Mercy Falls (2023) Ending Explained – Let’s Unravel This Slow Scottish Horror

Mercy Falls (2023) Ending Explained

Welcome to Knockout Horror. Today I am going to be explaining the ending to British Horror Movie Mercy Falls from 2023. We reviewed this movie as part of our Horror on Tubi feature. I have to be honest, I didn’t exactly give it a glowing appraisal. Although I didn’t hate it, I did have issues with it. I didn’t find it to do anything particularly differently. I wasn’t overly enthralled with the performances of the cast and I found the movie to be silly in places. The predictable deaths and underwhelming nature of the ending felt like a big let down.

That isn’t going to stop us from explaining the ending to the movie, though. Despite it being fairly straight forward. I think it would be helpful to go into depth about the events that take place. Let’s clear up some of the character motivations and answer a few questions. As always, if you haven’t watched the movie yet. You may want to check out my review of Mercy Falls. You can then watch the movie for free on Tubi before coming back and checking this article out. Right, let’s get to it.

What Happens in Mercy Falls?

So we will break down the synopsis first. We kick things off in the car with main girl Rhona (Lauren Lyle), her friend Heather (Layla Kirk) and Heather’s boyfriend Scott (James Watterson). Heather talks about how Donnie (Joe Rising) is coming along and how Rhona needs to not act like a pussy around him. We can infer that Rhona likes Donnie and wants to, at some point in the future, make the beast with two backs with him. The group worry about whether or not Donnie will bring Andy (Eoin Sweeney) with him. Apparently Andy is not well liked by the group.

Mercy Falls (2023) Ending Explained

On the drive, the group pass a young woman hitchhiking on the side of the road. Rhona refuses to pick her up, much to the dismay of Heather and Scott. The young woman is Carla (Nicolette McKeown), a former military woman who we will be catching up with in a little. The group arrive at the place they will be staying. Shortly followed by Donnie who has brought along Andy, despite the group disliking him. We learn more about the trip. Rhona needs to hike deep into the woods to find a cabin left to her by her late father. Her friends volunteered to come along with her to help her find it.

Carla, apparently having sprinted to the hotel, has somehow arrived there before the group. She is invited over by Heather to join them for a few drinks after Carla gives her a scarf in the toilet. Carla is invited along to accompany the group on their hike as something of a guide. Given that she tells them she has experience hiking. Rhona is reluctant, once again, to engage with a stranger. But reluctantly accepts. The next morning, they will set out to look for Rhona’s father’s cabin.

What Happened Between Rhona and Her Father?

We learn that Rhona’s father recently passed away leaving nothing other than a remote cabin. It would appear that Rhona and her father, at one time, had a good relationship. She now refers to him as estranged and seems to dislike him greatly. The reason for this is utterly ridiculous and a little bit comical, as well. While on a hike back when she was eight years old. Rhona and her father came across a horse that had been gravely injured. It was trapped and had all but given up on life, having been stuck there for hours.

Mercy Falls (2023) Ending Explained

Rhona believed her dad would try and help the horse. But when he released it, it didn’t run. You know, on account of being close to death and all. Rhona’s dad then did what most people would describe as the humane thing and put it out of its misery. Rhona ran away and was never able to see her dad in the same way again. She claims he could have washed his hands a million times and she would have still seen the blood. She did not spend any time with him after that event.

Now, a child feeling like this is somewhat understandable. I remember being horrible angry, as a child, when my dad wouldn’t let me retrieve a baby seagull that had fallen from its nest. Take it home and care for it. But you have to imagine that she wouldn’t hold onto this as an adult. But she did. She never actually came to understand why he did it or that it was the humane thing to do. This is terrible writing and instantly makes Rhona a horribly petty character that is very difficult to invest in. She still holds onto this feeling about her father. I can only assume she has the mentality of an 8 year old still. Needless to say, this plays into the plot in a few different ways. Not least with Carla putting Andy out of his “misery” later on.

