Disappearance at Clifton Hill: the ending, explained

The Disappearance at Clifton Hill

Disappearance at Clifton Hill is a 2019 thriller recently added to Netflix. With more people getting a taste of this mystery-thriller, there are bound to be some conspiracy theories and plenty of questions after that eerie ending.

And we’re about to get into it all!

Warning: Spoilers ahead!

What did Abby see?

The movie starts with Abby on a fishing trip with her family. She wanders off alone and sees a boy hiding in the woods with an injury to his left eye. The boy motions for her to be quiet before a couple in a silver car stop on the road above them.

The couple catches the boy as he tries to escape, loading him in their trunk and driving away. But not before the man catches a glimpse of Abby. Abby, frightened and unable to piece together what just happened, goes back to her family.

Catching up with the Family

While looking for clues at Clifton Hill, Abby meets historian and Podcaster Walter Bell (David Cronenberg) as he gets out of the water in a scuba diving suit.

Still bothered by the thoughts of the young boy she saw on that day, Abby goes to file a report about what she witnessed. The police didn’t believe her.

With no records that match her date or description, Abby leaves with nothing and continues with her investigation.

At the library, she finds an interesting story about the disappearance of Alex Moulin.

The Disappearance of AlexMoulin

Alex was the son of the husband-and-wife magician act, The magnificent Moulins magicians, who Charles Lake II funded.

A visit to the Lakes mansion reveals that Charlie once mentored young boys, including Alex Moulin. With the help of her sister and Walter, Abby discovers that Charlie’s father, Charles Lake II, could have had a hand in Alex Moulin’s death.

Abby Confronts Charles Lake III

Armed with invisible ink and a new theory, Abby questions Charlie about his relationship with Alex. She ends up being locked out of the Rainbow Inn.

With nowhere to stay, Abby returns to her sister, who helps her with the investigation into Bev Mole (Elizabeth Saunders). Bev and Gerry Mole (Maxwell Mc-cabe) were the Magnificent Moulin’s animal trainer.

Laure finds Bev in their casino database, which gives Abby the idea to invite her to town to get some answers. Abby gets damning information from a captive and paralyzed Gerry Mole.

After Walter doesn’t believe her new evidence from Gerry, Abby returns to her sister’s place and steals her passport to watch a Magnificent Moulin show on the other side of town.

Meeting The Magnificent Moulins

Assuming that the magician couple killed their son, Abby tries to blackmail them into telling her the truth.

After Bev realized that the Moulins mistreated their son, she and Gerry kidnapped Alex to blackmail the Moulins for money. As insurance, Bev and Gerry Mole also took pictures of the horrid scars Alex suffered from the Moulins tiger pet.

The Moulins reveal that they paid Bev to return their son. But the Mole couple never did. When they went to the police with the story, the Moulins were told their son commited suicide.

They believed the cops because they saw Alex as weak for being afraid and getting injured by their tiger.

Abby gets in trouble on her way back home

Abby gets arrested for illegally using her sister’s passport. While at the police station, it’s revealed that Abby lied for two years about having retrogressive amnesia while in Phoenix.

When Abby’s lies were exposed, her mother had to take out a loan with the inn as collateral to rescue her daughter. Her mother would later have a heart attack.

Abby goes to see Gerry one more time to get him to testify. She convinces him, and the police raid Gerry’s and Bev Mole’s home in the next scene. The news reports Charles Lake II hired Gerry to kill Alex Moulin by feeding him to the tiger to protect his son Charlie. Charlie, aka Charles Lake III, is also arrested at his home.

What Happened at the end?

The mystery of Alex Moulin seems to be solved. In the last scene, Abby is at a local hotel, and a man with a left black eye patch enters to check in.

After paying for his room in cash, the man pointed at the newspaper and said, “you know… he’s not lying”. The newspaper front-page story was Charlie denying involvement with Alex Moulin’s death. Flustered, she takes a breath and asks if Charlie hurt the boy but the man says, . “No…he saved his life”. And he walks away, leaving Abby in shock.

It wasn’t said, but the writer wanted us to believe that that man was Alex Moulin. He says he had been away from the town for a long time. Was he back because Charlie had been arrested and was here to clear his name?

While the show ended with a victory for Abby, we were all left wondering whether they had the wrong man in handcuffs.

Like most events throughout the movie, we aren’t sure if it’s true or just a part of Abby’s cycle of lies.

During most of his interviews, the director Albert Shin even hinted at the truth being the center of this movie.

In an interview with rue-morgue, Albert shares how the movie was inspired by actual events and their effect on his life;

“When I was about 5 or 6 years old, I wandered off to a secluded and forested area, and saw what looked like a kidnapping, at least to my young brain. It’s disturbed me and I repressed it; then several years later, started retelling the story, And as more time passed, everytime i would tell it, it would mutate and grow bigger and grander and stranger to the point where i couldn’t discern between what was real and what wasn’t and what was made up and what was make believe. That strange event which I somewhat recreate in this film, was the genesis of it.”