The Lurking Fear (2023) Ending Explained – Explaining The Worst Horror of 2023!

The Lurking Fear (2023) Ending Explained

Welcome to Knockout Horror. We are on a bit of a run of Ending Explained articles lately. We will be keeping that up today as we explain the ending to 2023 Tubi Original horror movie The Lurking Fear. Just to clear up for anyone who ends up here erroneously. This is the 2023 movie, not the movie from 1994 and not the original H.P. Lovecraft short story. I will warn in advance, this is a huge article. This film is a messy and convoluted mess. I go pretty deep trying to break down what happens and clear up the story which means a lot of words. Feel free to skip to the relevant part that interests you.

Let’s be real, this isn’t a very good movie. In fact, I panned it pretty heavily in my recent The Lurking Fear movie review. It’s messy, confusing, poorly acted and feels massively cheap. It’s one of those movies that leaves you seriously hoping that the cast and crew actually got paid for their work. The edit is hastily done. The entire product feels completely D.I.Y and there is no polish to anything. And this is with the movie having an experienced writer and director behind it. In fact, this is one of the worst movies I have ever reviewed. Still, I am sure a few horror review sites will come along and give it a 4/5 or something. Just to deceive potential viewers.

What Happened to Michael Madsen?

Above all of that, can you believe that The Lurking Fear features actual bonafide Hollywood celebrities like Michael Madsen and Robert Davi? What the hell? What happened guys? Do you have gambling debts? Do you just not care about anything other than the pay check anymore? I just don’t get it. I am a fan of Madsen and didn’t realise just how different of a turn his career had taken in recent years.

If you would have told me, all those years ago while watching The Goonies or Resevoir Dogs, that these two would be sharing the screen together in 2023. In a cheap as chips, straight to streaming, awful horror movie. I probably would have asked you what went wrong with their careers. Both of these guys have been featuring in a who’s who of sub 4/10 movies for the past decade. The crazy thing is, they are extremely prolific with it. Madsen puts out up to ten movies every year. I mean, I get it. Make bank while you can but, still, it’s a bit of a surprise.

To be honest, Madsen and Davi are the only bright spots of this convoluted mess of a movie. Davi is clearly having a great time playing a twisted, maniacal, odd-body. And Madsen seems like they told him to work without a script and just have fun. With that being said, it’s still not enough to save The Lurking Fear from being an utter piece of crap. A piece of crap that is, likely, going to confuse a lot of people. Let’s see if we can unpick some of the bullshit. This article contains spoilers so if you haven’t seen the movie. Read my review first before checking the movie out and coming back to this article. Let’s go!

H.P. Lovecraft’s The Lurking Fear

This seems like the most obvious thing to get out of the way first. The Lurking Fear is the title of a 1922 short story by the horror writer H.P. Lovecraft. It follows the story of a monster hunter receiving reports of creatures attacking locals in an area of the Catskills range. Upon investigating the bizarre situation. The hunter uncovers a number of troubling legends surrounding the, supposedly, abandoned Martense family mansion. Taking along with him two bodyguards. The hunter heads to the mansion to investigate. Shacking up in a room that belonged to one of the Martense family. The group take turns guarding and keeping watch; eventually all falling asleep later on in the night. The hunter wakes to find his bodyguards missing. A crack of thunder and a flash of lightning illuminates the silhouette of a hideous monster on the chimney breast of the room.

The Lurking Fear (2023) Ending Explained
I want Johnny Depp.. We have Johnny Depp at home..

Naturally, a bit disturbed by what he has seen in the mansion. The hunter continues his investigations. Eventually finding his way into a hidden cave located beneath the grave of Jan Martense. While in the cave, the hunter kills a supposed creature, that actually turns out to be a member of the Martense family. Identified by the creature’s heterochromia. It would appear that the Martense family have become more and more secluded as the years went by. Hiding out in their mansion and caves, away from the British rule that was taking over the area. All the while inbreeding and devolving into primitive looking creatures covered in hair. The feral descendants of the family sustained themselves by cannibalising both locals and weaker members of the family.

Is The Lurking Fear Based on the Lovecraft Novel?

Obviously this is a fairly quick breakdown of the story. But you may be able to notice a few similarities between the original story and the movie The Lurking Fear. Namely the Martense name, the character’s heterochromia identifying the fact that they are related, and the cannibalising of people who visit the location. The writers of The Lurking Fear have, obviously, used a lot of creative license. But there is some connection here.