The Group Hike Into The Woods

While the group party the night before their hike. We get a hint of Carla’s ability to defend herself. A man sexually assaults Heather and Carla promptly attacks the man. Making it clear that she is not to be messed with. In the meantime, Rhona and Donnie kiss before heading upstairs to kiss some more, only more noisily. Seriously, I am using a very nice set of Sennheiser Momentum over ear headphones to playback the audio for this film and I have never hated them more. It’s like they stuck the microphones in their mouths as they played tonsil tennis. I have pretty bad misophonia and I hate this type of audio production. You can hear Rhona’s lips smacking as she talks.. Gah! They go to separate rooms as Heather and Scott attempt to earn themselves a trip to the police station for indecency in the background.

Mercy Falls (2023) Ending Explained

The next morning the group all get up to make the long hike into the woods. I can barely be arsed walking around the house the day after drinking. Let alone going on a hike. Rhona is rather perturbed by Carla taking control. She seems to have experience in this and is taking charge. Something which Rhona doesn’t like because I guess she is Alpha Bitch or something? This will play into the movie later on when it comes to Rhona fighting back against Carla. It is somewhat symbolic of Rhona being too quick to let someone else take charge.

And Promptly Get Lost

With Rhona leading the way, the group head into the deep woods. Everyone seems to be rather inexperienced and feels a bit out of their depth. Carla manages to sneak up on one of them. Scaring the person and hinting at the fact that she is extremely capable in this situation. Perhaps even at home in the woods. A few of the members of the group are seriously concerned by this. Wondering how she managed it. Which is rather silly given just how easy it is to disappear and sneak up on someone among the trees. Still, it is just more foreshadowing and a reminder that this person is, perhaps, not to be trusted.

Mercy Falls (2023) Ending Explained

it isn’t long before the group become completely lost. Rhona does not know how to use a map and everywhere appears to look the same to her. She also seems to be suffering some PTSD like symptoms from that time when her dad put an ailing horse out of its misery. Hearing his voice around her and panicking. Again, terrible writing. How is she not over this at 30+ years old? I can’t believe that so much of the story is dependent on her having never matured past eight years old.

A Beguiling Siren

Carla eventually takes charge which, once again, upsets Rhona, and the group seem to make some progress. Eventually stopping for the night to set up camp. The friends sit around drinking while Scott reads a book from Odyssey. Odyssey is an epic poem attributed to Greek poet Homer. Homer is considered to be among the most important story tellers of all time. With his work still being widely read to this day. Odyssey focuses on the journey of Odysseus after the Trojan War and is split into 24 different books. Stories from Odyssey are widely known and referenced to this day. The most pertinent of which, when it comes to Mercy Falls, being the tale of Sirens.

Mercy Falls (2023) Ending Explained

According to Odyssey and Greek mythology. Sirens are beautiful women that sit on rocks out at sea singing. They lure in sailors as they pass before brutally murdering them. Scott recounts the tale of the siren of the Loch as we watch Donnie and Carla embrace naked under a waterfall. I can’t even imagine how cold they were during this scene. The word chipolata comes to mind. As does the phrase “nipples like chapel hat pegs”. Rhona watches on in horror as she realises that Carla has stolen Donnie from her.

There isn’t a tremendous amount of significance to this. This is just very simple writing to add a bit of flavour to the movie. It is not suggested that Carla is a siren or supernatural. More that she is a beautiful woman that likely has hidden, nefarious, intentions. Using her charm and appearance to beguile the members of the group before she harms them. Donnie is the proverbial sailor falling for the song of the siren. Meanwhile, Heather decided to flirt heavily with Andy which enrages Scott who heads to bed. Heather pulls Andy to one side and the pair kiss. Setting up the events that are to come.

