This article discusses the ending of the Hulu horror film Matriarch and will contain spoilers.
British horror flick, Matriarch, focuses on a self-destructive individual called Laura (played by Jemima Rooper), who returns to her childhood home after an overdose that nearly kills her. Returning to her roots after twenty years away, Laura uncovers a sinister secret within the secluded village that seems to involve some entity that controls the locals while bringing them an extended life. Laura is compelled to expose these secrets before her own sickness destroys her entirely. But what are the many secrets within the village, and how is Laura’s mother connected to them all?
Matriarch ending explained
Matriarch amps up its tension towards the final third of the movie, with the villagers gathering in the local church for a ceremony of some kind. Celia had postponed the event but is pressured into fulfilling her purpose by the desperate villagers. She has Laura under house arrest while she completes her duties. Gerald is positioned outside her house to keep the nosey daughter out of their ceremony, but Laura knocks him out and escapes anyway. She heads straight to the church and peers in through a window to see what the hell is going on in this place.
Laura witnesses the villagers stripping down to their birthday suits and crowding around her mother. Celia is naked also, with black goo dripping from her nipples. The villagers take it in turns to suckle from Celia and the crowd soon grow into a frenzy as they all fight for a taste of this medicine. The mother’s milk reinvigorates the locals, which explains their healthy complexions and extended lives. Celia’s milk seems to work as some sort of elixir, keeping the villagers free of disease and death. Laura’s friend Abi uses it to ward off her cancer, but without frequent upkeep it seems to have returned.
After everyone has had a drink, the congregation turns into an orgy. Laura collapses and pulls back her sleeve to reveal the horrors underneath. Her arm has turned completely black and something evil ripples under the skin. It’s as if her flesh is rotting and dying away. She rushes over to Abi’s house for answers and help, but is met by Ken, the angry priest. Laura admits that watching the ceremony only made her disease worse and she assumes that she is somehow connected to Celia because of this. Ken informs Laura that her dad sacrificed his life for a monster and that Celia has stolen the monster’s powers.
Gerald catches Laura and drags her to Celia’s greenhouse, where the monster awaits. Gerald is attacked and killed by the monster, which appears to be a humanoid with multiple sets of breasts. Laura panics and flees, but is later brought back to this very spot by Celia and Abi. Celia explains that the monster feeds the villagers, although it does need the occasional sacrifice to keep it going. Her father sacrificed his own life so that Celia could have a baby. Celia wants to sacrifice Laura to keep their little scheme going and to cure Abi of her cancer. However, the monster lets Laura live and vanishes from view again after a gunshot scares them off.
Celia and Laura return to the orgy to find all the locals perishing, with the elixir draining from their bodies. Laura tells them all the truth, but even in pain they still worship Celia for her healing powers. Laura decides to kill her own mother in that moment, battering her to death with the jammed shotgun. She declares that Celia isn’t her real mother, just the surrogate, possibly seeing the monster as more of a maternal figure than Celia. In the end, with nothing much more to live for, Laura steps into the lake, possibly to sacrifice herself to the monster or to finally be with her father.
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