‘Lights Out’ Ending Explained & Movie Summary: What Happens To Duff?

Christian Sesma’s action-packed thriller film, Lights Out, explores the dark world of underground fighting through its protagonist, Duff, a veteran who finds himself struggling to make ends meet after retiring from the army. With limited resources at his disposal, Duff tries his luck in an underground fighting ring where he meets a shady individual, Max, who gets him involved in a world full of gangs, drug dealers, and fighters. However, Duff goes through a moment of realization as he discovers that these activities are not just underground but also sanctioned by corrupt law enforcement officials working in cahoots with gangsters to make money on the side. As Duff digs deeper, he realizes that Max and his family, who provided him with a safe haven after the traumas of war and the loss of his friends, are in danger. Determined to make things right, Duff fights not only for justice but also for the safety of his newfound allies. Will Duff be able to do so? Let’s find out.


Spoilers Ahead

Why Did Duff Become An Underground Fighter? 

At the start of Lights Out, the former army officer, Duff, is seen playing cards after pawning his pricey watch at a bar. After winning the game, the man he was playing with refused to give him the money he owed. This angered Duff, leading to a fight with the man and his companions. He defeated them, took his money, and watched. Seeking respite, Duff rested in a hotel where he experienced severe PTSD-induced flashbacks of the war, where he had lost loved ones. Max, who witnessed Duff’s combat skills at the bar the previous night, offered him a side job, recognizing his potential and understanding the anger within him. Though initially hesitant, Duff was persuaded by Max to accompany him to a fight club to release his pent-up anger and earn money. Duff’s anger was triggered by insults thrown at him when they called him a coward when he did not want to get involved. This leads him to showcase his strength by beating up the offenders.


However, they had to flee when the police arrived, as their activities were illegal. Despite this, Max and Duff won the bet Later, Duff fought off a man named Stan, tormenting Max’s sister, Rachel. Stan was searching for money he had hidden at her house, as Rachel used to be his girlfriend. When Stan went to the fight club, his boss, Sage, asked him where the money was. Stan explained that his girlfriend had it. The corrupt police officer, Ellen Ridgway, was the one after the money, and upon learning about its whereabouts, she killed Stan. Max, who also owed money to Sage, proposed that if Duff fought at the club, it would benefit them all. Despite Sage’s initial skepticism, he agreed, trusting Max’s judgement. Max convinced Duff, and he agreed. As he had real money problems due to inadequate post-retirement benefits, he knew this opportunity would help him, and Max would also be able to pay off his debts. Duff easily defeated the first opponent, but during the second fight, he struggled. Flashbacks of wartime chaos overwhelmed him, making him fearful and hesitant. However, the chaos in the fight club energized him, intensifying his determination to defeat his opponent. In the end, he emerged victorious, beating his enemy and earning a significant sum of money for both himself and Max.

How Does Duff Get Involved In The Money Scheme? 

When Max asked Duff why he was in LA, Duff revealed that his mother had passed away a couple of years ago, alone and without anyone to arrange her funeral. Feeling a sense of duty, Duff came to LA to do right by her, to find a headstone, and to ensure she had a proper cremation. The next morning, Sage’s associates, including police officer Ellen and her men, came to Rachel’s house, searching for the  money. Despite their efforts, they couldn’t find it. So they threatened her by saying they would harm her daughter if Rachel did not give them their money back. It became very obvious that the police were involved in this to earn extra money. It was deeply unsettling to witness how those who are supposed to uphold integrity and combat corruption in society were, in fact, involved in the corruption themselves. They maintained a facade of righteousness while engaging in unethical practices behind the scenes. This hypocrisy and betrayal of trust cast a shadow over the supposed pillars of justice, revealing a disturbing gray area that undermined the grim reality of today’s world. Max arrived at Rachel’s house and got to know about the whole incident. He went to Sage with Duff, asking for answers. Sage admitted that Stan owed money to the police, though he was unaware of the specifics. However, he offered a solution: all debts would be forgiven if Duff fought regularly for Sage in the fight club. Recognizing how deep the corruption ran, Duff promised to stand by Max and his family. He felt like his efforts, both in the military and now, were insignificant compared to the pain of losing his friends in war. Every night, he grieved for them, feeling trapped in a never-ending nightmare with no sign of a silver lining.


How Did Duff Fight The Corrupt Cops? 

Max figured out that if he wanted to help his sister with her debt, he’d have to put Duff in another fight to earn some money. But this time, Duff would have to fight against a police officer, not just any regular fighter. Meanwhile, Sage and Ellen had a conversation where Ellen mentioned searching Rachel’s house for the money but finding nothing. She threatened to take Sage down legally if the money wasn’t found, as she has the power. But Sage countered by threatening to expose her involvement in cartel money laundering and drug trafficking. During the fight, Duff heroically faced off against the cop, breaking his ribs in a fatal manner. Chaos erupted as the police began threatening everyone, knowing the consequences of Duff killing a cop. Max urgently called his sister to get out of the house, as he knew they would be attacked.

As they got home to get Max’s sister and her daughter, shots were fired, hitting Max’s niece. They immediately called 911, realizing they had to put an end to the torment once and for all. Duff called a friend from his military days for guns to fight the corrupt cops. The friend agreed to help and teamed up with Max and Duff. Upon arriving at Sage’s fight club seeking revenge, even Sage acknowledged they were all in trouble due to the trap set by the corrupt cops. As they discussed their predicament, the police covered the area, firing at them. Ellen fatally shot Sage, while Max was also wounded. However, Max manages to save Duff by shooting Ellen from behind, resulting in her death. Unfortunately, Duff’s friend lost his life while helping them in the fight against corruption.


The news reported on the massive shootout involving local law enforcement and drug traffickers. However, what wasn’t mentioned was Ellen’s involvement as one of the money launderers. After Duff killed the cop during the fight, she took charge by calling the cops herself. In doing so, she tried to portray herself as a respected police officer, honoring her duty to end corruption. But her own corruption never made it to the news.

During Lights Out‘s ending, Duff shows his gratitude towards Rachel by writing her a letter. He asked Rachel to keep a spare room at their house ready for him, as he had found family there, and he promised to visit whenever possible. He commits to keeping an eye out for both good and bad cops to end corruption and demonstrates his dedication to serving his community by ensuring that the sacrifices made by himself and his comrades in the military were not in vain. Thus, Duff’s duty as an ex-military man implies his determination to uphold justice and integrity, even after leaving the service. 


Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Sutanuka Banerjee
Sutanuka Banerjee
Sutanuka, a devoted movie enthusiast, embarked on her cinematic journey since childhood, captivated by the enchanting world of the Harry Potter series. This early passion ignited her love for movies, providing an escape into the magical realms of cinema. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in media science, combining her academic pursuits with her unwavering passion for the silver screen.

Latest articles