- By Richie
We reviewed There’s Something Wrong With The Children a few days ago and didn’t enjoy it. Today we explain the ending and err don’t enjoy it
Welcome to Knockout Horror. We have an Ending Explained of a brand new film for you today. Released in the past week, as of this writing. There’s Something Wrong With The Children is a new film. It is doing the rounds on streaming services at the moment. We reviewed it the other day and, to be honest, didn’t have much positive to say.
Aside from some of the problematic representations of mental illness. There’s Something Wrong With The Children is just really bad at being a horror movie. It lacks in suspense, is absent of scares and is poorly acted. The movie also outstays its welcome by a fair margin but that is fairly typical of recent horror. An hour and a half plus is starting to become common. I think horror movies should aim for around an hour and twenty minutes. It forces the director to structure things a little tighter and trim excess fluff.
The ending of There’s Something Wrong With The Children is rather vague. It is also another recent horror ending that is sure to feel unsatisfying. The “roll the credits” before the actual movie ends thing is played out. Let’s take a look. Obviously this article is not spoiler free. If you haven’t watched the movie, why not check out our review. If you like the sound of it, watch the movie and then come back to this article. This is a huge mammoth Ending Explained so apologies for the waffle.
So let’s go through a quick summary of events so far. Ben and Margaret are spending a few nights with another couple Thomas and Ellie. Thomas and Ellie have brought their children, Lucy and Spencer, along with them. The group spend their time doing the usual stuff that socialising parents do. They sit around chatting, drinking alcohol and ignoring the kids.
Every now and then the group head out for a trip. Discovering what looks to be an abandoned military facility. They venture deeper and deeper into its tunnels. Arriving at a dead end, Ben spots a large hole. The kids walk up and stare into the hole. They are seemingly transfixed by it. One of them utters something in Spanish (?). Thomas translates it as “the place that shines”. As we know if we have watched the movie. The kids will become obsessed with this and reference it frequently.
Back at the cabin. We learn that Thomas and Ellie’s sex life has been on the down swing. They engaged in a foursome with another couple. Ellie was having sex with the other man while Thomas was, supposedly, having sex with the woman. Only, it turns out, when Ellie turned around she noticed that Thomas was not having sex. Him and the woman were watching Ellie and the man. This put Ellie off a little. Still, she carried on going. I mean, this was a consensual situation, after all.
Feeling understandably awkward due to Thomas’ reaction. Ellie pretended she did not enjoy the encounter. She says she faked an orgasm. The truth, however, is much different. She tells Margaret it was the best sex of her life. She lied to Thomas purely to make him feel better. Since then, however, Thomas has been distant. He doesn’t want to touch her and they have not been having sex.
Margaret offers to take the kids for the night so they can rekindle the flame. Ellie agrees so later that night the pair head off to bed leaving the kids with Ben and Margaret. Apparently, we find out via text the next day that the couple had a great time. The sex was as good as it was when they first met. This is one of TSWWTC’s many social commentaries. Thomas and Ellie push Ben and Margaret to have children. It is clear, however, that there are consequences to being a parent. A waning sex life is one of those potential consequences.
So we are heading to Ben and Margaret’s cabin where they are babysitting the kids. While playing a board game at the table. Spencer talks about going back to the “place that shines”. Ben refuses to take him and Spencer bizarrely hisses at Ben. The adults pass it off as nothing. The kids head off to bed. The adults sit outside getting drunk and high because fuck responsibility. Seeing how good Ben was with the children. Margaret asks him if it is her holding them back from having children. Ben denies it.
The next morning Ben and Margaret realise that the kids are gone. Concerned, the pair search around the house for them. Noticing their shoes are gone, Ben decides to head into the woods to look for them. He makes his way to the abandoned location the group visited earlier. At the end of the tunnel, the kids are standing staring into the hole. Ben shouts at them to come back. Without warning, they drop into the hole. Ben is distraught. He slowly makes his way back. Unable to tell Margaret what happened when she calls him. Ben is shocked to see the children running around when he arrives back at the cabin.
Margaret makes an excuse and tells Thomas and Ellie that Ben went for a solo hike. Ben is relieved but, obviously, extremely confused. Something is different about the children. They are speaking in a different language. They are crushing bugs and making sinister comments. The pair keep getting nose bleeds. On top of that, all of a sudden, Spencer is a pro with the devil sticks. Bit of an on the nose reference there but whatever. Ben heads into his room, concerned at what he is seeing.