Heather Plays Stupid Games – Wins Stupid Prizes

Rhona is woken up by another dream about that stupid bloody horse incident with her father. Further emphasising just how disturbing it must have been because she still dreams about it twenty odd years later. I’m still not buying her as anything other than an immature and annoying person but on we go. She’s about to encounter a very similar incident. Heather has told Scott what happened between her and Andy. Scott comes out of the tent in a rage and looks for Andy. Andy is shocked that Heather told Scott what happened. Not realising that Heather was only planning on kissing Andy to get back at Scott. She was always going to tell him. She wanted to see that he cared about her and would fight for her. And, by some twisted logic, this was the best way she could think to do it.

Mercy Falls (2023) Ending Explained

Scott pushes Andy who responds by wildly swinging a punch. Scott retaliates knocking Andy backwards. Andy falls and a large branch impales him through the leg. The group panic and wonder what to do. They can’t get help because they are in the middle of nowhere. They have no phone service and Andy is bleeding from the leg profusely. There is a large artery in your leg known as the femoral artery. If punctured, a person will bleed to death rapidly. In fact, this is what happened to the incredible Washington Football Team’s free safety Sean Taylor back in 2007. He confronted burglars only to be shot in the leg. Severing his femoral artery and leading him to bleed to death.

What is Carla’s Plan?

Carla, who is somewhat disturbed by her past experience in the military. Rushes over and comforts Andy before slicing his throat. The group look on in shock. Carla claims that she had to put him out of his misery. Something that is all too familiar for Rhona. Remember the stupid horse story? Carla said that Andy would have suffered as he would slowly bleed to death. She had no other choice. The group are terrified and say that they need to go to the police.

Carla claims that if they go to the police, they are all complicit in Andy’s death. Scott for punching him. Heather for inciting. Donnie and Rhona for not helping. Everyone will go to jail. She says that they should dispose of his body. Then tell the police that he went back to the bunk house and they didn’t see him again. Not wanting to go to prison and feeling like he is to blame, Scott agrees. The rest eventually seem to go along with it. Though Rhona is resolute in thinking they should tell the police and admit it was an accident.

Mercy Falls (2023) Ending Explained

Carla claims that one life is not worth the five of them losing theirs. The group dispose of Andy’s body near the waterfall. Carla drags it in and they weigh it down with stones so it will float to the bottom. They then carry on with their journey to the cabin. But what made Carla act like this?

What Happened to Carla in the Military?

If we go back to the campfire scene. We see Andy reading a newspaper. On the back of the paper it seems to talk about a psychiatric patient having escaped a hospital where she was being held for murder. This is Carla; she didn’t return from day release and is now wanted by the police. Apparently they allow day release for multi time murderers? I knew our justice system in the UK was lax but man.

It would seem that Carla had witnessed her unit committing atrocities on women in Afghanistan. She spent time trying to help a woman that had been assaulted but was not able to do anything. This lead to her becoming enraged and wanting revenge. She sought out the officers that committed the crime and murdered them both. She then deserted before being caught and sent to a mental hospital back in the UK. It would seem she now suffers from PTSD and has become a demented killer.

If this seems like a somewhat offensive story to you. That’s because it is. This is a very harmful depiction of people that suffer from mental illness. PTSD is a horrific condition that all too many veterans have been left alone to battle. It’s extremely damaging to depict sufferers as ruthless, blood thirsty, killers but that’s what Meliá Grasska and Ryan Hendrick have chosen to do here with Carla. The fact that Carla’s killing of the officers was at least somewhat justified makes this writing all the more confusing.

Mercy Falls (2023) Ending Explained

Carla noticed her picture on the back of the newspaper. She attempted to throw it into the fire so the group didn’t find out about her past but apparently missed. A stupid plot point considering you have to imagine a person wanting to hide that information would make damn sure they get it into the fire. Heather has now found it and will now tell the rest of the group what she knows. Prompting them to make a plan to run away from Carla after she climbs up a rock.

