‘Dangerous Game: The Legacy Murders’ Ending Explained: How Was Ellison Connected To Henry Howard Holmes?

One mansion, one game, and one survivor. Short and simple! Well, sometimes a film needs to have at least some kind of depth to engage and entertain. Dangerous Game: The Legacy Murders is one of the worst films I have seen in recent times that has some pretty good actors in it. This film must’ve given Jonathan Rhys Meyers a knack for playing Jon Voight’s son, as the two returned as another father-son duo in this year’s Mercy. Dangerous Game: The Legacy Murders is Saw meets Ready or Not but doesn’t have the depth of those films—in any department that is—and is made purely as a mindless entertainer that might play on while friends at a sleepover try to figure out what else to watch. The gore in this movie is so out of place that it doesn’t work, and the laughable performances actually sadden me, for Voight and Meyers are good actors who deserve better scripts.

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Spoilers Ahead


Plot Synopsis: What Happens In The Film?

The Betts family comes to meet the patriarch Ellison Betts to celebrate his birthday in his gothic mansion, situated out in the middle of nowhere. The wheelchair-bound Ellison seemed to have become a foul-mouthed old man who had no sense of decency. He held back his snarky comments seeing the eldest son Alec’s family, but couldn’t control himself when he saw his youngest son Kyle. Alec’s wife, Marie, knew Ellison could talk nonsense sometimes, but he wasn’t even hesitating in front of her kids, Livie and Cameron. Cameron had brought his girlfriend Tara with him, and later Kyle arrived with his girlfriend Joy. Ellison couldn’t wait for everyone to spend the weekend with him, and he asked Burnham, the mansion’s caretaker, to make sure the family had a great time. The mansion was a smart house, meaning it had all kinds of gadgets, and the bad vibes began when a dishwasher malfunctioned and the house cat got butchered because of it. There was a sense of dread around the palace, with the hound dogs guarding the perimeter and people getting uncomfortable as tension built up between Kyle and Ellison.

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Why Did The Bickering Begin?

After the accident with the cat, the family decided to sit down and drink to Ellison’s health. He was the one who had toiled hard to have regional pharmacies and had made his company go national in a span of 30 years. Now he had built this ‘dream house’ and wanted to live a life of peace. But peace and Ellison didn’t go together, it seemed. There was a lot of tension between Kyle and Ellison, and the reason seemed to be that Kyle had used unfair means to take over the business from Ellison when he was fit enough to work. There seemed to be a reference to the time when he was a healthy man, but Kyle snatched away his business, and he had to retire. Kyle started to have an argument with Marie as well, as he wanted to leave. Marie felt that his leaving so soon would be a sign of disrespect, and Alec had to join the conversation. Alec and Kyle didn’t seem to be very close, and Kyle just wanted to do the formalities and go away. He had no intention of staying. Everybody started to fight over whether that was acceptable behavior. Joy had to plead with Kyle to stay, and he had to, because otherwise, the impression would be that the family couldn’t stand each other, and that wasn’t the impression one hopes to give to the would-be wife. Joy, however, had to leave as she had prior engagements.


How Did Alec Get Hurt? Who Killed Cam?

Before Joy had left, a mysterious board game had arrived, and Burnham had brought it in. Alec and others were interested in it, but Kyle wasn’t. He went near the door to see Joy out and returned to find that everybody’s interests were piqued by the mysterious board game. It contained some photographs depicting the macabre, and the whole aim of the game seemed to be to play detective and find the killer. The whole thing felt off, but an alarm went off, and everybody had to gather in the hall to figure things out. It looked like Joy had left but had triggered the alarm, which meant the house was completely sealed. Ellison seemed to have prepared for a hurricane as well, and the windows were also sealed by an iron wall. Alec tried to access the security system but heard a warning to start playing the game. When he didn’t listen and went on to turn off the alarm, a bomb went off, and Alec’s foot was half-blown apart.

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Kyle blamed Ellison for this and started to accuse him of planting a bomb. Nobody else shared that sentiment with him. Burnham was missing, and everyone thought that he was playing a sick game. The rules of the board game mentioned that the game won’t stop until only one member was alive. Alec’s wound was cauterized by a hot iron, and Kyle and Cam went in to find a passage to get out of the house. Cam found himself trapped in a closed room, and he saw Aunt Virginia’s corpse lying there.

The woman at the beginning of the movie, who had died of inhaling the poisonous gas coming from the air conditioner in the closed room, was Virginia, Kyle’s sister. She must have arrived earlier and succumbed to the poisonous air. Cam was now in the same room, and he shared the same fate. Marie, Livie, Tara, and a barely conscious Alec were trying to figure out the game to stay alive. The board game had a cryptex and a weird cipher code. The coded message referred to America’s first serial killer, Henry Holmes. In the game, there was a letter from a soldier who was talking about killing nine women and describing it to his father. There were also the autopsy reports of nine women whom the serial killer had killed. Kyle encountered Burnham but was thrown into a chamber, where he found Joy. They both died because they didn’t participate in the game and wanted to run away.

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Who Was The Actual Survivor?

There was a lot of talk about legacy in this film. Ellison talked about having built his legacy but was unhappy that it was Kyle who was taking it forward. Ellison was disappointed in Alec as well, but there was something that made Ellison burn in anger when it came to Kyle. There was a secret he was hiding, and when Alec, Marie, Tara, and Livie solved the cryptex, it all came out in the open. Ellison was the third generation serial killer, and he was Holmes’ grandson. Holmes’ wife Anna Betts was his 14th victim and she was killed after giving birth to William, Ellison’s father. Kyle knew about Ellison’s evil soul, yet he didn’t tell anybody, as the empire he had built would get reduced to ashes if the truth came out.

Burnham had set up the house as per Ellison wishes, and he was glad that he finally got his ‘murder castle,’ just as Holmes wanted in his day. Ellison’s true legacy was not the wealth but the darkness in him that he wanted to pass on. William had killed Ellison’s mother and then committed suicide, and Ellison had watched the act committed in front of him. The darkness had been successfully inherited, and now it was Ellison’s turn to give it to somebody. Alec couldn’t handle the truth and killed Ellison, and it seemed like the darkness had passed on.

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During Dangerous Game: The Legacy Murders‘ ending, when Alec, Marie, Tara, and Livie were trying to get away from the house, it was revealed that it was Livie who had gotten those dark genes. She could have saved Tara from the dogs, as she had the dog whistle, but she pretended to have dropped it. Marie discovered it too late, and Alec was killed. Marie tried to put up a fight, but Livie had a gun, and she shot Marie dead. The game said that it would end where there would be one survivor, but Livie knew about her grandfather’s reality way before anybody else. She had decided to carry his legacy of darkness forward, and Burnham had told her everything in advance, so she technically could not be called a survivor. The game was rigged from the start, and darkness had won even before light was tying its shoelaces.


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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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