The best way this movie could be described is as being very loosely based on Lovercraft’s The Lurking Fear. Meaning there isn’t that much for fans of Lovecraft to find here. Outside of a few references and a few plot points. Whereas I can imagine that the writers were fans of the original story. The fact that this bears any resemblance to the Lovecraft original story is probably more to cash in than anything. Lovecraft is more popular than ever so any reference is beneficial.

Inside History and The Martense Asylum

The Lurking Fear opens up with a group of documentary makers visiting an abandoned mental institution. Hosted by some dude named Mike (Jonathan Camp). Inside History is, apparently, a hugely popular series that examines the past of certain locations. In this case, it is that of The Martense asylum.

Just to interject into our explaining for a second here. I originally watched this movie on a garden variety TV with sound from the speakers. I have a projector with surround sound setup but I find Tubi Originals don’t tend to hold up well to the big screen experience. Anyways, I am now watching this back on my computer with a decent set of headphones and the audio is so bad. It hisses awfully and certain characters are louder than others. This movie is so poorly made. Anyway, I digress.

The Lurking Fear (2023) Ending Explained
So much frickin’ research

The Inside History crew are making a documentary on the sordid past of this asylum. During the documentary, they will investigate the history of the location. Examine the past of its founder Dr Oliver Martense. Elaborate on some of the practices employed in the treatment of patients there. And speak about some of the atrocities that took place.

We learn, later on in the movie, that Mike no longer wanted to present Inside History. He wanted to leave the show to pursue other ventures. His partner, Crystal – who will play a big part in the story later on, convinced him to go back for one more series. Feeling that the money from the wildly popular show would help set them up for the future. Meaning they could do whatever they wanted. Mike reluctantly agreed which leads to no small amount of guilt on Crystal’s part given what is about to take place.

What Happened at The Martense Asylum?

Obviously this is a fictional character so no need for confusion there. Dr Martense was, apparently, a doctor who specialised in mental health patients and the criminally insane. He studied the human psyche in much the same way as Sigmund Frued but, apparently, shunned the spotlight. He “treated” patients in his facility and even performed autopsies on them when they passed away. Seville claims that Martense was a visionary. Someone who attempted to cure mental illness rather than simply ignore it.

The Lurking Fear (2023) Ending Explained
She looks pretty healthy for someone living in an insane asylum

The reality is a lot more sinister. He was actually torturing patients that stepped out of line. Including by using Hallaran’s chair. A device designed to subdue mental health patients. The chair is capable of rotating at a rapid rate. A patient left in the chair for significant lengths of time would become “compliant” so it was deemed to be very effective.

He was also raping patients. One patient who was raped by Martense at the age of 16 became pregnant. Her baby was snatched away from her causing her significant trauma. Wanting revenge, she poisoned Martense, who was then, subsequently, eaten by his patients who, we can assume, were rather malnourished.

What’s the Deal With the Heterochromia?

Mike is interviewing Martense expert Andrew Seville (Robert Davi). Mike points out a picture of Oliver Martense to Seville and refers to his apparent Heterochromia Iridium. This is a condition where the iris of either eye is a different colour. I’m not sure how apparent this would be on an old black and white photo but whatever. This is a point that is relatively important to the plot and it is a point that, also, references the original Lovecraft version of The Lurking Fear.

Heterochromia Iridium can occur in a number of different ways. One of which being injury, another being infection, and the third being a genetic trait.

Heterochromia
By Xavier Nájera, foto by author – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

In animals, Heterochromia Iridium is often the result of a lack of genetic diversity. This has not been found to be the case in humans. But the condition is important here because we are going to be seeing a lot of characters, later on, with Heterochromia Iridium.

In the original story of The Lurking Fear. The hunter realises that the Martense family have been inbreeding because the creature he kills has Heterochromia Iridium. Just like the original members of the Martense family. Suggesting that the gene for Heterochromia must have been passed down from Martense to his descendants. That’s exactly the case here. Just like in the original story.

So we know that Oliver Martense has been raping his patients and raising the children. He was then poisoned by one of his victims and eaten by the patients of his asylum. We can now assume that inbreeding has been taking place at the derelict asylum for decades. Just like in the original Lovecraft version of The Lurking Fear. The children have inherited the Heterochromia from Martense. They are inbreeding, passing the gene down, cannibalising people who visit the asylum and each other. And they have devolved to an almost primal state. But we don’t meet them until a little bit later on.