Donnie Dies

There isn’t much to go into here so we will skim through it pretty fast. Heather tells Rhona about Carla being an escaped prisoner. Rhona tells Donnie and Scott and they all plan to escape. They decide that, when they have the opportunity, they will leave Carla behind and run. When they get back to town, they will pin all of the blame on Carla. The only problem is, Carla is in her element here and loves to gut people like fish.

After running away from Carla after she climbed up a rock. The group come to a ravine with a tree bridging the gap. They climb along the tree one by one. Donnie, apparently being a bit of a hero all of a sudden, looks at the group from the other side almost mournfully. He lifts the tree and drops it into the ravine. Giving the group the chance to escape as Carla won’t be able to get across.

Mercy Falls (2023) Ending Explained

The group scream at him for his selfless decision. Carla suddenly appears behind him looking pretty damn badass. Donnie, rather than fight back, begins to run. Carla swings her climbing axe into his side. Before swinging it again and hitting him through the neck. Donnie falls to his death as Carla looks on at the group. Heather and Scott begin to run as Rhona looks directly into Carla’s eyes. The most boring and bland main girl ever. That wasn’t a very creative death, was it? Seems like they just wanted to get Donnie out of the way with. Oh well, he was annoying anyway.

A Little Privacy Please

And here we go with another stupid death. We will ignore the fact that Carla has somehow managed to cross that massive ravine. Because we have another stupid plot point to focus on first. The group have, somehow, not managed to make much ground. Despite the massive head start afforded to them by Donnie volunteering himself as a test cadaver for Carla’s axe. And now Heather needs to take a piss. Rather than piss in front of her female best friend and boyfriend. She decides she needs to head off 600 yards into the deep forest so she can have a bit of privacy.

Now, considering the fact that there is a well trained, maniacal, killer chasing you. I imagine most people would rather have someone actually rate their piss stream out of ten and wipe them after. Rather than head off away from the group into the waiting arms of said killer. I doubt privacy would be the main concern here. But, apparently, we are supposed to believe that isn’t the case. Heather heads off into butt fuck nowhere so she can squeeze a lemon.

Mercy Falls (2023) Ending Explained

Naturally, Carla is waiting here and decides to hang Heather up like a Christmas decoration. How Carla beat them to this location, I don’t know. And how Carla knew exactly where Heather was going to go pee I am unsure of too. But this is the dumbest setup for a kill ever. She could have just told Scott and Rhona to turn away while she took care of business. Dumb. The pair find Heather and, for some reason, are shocked that she is now brown bread. Surely this was the expected result?

Scott and Rhona Find the Cabin and Hatch a Plan

Scott and Rhona decide to travel through the night. Determined to get away from Carla. You know, the military trained person who has probably pulled more all nighters than your average Eve Online player? They eventually arrive at the cabin because Rhona has, apparently, worked out how to read a map now. Looking around the dilapidated property, Rhona finds a picture of her with her dad. Making her realise that he didn’t ever stop thinking about her. Not that I think that would change Rhona’s mind about him because he did put that suffering horse out of its misery. The bastard!

They fire up the petrol generator to light the cabin up like a beacon in the night because common sense was never a priority in this movie. They then attempt to get Rhona’s dad’s old radio working so that they can call for help. Rhona tells Scott she is determined not to die. It is Carla or them and she has a plan. The pair find a cave where Rhona sets up a Home Alone style collection of traps. She knows she can’t fight a military trained person one on one. She is going to lure her there and trap her.

Continuing the cycle of completely unlikable characters doing strange things that make little sense. Rhona and Scott decide to have noisy sex. There has been no hint that they like each other the entire movie. And Scott was Rhona’s dead best friend’s partner but fuck it. Rhona wants D and as long as it comes from a bearded Scottish man she doesn’t care who it is. Unbeknownst to Rhona and Scott. Carla is getting an X-Rated show as she watches from a tree outside. Eating an apple from a knife because that’s way better than getting pieces of apple skin stuck in your teeth.

