‘Amelia’s Children’ Ending Explained & Movie Recap: Does Riley Save Edwards?

Amelia’s Children could very well have been a rousing drama about a young man reuniting with his long-lost twin and estranged mother, with all of them trying to adapt to a newly formed dynamic. But director Gabriel Abrantes’ Portuguese (the majority of it is in English though) film had to be a deranged horror flick that hits the creepy button beyond your imagination. The film keeps oscillating between psychological and campy, which provides the audience with a unique experience that might not be suitable for everyone’s taste. Funnily enough, Amelia’s Children could very well be perceived as a loony comedy as well. You’re obviously here to clear up the confusion you have after watching the film, so I’m going to try my best to satisfy you.


Spoilers Ahead

What Happens in the Movie?

How heartbreaking is it for a mother if her infant babies get abducted by mysterious strangers? In a gothic Portuguese mansion, Amelia was just about to put her twin babies to bed. Just when she’s tucking in one of the little ones, a woman sneakily enters the house, takes the other one, and runs to the car that is parked outside. With her other son now in bed, Amelia gazes outside the window and sees the car blinking its headlights. In the meantime, a tall, long-haired man comes into the room and takes the other child. Amelia turns around, looks horrified for a second, and then runs after the man, screaming. The woman outside sees Amelia running after the man, and that’s when it happens. Amelia’s eyes turn all white, implying she’s clearly no ordinary mommy. The woman drives away, and the man’s fate remains unknown. 


Years later, thirty-something Edward Ipus is trying to find his roots. Edward has never known his biological family, and he has this incessant urge to discover where he comes from (we know, of course!). Well, he doesn’t have to wait much longer as his wife, Riley (who may well be his girlfriend or fiancé; they never make it clear), gifts him this genetic reader application, “Ancestory,” through which he finds out one Miguel Castro might just be one of his siblings. And while Edward contemplates giving a call to this stranger, who’s most likely his brother, Miguel himself calls him and lets him know that they’re not only brothers but twins. Miguel invites Edward to visit him and their mother (who else but Amelia) in Portugal, and Edward is more than happy to oblige.

Why is Miguel so weird?

I should have probably framed the question as “Why Is Everything So Weird?” But anyway, even before meeting Miguel and Amelia at their huge mansion in the middle of nowhere (very convenient), Edward and Riley receive their customary horror movie warning from two random strangers—a middle-aged man and a woman. They ask the couple not to go to Amelia’s house, and to get out, but obviously that ain’t happening in a horror movie. The couple finally reach the house, and Miguel warmly welcomes them. There shouldn’t be any doubt about Miguel being Edward’s twin (they are played by the same actor, Carlos Cota, who is brilliant in both roles), but there’s something off about him. In fact, even though everything seems quite perfect, something must be going on. Yes, this is a classic “horror movie couple walking into a beautiful house for a vacation” kind of situation, and like always, it’s Riley (the woman) who starts smelling the foul play, and Edward (the man) is oblivious. In his defense, though, the dude has just met his twin brother and mother for the first time in life, so we should cut him some slack. Edward’s meeting with his mommy dearest has this weird incestuous vibe, although only from her side. Amelia is very sick, but the weird thing here is that you can take one look at her and tell that her face has gone through tons of plastic surgery and looks quite grotesque (read terribly ugly here). That’s quite sad given that young Amelia was conventionally pretty, but I guess this is what old age does to you. However, things are clearly not as simple as that. 


Amelia and Edward’s first meeting may be weird, but nothing can top Amelia’s meeting with Riley in terms of cuckoo quotient. It starts pleasantly, though, with Amelia praising Riley’s digital painting, but then she starts to say things like humans are eaten by time like potatoes, as if that makes any sense. I have a feeling the director is taking a dig at horror movie characters saying cryptic things for no valid reason. As the narrative moves forward, Riley grows certain there’s something terribly wrong with Miguel and Amelia. At the same time, Edward is almost bewitched by his family. When Riley manages to eavesdrop on a conversation between Miguel and Amelia about a certain baby, she is convinced that the mother and son sleep together. She soon starts having nightmares where a zombified Amelia is rummaging through her luggage. Realizing staying further is not at all healthy for her (and also for Edward), Riley tries to convince Edward about leaving. But they end up having a fight where Edwards uncharacteristically uses the “b-word,” further confirming he’s under a spell conjured by his brother and mother. 

What is Amelia’s secret?

From the get-go, you know that you are in for some real creepy reveal, but did you see Amelia’s Children going full Incendies on you? Well, if there’s an award for incest, then Amelia should definitely get some medals. Miguel and Edwards are Amelia’s children, alright, but their father, Arthur, also happens to be their brother. Not only does Amelia procreate with her own children (and so on), she also consumes them (not entirely) in order to maintain her eternal youth. Yes, that’s where the film walks into supernatural territory and brings in Francisco Goya’s famous paintings, “Saturn Devouring His Son” and “Witches’ Sabbath” into the equation. It’s only natural for Riley to run away as far as possible after getting the whole thing. Of course, it’s that old woman, Senora Vieira (who warned her and Edwards in the beginning), who tells her all about it. Senora Vieira has some vested interest, though; the woman you see in the very beginning (who abducted one of Amelia’s children, according to Edwards) was actually her daughter. And the man who tried to take the other one (which must be Miguel) was none other than Arthur. What you see at the start of the film is basically Vieira’s daughter and Arthur trying to save the children from Amelia. Of course, Arthur was in love with the woman and wanted to get away from his incestuous mother. Sadly, he failed, and now Miguel is paying the price. However, Miguel does seem to be totally into his mother. Sadly, there’s a hitch—he can’t have children. That’s where Edwards comes in. The reason Amelia needs her lost child is because she must copulate with him in order to push the wretched bloodline forward.


Does Riley save Edwards?

I sincerely don’t think it matters in this film. I mean, it could have gone either way—Riley dying and Edwards getting consumed—if the director wanted to go full dark. But the choice of saving Edwards does make more sense. Poor dude clearly didn’t need to be reunited with his family in this life. Thankfully for him, he is fortunate enough to have someone like Riley in his life. It would have been shameful if Riley had lost here, after everything she had to endure. Senora Vieira had to be a sad casualty, though, as Miguel killed her after realizing she’s the one who spilled the beans to Riley.

Riley and Miguel have a violent confrontation where she flings a shovel at him and eventually gets away. In the underground basement of the house, she comes across an old and frail but still very much alive Arthur (is this a nod to Zach Cregger’s Barbarian, by any chance?). It’s only normal for Riley to get scared and retreat, not heeding Arthur’s call for help. Riley needs to save Edward, who is unfortunate enough to get raped by his own birth mother. Of course, Amelia does this in disguise as Riley (surely a witchcraft thing, which Miguel also seems to have). Stunned and disgusted after seeing that, Riley still manages to get Edward out and make a run for it. Making Miguel fall from upstairs definitely helps her in the cause, and so does a vengeful Arthur, who would give everything to stop Amelia from killing Riley. Riley and Edward escape for good, but the final scene confirms that Amelia has been successful at what she intended to do.

Amelia’s Children ends with a scene as bizarre as her putting the new baby (which she had with Edward, I suppose) in the crib and then going for a sensual dance with Manuel that leads to her making out with him. Not to mention Amelia is all young and beautiful again. The film draws the curtain there, but we know for a fact what Amelia and Miguel are up to. Well, as long as they don’t bother Riley and Edwards, I guess we should leave them for good.

Rohitavra Majumdar
Rohitavra Majumdar
Rohitavra likes to talk about movies, music, photography, food, and football. He has a government job to get by, but all those other things are what keep him going.

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