The Little Stranger is a British-Irish Gothic Horror that due to studio neglect may have flown under the radar for many. However, the film is fantastic and possesses an ending that leaves a lot to unpack.
Throughout this video, I will be discussing several plot details from The Little Stranger so there will be heavy spoilers. You have been warned.
With that out the way, I’m Deffinition and I ruin the movie so you don’t have to.
The Ending Of The Little Stranger
The film follows Doctor Farraday as he makes a visit to a dilapidated mansion named Hundred’s Hall. Farraday frequented the mansion as a child and became fascinated with it. As the movie goes on the circumstances that surround the occupants of the mansion become more and more tragic and we learn that Farraday himself is hiding a lot of aspects about his true nature.
In the final shot of the film we see the spectral image of a child Farraday hovering above his fatally wounded fiance who committed suicide during the movie.
Many are unsure whether this was a real ghost or not and whilst the internet is awash with interpretations on what the final shot means Director, Lenny Abrahamson, cleared up his vision in a recent interview with Thrillist.
Abrahamson stated that:
‘The film is a ghost story, but it’s a ghost story in an older tradition. If you look at Dickens’ ghost stories, there’s an attempt to use the form to tell you something about people or the culture where it’s from. What I’d found so compelling about what Sarah (the author) did with the novel is she’d used this ghost story idea, this poltergeist idea, to talk about the sorts of things that are in people that they desperately try to suppress and the effect that has on one’s life. If there are destructive things or longings or regrets or needs unfulfilled that you suppress, then they will come out and somehow to spite you. They will wreck the rest of your life.’
This definitely backs up Farraday’s character arc throughout the film and during the movie we watch him change from a mild-mannered man into a vengeful and hateful misogynist.
When asked if there is a ghost in the house, Farraday said:
‘There is a ghost. Or there is a thing in the house. As Will Poulter says in the character of Roddy: “There is a thing in this house that hates us.” I think whether it hates them is a question you could ask, but I think there is a thing in the house. Now, I don’t believe in any such things in reality. But in the story world of this film, I think it’s really important there is some truth to it. For quite a long part of the film, you can go, “Well, I don’t know. Maybe Faraday is right. Maybe it’s all in people’s heads and it’s overactive imaginations and stuff.” But actually, I think there’s a part of the film where you just go, “OK. There’s no other explanation.” But it’s what that thing is, where it comes from, and what it means that’s ambiguous in the film.’
When describing what he meant, Abrahamson stated that:
‘You go back to that tradition of the Jekyll and Hyde story. Mr. Hyde, the monster is all the bad bits of the person, of the Dr. Jekyll. Faraday is someone who is so desperately longing for love and acceptance but who doesn’t know how to get it — he is unaware of the Mr. Hyde. It’s some kind of version of his childish rage and longing.’
This clears up a lot of ambiguity for me and leaves the final shot with a more concrete conclusion. In my opinion, the film’s end signifies that we should be careful what we wish for as it may come true. Farraday, in the end, gets what the child always wanted, the expansive house. However, he doesn’t get the things that make a house of home. Instead, he is left with the bricks and mortar but he is still completely alone to inhabit it after pushing everyone else away. The piece leaves me to believe that we shouldn’t act upon impulses as they can lead us down a dark path like the one that Farraday finds himself in.
So, what did you take from The Little Stranger? Comment below and let me know!