Signal Horizon

See Beyond

The Taking Of Deborah Logan Ending Explained- Is Henry Desjardins Dead?

The Taking Of Deborah Logan
Official Trailer Screengrab

The Taking Of Deborah Logan is disturbing for many different reasons. As a compassionate human, watching a loved one deteriorate so completely is horrifying. Dementia and Alzheimer’s are terrible diseases because they often rob both the person who is suffering and the family of time and dignity. Children are forced to watch as their parents forget everything, including their children. Meanwhile, the older adults sit with the utter devastation of self-loss and helplessness. It is a terrifying and ruinous process that no one should ever have to experience.

When this painful process is overlaid with a supernatural threat, it is even more impactful as a horror film. Adam Robitel, who directed and cowrote The Taking Of Deborah Logan with Gavin Heffernan, created a deceptively simple found footage film that capitalizes on great performances and the innate fears we all have. The possession thriller features a killer final act that is as disturbing as it is strangely sad. Robitel’s film never takes the easy way out. It uses realistic family dynamics and intelligent camera work to keep the movie from reading implausible.

Both Anne Ramsey’s Sarah, who plays the worried daughter, and Jill Larson’s Deborah, a woman on the edge of insanity or something even more insidious, are excellent. These are lived-in characters who feel real. That realism makes the climax even harder-hitting as things spiral out of control. Here’s everything you need to know about that explosive ending and what it all means.

The film follows a well-meaning college student and her camera crew, who are documenting Deborah Logan, who is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. Deborah was a fiercely independent woman who owned a telephone operating business in her youth. Now she is losing touch with herself, and her daughter is overwhelmed and scared. Despite her reluctance, Sarah convinces her mother to participate in the documentary because they need the money to keep their family home. The crew quickly catches glimpses of Deborah’s symptoms. However, not all of Deborah’s behavior and symptoms are consistent with the disease. As she displays more erratic behavior, everyone begins questioning where the condition ends, and possible possession begins.

Eventually, the camera crew witnesses a particularly harrowing encounter where Deborah begins speaking French in a man’s voice. A significant turning point in The Taking Of Deborah Logan leads everyone to an infamous murder story from Sarah’s childhood. In the ’70s, a local pediatrician Henry Desjardins was accused of taking young girls, cannibalizing their bodies, and using them for a blood ritual. Desjardins was dying of Lou Gehrig’s disease and wanted to live forever. The police found four of his victims in a house with snakes, their venom and snake imagery everywhere. The man, however, was never found.

The ending of The Taking Of Deborah Logan explained.

Although the first two acts leave plenty of room for interpretation, the ending clearly clarifies what is wrong with Deborah. Sarah has lived for so long with the weight of what is happening to her mother that the two have created a shared psychosis. That shared belief is used to explain away so many of the strange early bits of the movie. By the shocking end, though, the time for grounded explanations is over. As the spirit residing inside Deborah is revealed, everyone must come to terms with an evil that must be reckoned with.

Years ago, Deborah helped cover Henry Desjardins’ crimes after learning he planned to use Sarah as his final sacrifice. Sarah feels responsible for her mother’s possession because Deborah did it to save her. Subtle clues make it obvious that these two have a complicated relationship. Like most mothers and daughters, it is wrought with subtext about Sarah’s sexuality and childhood events, never spoken of but implied.

Desjardins possessed Deborah and, later, probably Cara because the young and sick are the most vulnerable. This also confirms that Deborah does have Alzheimer’s in addition to being possessed. Additionally, Deborah feels tremendous guilt for killing him and keeping it all a secret. Their neighbor Harris witnessed Deborah stab Desjardins with her spade, and the two buried him alive. His knowledge of the event helps them find Desjardins’ remains which they later use. The group tries to burn the remains in Sarah’s house, but the spirit prevents them from doing so. Right after, they get a call from the hospital that Deborah has escaped.

Deborah has been possessed by Henry Desjardins, who needs the fifth virgin to sacrifice to complete his ritual and become immortal. Deborah, who no longer has any control over herself, kidnaps Cara and takes her to the mine tunnels below Monacan Mill, where he killed the first four girls years ago. Mia and Sarah find Deborah, who has detached her jaw like a snake. She is attempting to eat Cara head first. Sarah shoots at her and then injects her with a sedative. While Mia keeps Cara safe, Sarah sets fire to Desjardins remains which, according to legend and many Supernatural episodes, will break the spirit’s hold on Deborah and vanquish him to Hell. The final shot of Sarah hugging her traumatized mom seems to indicate it was successful.

Because of Deborah’s deteriorating mental status, she is not charged with Sheriff Tweed’s murder or Cara’s kidnapping. In the film’s closing moments, Cara is shown several months after her kidnapping. Her cancer is in miraculous remission, and she is in good health. A television reporter interviews her, and she says her plans are a secret when she is questioned about the future. As the voice-over for the new story continues, Cara turns to the camera and smiles enigmatically. Deborah may no longer be fighting Henry Desjardins, but it appears he now possesses Cara.

Snake symbolism

Snakes symbolize many things. The Taking Of Deborah Logan uses them to indicate that something evil has invaded their space. Religiously snakes are a symbol of the Devil. The serpent convinces Eve to eat from the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden. In the film, snakes are seen early in Deborah’s garden and in many documentary shots. Desjardins used the symbol repeatedly in his rituals. A clue to snake possession is seen twice in the film when a terrifying face of a man with a detached jaw flashes on the screen for just a second. When Deborah is using her operator equipment during the attic scene, it flickers for a brief moment. It is easy to miss.

Deborah’s attack on the hospital security guard left him in anaphylactic shock because he was injected with rattlesnake venom when she bit him. Later, when the Sheriff tries to apprehend her, Deborah spits venom at the deputy and kills the Sheriff. There are tons of snakes in the tunnels below the mill. Although serpents are often evil symbols, they can also represent fertility, rebirth, and transformation. Their ability to shed their skin acts as a living representation of eternal life and healing.

For Desjardins, he hopes they will transform his spirit into an immortal body. Considering that burning his remains does nothing to destroy his soul, he may have completed the ritual and lived on as an eternal being that can jump bodies when necessary. We do not know if he completed the ritual at some point before Harris and Deborah buried him or if Cara was killed while being consumed and only appeared to be rescued by Mia and Sarah. Cara’s remarkable health and smile at the camera however point toward the ritual’s success. Ironically, snakes are also totems for feminine protection. Evidently, no one told Desjardins that as his victims were all young girls experiencing menstruation for the first time.

The Taking Of Deborah Logan works so well because the disease is so horrific. As a metaphor for what it is like to lose yourself to something so uncontrollable, it is perfect. The patient and their loved ones feel helpless and sad. Most feel guilty for being a burden or frustrated by the circumstances. This slow boiling pot of emotion is dangerous for everyone. Diagnosing Deborah formally with the disease makes everything that much scarier. Disease, guilt, and genuine evil work hand in hand to destroy families and lives. The Taking Of Deborah Logan is a thoughtful take on aging families and decades-old curses. You can watch it free on Tubi TV right now.