Welcome to Knockout Horror. If you are new to the site then welcome. We review horror movies, we write horror movie lists and we explain horror endings. The latter of which we are doing today as we explain the ending of From Black. This is a huge article so grab a coffee and strap yourself in. Feel free to use the navigation to jump around the article.
From Black was recently added to horror streaming service Shudder. Like most Shudder originals. It pays to not place your expectations too high. A lot of their movies are less than stellar. From Black is no real exception. You can check out our opinion in our review of From Black.
Feeling like a cheap rip off of Irish British Independent horror movie A Dark Song. We found From Black to be a pretty boring and derivative movie. Still, that’s not going to stop us from explaining the convoluted ending.
An Interesting Ending Theory
I think From Black’s ending is rather boring. Well, the generally accepted ending, anyway. With this in mind, my head canon for it is a little different. I have an alternative theory that I think is more interesting. Now, I am, probably, totally wrong with my theory but I will go into it, anyway. I actually think it adds a layer of intrigue to the story.
As always, this article is not spoiler free. To explain From Black’s Ending, I have to go into extensive detail. If you haven’t watched the movie yet. You may want to check out our review of From Black. Before heading over to Shudder and watching the movie. Once that is done, feel free to come back and have a read. Okay, let’s take a look.
Cora Is Found In a Blook Soaked House
So the timeline of this movie is horribly messy. We start in the current time. Skip back to the far past. Jump back to the future and then back to the near past. It is very poorly done. The movie kicks off with police woman Allison (Jennifer Lafleur) walking through Cora’s house. There is salt on the floor and sheets covering the furniture. A large blood stain covers one of the sofas. Apparently, this is the room that Cora (Anna Camp) was found in.
Cora has been taken to the police station and sits looking dishevelled. Cora and Allison appear to be sisters. They have lost their mum and both appear to be grieving. Something that I think will become important later on. Rather than a holding cell or an interview room. The officers chat to her in the place prisoners chat to guests on phones. That’s a bit strange but okay. We’ll roll with it.
Allison chats with Cora and attempts to find out what happened. Cora mutters almost incoherently. Indicating that somebody told her she could see him again. Confused, Allison asks for an explanation. Cora repeats herself. Fantastic dialogue here. We can surmise that Cora is referring to Abel and the ritual. Abel told Cora that she would be able to see her son again.
Cora Was a Junkie
So we now rewind 7 years into the past. It would appear that Cora was addicted to heroin. She was nodding out on the couch one day when someone knocked at her door. She anxiously begs her partner, Wyatt, to help her hide their drug paraphernalia. A strange move given the fact that a police officer can’t enter your home without a warrant. She answers the door to a police officer and her sister. They ask if she knows where her son is.
I’ll take a minute to observe something that I found strange in this movie. We will repeatedly see Cora’s sister, Allison, involved in investigations concerning her. Isn’t there some rule about not assigning family members to police cases? You know, the whole vested interest thing? I mean, the person who wrote and directed this, Thomas Marchese, was a former police officer. So I guess he would know better than me. But still, it feels a little bit strange.
Something else that made me laugh a bit here. Cora is clearly not wearing a bra. Later on in the movie she always wears a bra. Is that some marker for how she has gotten her life together? “She was so strung out she didn’t even put a bra on. Her nipples were poking out everywhere, disgraceful”. I hope so because that is hilarious. What a weirdly puritan way of portraying things.
Anyways, Cora’s son has gone missing. We learn, later on, that he wanted to go play in the park. His mum was too strung out to actually take him. So the little bastard packed a bag and headed off on his own. Naturally, Cora was singing with sweet lady H so she had no clue. This takes us back to the present. Well, kind of.
Cora Is Grieving Her Missing Son
So the events here take place a little while before Cora ends up in the police station. Her son has been gone for 7 years. She has managed to get off the dope and is working as a waitress. Cora is struggling to cope with her loss. She attends group therapy headed up by a man called Abel. On her way out of a therapy session, she meets her sister. The two share a conversation with some ultra cringey dialogue. And we learn that Cora is living in their late mother’s house.
