‘Cerebrum’ (2023) Ending Explained & Movie Summary: Did Amelia Come Back To Life?

Horror movies have different tones and moods. Filmmakers have since long tried to creatively tell their stories through this genre, although many times their experiments fail and the movies turn out to be duds. The same happened with this one here. The new film Cerebrum, written and directed by Sebastien Blanc, begins as an atmospheric horror film, which one would expect to grow on the audience as it progresses, but sadly, quite the opposite occurs. The intrigue created by the first half is agonizingly dissipated towards the end, with some of the sequences being unintentionally comical in nature. The story revolves around a father and a son, where the former is trying to hide a terrible truth from the latter. The son, William, aka Billy, is guilty of negligence but has forgotten the traumatizing event in question, and his father, Richard, is trying his best to keep William’s mother away from him. William yearns for his mother, but her mysterious presence keeps us hooked as the secrets of her exact whereabouts unfold. Cerebrum tries to hold our attention but just doesn’t have enough material to do so, considering its runtime of 97 minutes.


Spoilers Ahead

Plot Synopsis: What Happens in The Film?

William gets out of a coma and finds himself in a hospital, being taken care of by the doctors and his father, Richard. Surprisingly, his mother, Amelia is absent. It is clear that William, a person of color, was an adopted child and the Caucasian couple raised him. William has terrible nightmares involving his mother, and when he gets well and the time comes for him to be discharged from the hospital, the natural question arises: Where is Amelia? Why didn’t she come to the hospital? William got into an accident, and it had such an impact that he lost his speech. The doctor in charge, Chandrika, claimed it was an uncommon effect, but his speech could return soon. Richard took William back to their house, and this is where things started to take a bizarre turn. Richard told William that Amelia was in the house but couldn’t come to check on him as she needed time. Days passed, and William’s impatience grew. He also started to notice Richard’s involvement with other women who resembled Amelia. The truth scarred William forever, and he had to decide whether to support his father in his insanity or call for help.


Why did Richard laugh so absurdly?

After William goes back to the house, there is a frame in Cerebrum where Richard’s trophies are shown for a brief moment. It seems he is a neuroscientist, and maybe he has found a link between induced laughter and specific thought patterns that may help him and others overcome traumatic events. William saw him burying something in the thick of the night when he had gone outside in the garden to smoke a joint. It was later revealed that Richard was actually burying a corpse, and that must have been an extremely stressful situation for him. William was perplexed by his laughter, as he didn’t know the truth. Neither did William know what Richard was burying in the garden nor did he know about his experiments in the secret lab in the house. This technique of laughing and simultaneously thinking about the overwhelming thoughts was later shared by Richard with William himself, but it didn’t produce the desired effect.

Why did Richard hide the truth about Amelia’s condition?

William had come out of a coma after almost a year. Richard didn’t exactly have the best relationship with him before the accident, and now it is particularly strained because Amelia wasn’t there to mitigate the friction between the two. Richard suspected that if he told William the truth about Amelia, he would run away and inform the cops about what he was trying to achieve. It could also have had a severely negative impact on William’s health, considering his speech had yet to recover, implying that he was still under a lot of stress. His subconscious mind knew that a year ago, he had an accident while he was driving a car back home after picking Amelia up from the airport. He was high, and in between the journeys, he dozed off and met with an accident. William was feeling guilty and wanted to apologize to Amelia, thinking she was still alive. But the truth was that she had died in the accident. Richard’s extraordinary new research had enabled him to preserve Amelia’s corpse and store her consciousness in the house, which he now wanted to transfer into another person who was suitable.


Did Amelia come back to life?

Ever since William came back to the house, he was being haunted by Amelia’s consciousness, which manifested itself in her naked avatar, with bluish crack-like stripes running through her body. William must have thought that these were hallucinations, and Richard also tried to propagate this notion as he didn’t want him to enquire more and find out about the lab. But as time passed, Richard decided to show the lab to William, and it was here that William realized what his father was up to. He was bringing women into the house and drugging them in order to perform his experiment, where he would get Amelia’s consciousness transferred into the woman’s body. Nobody outside knew that Amelia was dead, and Richard had successfully brought a dead mouse to life, so he was certain he could perform the miracle with a human as well.

William’s speech returned because he now knew what had happened. But now there was a dilemma in his mind. If Richard could truly bring Amelia back, they would get to be a happy family again. William didn’t really believe in his experiment, and the clincher was that innocent women had to be sacrificed for this experiment. William’s guilt over driving the car and dozing off under the influence had made him part of Richard’s criminal experiment. She had always supported him, and he truly wanted her back, but this was too inhuman a deed. After helping Richard with the corpse of an innocent victim in one of the failed experiments, William reasoned with Richard that Amelia was dead and she couldn’t be brought back to life, but Richard did not budge. There was a hint that Richard was more in love with his experiment than he was eager to bring Amelia back to life. He would become the most powerful doctor in the world if the experiment was successful.


During Cerebrum‘s ending, Dr. Chandrika arrives after Richard insists that she come and take a look at William’s condition. She was another suitable candidate for the transference of Amelia’s consciousness. William couldn’t allow any more murders, which is why he attacked Richard and called the cops. He had to make a choice to deliberately bid ghost-like Amelia’s consciousness goodbye. After he made that choice, he went into the lab and fought Richard to stop his experiment.

In a violent scuffle, the father and the son both managed to stab each other. Richard died on the spot, while William was breathing his last when he heard the distant police siren. William had not actually managed to stop the transference. The consciousness had transferred to Chandrika, as one of the final words heard in Cerebrum was William’s nickname. Only Amelia referred to William as ‘Billy’ and this is what was heard before the screen faded to black, signifying that she had come back to life only to see her family destroyed. It is hard to say whether William survived, but with the cops arriving, he might have just gotten the required assistance from Amelia and the police to save his life. His life as he knew it was over, right from the moment he saw Amelia’s corpse in Richard’s lab. Even if he survived, he would never be able to accept Amelia being trapped in Chandrika’s body. The experiment was unstable, and Chandrika could soon die, leaving Amelia’s consciousness wandering in the house until Richard’s devices malfunctioned.


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Ayush Awasthi
Ayush Awasthi
Ayush is a perpetual dreamer, constantly dreaming of perfect cinematic shots and hoping he can create one of his own someday.

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