Scott Bites The Bullet and Rhona’s Fun House

Predictably, the generator suddenly stops, plunging the house into darkness. You could see this coming as soon as Scott fired it up, right? Scott heads out into the dark alone because moving in pairs is severely overrated in horror. He leaves his weapon outside of the room with the generator. Leaving him defenseless. Predictably, Carla appears behind him in the darkness. She torments him at bit as he looks on with a gormless expression on his face. He grabs his weapon but Carla is quick to react, slashing his arm. She then stabs him, kissing him on the nose as he dies. Nicolette McKeown is having so much fun here. I absolutely love her in this role. Best part about the movie by a country mile.

Mercy Falls (2023) Ending Explained

Sadly it is all about to come to an end as Rhona and Carla come face to face. Carla is briefly distracted by a voice on the radio. Allowing Rhona to smash her over the head with a bottle, rendering her unconscious. Now, rather than do the smart thing and finish her off here. Rhona realises that doing that, probably wouldn’t be that fun to watch. So she instead runs off. Leading Carla into her fun house. Lighting some torches along the way. Rhona enters the cave and ignites a flare. Making the entire next segment look like a Snow Patrol music video.

Rhona Kills Carla

Carla, being the blood thirsty killer that she is (apparently not just a sympathetic character that killed two rapists and now suffers from PTSD) follows Rhona into the cave. The pair fight with Carla seeming to, initially, get the upper hand. Rhona fights back, though, getting a measure of revenge for Scott by stabbing Carla in the leg with the same weapon he used to defend himself. Rhona runs away to a section of the cave where she has hidden a bucket of fuel.

As Carla approaches, Rhona throws the fuel all over her. Not before a really awkward stare down where Rhona smiles about what she has planned. Carla catches fire and dies horribly. Leaving the woman who looks like she doesn’t even know how to pronounce the word “Gym”. Let alone having ever spent some time in one. To have finished off the military trained woman who looked to be in amazing shape and killed everyone else with no trouble. Yay for unrealistic outcomes.

Rhona heads outside of the cave carrying the picture of her and her dad. Perhaps finally understanding the true joy of killing… Or, ermm, finally coming to terms with the fact that she was an unreasonable prick towards him. You know what, I am not even sure. And the movie ends with a shot of the stunning Scottish scenery.

Not With a Bang But With a Whimper

I hate this ending so very much. I don’t know if we were ever supposed to like Rhona but I found her to be intolerable. She never does a single thing that hints that she is anything other than a self centred douche. She really gets no comeuppance and shows no real pity for the people that die before her. It almost feels as though she uses Scott as bait. Purely so she can get some measure of revenge on Carla. Somehow coming to terms with the whole horse thing with her dad in the process. Nothing is properly tied up. A lot of that is down to the terrible writing, though.

Mercy Falls (2023) Ending Explained

The story here is silly. It makes no sense. Rhona’s motivations are poorly fleshed out and her reaction to her dad putting the horse out of its misery are ridiculous. She hates him for something that is totally irrational. It’s almost like that is supposed to be some sort of metaphor but, again, this is poorly fleshed out. The deaths are awful. More predictable than in any horror movie I have seen in a long time. There is no creativity here at all. Mercy Falls is beyond cliched.

Carla Should Have Survived!

Carla is the best thing that this movie has going for it. Nicolette McKeown is excellent and I would have loved to see more movies following Carla’s descent into spree killer madness. If Mercy Falls would have bucked the trend and had the killer win. I think I would have forgiven it some of its sins. As it stands, it’s just another boring cat and mouse thriller that pails in comparison to movies like Calibre. In fact, I would go as far as to say that Hunted is a much better example of a normal woman finding her inner primal warrior.

If you made it to the end, massive thanks. I waffle on a bit but that’s kind of what this site is about. I like to write as if we are two friends chatting in a room together. If that sounds like something you might enjoy. Why not check out some Horror Movie Reviews, some Horror Movie Lists or some Horror Movie Ending Explained articles? We don’t tend to follow what is popular but I update a lot and all of my content is very substantial. Catch you later!