What Happens to the Inside History Documentary Crew?

The Inside History documentary crew are outside the Martense Asylum. They have brought along expert Andrew Seville to guide them. He gives them some background and tells them about the history of the place. The group film a few opening shots and perform some rehearsals. Mike discovers a locked door that wears a “keep out” sign. Asking Seville what is back there, Seville advises him not to go in. Apparently not knowing the laws of property. Mike grabs a set of bolt cutters and breaks into the room. Making this documentary both boring and illegally filmed. The group enter what turns out to be a series of tunnels.

Now if we look at the original Lovecraft version of The Lurking Fear. The hunter falls through the ground at Jan Martense’s grave site and finds himself in a cave system. It is in this cave system that the hunter discovers the inbred relatives of the Martense family. The tunnels below the Martense Asylum, in the 2023 version of The Lurking Fear, basically represent these caves. The inbred relatives of Oliver Martense are living in these tunnels. Pale faced from lack of sun. Primitive and lacking language skills. Living on a diet of human meat and bearing the Heterochromia Iridium of their distant relative Oliver Martense. It can be inferred that Mike and his documentary crew have just found themselves wandering into the home of a dangerous group of inbred cannibals.

Some Very Messy Continuity

The continuity is a mess here because we get a few scenes taking place in quick succession with limited exposition on order. Earlier in the film we see director David (played by the movie’s writer Robert Gillings) directing action with his blonde haired lady assistant. Later on, we see officer Hansen (Michael Madsen) talking with David and his assistant outside the asylum. Telling them to, basically, get lost. The director reminds them that they have permission to be there. Pissing Hansen off a bit as, obviously, he has something of a connection to the asylum.

The Lurking Fear (2023) Ending Explained
No bra girl’s bra will return later on…. And then be removed again!

This scene feels very awkward and out of place. I can only imagine it was filmed to get Madsen into the movie early on and establish his character. It feels weirdly out of sequence, though. Why is blonde haired lady suddenly not wearing a bra? She was wearing one in the first scene, now she’s wearing a completely see through white top. Only to be wearing one again for the final few scenes of the movie where she is stripped by the cannibal kids. Did they really tell her to take her bra off for some added titillation? Was this scene filmed later on and added to the movie? I don’t get it. We also, briefly, see the documentary’s producer (I think) Marleene (Laticia Rolle) here working in the trailer.

It would seem that, after entering the tunnels, Mike and his crew go missing for a significant length of time. We see one of the crew, seemingly, murdered and Mike appears to react with fear. The movie does a very poor job of illustrating this. Making it seem like they have been missing for half an hour or something. Mike’s partner, Crystal (Elisabetta Fantone), contacts Marleene to find out what is going on. Marleene tells Crystal not to worry. She also indicates that the documentary’s director, David, and likely his assistant Blonde lady, have not been heard from either but it’s probably nothing to worry about.

Crystal to the Rescue

The location thing here is a little confusing. Crystal hasn’t heard from Mike and she is worried. I believe that Crystal is in New York and has some sort of exhibition opening for her art work. She is all dressed up and ready to rock but Mike was supposed to be there and hasn’t turned up. From what I can gather, Mike is on location in Jacksonville, Florida. I can only assume he was going to finish working and grab a flight to get to her a couple of hours later? Either way, Crystal now decides to make the 14 hour car drive to Jacksonville to find out what is going on with Mike.

The Lurking Fear (2023) Ending Explained
How the hell did she know he would be in this park?

Crystal arrives in the town that the Martense Asylum is in and, somehow, psychically knows exactly where the town’s sheriff, Nassar, is. He is chilling in the park watching his kid sing with a choir and isn’t too happy with Crystal’s demands. He reminds her that this is a tiny hamlet, not New York City. Despite Nassar’s actor, Christopher Mormando, having one of the thickest Brooklyn accents I have ever heard. She will have to wait for 48 hours to file a missing person’s report. Crystals tells Nassar that she will go to the asylum on her own to search. She jumps in her car and hits the I-95.