Margaret follows Ben into the cabin and asks him what’s wrong. He tells her what he saw at the fort. Naturally, Margaret doesn’t believe him. Ben has bipolar disorder and has been prone to manic episodes in the past. Margaret insinuates that it is likely his condition causing the visions.
He takes his lithium, I assume to stop the visions. I will point out, though, that wouldn’t do fuck all in the moment for hallucinations. Mood stabilisers don’t work like that. I go into this quite a bit in my review. As a sufferer of bipolar disorder myself. I give a bit of insight into medications, treatment, episodes and whatnot. Feel free to check it out if you want to learn a little more. Mood stabilisers, like lithium, take weeks to work. They are not instant. Taking them in that moment would do nothing. That is what anti-psychotics are for. Ben clicks that she isn’t likely to believe him so he stops trying to convince her.
Outside, the kids are acting very strangely. Lucy is walking around with a fire poker. For a moment, it looks as though she is about to hit Ellie with it. Ben screams “Hey!!”. Everyone responds with shock so Ben makes out he was asking if anyone wanted a beer. Lucy cracks a beer on the table in the way her dad was doing. Apparently having picked the skill up just from watching. She pours the beer into a cup for her dad.
As the group are sitting at the table. Spencer suddenly produces Ben’s lithium bottle out of nowhere. He rattles it to show that it is empty. The implication being that he has dissolved it into his dad’s beer. Lithium toxicity is often fatal.
When I was prescribed lithium. I had to undergo frequent blood tests to monitor the lithium concentrations in my blood. It is incredibly easy to overdose on lithium. In fact, dehydration can send lithium from therapeutic levels to toxic levels. Taking one 600mg tablet too many is enough to place you into toxicity. An entire bottle would rapidly lead to drowsiness followed by coma. The organs would shut down and death would result shortly after.
All bipolar sufferers who take lithium are aware of how dangerous it is. Psychiatrists drill it into us when it is prescribed. Ben, considering all of the above, smacks the drink out of Thomas’ hand. He demands that Spencer explains what he has done. Spencer produces a full bottle of tablets and claims they were just playing. Ben protests and claims the children are trying to make him look crazy.
Naturally, Ellie and Thomas are going to side with their kids. This starts a massive argument between the group. Ben tells the pair that the kids ran off in the morning and came back acting strange. Thomas and Ellie are furious. They can’t believe the pair would let the kids out of their site. Margaret tries to explain but they don’t understand.
Thomas and Ellie’s offensive views on Ben’s mental health come out. The pair insult Margaret and Ben for not having kids. They yell at them for being irresponsible when looking after theirs. Ben retorts by claiming they were passing their responsibilities off to have sex. Just like they did previously when they had a foursome. Or, as Ben states, should it be a 2 and a halfsome. A genuinely great line that had my partner and me laughing our asses off. All the while, the kids look on joyfully.
Ben heads inside. He is soon joined by the kids. Spencer is carrying a shovel from the fire and chewing something. He hits Ben with the shovel. Ben wrestles it from him only for Spencer to fall back and choke. Ben screams for help and tries to get Spencer to breathe. Thomas and Ellie come in and realise their child can’t breathe.
In a fantastic moment of completely believable behaviour by the parents. They make no attempt to unblock his throat. They don’t attempt to perform CPR. Neither of them perform the Heimlich manoeuvre. They don’t put him into the car and rush him to the hospital or a doctors. They literally just scream and scream.
Now I am sure some people will argue that you might not know what to do in the moment. Some may argue that fight or flight would kick in. If you are of those opinions, I have to humbly disagree.
This is their child. Most people would die for their kids. I would suggest reading into the lengths parents have gone to to save their children. This is one of many examples of this movie’s fucking terrible writing. Spencer is now, apparently, dead and Lucy is looking pretty pleased about it.
Thomas and Ellie take a break from doing precisely fuck all about their dead kid to shout at Ben. Ben runs out of the door. Thomas phones the police to report that his child has been murdered. Murder requires intent and whatnot but whatever. I doubt this would even qualify as accidental death but let’s pretend Ben murdered the kid. Margaret follows Ben to ask him what happened. He convinces her to come with him to the fort. He wants to show her the bodies. Everyone suspects Ben killed Spencer due to a manic episode. He wants to prove that he didn’t and that the children are different.
