Feeling a bit confused about the ending of The Watchers by Ishana Night Shyamalan? Well, you’re not the only one! Here’s our take on some of the questions, many were left with. Check out our 2024 The Watchers ending explained. *SPOILERS*

We didn’t really love the ending of The Watchers. However, we loved the beginning of the movie and found it to be much better than the ending. Mostly due to the unanswered questions and the predictable twists.

Of course, the movie is based on a book and follows it fairly closely. While Ishana Night Shyamalan could’ve improved on the story in the book, a few choices were made that didn’t help matters much. Especially not The Watchers ending!

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Read our review of The Watchers right here >

We’ve noticed that a lot of people on social media and IMDb are confused about the ending of The Watchers. That could help explain why the movie has not been received all that well.

So, we’ve made this article in an attempt to explain some of what happened at the end of The Watchers.

Let’s get to our take on the ending of the new horror movie, shall we?

The ending of The Watchers explained

We’ve collected some of the questions we’ve seen on social media and answered them below to explain the ending of The Watchers.

The Watchers Plot Recap: Setting the Stage

Before diving into The Watchers ending explained, let’s briefly recap the film’s plot.

The lead character is Mina (Dakota Fanning), who is an American immigrant working in a pet shop in Galway, Ireland. 15 years after the fact, she is still dealing with the death of her mother. As the movie progresses, we come to learn the role Mina played in that death.

We also learn that Mina has a twin, which is no coincidence but could be called foreshadowing. We’ll get back to that.

While transporting a parrot for her boss, Mina drives through a remote forest that doesn’t officially exist. Deep inside the forest, her car and everything else electronic breaks down. She starts walking (birdcage and bird in hand) and gets lost quickly.

Before the sun sets, she comes across a woman, Madeline (Olwen Fouéré), who leads her into a shelter referred to as “The Coop”. She is now essentially trapped inside a cage much like the parrot she’s carrying around.

Every night at nightfall, the people inside the coop must line up in front of the two-way mirror when creatures come to look at them and study them. But what are these creatures? Why are they studying the people in the coop? And how do they escape?

What are the Watchers?

The creatures referred to as “The Watchers” in the movie (and book) of the same name are ancient fairies. In fact, fans of folk horror will probably recognize them by their name “Changelings”.

Even a 2008 Clint Eastwood movie starring Angelina Jolie used the title of Changeling as the story in that movie (without any supernatural elements) used elements from that lore.

So, the watchers are changelings.

What are changelings as seen in The Watchers?

Changelings are known from Irish Folklore. They can copy and mimic human beings to take over the place of a human. This is how they could come out of the shadows and live among humans.

So, the reason the changelings are watching the humans is to study them. All with the sole purpose of trying to turn themselves into copies of the people being watched.

Was Madeline a Watcher (or Changeling) all along?

Yes, Madeline was a changeling and originally a Watcher before she took on the form of Madeline. The real Madeline died years earlier.

To be exact, the Madeline we see in The Watchers is a Halfling. This means she is the result of a changeling and human having made a child together. The creature that now presents as Madeline is half human and half changeling which is referred to as a Halfling.

This also explains why Madeline can walk in daylight and why she seems to know the Watchers/Changelings better than anyone else.

Plus, it’s why she stands in front of the humans to guard them from everyone else, once things escalate and become too dangerous.

The Watchers ending explained – Mina and Madeline

Does it matter that Mina is a twin?

It’s not the fact that Mina is a twin that matters much, but it means she knows what it’s like to live with a copy of oneself. In essence, she already has someone in the world who looks like her, which is exactly what the Watchers are trying to create: Another copy!

Mina and her sister Lucy – yes, Mina and Lucy like in Bram Stoker’s Dracula – are estranged, so Mina also knows that just because you look alike, doesn’t mean you are alike.

Why is Mina still struggling with the death of her mother?

When we see them as kids – the event that took their mother’s life – we see just how different they are. Mina is constantly being noisy and difficult in the backseat of their car, while Lucy is calm and tries to reason with her.

As their mother looks away from the road to get Mina under control, a car crash is the result. Their mother dies and Lucy becomes scarred for life. In that sense, Mina and Lucy both lose their mother and their identical looks.

Perhaps that’s why Mina has a different fascination with the changeling concept. The changeling could be a true copy as her adult sister would have been if Mina had behaved. It’s the idea of a world that would also include her mother still being alive.

The symbolism of the parrot Darwin?