Crystal Arrives at the Martense Asylum

Crystal arrives at the Asylum and doesn’t find the hive of activity she is expecting. Instead, she finds Mike’s car abandoned and open on the asylum grounds. Investigating further, it isn’t long before she manages to fall through a hole in the ground. If we refer back to the original H.P. Lovecraft version of The Lurking Fear. This is something of a call back to the hunter falling through the ground at Jan Martense’s grave. Whereas the hunter fell into the caves that were home to the inbred cannibal Martense family. Crystal has fallen into the tunnels below the asylum that, currently, are home to the asylum’s very own group of inbred cannibals.

Walking through the dark tunnels using her phone for light. We hear screams that we can probably assume are from the past. Just creepy background noise to illustrate the violent history of the asylum. Crystal doesn’t react to them indicating that they are background noise for the viewer’s sake. Not actually screams that are happening in the asylum tunnels at that very moment. We also get our first glimpse at one of the descendants of Oliver Martense. A young girl who plays with her wind up doll.

Crystal finds an old radio loudly playing music. She turns it off before noticing a camera on the ground. Apparently the film crew were making this movie on some fairly cheap looking DSLR cameras. To be honest, that’s probably what this movie itself was filmed on…. Or an iPhone 5s. We see another fleeting glimpse of a strange creature. Feeling unsettled and believing she hears something. Crystal begins to run.

More Horrible Continuity

It’s a director’s job to work with an editor to help illustrate the timeline of a film. They need to define the sequence that events take place and make sure the continuity of shots is obvious and consistent. Darren Dalton and Robert Gillings have completely failed at this as we get more messy continuity and blurred timelines here. Shots switch with no transition or definition. Events just blend into one. Crystal eventually stops running and takes a look at the tape. We suddenly see Mike and Andrew Seville talking. This is supposed to be what Crystal is seeing on the tape, I believe. But that isn’t made very clear.

The Lurking Fear (2023) Ending Explained
I wonder if this is a real historical prop?

The implication here is that while Mike and Seville were talking. One of the inbred cannibals appeared and killed the crew’s camera person. Dropping the camera to the ground. In the ruckus, the crew lose track of each other. Mike runs over to the camera and shouts for the director, David. Earlier in the movie we see an item with “Director” written on it covered in blood. Implying that David has been killed. His blonde haired assistant lady has been kidnapped. Which will be confirmed later in the movie. The camera person is dead and Seville has gone missing.

Some More Exposition and See Ya Mike

In a moment that reminds us that there is a third option when it comes to fight or flight. Mike, rather than running for his life. Instead decides his last moments on earth would be better spent offering story exposition. He explains that Oliver Martense was a pedophile that abused his young patients. He raped one 16 year old who ended up having a baby. The young woman murdered Martense, the patients ate his body and killed the staff before taking over the asylum. They are now feral and inbreeding. Doing whatever they can to survive.

Mike says that if he gets out he is going to burn the place to the ground. This is another reference to the original Lovecraft version of The Lurking Fear. When the hunter escapes the caves. He burns down the Martense mansion, the caves and the hills surrounding to rid the world of the creatures. Though never manages to rid his mind of the things he has seen. Mike is then, seemingly, attacked by something off screen.

Crystal is Attacked and Then Rescued

Crystal continues her search for an exit from the mansion. Walking through a bunch of dark rooms. The audio here is, once again, really annoying. Featuring a bunch of breathing and groaning dubbed over by Elisabetta Fantone. She spots another old fashioned radio before noticing, what looks like, a pale old woman. In a rather hilarious scene, she screams before running off. Followed closely by one of the inbred cannibals jogging at, what can only be described as, a leisurely pace. I mean, he can’t be that hungry. I run faster to the kitchen when I want coffee than this dude is running after Crystal.

In yet more messy continuity and poor direction. We suddenly switch to a group of people, lead by Sheriff Nassar, searching the asylum. The show’s producer Marleene is with them and, shock horror, so is Andrew Seville. Now you know something is up with this shit thanks to the ten minute shot we get focused purely on Seville’s mug. What’s this guy doing here, shouldn’t he be dead? Anyone else think that Robert Davi looks like Johnny Depp’s older, more weathered, brother here?

The Lurking Fear (2023) Ending Explained
Why has that cop brought along an old fashioned lantern instead of a torch?

Crystal drops the camera and runs away. Finally meeting up with the group and telling them what she saw. Somewhat doubtful, the group ask to see the camera. Crystal says she can take them back to where she dropped it. Sheriff Nassar, in the meantime, decides it would be helpful to have severe chest pains. Meaning he has to sit while the others go looking. Seville says that he will stay with him to, err, keep him company I guess? I would rather take my chances with the inbred freaks. The group heads off leaving Seville and Nassar to chat it up.

