What the director of “What Lies Below” has said about the movie’s ending

What Lies Below is the latest horror flick to hit Netflix, where it is one of the 10 most-watched movies according to the streamer’s charts. This means that millions around the world are making their way through the movie and coming to its strange twist ending.

Many theories have started to emerge about that final scene, which sees the lead Libby (played by Ema Horvath) in a tank surrounded by redheaded women in what look like chrysalises. This comes after she discovers that her mother’s new boyfriend John (Trey Tucker) seems to be some sort of alien amphibian trying to discover how to survive in Earth’s saltwater.

For those confused by the ending, What Lies Below‘s director Braden R. Duemmler has given some hints about what it all might mean. He told ComingSoon.net, for example: “I would encourage anyone who is startled by the ending to re-watch the film with it in mind. At its core, What Lies Below is a mystery and there are clues littered throughout the film that culminate in those final scenes and that last shot.

“I fear I’m teetering on a tight rope here between cryptic and lucid so I’ll just say this: the final scene was one of the earliest shots in my head. For me, it answers the who, what, where, and why of our mystery. Part of the why, for instance, is distinguished by a physical trait shared by all the subjects in the shot. That trait influenced our casting, our makeup, and much of our dialogue. But, it only becomes fully evident in that final shot.”

Ema Horvath in ‘What Lies Below.’
Netflix

He is referring to the fact that Libby is surrounded by redheads. Speaking to ScreenRant, he went further into why John’s race seemed only to be interested in gingers. He said: “I needed a physical trait that could be seen from a distance in order to make that shot work.

“When I realized that really the only physical genetic trait that’s obvious from a distance is red hair, it became the genetic anomaly that John Smith looks for in mates. It’s what allows him to mate with the human species. In the boat scene, when he tells Libby that she has a little red in her hair, it’s significant. It’s also why Michelle’s first line in the movie is ‘What do you think?’ in reference to dying her red hair blonde.”

Speaking to Borrowing Tape, meanwhile, he also gave fans another clue about what the ending means. The director said: “Another element that people should look for in a second viewing—water. It is so important to our story, it’s like oxygen (at least for John Smith).”

He also teased: “I can say that the opening shot of the film is a sister to the final shot. The first is coming down, the final is going up.”

As for those who think that Libby’s final smile to camera is a sequel set-up, Duemmler teased he would be interested in continuing the story. He told ScreenRant: “I do have a sequel idea of where it could go, as well as an angle that could maybe work better for a TV series.”

What Lies Below is streaming now on Netflix.

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