also struggling with keeping up with the farm while taking care of her bedridden husband.

Virginia's premature death is just the start of strange happenings that occur on the farm. Caretaking has fallen to Louise and Michael — as well as a part-time nurse — as they grapple with the inevitability of losing both their parents. It is clear that "The Dark and the Wicked" uses horror to tell a tale about enduring the death of a parent, but is there more to it than that? Even though Louise and Michael come to terms with the fact that there is something demonic at work, it doesn't stop the brutal ending of the film from coming to pass.

Family trauma is inescapable

From the moment that Louise and Michael step onto the farm, they are met with harrowing events. Their mother Virginia clearly is not doing well while helping care for David. But this all comes to a head when they find Virginia dead in an apparent suicide. Things escalate when the siblings are attacked with horrible visions. Obviously sensing that evil has infiltrated the house, Louise and Michael agree to stick together. But even when united, their circumstances become too much.

Violence becomes unendurable and Michael is sure the only way to survive is to escape. After encountering a disturbing visage of his mother, Michael leaves and never looks back. He has a family that he has to look after and goes to reunite with them. Unfortunately for him, his efforts to escape are in vain. While Louise is stuck at the farm with their father, Michael reaches home to see a gruesome sight. He finds that his family has died violently, just as he was afraid of. He is so devastated that he takes his own life, unaware that what he saw was just another deceptive vision. His real family comes home alive and well to find him dead. Try as he might, Michael could not escape the demons of his family. His end mirrors his mother's death, given how she was also plagued with visions.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

The toxic cycle of guilt

Louise is perhaps the most tender toward her ailing father, but it is unlikely that is due to altruism. The main theme of the film is family guilt that corrupts each character. Both Michael and Louise readily admit that they have not kept in consistent contact with the rest of the family. It is likely that even Louise and Michael's relationship is just as fractured. Though the film makes no pains to explain this rift, Louise spends most of the film acting out her guilt.

After Virginia's death, she volunteers to stay with David overnight in his bed to look after him. As events unfold, she implores Michael to get their father out of the house, hoping to save him. That is ultimately fruitless after Michael abandons her. But still, it is difficult for her to leave. Even knowing what horrors await her, she is unable to abandon her father. Only in the film's final moments does she attempt to escape. But of course, it is too late. Her father dies, and the dark entity possessing the house takes control of him and attacks her. There is no satisfying answer to what happens to Louise. Instead, the audience is left with the chilling understanding that Louise made herself stay in the house, which led to her ultimate downfall.

No one is spared

The truly unsettling aspect of "The Dark and the Wicked" is how indiscriminate the evil is. There is seemingly no rhyme or reason as to why the farm is cursed with manipulative entities. But once you come in contact with it, you cannot be freed. The devout nurse (Lynn Andrews) is one of the most undeserving of these ills. She is so staunch in her beliefs that she tries to pass along her wisdom to the Strakers. But even she cannot be saved.

The farmhand Charlie (Tom Nowicki) barely has any interaction with the occupants of the house on-screen, but he has one of the most terrifying encounters. He too is driven to suicide because of visions depicting Louise harming herself, stating it is because of him. No matter what motive the evil entity has, there is no question about its methods. If any person has contact with the farm, they are tortured with visions that lead them to end their lives. Even the goats on the farm meet bloody deaths, forcing the Strakers to burn the corpses. Death in "The Dark and the Wicked" is just as mysterious and unexplainable as it is in life.

Apparently, the devil made them do it

The fact that the Straker farm is under attack by the supernatural is not up for debate. Louise fields grotesque visions of her father even though he never leaves his bedside. The farm is devastated by the bodies of mutilated goats. Louise and Michael must deal with the aftermath of their mother's suicide.

But the film does not dwell on the reason for these strange occurrences either. The answer seems to lie in Virginia's journal. She believed that the devil wanted her husband's soul and was tormenting her to get it. She isn't the only one who lays the explanation in faith. The nurse's religion leads her to believe the worst thing is for someone to die alone. But her faith does not protect her either. The demonic forces weaponize her love for Jesus and convince her to harm herself and Louise. In the end, nothing the Strakers do amount to anything. David still dies, as does about every other person on-screen. No amount of praying saves anyone from an unnamed evil that spreads across the farm for no discernible reason. The events of the film have no significance as the characters struggle impotently against a force they cannot control.