The Group Get Lost and Nassar Gets Ghost

The group look for the camera under the guidance of Crystal and, obviously, can’t find it. Going deeper and deeper into the tunnels, it becomes apparent that they are lost. Marleene wants to leave but Crystal insists that they find Mike. Prompting the group to continue on.

Back in the room with Nassar and Seville, Nassar laments leaving the house that morning. Apparently his wife was cooking pot roast. Something that he should probably be avoiding given his heart condition, and all. Nassar hears the old music that has been playing throughout the movie on his radio. Something that he finds confusing but not alarming. He tells Seville that when he runs for mayor, he is going to have the asylum torn down.

This prompts Seville to remark on how it is funny how things come full circle. The town’s mayor commissioned the building of the asylum in 1895 and now Nassar wants to tear it down. Seville comments on how someone has to pay the piper and that now is the time.

Meanwhile, the crew are still lost but Marleene is determined to make the most of it. Telling her cameraman, Tony, to get as much footage as he can so they can make an extended special edition about the place. He ain’t gonna be getting shit, though, as one of the cannibals, who looks like he is wearing a piece of sliced ham on his face, grabs him. Pulling him into a dark room and, I guess, maiming him a little bit?

The Lurking Fear (2023) Ending Explained
You know this will end well for Nassar

A quick flip back to Seville and our Sheriff reveals that Nassar appears to have been murdered. Half his face is eaten and Seville looks on. Shining his light on the cannibals that are chowing down on Nassar’s face. Another scene switch and, realising that they are probably in a bad situation, Marleene whips out a small revolver. The group then begin looking for the exit once again. Incidentally, they bump into Tony on the way looking a bit the worse for wear.

Shit Hits the Fan and More Poor Continuity

The cop takes off his shirt to apply pressure to Tony’s, rather superficial, looking wound. Only for Seville to suddenly appear out of the darkness. You are going to notice that this shirt will be back on the cop in the next scene. Looking nicely pressed and without a speck of blood on it. Nice job directors. Lots of crappy acting here as everyone tries not to laugh at how awful this movie is. And a horrible dubbed heavy breathing sound over the entire scene. This is, probably, the start of the movie really falling apart.

Seville tells the group that Nassar had his face eaten and that they need to leave. The group begin to drag Tony out of the room while Crystal and the cop go looking for Mike. It’s hard to imagine this isn’t a “Call in backup” kind of moment given the sheriff had his face chewed off but whatever. This is just a nice excuse for Marleene to be left with Seville and for Crystal and the cop to explore more spooky corridors. Taking a break from the dragging, the group chill by an open door way for a few minutes. Seville decides to, pretty much, waterboard Tony while Marleene watches on. Probably really regretting wearing tight pants for this movie.

Placing her bag down, Marleene is shocked when a hand reaches and pulls it away from her. Pulling it back, she notices a small child in the doorway. This is the same small child that we see earlier in the movie and the same child that will help Crystal escape later on. Marleene freaks and grabs her gun. Seville tells her it’s just a child but this doesn’t calm Marleene down. She notices a figure appear in the darkness and blasts it with her gun. That escalated pretty fast. Marleene killed a dude, she might want to lay low for a while. She is probably wanted for murder.

Sooo Many Body Parts

We then flip back to Crystal and the cop with barely a transition to indicate it. They have found themselves in a random room filled with gurneys. On the gurneys are body parts and partially dismembered corpses. Crystal is a bit perturbed but the cop seems more fascinated than anything. Barely even rattled by the half eaten human chilling out on the table in front of him. This is a day out at the natural history museum for this cop. “Wow, I didn’t know humans had that many ribs!!”.

We quickly flick back to Marleene and Seville who seem a lot less concerned about Tony now. Marleene notices that the thing she shot was human. Instead of being concerned that she just killed another person. She notes that the person has heterochromia so must be a descendant of Oliver Martense. Back in the room with Crystal and the cop, Crystal notices Mike on another table.

The Lurking Fear (2023) Ending Explained
Not pictured: Subtitles that have no idea what Mike is talking about

It becomes apparent that the creatures have been keeping people alive down in the tunnels. Chaining them to tables so that they can harvest meat from them. I mean, you don’t get much more fresh than alive, right? The cop screams that they need to leave as Crystal repeats Mike’s name over and over.