This was obvious. They arrive at the fort and there are no bodies. Ben is crestfallen. Margaret wants him to come with her but he is too distressed. He won’t leave, he simply stares into the hole. Margaret heads back to the cabin. When she arrives she is approached by Lucy. Maybe we take a quick detour to point out a pointless detail here. Notice Lucy’s hooded coat that she wears. It seems like a mix between Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf. I suppose this could be a little nod to the kid’s new deceptive nature. Maybe it is pointing out that kids can be both lovely and pretty awful. Maybe I don’t care enough about this film to give it too much thought? Yeah, that’s the one.
So Margaret is back at the cabin and has spotted Lucy. Lucy wants Margaret to come into the woods with her. It is pretty obvious here that if Margaret goes into the woods with her, Lucy would un-alive her. Fortunately, Thomas comes along and tells Margaret to, basically, piss off. Margaret heads into the house while Thomas goes into the woods with Lucy. It becomes clear, fairly quickly, that Spencer wasn’t dead after all. In fact, he has been stalking his mother.
Margaret walks around the cabin spotting blood everywhere. Shouting out for Ellie, there is no response. Margaret phones Thomas but there is no reply. We can see that Thomas’ phone is on the floor in the middle of the woods. Thomas is nowhere to be seen.
Margaret continues searching the house. She hears something from one of the rooms. Entering, she finds Ellie bleeding badly on the floor. She asks what happened and Ellie points to Spencer hiding in the shadows. Ellie dies and Margaret runs out of the room, shutting the door on Spencer. Lucy enters the house.
What follows is a tremendously boring scene where Margaret hides from the children. She moves around the house, watching the silhouettes of the children on the walls. It is through these silhouettes that we realise the children really are different. They are apparently predatory, bug like, creatures. Their silhouettes look similar to that of a praying mantis. Don’t expect any cool effects, you aren’t getting any. Shadow puppetry is the order of the day here.
Margaret makes it to the door where a park ranger is waiting. In something of an unintentionally comical moment. She casually asks Margaret whether she was the person who reported the murdered boy. She may as well be responding to reports of someone waving their dick at people in public for how little she cares. Margaret tells her what happens.
The ranger heads into the house before being dragged in and murdered by… I don’t know, one of the little shits. The ranger is thrown back outside through a window. Margaret runs away at a leisurely pace. A pace that could be best described as hurrying across the road when someone in a car stops to let you cross.
Margaret heads to her car. Fumbles with the keys a bit but manages to get them in. Rather than climb into the safety of the car. Margaret decides to drop down and hide underneath it. Another of this movie’s maddeningly stupid character decisions. Obviously it would have been less tense if Margaret got in the car and drove off. Apparently we can’t have logic in play here. Just have her drop down and hide to squeeze a few more drops of garbage water out of this bin bag.
Spencer comes in but, luckily, he is a dumb kid so doesn’t check under the car. Him and Lucy run off into the woods. Out of nowhere, Margaret spots Ben approaching the house. Awesome, I bet he isn’t a massive bug person now. Margaret follows Ben into the house to give him a long overdue apology. Oh, and maybe to warn him about the psycho kids that are killing everyone.. Only if she has the time, though.
Ben is acting weird. I am surprised the writers didn’t blame his bipolar again. He is apparently, replaced by the same thing that replaced the children. Remember how he has been chilling at that hole for the last few hours. He has obviously stared into it long enough to see the place that shines. Whatever happened to the children has now happened to him.
He has had a big change of heart, as well. He wants children now. Lots of little bug children to take over the world. Margaret either cares too much about her career or doesn’t want to birth hell spawn bug kids. She attacks him and gives him the old machete to the clavicle trick. Ben appears to pass out and Margaret runs away from the cabin.
As Margaret is running away, Spencer trips her up with a devil stick. Her head bounces off the handrail and she passes out. She wakes up a fair amount of time later being dragged by the kids. Aside from the concern regarding serious head trauma. Margaret is wondering where the hell she is being taken. Before we can find out, we have a bit of pointless stylising. We get a fucking ridiculously stupid scene where the camera zooms in and the kids basically pose for it. It is so stupid. Hosts does something similar and it feels so painfully out of place. What is the point in it? I really dislike this type of thing.
When Margaret next wakes up she is in the fort near the hole. Ellie is lying dead next to her. The children are feeding bodies to the hole. First that of the park ranger, and then Ellie’s body. Margaret sneaks up on the children as they watch a body falling into the pit. She pushes them both before they can turn around. They fall. It is safe to assume that they will not be dead, though. We have already seen them fall into the pit once. They made it out fine that time.
