Needless to say, this article discusses the Into the Dark: Tentacles ending and contains major spoilers.
The latest in Hulu’s anthology of seasonal spooky films, Into the Dark: Tentacles is part Lovecraftian creature-feature and part unpacking of lusty relationships – and just in time for Valentine’s Day! But while the film isn’t very good, it has a fittingly slippery plot that takes a little unpacking. So, on with that, then.
The opening scene is, really, the only clue you need to piece most of what’s happening together, since it depicts a woman, Tara, being pursued by a tentacular silhouette that she conveniently neglects to mention when she runs into commercial photography Sam at an open house. Lust prevails, and in the space of, like, one scene, Sam has moved her into his inherited family estate to perform renovations. It’s a whirlwind romance and then some, and Sam’s friend Esther isn’t keen on the idea even before Tara reveals that her previous relationship was with a stalker who hasn’t left her alone since.
Of course, Sam doesn’t listen to reason, constantly allows himself to be seduced by Tara, and eventually proposes despite the overwhelming evidence it’s a bad idea. Before long he’s beset by splitting earaches among other worrying health conditions, and that’s when the obligatory horror elements really begin to creep in.
Given the title and big scar on Tara’s stomach a lot of this is an exercise in joining the dots. But Sam, amid hallucinations and discomfort, begins to delve into Tara’s past, during which she was apparently known as Lina and engaged to her current stalker, Grant. She scammed him out of his dough, which explains her being so flush with cash currently, and a previous suitor was left as a rotting husk. When Tara opens up to Sam quite literally, she reveals that the corpse was her previous form, and she’s really a Lovecraftian entity who gradually consumes its prey piecemeal through sexual relations; the scar hides a tentacle that wraps around Sam’s neck while she explains this. Since Lina was in a relationship with Alice we can assume quite reasonably that the opening scene was the entity within Alice revealing itself and assimilating Lina’s identity, leaving the husk behind. But Grant was the wildcard in all this, and his reappearance sped up the gradual erasure of Sam.
It doesn’t save him, though, and he’s eventually consumed as the new host for the creature, with the Into the Dark: Tentacles ending implying that there are more out there, among us. This is hardly new territory in film and TV – monstrosities have been infiltrating us through sex for ages, and Species immediately sprang to my mind. If this were a better film it might be able to better unpack the implications of this, especially given its Valentine’s Day release, but alas, it’s content to be a straightforward horror flick without much in the way of a lasting impact. Enjoy the romance, folks. I hope you don’t get consumed bit by bit.