Suddenly a wild cannibal appears. It uses “fall backwards” against the cop which is not very effective. The cop uses “Shoot in the face”. It’s super effective but another wild cannibal joins the battle. It uses “Punch in the face” which sends the cop into low HP. The cannibal follows it up with “hundreds of knife strikes”. It’s super effective and the cop is knocked out.

Seville is a Bad Guy?

We then flick back to Seville and Marleene who are now very lost. Bet you didn’t think the most obvious bad guy ever was actually a bad guy, right? Seville is actually an evil bastard. Luring Marleene into a deeper part of the tunnels under the guise of knowing the way out. He quips to Marleene before she is grabbed by a cannibal who slices her throat. Seemingly killing her.

Meanwhile Crystal is still smooching Mike while the cop is being repeatedly stabbed. The scenes are flicking back and forth wildly throughout this whole part. The subtitles also say “smacking kisses” which really made me laugh for some reason. Mike and Crystal escape in to the courtyard of the Asylum. I guess they weren’t that deep in the tunnels after all?

The next part features Mike talking in a way that is utterly indecipherable without subtitles. In fact, on numerous occasions here, the subtitles give up completely and say “Mike talks indistinctly”. It seems like he is saying that Jacob was right next to him and that he was eaten. I don’t know who the fuck Jacob is but apparently he is Cannibal chow now. His name doesn’t appear in the IMDB listings. The cannibals killed everyone and Mike was just waiting to die. The pair eventually get up to find a way out but Sevillie appears. Mike and Crystal seem to recognise that he is not a good dude. Looking on at him with trepidation, only for a big group of cannibals to appear behind the pair in the courtyard.

We fast forward to Crystal tied up to the Hallaran’s chair and Mike on the table, seemingly paralysed. Seville pours himself a drink of whisky which he quickly necks. Only for it to appear in the glass a few seconds later. Glad the continuity issues are still plaguing the film. I think I am going to need a few glasses of whisky to finish this article. It’s time to learn more about Seville.

What’s The Deal With Seville?

It would appear that Seville has inherited the position of caretaker of The Martense Asylum from his father. His family have had the position of providers for the cannibals for the past century. Passing it down from father to son. It is Seville’s job to provide meat for the cannibals.

His family used to do this with dead bodies. With Seville’s grandfather owning a morgue keeping a fresh supply of tasty cadavers. It turns out that the cannibals prefer it even more fresh, though. As in, still alive. Hence why Seville is luring people there to feed to the cannibals. Seville proceeds to perform a lobotomy on Mike which renders him completely immobile and unresponsive. He then cuts off his leg to feed to the cannibals.

Seville has even more lurid intentions for Crystal. The gene pool of the cannibals has become compromised through years of inbreeding. Meaning they have limited genetic diversity causing them to be born with severe issues. Seville has captured Crystal so that she can be impregnated by one of the older cannibals. Giving the future gene pool more diversity and ensuring better health for future generations. Why he didn’t want to do this with Marleene as well, I don’t know. It is implied that Crystal is raped by one of the cannibals and then placed in a cell where she will live until she gives birth.

Crystal Escapes

Crystal wakes up in the cell and notices the young girl from before looking on. She offers to fix her toy for her but tells her she needs a tool. She fixes the toy and the girl unlocks her cell allowing Crystal to escape. Crystal runs through the tunnels, again, lazily followed by a couple of the cannibals. She easily blocks up the door and prevents them from entering as I guess human meat doesn’t make for muscly, strong, cannibals. Crystal finds her dog caged up in the room and releases it. She then makes her way out where she bumps into Seville.

The Lurking Fear (2023) Ending Explained
Almost comically long death scene

Seville claims he can give Crystal purpose. She can be the new Eve in his world. Effectively becoming mother to a whole legion of cannibal freaks and keeping the legacy of Oliver Martense going for even longer. Crystal says she has a new purpose in life before shooting Seville in the stomach with the gun she retrieved from the previous room.

Seville thinks about it for a few moments before deciding it might be best if he dies. Crystal throws the gun to the ground because the madness is definitely over now, right? The cannibals appear and, I guess, eat Seville in much the same way as the asylum’s patients ate Oliver Martense all those years ago. Circle of life and all that, I suppose. Crystal escapes but things are about to go from bad to worse.

