‘Mindcage’ Ending, Explained: Who Is the Real Killer? How Is Arnaud Connected To The Killings?

Directed by Mauro Borrelli, “Mindcage” is a 2022 psychological crime thriller film that surrounds mind-bending murder cases and serial killers. From the very beginning, the two main detectives, Jake Doyle and Mary Kelly are riddled by the puzzling clues. “Mindcage” begins on a cryptic note, where random women are found dead around the city. Unlike every other murder case, these murders are way more distinctive and detailed. Every woman is adorned in such a way that they appear to look like an angel. But the main thing is that the person who committed these killings is still in prison. Five years ago, serial killer Arnaud Lefeuvre, aka “The Artist,” abducted and murdered six women across the city.  These women were all associated with the backgrounds of sex workers and prostitutes. Now, a random serial killer was reenacting the entire murder streak, with an uncanny resemblance to Arnaud’s modus operandi. Everything was fine until the serial killer started placing random clues on the victims’ bodies that were indirectly connected to the detectives and their personal lives. Now, the investigators have no choice but to seek help from “The Artist” himself to crack down on the entire case. But as the days pass, the detectives find themselves tangled in a maze.


Spoilers Ahead 

Plot Synopsis: What Happens In The Film?

The serial killer committed three murders in three days. The first body was discovered in a church, and the entire body of the victim was decorated to make it look presentable. Detectives Jake and Kelly approach the scene, and both of them are on bad terms. Neither of them communicated openly with each other, but they are assigned to this case. Sheriff Owings explained the entire case and the way these bodies were preserved. Arnaud poisoned and preserved his victims using ricin extracted from castor beans. Then he would arrange and decorate the corpses in lifelike poses using metal frames before leaving them to be found in various places around the city. The artist called them his “masterpieces.” After extensive research and planning, Arnaud was arrested by some of the finest detectives, one of them being Jake. To ensure more clarity in this case, Sheriff Owings placed a proposal to evaluate and question Arnaud to gain insight into this case. While Jake was completely against it, Kelly wanted to try it out by representing herself as the lead. Kelly majored in psychology, and she believed that her educational background might help her crack down on this case. The idea behind this question was to ignite Arnaud’s ego as someone else was stealing his work and gaining all the credit.


But Arnaud is a master trickster. He isn’t fazed by the mere fact that his work is being stolen. He demanded more in exchange for information. There are two weeks left until his execution, and Arnaud wanted his sentence to be commuted to life in prison. Kelly placed multiple offers in front of him, but he denied every single one of them. So, Kelly promised to pass a draft. Jake politely asked Kelly to leave the files behind so that he could study them in detail. One thing was pretty clear: Arnaud and the mysterious killer followed all the theories related to the afterlife, the archangels, and other biblical motifs. Arnaud got his art supplies back, and Kelly helped him with this. He spent the entire day gazing at the pictures and decided to place a random call to Kelly and request her to check the wings of the latest victim, and he wanted to know if the coroner clipped her wings. To confirm, Kelly rushed to the medical team and checked the wings placed on her body, and she found a nail polish brush glued to the wings. Meanwhile, Jake was surprised because Kelly seemed to know about this brush in detail. Soon, it was revealed that this shade was discontinued, but that Kelly had used it in high school. At first, they didn’t think much of it until the next body was found. This time, the serial killer placed her in a boat, and Kelly found a needle from an antique compass. Well, things turned out to be creepier when Kelly realized that Jake’s former partner Zeke had had the same compass. The day after he died, his wife arrived to collect his belongings, and everything was found except the compass. 

People remembered the artist for the way he murdered six women but took seven lives. On the night of Arnaud’s arrest, Jake and Zeke chased him down the street in a patrol car, and all of a sudden, Jake lost control of the car, and their vehicles collided, causing them to flip. Jake couldn’t calculate the exact moment when Zeke stepped out of the car. All he could notice was that Zeke stood with Arnaud, looked at Jake, and laughed maniacally. Without a second thought, Zeke doused himself in gasoline and burned to death. Kelly went through Jake’s files and noticed that Arnaud’s case took a huge toll on his mental health. Even though the officials didn’t record it, Jake went through extensive therapy after Zeke’s death. At the time of questioning, Jake lost control entirely and pulled his gun on Arnaud. But he insisted that Zeke found a way to the afterlife and chose to walk the path. But Jake believed that Arnaud somehow manipulated Zeke into killing himself. On the other hand, the entire team of investigators believed that the vehicle had caught fire, and Zeke had died because of that. Kelly was sure that something was very off about Jake. But currently, her entire attention is directed toward the case. Meanwhile, Arnaud informed Kelly about his admirers, who wrote him letters and followed his words, and he believed that one of those admirers might be a serial killer.


