This article discusses the ending of Netflix film Army of the Dead, so it will contain major spoilers.
Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead brings the director back to his filmmaking roots: zombie movies. With a heist-focused narrative, the Netflix film brings together a large, all-in cast to battle a walled City of Sin, teeming with both smart and not-so-smart undead. Starring Dave Bautista as Scott Ward, the leader of the pack, Army of the Dead takes a good 90 minutes of unimaginative dialogue to progress onto the point of this film: enjoyable, popcorn action that’s stylish, over-the-top, and set in slow motion.
With a big heist crew and deadly circumstances surrounding them, most of these folks were always going to end up either dead or reborn zombies. So let’s break down who lived, who died, who became a zombie, and whose death hurt like hell.
Netflix’s Army of the Dead — the ending explained
As the crew infiltrates the hotel and the vault, several people lose their lives. Cruz (Ana de la Reguera), the second-in-command and possible love interest to Ward, suffers the most shocking of these early losses, as she professes her love seconds before a head-turning death. Following in Cruz’s unfortunate footsteps are YouTube zombie-killing machine Mikey Guzman (Raúl Castillo), his friend Chambers (Samantha Jo), and safe cracker Ludwig Dieter (Matthias Schweighöfer) as he saves Vanderohe (Omari Hardwick). Dieter saves his friend by locking him into the vault, which should be able to survive the impending nuclear bomb being dropped on Las Vegas.
Meanwhile, Ward escapes the hotel, hops in the rooftop chopper with pilot Marianne Peters (Tig Notaro), and flies to find his daughter, Kate (Ella Purnell). After lots of zombie killing and the ultimately joyous, tiger-feeding death of Frank Peters (Garret Dillahunt as an obvious “bad guy”), the Coyote (Nora Arnezeder) sacrifices herself as the crew hop back on the helicopter and flee the city. The king of the zombies, Zeus, jumps onto the chopper as they leave, and although Scott’s able to fend him off, he’s bitten, forcing his daughter to kill him. A callback to Scott’s forced decision to kill his own wife and her mother after she’d turned, this still ends up being a brutal way to end their journey together. A bit bleak here from Snyder, as the crew also didn’t retain any of the money they were tasked to steal.
The helicopter crashes outside of the city limits, and Kate becomes the only survivor. She wanders out and will likely start her new life with no family, few friends, and a helluva lot of trauma. Vanderohe climbs out of the vault, takes up some cash that his compatriots lost, and starts living the high life, immediately chartering a private jet with champagne. Then, he heads to the bathroom, looking sickly, revealing that he’s been bitten and is moments away from becoming the (likely) new head of the zombies. Boom, a sequel can be born.
In reality, a sequel seems to be the only piece of media that hasn’t been confirmed, as a prequel directed and starring Schweighöfer has finished production and an animated series titled Army of the Dead: Lost Vegas spin-off looks to be in production, with many characters reprising their roles. The Zack Snyder Zombie Cinematic Universe looks to be far from over.