We briefly see Allison in bed at her home. She appears to be in a relationship with fellow police officer Simmons. Asking her to leave, Allison pours herself a huge glass of tequila. It becomes apparent that she has been obsessing over the disappearance of Noah. She has boxes of evidence and her wall is covered in information and leads. Apparently one of Noah’s red shoes was found during the search. Something that will be important later on.
Cora Tells Allison What Happened
Back at the police station in the present day. Allison tells her sister that she can’t help her if she doesn’t tell them what happened. This prompts Cora to recount the story of what took place. Heading back into the near past, once again. We see Cora working her job at the bowling alley. The head of her therapy group, Abel, comes in to buy some food. He talks about some random Finding Nemo fan theory and orders food. All of this is a little bit pointless. It is just to illustrate that Abel and Cora are in contact outside of the group.
Heading back to the present once again. We see Allison chatting with colleagues at the police station. Her colleagues indicate that the blood found on her was human. A body wasn’t found so they can’t identify who the blood belongs to. Allison’s colleagues question whether Cora is using drugs again.
We briefly see Cora in her bathroom clutching a box. The box is the one from earlier on in the movie. It contains Cora’s drug paraphernalia. Something that a recovered drug addict would keep to hand apparently. You know, just for old time’s sake. This is supposed to suggest that Cora is thinking about using again. A knock at the door interrupts her before she can use.
Abel Has a Proposition
Cora answers the door. Abel has come over to chat to her. He wants her to come back to the therapy group. Cora explains that she is grateful for his help but doesn’t want to come back. Abel, disappointed that she won’t come back, decides to offer her another option. He asks her how badly she wants to heal and tells her she can see Noah again.
Apparently, Cora recognises what Abel is saying and mocks him. She tells him she has things to do. Abel tells her how his daughter passed away but he brought her back. All of the dialogue here is really bad. It reminds me of something a high school student would write. Anyways, Abel insists that he can help Cora but she tells him to leave.
Abel Brought His Daughter Back From The Dead
Flashing back to the present day. Cora is back in the police station explaining the events to Allison. She watches a dark pattern appear on the wall. We learn, later on, that this is the demon being present in the room. Allison asks Cora what Abel meant. She explains that he brought his daughter back and he was telling the truth. They changed the daughter’s name and she lives with Abel’s ex-wife in Boston.
Apparently Cora has seen proof of this. Allison explains that it can’t be true. She was involved in the investigation. She remembers them pulling the child’s body out of the water. Allison also remembers catching the person who did it. Cora tells her that she is wrong, the child is alive. She suggests that she looks it up on her computer.
Jumping back to the past, again. Cora appears next to Abel’s car and, for some reason, jump scares him. She asks him to tell her what happened. He explains that a woman came to him after he had lost his child. She offered him an opportunity to see her again. To do this, he had to complete an ancient Mesopotamian ritual with the woman. The ritual, however, came with a catch.
The Ritual – The Demon Vessel
The ritual involves a number of steps. All of which lead up to making a deal with a demon. The demon appears to be the entity that can bring the lost loved one back to the person. Each person involved in the ritual acts as a vessel for this demon. In other words, they carry the demon around with them until they can pass it on. The demon returns their lost loved one and, in turn, they pass the demon on to someone else. That person then becomes the demon’s vessel and the cycle repeats. Abel mentioning that the ritual is ancient. From Mesopotamian religion even. Hints at just how long this cycle has been going on.
The person performing the ritual can’t see their loved one again until the demon is passed on. This last part is important because Abel doesn’t tell Cora this. He only tells her when the ritual is almost complete. Cora thinks she will see her son but it isn’t strictly true. Her son will exist again. But until she provides the demon with another vessel. She won’t be able to see him. The crux here is that the vessel needs to be someone pure.
