No One Gets Out Alive Ending Explained- What’s In The Box, And What Happens To Ambar?
No One Gets Out Alive is about being trapped, trapped by circumstance, trapped by family obligation, and trapped by all forms of evil. Netflix’s latest No One Gets Out Alive is a genuinely unnerving story about all of the things that confine us and prevent us from moving forward. The world is a harsher scarier place for the most vulnerable, but we all have baggage to carry. Adam Neville’s novel turned Netflix movie explores all of those things and more. Neville also wrote The Ritual, which has become a great example of folk horror. His uniquely horrifying monsters and complex characters are a hallmark of his. This latest movie is disturbing and layered. It is about the nightmares that haunt us and the decisions we can’t ever take back. Sometimes we can’t leave those nightmares in our sleep.
Ambar is an undocumented young woman who has moved into the boarding house from Hell. She is trying to escape her dead-end job to take a new position with her cousin. Before she can interview, though, she needs identification. When her friend takes off with her small savings, and she gets fired from her job, she has no choice but to return to the house with too many ghosts and too few comforts. Here are all your questions answered about No One Gets Out Alive, including that wild ending.
What’s up with Red and Becker?
Red is the man who owns the boarding house Ambar, and the others have moved into. He is a secretive man that doesn’t do anything overtly untoward to the girls, but it is obvious he is at the very least exploiting their situation. His brother Becker shows up on the second night Ambar lives there, and Red explains that he is his brother, but no other men are allowed. Ambar tries to leave, but without any money, that is impossible. Her only family is out of town, and so she calls Red to ask for her deposit back. He convinces her to return to the house to get the money, and instead, Red leads her straight to Becker, who forces her to drink wine and locks her in the house.
Red and Becker grew up in the house. Their father was an amateur treasure hunter and collected all kinds of occult items. Red claims his father killed their mother, Mary, and Becker protected him when they were children. Now he says he must help Becker. Evidently, that means help him sacrifice young women to an evil entity that lives in the basement. Something happens during the sacrifices that heal Becker, who is sick.
The brothers may have started decent enough, but they also became trapped by the house even if they weren’t locked in it. Living in the house all those years has warped them into the depraved sickos they are now. It has made them killers. When they returned to their childhood home, they got sucked back into the madness. The demon in the stone box corrupts everyone it touches. Some die, and others become its accomplices.
The ending of No One Gets Out Alive.
After Ambar is locked in the house, she tries to fight back but fails. Imprisoned with two other girls, Becker and Red prepare the girls for a ritual. Her cousin Beto comes looking for her, and when Ambar breaks the window to call for help, he rushes into the house, and Becker kills him. Becker then takes the other girls into the basement for the ritual while Red prepares Ambar. Red explains he would do anything for Becker.
Becker carries Ambar into the basement, where she is chained to a table and surrounded by candles. Ambar and the other girls have been seeing the same stone box at the head of the ceremonial altar. He leaves her in the room and tells her she should feel honored.
The room fills with moths, and Beto rescues Ambar. He isn’t dead after all and helps her get out of her chains. She leaves the basement and breaks through a door only to enter a hospital room. This is the same hospital room she has been remembering from visiting her sick mother. All of this is a dream, however, as Ambar is still sleeping on the altar. Her mother begs her to stay with her in her vision while a massive long-legged hairless moth beast unfolds out of the stone box. This creature hovers over Ambar’s face while Ambar keeps remembering her mother’s last day in the hospital. Then, as Ambar’s memory unfolds, the creature retreats into the box.
Ambar escapes the basement and attacks Red and Becker. She manages to kill Becker but not before he stomps on her ankle, breaking it. Ambar limps down the hall to Red and has a vision of the creature eating him on the altar. She next sees Red’s ghost in the parlor, and before she reaches the door, her ankle heals itself, and she turns around. No One Gets Out Alive ends with Ambar smiling at the window and a shot of the stone box.
What is in the box?
The creature in the box is spectacularly grotesque. It is a demon of some sort that the brothers, and their father before them, prayed to. This is what all the occult books and record were that Ambar found earlier. The creature has some psychic ability to invade the young women’s minds, so all of the girls know about the stone box and see it in their dreams. The demon is probably always on the lookout for a younger model, so it probes everyone’s minds.
Moths are associated with death and rebirth in part because of their nocturnal habits. Brown moths in houses specifically warn against trusting the wrong people. There is something disturbing about a room full of moths. The Magicians did it with The Beast and No One Gets Out Alive does it with a gangly moth monster who lives in a box. Every time the creature is active moths are present. In the context of the film, they are also a symbol of imprisonment. The moths are pinned to the display board before they are even dead. Very few ever escape.
Why doesn’t the creature kill Ambar?
The creature retreats into the box instead of killing Ambar because it sees Ambar’s memory and knows she is a killer. Ambar smothered her mother with a pillow, and that changed everything for Becker and Ambar. The creature likes strong killers, which is why it doesn’t eat her. Likely, this creature is drawn to the darkness in people. Red and Becker’s father was abusive and killed multiple girls, including their mother. In exchange, the creature healed him for a time. Later Becker acted in the same role. The beast likes symbiotic relationships with young, strong people, which is why it selects Ambar next. Becker is dying of something, and there is only so long the power the sacrifices give him will continue to work.
At the end of No One Gets Out Alive, Ambar is healed by the sacrifice of Red. She appears to choose to stay in the house of ghosts and may continue to bring sacrifices to the monster in the stone box. Interestingly this is the first time in this house that men are sacrificed. In this way, Ambar has claimed some power over the men who were exploiting her. As much as it could be read as a feminist triumph, however, Ambar has just traded one cage for another.
She was trapped in the house before by two men who wanted to gift her to an ancient evil. She is now trapped by her desire to continue to feel the rush of power the creature gave her. Both situations come with literal and figurative chains. She can choose to turn away now, though. Her only chance at freedom is to make the process a one-time-only event, but that is not likely. She looks ecstatic as the film closes.
What happened to Ambar in the basement?
Beto did not rescue Ambar. Becker killed him, and his body is still upstairs, somewhere dead. Ambar did not leave the altar and certainly did not go to a hospital room. This was all in her mind, and it is what the creature saw that made it decide to let her live and be its new disciple. Although Ambar is not a bad person, caring for her mother took a toll on her all those years. Feeling like she had no way out, she took her mother’s life.
Like a moth to a flame, the poor souls who find their way to this boarding house are circling their death. No One Gets Out Alive is a scary movie. The darker than dark tone and themes are unsettling, and you won’t soon forget the creature. It’s out on Netflix right now as part of their Netflix and Chills Halloween season lineup.
As the TV/Streaming Editor for Signal Horizon, I love watching and writing about genre tv. I grew up with old school slashers, but my real passion is television and all things weird and ambiguous. When I’m not watching and writing about my favorite movies and series, I’m introducing my family to the wonderful world of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. My only regret, there is not enough time in the day to watch everything.