Separation: the movie’s ending, explained


Separation is a horror suspense movie released in 2021 about a family, death and mysterious beings. Let’s see what its ending entails.

Spoilers ahead!

The Vahns and Jenny’s custody battle

Maggie and Jeff Vahn are on a rough patch in their marriage. Jeff has been unemployed for 2 years, still struck on the success of his comic- The Grisly Kin- which is long past its glory days. Maggie is the bread earner, reluctantly working at her father’s law firm. Jenny is their 8-year-old daughter, often taken care of by Samantha, the babysitter.

A small accident with Jenny leads to Maggie filing for a divorce and pushing for Jenny’s full custody as she believes Jeff is incapable of providing for her. The battle is a bit ugly and one day, while arguing about in enroute to meet Jeff, Maggie dies in a hit and run.

Death and the emergence of mysterious entities

Jeff’s puppet/comics feature scary but good characters. However, after Maggie’s death, he and Jenny starts seeing a figure, resembling his Scarlet Witch character. They both have separate occurrences but are still shook by it.

Jenny regresses into her baby talking phase and starts making imaginary friends. Jeff takes up a job as an inker at his friend’s company. There, he gets in touch with Alan who wants his dark drawings, darkness, which Jeff delivers because of the recent happenings in his house.

Jenny’s grand-dad, Paul, petitions for a full custody of Jenny since it was his daughter’s last wish. Jeff wonders of the strange evil presence in his house is actually Maggie’s and she’s trying to ruin his life even after death.

Getting on with their lives

Jeff and Jenny try to get on with their lives, despite the custody battle. Samantha tries to help but more to Jeff than Jenny. She tries to position herself as Jeff’s confidant and lover but that doesn’t happen. One day Jenny remarks that her mother told her she was murdered.

Jeff’s boss, Alan gives him some substance to intake to confront the spirit and resolve it. On the other hand, because of their mutual love for Jenny, Paul and Jeff reconcile. Jeff decides to move Upstate for Jenny.

Evil incidents rising in the Brownstone house

Jenny has an allergic reaction the next day after eating the meal Sam gives. Sam gets hit on the head by the ceiling light and police gets involved. Jeff sends Jenny with her grandpa and Sam back home to experiment with what Alan gave. In one of the many red-coloured-haze scenes, Jeff confronts Maggie and requests her to let them live peacefully.

It seems she agrees and the next day, while bringing Jenny home, Paul is greeted by Sam. He is informed by the police about the driver of the car that hit Maggie. In shock, he sends Jeff the email when his phone is unanswered and is pushed over the banister, falling down the stairs.

Jeff, upon realization that the evil spirit might still not be gone, rushes home and sees Paul’s condition. He sees the email and the driver is Sam. Upon confrontation, she defends that she killed her because she wasn’t letting him free and was always belittling him. Just as she was about to harm him, the Scarlet Witch like character moves forward and kills her.

Who was who and what was in the end?

It seems that what they called the evil spirit was actually Maggie, keeping her daughter safe from Samantha. She’d formed herself into one of Jeff’s characters. In the end, from the attic window, she is calling Jenny to her but Jenny hesitates. Jeff pleads to be left peaceful, for Jenny’s sake. Just then, Jenny slips from the window and while saving her, he falls too.

In slow motion they fall, surrounded by red haze, clinging to each other. After a blank scene, Jeff wakes up, fallen but okay with Jenny standing nearby. They both realize they’d fallen but apparently Maggie’s spirit saved them. The red haze dissipates and they hold each other.

In an interview with CBR, director William Brent Bell wants the movie to be more than a horror one. He says, “…I want people to feel really satisfied when they see this movie and be touched emotionally, not just scared.”