Coming Home in the Dark Ending Explained (Spoilers)

Coming Home in the Dark Ending Explained (Spoilers)

Horrorific content by all-horror on March 21st, 2022 | Spoiler | Survival, Road Trip, Drama, Psychological, Thriller, Desolate

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A schoolteacher is forced to confront a brutal act from his past when a pair of ruthless drifters take his family and him on a nightmare road trip.

Coming Home in the Dark: Spoilers Below

Coming Home in the Dark Review

Alan 'Hoaggie' Hoaganraad is a school teacher on a road trip with Jill, his wife, and Maika and Jordan, their two teenage sons. Maika sees two distant men watching them during a hike. At the same time, Mandrake and Tubs, the two violent drifters, interrupt the family picnic by the road. They rob them at gunpoint and force them to lie down. Still, before they leave, Mandrake overhears Maika calling Alan his nickname, 'Hoaggie.' With no explanation, Mandrake murders Jordan and Maika and abducts the parents during the night knocking Jill unconscious and creaking Alan's arm.

Mandrake reveals that he knows Alan is a teacher and was once an assistant teacher at a group home for troubled boys notorious for physical and sexual abuse during his questioning of the pair. Alan guesses correctly that Mandrakes and Tubs were both enrolled in the school, but he claims that he didn't know what was going on; Mandrake isn't convinced and implies that they're going to the old school. During a stop at a gas station, Alan carves a message for help on the toilet seat in the bathroom and pushes a screw into the van's tire. However, he cannot arouse the station attendant's suspicion, who Mandrake kills by smashing his head in with a fire extinguisher and then taunts Alan with the murder.

Jill is caught during a failed escape attempt and is made to kneel underneath an overpass. Mandrake makes Alan confess that he was aware of the abuse but stopped and reported nothing out of cowardice by threatening to kill Jill. Alan tells them of the incident wherein a boy tattooed a swastika on his arm and an admin used a nylon brush to forcefully and painfully scrub it from his arm, traumatizing the other students. Mandrake maintains a neutral expression but begins tearing up. Jill is disturbed by his confession and later rejects her husband's attempts at contact. When Jill realizes that Mandrake isn't going to release her, she runs out of the moving car and jumps in a nearby river to escape from her abductors; whether she lives or dies is unknown.

Eventually, the tire blows out from the screw Alan planted during their approach to a small town. Alan escapes to a parking lot while the drifters are trying to replace a tire, where he finds a group of teenagers but doesn't manage to convince them of the danger until Mandrake gets there. Though the teenagers are about to flee with Alan, Mandrake assures them that Alan is dangerous and free to leave if they abandon him. Though they comply, he murders all but one who manages to escape. Finally, Alan attempts to convince Tubs that he doesn't need to live under Mandrake's control like this. They arrive at the group home, and Tubs waits outside as the two men enter.

During their walk through the abandoned building, Alan confesses that he was a coward who privately believed that the boys were troublemakers and deserved the abuse. Mandrake tells him that if it wasn't him, it was some other boy. Mandrake shoots Alan in the chest and taunts him, but Alan hits him with a rock and bludgeons him. Though wounded and disoriented, Mandrake survives and tries and fails to kill Alan. Tubs finally arrives and kills Mandrake with the rifle but leaves Alan, saying, "I hate this place." Tubs go to an undisclosed location and looks out at the rising sun.

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