The Ritual Begins…. Kind of
Cora has had a total 180 on the whole Ritual idea and now wants to take part. She begins prepping the house. This starts with covering everything in the house with sheets. Probably to deal with the goat’s blood I assume? Did anyone else chuckle at Cora rolling up the rug wearing a low cut top with tons of cleavage and boob jiggle? I always laugh at the thought of the director setting up that shot. It must be uncomfortable having your director ask you to bend over and perform a vigorous task. All while wearing a very revealing top. I bet Anna Camp knew what was up the second she pulled that shirt out of wardrobe.
While setting up for the ritual. Cora hears a creak from upstairs. She heads up to check it out. There is no real point in this other than to illustrate why she is doing the ritual. Cora begins to doubt it, asking herself why she is doing it. She then walks upstairs to the bedroom her mum kept for Noah. There she has a flashback to happier times. Apparently a time where she cared a tiny bit more about Noah than she did about getting high. Again, are we supposed to care about this person? She has been a selfish douche and it cost her child his life. But whatever, yay redemption stories I suppose.
Allison also heads over to Cora’s ex-boyfriend Wyatt’s house in a quick scene here. She serves him with a restraining order. It’s been seven years since Noah disappeared. Cora is off the drugs. Why is she only serving him this now? Wyatt is an utterly pointless character. He is there purely to give the movie a recognisable bad guy. He adds nothing to the plot. You can bet your ass he will be showing up at Cora’s soon, though. Restraining orders in movies always have the opposite effect.
Abel Arrives and The Ritual… Nearly… Starts
At this point we are only half an hour into the movie. Everything is happening very slowly. I will skim past most of the ritual stuff. It is repetitive and unimportant. Just know that Cora has to purify the house and then herself. This involves scrubbing the floors with pine soap. Having no electrics in her house and making the place look like a building site. She also requires Kosher Salt as this can be used to create a barrier. The demon cannot cross this. Thus containing it within a space or creating a safe area to hide from it. It has to be kosher salt as it is pure. Table salt contains added iodine. A measure used to increase iodine levels in people’s diets.
Cora screws a chain to the floor, apparently, to contain themselves when the demon appears. They also place a circle of salt so the demon is trapped when he appears. Abel instructs Cora not to leave the circle. Cora has to bathe in salt water before the ritual begins. This cleanses her body and creates a barrier against negative energy. It also dries out her skin and makes her hair feel like straw…. I imagine.
Cora asks Abel why he has sadness in his eyes. Apparently she is a psychologist now. He explains that it is because he hasn’t seen his daughter yet. He tells Cora it is because he has some stuff to take care of first. She is safe with her mother. The truth is that he hasn’t seen her yet because he needs to find another vessel. Cora is going to be that vessel. Once Abel has passed the demon on, he can see her again.
The Ritual Starts…. For Real This Time
Okay, now the ritual really begins. Cora wears an ugly and ill fitting white dress. She stands in the circle and Abel chains her up. He mentions her being malnourished for some reason. Even though she looks fine. He tells her not to sit and to repeat the Rite as he reads it out, which she does. Amazingly, Cora gets instant results from this. Like, seriously, this ritual works faster than toilet cleaner. Before she even knows what’s happening, she is floating ala The Exorcist.
This renews Cora’s faith in the ritual. Which had waned slightly after it didn’t succeed in the first 10 seconds. We then move on to the next day and to another low cut top. They light candles and Cora repeats what Abel tells her. Once again they get instant results. This ritual cooks quicker than tinned mac and cheese. The lights go out and the pair hear whispering and shouting.
We take a brief trip to the police station in the present for some story exposition. Before heading back and low and behold. Everyone’s favourite pointless character Wyatt is here to cause some trouble. This breaks up the flow a bit. Cora chases him off with a bat but I am sure we will see him again later.
A Big Revelation
More big progress with the “5 Minute Miracle Instant Results Deluxe Summon Your Dead Kid Ritual” next. The pair light another candle and say a few more words. Before Cora is whisked away to the distant past. There she sees herself zonked out on the sofa, high as a kite. Her son comes up to her and pulls at her top. Realising that she is out of it. Her son decides to pack his bag and head off for his own r&r.
