Ending of The Little Stranger Movie is inscrutable
Ending of The Little Stranger Movie is inscrutable - but oh, so tightly wound. And oh so deliciously released at the end. I thought it surprisingly good. IMDB
4.0Overall Score

Oh, this movie absolutely isn’t for everyone. I’m starting there. But, this blog isn’t for everyone either, and yet, here you are. So welcome. 

If you haven’t had the opportunity to watch this film with Domhnall Gleeson (of Ex Machina and About Time fame) and Ruth Wilson (of I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives in the House, and Locke fame) it may not be your cup of tea. But if it is? If slow burn, scary movies, movies like I am the Pretty Thing that Lives in the House, or maybe even The Haunting of Hill House then definitely, The Little Stranger is definitely for you. 

For those of you who haven’t had a chance to see it yet, and don’t know what The Haunting of Hill House is – or maybe even I am the Pretty Thing… then basically the story is a slow boil, centering 100% an estate called Hundreds Hall. The house used to be a glorious manor, but has fallen since its heyday. Dr. Faraday has recently returned to the area, and has found himself caught back up by the tidal call of the house. Oh, and the manor could also possibly be haunted? Here’s a trailer, but I promise you, you’ll be happier with this movie if you go in blind. 

Ok. So yeah – The Little Stranger. Check it out if you think its your bailiwick.

Quick Walkthrough of The Little Stranger 

Hundreds Hall, an 18th-century estate, is now owned by Roderick Ayres, a scarred ex-air force pilot who served in World War II. His mother, Mrs. Ayres, seems to be perpetually mourning her first child Susan (who went by Suki), who got sick and died years ago as a child soon after the Empire Day festivities (99 bottles of beer on the wall). Roderick’s only living sibling is Caroline, the most normal of the three residents of Hundreds. 

Dr. Faraday is called out to the house in 1947, to hear from Roderick who believes there is a spirit in the house that despises him. Betty, the maid, also is certain that there is something evil in the house. Faraday, on the other hand, believes that if there isn’t empirical evidence to support something, it doesn’t exist. 

Faraday continues coming out to the house to treat Roderick’s burns. And after being invited to an upper crust party, a young girl is mauled by a dog behind the curtain. Was it the dog? Maybe. Could it have been something else? Well, sure it could. Soon though Roderick goes full-bore The Shining (minus the axe) and freaks out about the house. He’s certain that it is 100% haunted and totally after him. Full-tilting, Roderick lights the library on fire, determined to get back at the house. With that, Roderick is sent off to an asylum, (98 bottles of beer on the wall.)

Eventually Caroline and Dr. Faraday begin spending more and more time with each other. And it is eventually assumed that the two will eventually get married. But Caroline is certain that Mrs. Ayres will not allow them to marry and live in the house together. But WHY? Wouldn’t Caroline be the heir of the house now that Roderick has tilted? Um, no, and that’s 100% because Faraday was born a commoner. (And if you thought that wasn’t that big of a deal, you totally, completely, and without reservation, did not understand this movie. Don’t worry though, we’ll talk more about this momentarily.)

But Mrs. Ayres, is tormented now too. First it was Susan. Then it was Roderick. And now it is the lady of the house. When S’s begin appearing scraped into the furniture all over the house they are worried that it is Susan that is tormenting them. Then there were crazy occurrences with the maid service bells. And then one day, Mrs. Ayres carves herself up with the glass from the frame of Susan’s picture she busted out. (97 bottles of beer on the wall.)

So that leaves, Caroline and Betty. Oh, and Dr. Faraday. But Caroline basically comes out and tells Faraday that she’ll never be happy with him. And that they wouldn’t be getting married. WAIT WHAT? Faraday, is agog. Yeah, that is the perfect word for it. How could this be happening to him? And worse? Caroline is packing up the house and planning to sell it and the land. The glory days of Hundreds Hall are now officially over.

But one night, after packing, Caroline hears things up on the upper floors of the house and goes to investigate. When she gets there she sees an apparition of some sort. And she says – and I quote – “You… you…” and backs out into the abyss. She falls to her death. (96 bottles of beer on the wall.) As the movie ends, Betty testifies that just before her death she was the happiest she’d ever seen her as they packed to leave. But it was Dr. Faraday’s testimony that inferred that it was most likely a suicide, as her mind had been clouded for some reason.

The Ending of The Little Stranger Explained

Can you please put a bookmark in this idea that Dr. Faraday was an outsider? That he was a stranger to the world of noble society? Great. Because that is important as I mentioned before. Now, flip mentally to the beginning of the movie, remember when young Faraday visited the grounds for the 1919 Empire Day festivities? And how he full-on angsted right there on the grounds? He was 100% left out by Suki. He was whipsawed by his mother’s right hand after she learned he stole an acorn from one of the Ayre’s family mirror frames. Flip now to the comment that Faraday’s colleague made about the classic definition of a poltergeist. He was saying that the young are capable of really intense passion, intense enough to invoke a poltergeist. Ok, now, jump forward, and place another bookmark in the moment when Dr. Faraday stopped in the woods and had a complete meltdown in his car. Remember the screaming echoing that was reverberating through the house that was coming from Faraday? Now that we have 27 different bookmarks stabbed throughout this movie, we can now review what happened at the end. 