Officer Hansen, Whyyy?

While making her escape, Crystal meanders through a corn field. Having completely forgotten all about road safety. She stumbles out of the field and into the road where she is hit by Officer Hansen and his partner Officer Quade. I hope you are ready for 15 minutes of Michael Madsen improvising.

After begging for help and telling Hansen about the film crew and Mike going missing. Hansen suddenly knocks out his partner, Officer Quade. He then tells Crystal that he hit her deliberately. Which, given what just happened, would have taken some seriously quick reactions. Hansen knocks Crystal unconscious and bundles the pair into his car before taking them back to the asylum where it is time for even more exposition.

Officer Hansen asks Crystal why she ruined his brother’s shirt. Indicating that Hansen is actually the brother of Seville. Remember earlier on when Officer Hansen was trying to stop the crew making a documentary about the asylum? And how he said it was sacred land? It turns out that Hansen was aware of what was going on with the asylum. He had been preventing people from going there for years. He had also been using his position as a police officer to hide evidence of the disappearances there. Facilitating Seville’s kidnapping of people to feed to the cannibals. It gets worse, though.

The Lurking Fear (2023) Ending Explained
They obviously let Michael Madsen improvise every line in this movie

Hansen has given Crystal and Quade a paralysing nerve agent. You can actually hear a crew member speak in the background during this scene. It is really bad. Michael Madsen seems to be making his lines up as he goes along, as well. He keeps saying “You know” over and over again. Anyways, Quade is going to be fed to the cannibals but Hansen has other plans for Crystal.. Yeah it’s the whole breeding thing again. Notice how Hansen holds a severed ear at one point? Obviously a reference to Michael Madsen’s better days of acting. Reservoir Dogs has to feel like a million years ago while filming shit like this.

Cannibal Conservation

Just like a zoo with a conservation focused breeding program. It becomes clear that there are a whole group of women being held captive in the basement of the asylum. They are being impregnated by the cannibals and forced to give birth. Carrying on the legacy of the Martense family for generations to come. Crystal is going to be joining them. She won’t be alone, though.

Remember no bra blonde assistant lady from earlier in the movie? She is back, only she has a bra on again now. Hansen has her in the basement paralysed. He instructs the cannibals to strip her but not too much.. Leave the underwear on… Kinky! Notice where her jeans have been cut to make it easier to rip them off? I hope she got paid a decent amount for this. They then carry her off where she is placed into stocks to be impregnated. I thought she was paralysed, why do we need stocks?

The Lurking Fear (2023) Ending Explained
Remember how Hulk Hogan’s shirts used to come pre-ripped?

The directors of the movie couldn’t give two fucks at this point. These scenes are messy as hell and flow together so poorly. Crystal, for some reason, is completely capable of walking around now. She isn’t restrained and is no longer paralysed. I can only imagine some amount of time has passed though the directors go to no effort to make that clear. Giving her the opportunity to go site seeing and highlight the horror of the basement. We see cannibals eating human body parts. Woman chained up and half naked. A pregnant woman giving birth and the umbilical cord being cut with a person’s teeth.

Crystal Escapes But Can She Forget?

It’s all pretty random but designed to demonstrate that the cannibals are keeping women hostage and impregnating them. Only for the women to give birth to children who will carry on the Martense legacy for generations. Eating more humans, kidnapping more women and having more babies. I can’t help but laugh at the teenage lads eating the placenta. Who the fuck is coming down here to give these guys grade 2 short back and sides hair cuts? Could they not have put wigs on them or something?

Officer Hansen looks on, orchestrating the entire operation. Likely revealing that nothing will ever stop this from happening as even the police are involved. Crystal manages to find her way out but the look on her face suggests she will never forget the horror she witnessed at the Martense asylum. Much like the hunter in the Lovecraft version of The Lurking Fear could not forget what he had witnessed. Constantly worrying that there may be similar horrors to what he witnessed at the Martense mansion out there.

And That is That

Whoa that was a big one. This film sucked and I am kinda pissed at myself for writing so much about it. Still, some of the stuff needed some clearing up. I hope i managed to do that and you found some explanation for the weirdness of this movie. It’s messy, convoluted, and poorly made. The references to the original Lovecraft story are very loose but there is some connection there. I don’t think this is a particularly good retelling of the story for anyone who is a fan of Lovecraft, though.

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!