Unfortunately, on his way back from the park. Noah is kidnapped by a creepy old man in a Chevy van. Cora screams out, unable to help him. Remember “These are but shadows of the things that have been”. I love Muppet Christmas Carol, so quotable.
We get our first glimpse of the demon here. We are transported to the room where Noah was held captive. Cora sees the bed that he was sleeping on. She is then transported to the bathroom of the house. The man has, seemingly, drowned Noah in the bath. The demon whispers to Cora that this should be her last memory of Noah. Grief is an important part of the ritual so she needs to feel it, I guess.
And Back in the Present
So back in the present and back at the police station. Cora tells Allison what happened. She promises her that she wasn’t on drugs. She tells her that everything that she saw was real. Allison doesn’t believe her. Completely understandable given her sister’s propensity to pump herself full of drugs. She tells her that she runs away from everything. She tells her that all she cares about is chemicals. All of this could be checked with a drug test. But whatever, that would make sense.
Allison checks in with her colleague. She has dug up the autopsy reports of Abel’s daughter. She reveals to Allison that there was a picture taken recently. The picture appears to depict a girl who looks identical. Potentially confirming Cora’s story that Abel was telling the truth. His daughter is actually alive. Why the police would have this picture, I don’t know. But they have it so let’s move on.
More Ritual and Cora Can’t Follow Instructions
So we are back off to the past again. Cora and Abel are talking about the ritual. Abel reminds Cora that it is not a gift. It is a Barter. Meaning that she has to follow instructions. And that she will need to give something in return for having her son back. He reminds her to stay in the circle. A nice bit of foreshadowing. You know for sure that Cora ain’t going to be staying in that circle.
This next part of the ritual is to actually summon the demon. Abel chains himself to the floor. Remember, he is the current vessel for the demon. The demon will emerge from him. They draw symbols on the floor to summon the demon. Once again, instant results. Once they are done writing the symbols on the floor. Abel begins to writhe around. He contorts before throwing up bones and hair.
Cora bails from the circle with the quickness. Breaking the only rule that Abel has repeatedly reinforced throughout the movie. The demon emerges from Abel’s body while Cora hides outside. She finally gets the balls to go back into the house. Only to find Abel passed out on the floor looking a little bit worse for wear. The demon is here and appears behind her. He gives Cora his Black Phillip from The Witch speech. Asking her if she wants to see her son again and if she would like a pretty dress. Cora agrees and we now move on to the animal sacrifice.
Animal Sacrifices and Goat’s Meat
Abel has pretty firmly disappeared from the picture for the time being. Cora continues the ritual alone. She brings in a goat which she places into the room with the circle. This is likely a sacrifice to the demon. The goat is heard crying out as it is, seemingly, consumed. Cora resumes drawing symbols on the floor in chalk. Something which, apparently, takes her all night.
While sitting in the living room, alone, in the dark. Cora hears the demon call out to her. It beckons her into the circle. She reluctantly follows its demands while asking when she can see her son. Upon entering the circle, Cora is transported to an open field. The sun is shining and she is wearing a different dress. I was actually only joking about the pretty dress thing. You know, on account of the movie ripping off The Witch with the demon’s voice and manner of speaking. It turns out she does actually have a new dress, though. So that’s pretty cool.
Day of Payment
Cora notices Abel standing in the field. He tells her that this is it. This is the day of payment. It can be assumed that this is the final stage of the ritual. Cora is surprised to not see Noah standing with Abel. She asks him where he is. Abel replies that she will see him shortly. Obviously, Abel has been hiding something from Cora. Abel leads Cora through the field. Her hand caressing the strands of wheat as she goes. Smiling slightly as if this isn’t a horrific and rather terrifying situation.
Abel stands at a table and asks Cora to pass him her plate. Once again she is annoyingly belligerent. Demanding to see Noah and being, generally, terrible at following instructions. I don’t think you get to make demands when performing Satanic rituals. Apparently Cora doesn’t get this. Abel demands, once again, that she pass him her plate. She finally does and he places three pieces of goat meat on it. One is for flesh, one is for blood and the other is for bone. To make Noah whole again, Cora has to eat these three pieces of meat.