The parrot that Mina keeps with her at all times is a beautiful orange-golden parrot named Darwin. Much in the same way, this beautiful creature that could roam the skies is trapped inside a small cage by humans, and the humans become trapped in the coop.

During The Watchers ending, we see Mina let Darwin out of his cage. He flies ahead and guides them to what will be their rescue. And then he returns to Mina because this kind of parrot is known for its fierce loyalty.

Mina has been nothing but kind to Darwin, so the proverb of letting go of something you love, and if it’s meant to be, it will return to you, could come into play.

Just as with the changeling and twins symbolism, there’s the “bird in a cage versus humans in the coop”-symbolism.

Who escapes the bunker in the forest?

Madeline, Ciara, Daniel, and Mina escape the forest after the guidance on the tapes made by Professor Kilmartin. But before they get to the lake and the boat to escape the forest, Daniel is killed by a Changeling in the form of Ciara’s dead husband, John.

What does the ending of The Watchers mean?

After Mina escapes the forest she visits Professor Kilmartin’s office to destroy his research on changelings. During her search, she uncovers shocking information about halflings and discovers that the real Madeline has been dead for years.

The Madeline they know is actually a halfling who has taken on her form. She was the wife of Professor Kilmartin and died years back. Armed with this revelation, Mina goes to Ciara’s house and is confronted by Madeline, who tries to kill them.

Mina persuades Madeline to spare their lives by promising to help her find other halflings like herself. Madeline flies off to search for halflings.

In the following days, weeks, and months, Mina knows that the Halfling she came to know as Madeline, is watching her. Sometimes in the form of a little redheaded girl, sometimes as other strangers, she may pass along the way.

The final scene of the Watchers

The final scene shows Mina looking out her window to see a red-haired girl looking back up. We then move down to street level with the camera coming in behind the girl with the red hair.

This young redhead turns around and is breaking the fourth wall, so she’s now looking at us. Now, you the viewer, are being watched. As she looks into the camera, we see her face change a bit, letting us know without any shadow of a doubt that she is a changeling.

Or, halfling, if this is in fact Madeline and not a new halfling that can move around in the light.

Will there be a sequel to The Watcher?

According to the director Ishana Night Shyamalan, the ending is teasing a sequel where they could explore a larger universe.

Whether that will happen, remains to be seen.

However, the book by A.M. Shine that this 2024 movie is based on will be getting a sequel. It’s set to be released in October 2024 and will be the second book in “The Watcher” series.

The Watcher #2 book is titled “Stay in the Light”. The expected publication of The Watcher sequel book Stay in the Light is October 22, 2024, according to A.M. Shine’s GoodReads.com page on the book.

THE WATCHERS Questions from our readers

Francisco wrote to us with the following question:

“I was reading about “The Watchers” and I couldn’t cope with the symbol in Daniel’s forehead. I’m trying to find out about it, but I can’t seem to find some explanation. Do you guys know what it may be? Or it’s meaning?”

Let me start by saying this is one of the major unanswered questions. At least, we haven’t been able to find a definitive answer.

What we can say is that it does appear to be some sort of rune, which is the ancient alphabet that showed up in this movie from the very beginning.

When Mina’s car breaks down, we see different runes displayed on her car radio before it dies out completely.

From what we remember, the rune carved (or scratched with some sort of nail or claw) into Danny’s forehead didn’t ring a bell. A rewatch is probably required – if there’s an answer to be found at all.

A quick history lesson on runes: The symbol for modern-day Bluetooth is based on the rune for the letter B. It was inspired by the 10th-century Danish King Harald Bluetooth, who united the Danish tribes into a single kingdom.

King Harald Bluetooth ordered the making of the runestone of Harald Bluetooth, in memory of his father, Gorm the Old, and his mother, Thyra. Real Danish history sounds almost like Norse mythology.

The wireless power of Bluetooth similarly unites communication protocols which was the reason for choosing Bluetooth – even if it was originally just a placeholder name.

If you have any further questions about the ending of The Watchers, please feel free to contact us.

I usually keep up-to-date with all the horror news, and make sure Heaven of Horror share the best and latest trailers for upcoming horror movies. I love all kinds of horror. My love affair started when I watched 'Poltergeist' alone around the age of 10. I slept like a baby that night and I haven't stopped watching horror movies since. The crazy slasher stuff isn't really for me, but hey, to each their own. I guess I just like to be scared and get jump scares, more than being disgusted and laughing at the grotesque. Also, Korean and Spanish horror movies made within the past 10-15 years are among my absolute favorites.
Nadja "HorrorDiva" Houmoller
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