Caroline goes to the top floor, sees young Faraday. He does nothing but walk towards her. Caroline slowly backs away, until she steps off the landing and down to her death. Faraday, the young and Faraday, the old, basically manifested themselves into the house through a sheer force of their will. Originally, young Faraday somehow, caused Suki’s death through his anger by how he was treated as an outsider in the world’s greatest location on earth. Faraday had the opportunity to leave, and go to London. But he wanted nothing to do with London. He wanted the Hundreds. And through the deaths of Suki, Mrs. Ayres, and Caroline. That allowed Faraday to testify that Caroline committed suicide, thus helping to gin up the talk of the house being haunted. Which, in turn, made it possible to buy the estate on the cheap. I mean, no one else wanted it. 

Final Thoughts on The Little Stranger

The first hour and twenty… hour and thirty was all totally a slow build up. The camera’s perspective focused on Dr. Faraday as the truthful narrator. But we slowly begin to learn that we could have done with a better narrator. One not so vested in the story of Hundreds Hall. 

I actually adored the slow build up of this movie. I’m sure it won’t suit most people. But I thought the acting was spot on. The slow crank turning of the movie was well paced. And then when we actually begin seeing young Faraday doing his work, it is truly creepy. And that HOUSE!?! Where did they get it? I would pay large sums of cash to sit on the landings and sketch glorious renderings of the walls, the banisters, the ceilings. I want to make mad passionate love to that house! Cough. Sorry. That might have been a little over the top. But you get what I mean. The location scouts earned their pay when they found that thing. Wow. 

Anyway, I enjoyed it. What’d you think of it?

Edited by, CY

Bespoke Movie Recommendations

I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House
The Haunting of Hill House
Personal Shopper

Liked it? Take a second to support Taylor Holmes on Patreon!

Related Posts

7 Responses

  1. Luke

    I loved the ending of this movie but getting there was some seriously slow slogging. I was convinced the doctor was a psyo and used the haunting as his cover. I like how it seemed like a love story about a man and woman and just when you were feeling bad for the guy after being dumped you realize she was never the true object of his affection. I am having a hard time wrapping my brain around a living person creating a poltergeist. Is the idea that part of your child soul just sort of separates due to intense feelings and motivations and then becomes it’s own entity. Would you have any control over your poltergeist or are it’s intentions based solely on what you were feeling the moment it was created. It’s kind of a cool though that there could be this ghost created by your utmost childhood desires whose sole reason of existence is to make them come true once you’ve grown up and put them in the back of your mind.

    • Taylor Holmes

      Love that thought, and the way you put it. Especially if it was inadvertent. I remember closing my eyes as a pesky 10 year old, and staring up at the sky and vowing to all of eternity that I was going to work in technology. (Yeah, I was passionate and weird even back in the day.) What if that kid had unleashed some sort of demon that ruined anyone in my way. Job interview goes poorly? Woah. Or what have you. And it was autonomous from you, and your actions. But there goes the demon, burning down houses, businesses, careers, just to enact whatever it was that passionate child invoked. CRAZY! hahaha.

      And yeah, it was a bit of a slog at the start. But I thought the right hook made it all worth while.

  2. William

    Thanks so much for the excellent analysis! It’s 3:15 am and my analytical skills failed me this time.
    …getting old…Had I better attended to the poltergeist comment, the ending would have made sense before I read your great analysis.

  3. Luz

    Apart from the director can acknowledging the that Dr Faraday’s initials are an S, the scratching is clearly his habit as seen at 1hr37min16sec of the movie. Clear scribbles exactly like that in the house in his notebook.

  4. Chris

    Brilliant film. Reading the other insights here I think I’ve got completely the wrong end of the stick, but…

    I thought maybe it was about Suki taking possession of Farraday (at least the young boy) and Farraday taking possession of the house.

    At the end, when Caroline is confronted by something on the landing she says ‘It’s you!’ which suggested to me she definitely recognised the person. Caroline never saw Farraday as a child (his face was obscured in the photo) and so surely could not have recognised him as a boy. This made me think it was her dead sister after all.

    So I reckon Suki was a bitter, jealous, malevolent spirit, and wanted Farraday / the young boy for herself. She got rid of everyone until only he remained – or at least his spirit remained…destined to roam the house that he always wanted to be a part of.

    A real spine tingler of a film though, Lenny Abrahamson is great!

  5. Nicole

    The movie was amazing. Everything developed slowly and beautifully. The actors were amazing and now I feel sad to have finished watching the movie… Who knows when I’ll find one just as better.
    I thought it was the ghost of Suki, but I could not understand for the life of me, why whould she(ghosr of Suki) harm her family especially her mother! Then, when Faraday received the news of Caroline’s death, we see that the camera gets closer to him sitting at his desk and to a paper on his desk: there were the exact same “Sss”-es scribbled on and those from the wardrobe where they found it. Why would Faraday have the exact same scribbling on his desk on a paper?!
    Then, after Caroline broke up with him he went at the very entrance of the property to let his emotions out and it seemed as if those emotions have echoed to the house, which made Caroline go upstairs.
    Supernatural things took place, so the only valid explanation seems to be that of a poltergeist…

  6. Anais Anthony

    Farady caused Suki’s death? How is that? Didn’t she die of diptheria? Also, you state that Faraday could now afford the house for himself. We were already informed that developers wanted the estate for a housing project. That in itself suggests they had no plans for the manor but to knock it down. He would not have been able to afford the estate if developers wanted it.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.