Cora Has to Eat Meat and Drink Blood
Cora agrees to eat the goat’s meat. Not without sobbing about it though. Abel offers her a goblet filled with blood. He explains that when she drinks it, Noah will be alive again. Cora, who is still pulling faces over the meat like a child forced to finish their sprouts before dessert. Asks, once again, when she can see Noah. Abel tells her he doesn’t know but he will be alive again. Which is, obviously, a pretty important step when it comes to seeing him. He tells Cora to drink the blood.
Much like she did with the meat. Cora reluctantly gulps down the blood. Spilling it all over her face while she does it. She begins to choke and heave, causing Abel to become angry. This is because he is upset that Cora won’t complete her end of the bargain.
The woman who passed the vessel on to Abel completed her end. As did Abel and as did people for centuries before them. Abel is anxious that Cora won’t finish the ritual. The vessel won’t be successfully passed on to her and he will have to find someone else. He likely wants to see his daughter again and Cora is seeming reluctant. Despite agreeing to go along with the demands earlier on. He repeatedly reminded her that they shouldn’t do it if she has any doubts.
Cora Realises Abel Set Her Up
It’s at this moment that Cora realises. This was Abel’s plan all along. He set the group therapy up so that he could find a grieving person. When he found someone suffering enough, he could pass the vessel on to them. Cora was finding it so difficult to cope with the loss of her son. That Abel saw the perfect opportunity to perform the ritual and pass on the vessel. Allowing him to finally see his daughter again.
Abel reacts furiously to Cora realising this. Telling her she has ruined the chance for him to see his daughter again. Purely because she couldn’t follow simple instructions. He tells her, once again, to drink the blood. Cora, placing her own personal pride above the life of her child. Feels extremely slighted and tells Abel that she won’t do it. She pours the blood on the floor. Apparently, having your dead child revived. Isn’t actually worth someone pulling the wool over yours eyes a little.
The Demon Wants What It Is Owed
Cora is transported back to the real world. The demon grabs her and pins her up against a wall. It tells her it wants what it is owed. If she doesn’t deliver it, it will take Noah away from her. Not only that, but he will subject Noah to an eternity of suffering. To be honest, I am surprised Cora didn’t just forsake Noah here. I expected her to pout and damn her child to an eternity of suffering. Purely because the demon adopted a somewhat threatening tone with her. That would be fairly on par for her.
She tells the demon that she will provide him a vessel. Now, here is where I think some of the ending confusion starts. I think a lot of the fan theories are, perhaps, missing something. Something that I think makes the ending ever so slightly more intriguing. I will be going into that in a minute. One thing we need to remember, before anything else. Is that the vessel needs to be someone good. Somebody who is pure and not tainted by sin. That, obviously leaves only a few options.
Cora’s Search for a Vessel
In a move that is rather predictable. And also rather similar to the ending of another movie featuring a junkie mum – Shut In. Cora phones her ex-boyfriend Wyatt and asks him to come over. She tells him she wants to score and that they can do it together. Now you know why Wyatt actually exists in this movie. Purely for this scene.
Wyatt comes over and walks through the house. Upon walking into the living room. He is grabbed by the demon. Cora had lured him there purely to become the Demon’s vessel. The demon grabs Wyatt and looks him over. He turns to Cora and tells her that Wyatt is tainted and unclean. So not suitable as a vessel. Naturally, this is understandable. Offering an abusive redneck junkie to a demon that wants someone good and pure. Would be somewhat akin to offering someone a stale digestive when they want a soft baked cookie.
The demon is furious and refuses to accept Wyatt as a vessel. Cora runs away through the house. She places a barrier of salt at the door so the demon can’t enter. The demon decides to use Wyatt as a battering ram. Smashing the door with his head. The demon can’t enter the room, however, due to the salt. Cora phones the police which brings us back to the present time in the police station.
