The ending of Nefarious, a new horror movie released in 2023, leaves fans wondering what the true meaning of the film truly was.
The film centers on a psychiatrist assigned to analyze a convicted death row inmate believed to be faking demonic possession to avoid his sentence, all taking place in prison.
The independent scare-fest failed to impress critics, averaging a 33% Tomatometer score on Rotten Tomatoes. But although it only grossed $5.4 million at the global box office (per Box Office Mojo), it earned an Audience Score of 96% from Rotten Tomatoes.
What Happened at the End of Nefarious?
The crux of Nefarious' plot sees Sean Patrick Flannery's Edward Wayne Brady, who says he is possessed by a demon named Nefarious, tell Jordan Belfi's Dr. James Martin that he will kill three people before he leaves the state penitentiary in which he is imprisoned.
Those murders include Dr. Martin's mother (whom he previously took off life support), the unborn child that his girlfriend would abort at the clinic during Martin and Brady's visit, and then Brady himself when his sentence was carried out.
Brady also writes a manuscript under Nefarious' influence called The Dark Gospel, a Satanic piece of of work that reads as a diary tracking Martin's entire life.
Although Martin first declares Brady sane, Brady assaults James and almost kills him, allowing the state to carry out Brady's death sentence for the six murders of which he was convicted. Nefarious gives Martin one more chance to join him before the execution, but he then moves into Martin and almost makes the doctor kill himself before the gun he uses fails to fire.
Martin refuses to believe the gun mishap was an act of God, publishing Nefarious' book after rewriting it to warn people about the evil out in the world.
But after going on a talk show to promote the book a year later, Martin comes face-to-face with Nefarious after the demon possesses another person's body, telling him that the war between good and evil will never end.
What is the True Meaning of Nefarious' Ending?
Throughout the entire movie, Nefarious (through Brady) is seen ranting and yelling about topics many see as anti-conservative, including the idea of abortion and other serious concepts from Christian ideology.
For instance, when Martin prays to God as Nefarious tries to make him commit suicide, viewers have argued about the way the film may have presented that kind of religious belief as an overwhelming positive in the context of religion.
The talk show appearance from Martin seems to further push that way of thinking, as he infers more religious and conservative views are inherently good and the other side (shown by Nefarious) is bad.
The simplest way of looking at this is that the filmmakers looked to set clear qualifications and reasoning behind what is truly good and evil, using the lens of religion and theology as a guide.
While religion and horror movies are certainly no strangers to being used together, this film takes a much more theological approach to that concept rather than simply pitting demons against a God-like entity.
Many walked away feeling influenced by the idea that manifestations of evil are spread all across society, ones which can influence people to do evil things.
While everyone has their own set of beliefs (be them moral, religious, theological, or something else), Nefarious dove hard into the filmmakers' theories behind good and evil, putting them in the public eye as viewers analyzed the outcome.
Nefarious is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.