Welcome To Blumhouse’s The Manor Explained- Tree Creatures, Witches, And Celtic Eternity
Amazon’s Welcome To The Blumhouse has been a mixed bag. Some of the films are creative and fun like the psycho-sexual masterpiece Tentacles, while others land with all the finesse of a neutered tomcat after a big meal. What they almost all have in common, though, is absolute indifference to expectation and a love of classic horror. Their latest The Manor has so many nods to beloved favorites it’s hard to find fault with the easy-breezy chiller that is well suited to all but the youngest watchers. With very little violence and a tree creature that is more interesting than frightening, it is a delightful slice of old-school fun.
Barbara Hershey’s Judith collapsed during her son’s birthday party and, as a result, elected to check herself into an aging care facility. Right away, it is clear The Manor is more The Cure For Wellness than John Knox Village. There are crows everywhere. A literal murder of crows resides on the facility’s grounds, along with an ominous black cat named Ozzie. If that’s not enough to tip everyone off that there is something witchy going on, many of the residents look horrified, and that’s before the tree monster shows up. Here’s everything you need to know about the ending of The Manor and Celtic tree creatures.
Through the first two-thirds of The Manor, there is the typical gaslighting going on. Nurses and orderlies drug and confine residents for their “own good.” Cell phones are confiscated, and most of the patients look like they are either on their way to the great beyond or terrified that death isn’t the worst thing coming for them. Judith’s roommate has the greyed look of death and the fearful look of someone being chased. Worse yet, Judith begins seeing something next to her roommate’s bed leading her to believe she isn’t senile after all.
Things go missing only to be found by nurses with hardened smiles and too-easy answers. She is befriended by three residents Trish, Roland, and Ruth, who seem a little too eager to have Judith accept her fate. Roland also scares Judith in her room when he clumsily puts the moves on her. He backs off right away, but it is decidedly creepy, especially when you consider what he was actually doing there. He broke in to mark her bed with the crow head she later found underneath her mattress.
Judith has visions of her dead husband playing piano for her and loses herself in the memory for just a moment longer than normal making her an easy target for the facility to choose her as their next victim. Despite her grandson Josh visiting her often, Judith is basically alone, and The Manor takes advantage of that. She is tested for dementia, and not surprisingly, the results show she is in the early stages of the debilitating disease. Her daughter is all too willing to accept the doctor’s diagnosis despite Judith’s protests, but Josh continues to be wary. Luckily he meets Imogen, who begs for his help, and he gives Judith the keypad code she uses to escape. The facility calls Judith’s daughter to bring her back, but she finds a photo that is the key to understanding everything before they can.
The ending of The Manor
Judith steals the files of the people on the list her roommate Annette gave her and discovers all of them had duplicate brain scans proving the doctor was involved in the scam. Before she can show it to Josh, Roland steals the files back and hides them in his room. Judith slips Josh the list Annette gave her and told him about the picture in the diner. The nice young nurse Liesel tells Judith she knows something hinky is going on but needs her to play along because Liesel says they are watching her. The following day Liesel is gone, and the other nurse Elizabeth claims she is sick. Judith later finds Liesel’s necklace proving her suspicions are correct, and the lovely nurse has been killed.
Josh pieces everything together and goes back to the diner, where he finds a picture dated from 1986 that shows Roland, Ruth, and Trish looking exactly as they do 36 years later. Josh returns to The Manor, and he and Judith search Roland’s room, where they find the files and Judith’s hair. Judith puts the wad of hair back in the drawer, and the two hide under the bed when Roland returns to his room.
Roland seems to take the hair from his drawer, and then spidey crawls down the wall. Josh and Judith follow him into the woods and find a far less cute and quirky Hocus Pocus situation happening. Her three new friends are witches, and the young people Judith saw earlier in the film late one night are youthful versions of Roland, Ruth, and Trish. They had made some kind of deal with the magical tree that allows the tree creature to siphon life from patients and keep the trio from aging any further. Additionally, they can turn back the clock from midnight until sunrise.
Roland throws what he thinks is Judith’s hair into the fire, summoning the tree creature. He comes out of the tree and, instead of killing Judith, kills Roland. Judith is a sharp lady and switched her hair with Roland’s earlier when she was in his room, so it was his own when he threw the hair in. After he dies, the remaining two witches convince Josh and Judith to join them. They say she can dance again every night, and Josh will never have to watch his grandmother age and lose her mind. They further explain the system works best when there is a younger person to safeguard their secrets.
This is why each of the first trio has someone younger that works at The Manor. Roland had the Director, Ruth had Elizabeth, and Trish had Gary. Judith and Josh agree, and they are marked with a scar that looks like a tree limb. Josh joins the staff so he can watch over his grandmother. The film ends with the group of five watching Judith dance, looking youthful again late at night. Evidently, Judith is fine with tree monsters and imprisonment as long as she is on the winning team.
What’s with Ozzie the black cat?
Ozzie was nothing more than just a regular black cat who may sense when some of the patients are in danger or stressed. Black cats are common familiars for witches in horror movies, and there are also many superstitions surrounding the furry beasts. Those include everything from cats stealing your breath while you sleep, harbingers of bad luck, and determiners of death. Curiously Welsh tradition states that black cats bring good luck into a house and are good weather forecasters. In the case of The Manor, Ozzie was just a sweet kitty that wanted some attention.
Is there a Celtic tree of life?
The Celts have a rich history with trees. They were often planted in the center of town and treated as a community meeting place, and the Tree of Life was thought to possess magical powers. It represented the three phases of life, including birth, death, and reincarnation. In the case of The Manor, the tree was a magical living creature that acted as a vampire of sorts taking life force and giving it back to those who worship it. The Celts weren’t the only ones to have a revered tree. Ancient Nordic traditions included magical Ash trees. Liesel’s Celtic knot necklace was a derivation of the traditional knot and was the most obvious clue of what was happening.
The Manor doesn’t shy away from the films that influenced it. Judith even chooses a signature red dress to dance in at the end, nodding to Suspiria. Although it isn’t the scariest Halloween movie out there, it is an easy watch that flies by in a parade of nods, winks, and crows(so many crows). Where The Taking Of Deborah Logan and last year’s Sator blurred the lines between mental illness and possession, The Manor’s straightforward story makes for a lighter watch. It is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
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.