So now we get to the actual ending of the movie. Cora is placed into a holding cell. Her drug tests came back clean indicating she wasn’t taking anything. Wyatt’s body had vanished, taken by the demon who, I guess, recycles or something? The blood on Cora is, as of yet, unidentified. Cora sits in the holding cell panicking. The demon comes to her and talks. Demanding payment in return for the boy.
Allison has gone to check out Cora’s house again. While upstairs she hears a creaking. She opens a door and Noah is standing inside. Alive and well, seemingly having believed he was playing a game of hide and seek. We can tell it is Noah by the single red shoe he is wearing. Remember how he lost his shoe when kidnapped? It was found by someone during the search.
So Cora obviously made a deal with the demon. Noah is back, he is alive and well. None the worse for his horrific and terrifying experience. But what deal did Cora make? Well, I think there are two potential explanations for this. One that is likely and one that is less likely.
The Most Likely Ending Explained
There are two potential scenarios at play here. One that is more likely but less interesting. And another that I think would be a lot more interesting. But is also a bit less likely. Both beg the question of what Cora was willing to do to get Noah back.
Now we know that Cora was pretty reluctant to become a vessel. Apparently she had developed a conscience after years of being a selfish junkie. She, apparently, didn’t want to have to pass the demon on to some random stranger. There were very strict limits to what she would do for the kid she neglected to care for. Even in death and with the chance on rebirth. So what deal did she make? Well, the first outcome is that, while Allison visits Cora’s house. Cora makes a deal with the demon. Agreeing to become the vessel for it.
Cora will search for another person who is suffering from the loss of a loved one. Until she finds someone, she won’t be able to see Noah. Eventually, she will deliver, to the demon, another person who is grieving. A person who will then become the vessel for the demon. Eventually performing the ritual themselves. Continuing the cycle as it has been for millennia.
The Not So Likely Ending Explained
So this explanation is a lot less likely but a lot more interesting. So we know Cora made some sort of deal with the demon because Noah returned. He was in the closet when Allison visited the house. We know that the demon demanded payment. We just don’t know what payment Cora agreed to.
The theory that I had while watching. Which I think is a lot more interesting. Is that the payment Cora agreed to was her sister Allison. She agreed that the demon could take Allison as its new vessel. When Allison would arrive at the house. Much like what happened to Wyatt. The demon would claim her as his new vessel. Thus completing payment and meaning Cora could see Noah again.
After all, Allison was a good person. She was righteous and always did things in the interests of others. She wasn’t tainted like Wyatt. Not only that but she was also grieving. Allison and Cora have recently lost their mother. Something that has impacted them both dramatically. Cora might have convinced herself that she would be helping Allison. Giving her the opportunity to see her mother again. Once Allison completed the ritual and passed the vessel on again.
But What Happened to Wyatt and Abel?
I don’t think that last theory is particularly likely. I think it is more interesting. But it just doesn’t seem to fit as well as the other, more boring, theory. I think Cora simply agreed to pass the vessel on. She will do this, just as Abel did. Eventually she will be able to see her son.
With regards to Abel. We can assume that Cora made payment. Which, in turn, completed the ritual for Abel. He successfully passed the vessel on. The deal is done and Abel will return to the real world again. There, he will be able to see his daughter. Years after she passed away.
Wyatt, on the other hand, had a not so happy ending. The demon decided that Wyatt’s head made for a nice battering ram. Killing Wyatt in the process. He took the body away as he needs Cora to be free. The Demon doesn’t want any evidence of her murdering someone. That would land Cora in jail. He needs her to find another grieving person, remember. So Wyatt is dead but he was an asshat so who cares.
And That is That
Well, that was another epic. I don’t even want to word count this article. It is too many. But the ending is explained. If not over explained. Take from it what you will. As I said, I prefer the second theory. It is far more interesting. I think the first theory is more likely though.
Well, that’s all there is to say. It is a silly ending and very much earns the movie its 4.1 IMDB user score. Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed and, if you did, why not stick around? Check out some more Ending Explained articles. I also review horror movies and I also recently started writing horror lists. I update nearly every day of the week so there is always something new. On top of that, I never put out fluff. Just substantial horror content for horror fans to get their teeth into.