Margaret leaves the fort and heads back to the cabin. All of a sudden, she spots Ben. He has survived and is ready to carve Margaret up with the Machete. Out of nowhere, Thomas attacks Ben. Apparently he wasn’t killed by the children.
Where he was, I don’t know. Are we to assume he was also dragged to the fort and left there? Ready to be thrown in the hole. Having not actually been killed, he made his way back to the cabin and waited. Maybe he was just hiding for the night? It isn’t really explained. He shouts at Margaret to get in the car. Ben and Thomas fight while Margaret does as instructed. She gets in and drives off, away from the cabin.
Now this is a super unsatisfying ending. Margaret drives away before spotting Ben and the children in the middle of the road. We can probably assume that Ben managed to kill Thomas. We can also likely assume that the three are able to traverse distance quickly. Remember how we saw the silhouette of Lucy before. She looked like a bug. Could it be that they flew there with their creepy ass bug wings? I am not sure but I like that image. That is my head canon for how the three of them ended up ahead of Margaret’s car.
The three stand in the middle of the road. Seemingly suggesting to Margaret that she can join them. Together they can have the family Ben has suddenly decided he wants. They can have children of their own and spread the evil thing that has possessed them all. In an incredibly predictable moment. Margaret puts the car into drive and puts her foot on the accelerator. It can be assumed that she hits the Ben and the children before driving off.
So what happened? The “place that shines” is likely the home of a malevolent entity or spirit. Said spirit seemingly replaced the children. It enticed them to the hole and the children fell in. The children were then, in turn, replaced. Stories of changelings or replaced children are common throughout history. It seems that is the case here.
The replaced children now have incredible strength and a devious nature. We see that their childish form actually hides an insect like creature. The children set out to bring bodies for the spirit. The spirit, in turn, will replace those bodies. The people thrown into the hole will come back but as the replaced versions. These replaced people will go out and bring the hole more bodies. The cycle will continue until there are an exponential number of replaced people. Like bugs, they will spread wildly and become dominant due to their sheer numbers.
Ben was also transfixed by the hole. He would not leave with Margaret. He likely threw himself in, enticed by the entity in the hole. This lead to Ben being replaced. He tried to entice Margaret through non-violent means. As long as the entity gets what it wants, it doesn’t matter. Margaret refuses. She runs the three of them over at the end. Hopefully ending the cycle, at least for now.
The ending here represents something of a full stop at the end of a sentence. There’s Something Wrong With The Children seems to use the events as a metaphor. The ending is a confirmation of that.
Society makes you believe it is your responsibility to pro-create. Indeed, if you don’t, people have a nasty tendency to wonder why. They ask when you are planning on having kids. They wonder why you have chosen not to. People perpetuate the idea that you will come around to having a family one day. Those who never wanted kids and stumbled into parenthood are dishonest. They act like they changed their minds and it wasn’t an accident.
People are unwilling to admit that having kids changes your life. Sometimes in, potentially, negative ways. Thomas and Ellie aren’t having sex. They blame it on the foursome. It is clear, however, that it is actually because of the kids. One night away from them and they are bumping uglies like teens again. Still, despite this, they pressure Margaret and Ben into having children. When the group fall out. They insinuate that there must be something wrong with them for not having kids. Eventually, Ben falls in line. All of a sudden, he wants children and tries to convince Margaret to have a family.
Margaret has been fairly resolute throughout. She knew why she didn’t want kids. She felt her decision was holding Ben back. When Ben changes his mind, he tries to convince Margaret to have a family. Margaret, actually being a strong woman, doesn’t fall for it. Her hitting the family with the car is an allegory for her refusing to settle down and have kids. She is confident in her decision and will not change her mind. She doesn’t want kids or a family. If Ben doesn’t understand that then he has to go as well.
I was really not a fan of this movie. I have ended up writing so much about it, though. This article is huge, the review was huge. The message in There’s Something Wrong With The Children is fairly novel. I think pointing out the pressure people put on childless couples is a good thing. Raising a family is a horribly difficult thing to do. People should accept those of us who just want to get on with life.
It’s interesting to see a woman being portrayed with steely resolve in this regard. As a horror movie, though, it just fails throughout. If the execution was a little better, the movie could have been great. It has a solid message. Anyways, thanks for reading and be sure to check out more stuff on the site.