Arnaud constantly questioned Kelly about the afterlife, and she often wondered what it meant. The story took a different turn when Kelly was attacked by the same person she met days earlier. He approached Jake’s car while Jake wasn’t there. But Kelly didn’t think much of it until he broke into her house. On the same night, the murderer killed another victim and placed her body in a museum. Moreover, security claimed that five hours of security footage were missing. Kelly found the compass that had belonged to Zeke, and Jake placed a needle in it. The compass pointed at a painting, so Jake moved the painting to find writing in Dutch that said “Het hele landscape,” meaning “the inferno landscape.” Jake was shocked by this, as Zeke had sent him a picture of a book with the same name, and everything happened before he died that night. Meanwhile, Kelly was annoyed by Jake’s actions as he delved into superstitious acts, and these acts were interfering with the investigation. ., the officers found Lieutenant Governor Diaz’s truck with chloroform, dove feathers, and photos related to the latest victim. These photos were delivered to the psychiatric institute via courier service, and all of these photos were addressed to Arnaud Lefeuvre. The officials were convinced that Arnaud was using codes to connect with the current murders. So, to gain more information, they decided to send Arnaud for a medical checkup and conducted an extensive search in his cell. Even though Diaz’s records didn’t match the victims’ profiles, Kelly and Sheriff Owings were sure that the murderer was trying to show off that he could do better.

Kelly was upset about the situation and apologized to Arnaud since the officials went through his room.  Arnaud destroyed all the letters that he received from his admirers, but he remembered everything about them. Kelly requested that he share more information on the copycat murders, but he refused to share anything in detail. Meanwhile, Arnaud shared all the details of his traumatic childhood, as he spent his entire childhood with his mother, who worked as a sex worker, and one day she struck him down to the ground because of his religious beliefs. This fall confined him to the wheelchair, making a clot in his brain. Since then, he has suffered from episodic seizures. Arnaud knew about the murderer but refused to reveal anything, but this time he revealed that the murderer was a forger of Renaissance paintings that are primarily religious in theme. So, Kelly and Jake rushed to the antique store called Langdon & Sons to get more information. Kelly and Jake found a painting of Jesus Christ in the same store, and it was hinted at by Arnaud himself. They tried to figure out the identity of the painter, but the store manager didn’t reveal it because the particular person wished to remain anonymous. As they were about to leave the store, Kelly and Jake were attacked by the same man who broke into her house. He started firing at them, so Kelly decided to follow him, but he committed suicide before Kelly could catch him.


The officials found his details, and it was none other than a man named Javier Salazar. He worked as a nurse at the institute and maintained direct contact with Arnaud. Salazar was removed from the institution because he suffered from acute bipolar disorder, and Kelly knew that he wasn’t capable of the murders. But the officials were determined to check his DNA against the saliva present in the envelope that carried Diaz’s photos. Well, the forensic team analyzed the painting and found a print, but surprisingly, that print belonged to a woman and not Salazar. They found her details in a prostitution file years ago, so Kelly decided to visit her. Here, they found that the murderer used the particular prostitute’s house as his base and murdered all the women there. He turned the whole apartment into his studio to measure the rate of decomposition. Upon investigating, Kelly found out that it was Arnaud’s home and that the decomposing body belonged to Arnaud’s mother. Meanwhile, Salazar’s DNA didn’t match any other samples. Kelly decided to ask Arnaud about this and demanded an explanation for leading them to his house. But Arnaud wanted Kelly to know him better. He claimed that he heard the voice of Archangel Samael. Arnaud claimed that Samael showed him his true purpose, and he was just waiting for the right moment to show her the true killer. 

‘Mindcage’ Ending Explained – Who Is The Real Killer? How Is Arnaud Connected To The Killings?

Arnaud refused to share any information about Diaz. Kelly desperately wanted to know the address because her death might reduc Arnaud’s chances of escaping the death sentence. But Arnaud refrained from sharing any other information and wanted Kelly to wait since he was sculpting her.  Kelly decided to wait for ten more minutes and demanded that Arnaud share the address within that period. So, he agreed and continued the sculpting. Arnaud asked a lot of questions to Kelly as he wanted to know her reasons for hating God. Kelly hated her father, and the wounds he inflicted were the reason she never believed in God. But Arnaud informed her that her father only wanted to share a final goodbye. Kelly was surprised by his words because he knew all the personal details. But Arnaud kept pushing her with questions. Kelly told Arnaud that he wasn’t aware of the things her father put her through. Even though Kelly’s father never touched or abused her. He would often put his hand on the stove and burn it to show Kelly that it happened to everyone in hell. Kelly’s father often blamed her for the torment he was suffering. She would often get nightmares, and Arnaud was interested to know more about them. Kelly shared that the dreams began with her falling into flames, and the burning was so real that she felt it through her skin. He even asked her about her love story with Dale. Arnaud wanted to know if Kelly fell in love with him or if choosing him was an easier option to hurt her father, as he believed in hell.


Once these questions were completed, Arnaud shared the address and gave her the sculpture. He shared a secret message and informed her that the truth is only found within ourselves. Everyone left for the address except for Jake. He waited for Kelly, and they drove together. Kelly shared her perspective with him, as she was shocked to see Arnaud’s familiarity with her life. Suddenly, Kelly decided to break the sculpture, and she found a note inside with the actual address on it. Jake immediately turned the car around and drove off to the location. They found a house and stepped inside. An entire wall was filled with Kelly’s photos and personal details. Jake left to make a phone call so that all the other officers would arrive on the scene. Meanwhile, Kelly heard Diaz’s voice and rushed to save her. Diaz claimed that the murderer was present inside the house. Kelly caught him, but to her surprise, it was none other than Jake. He immediately lost consciousness and began falling like an entirely different person. He spoke the same words as Arnaud did, and it looked like Jake was possessed by him. Jake, aka Arnaud, continues to share his childhood story. Arnaud’s mother forced him to draw different objects aside from religious figures. That’s when he discovered his true power. Arnaud developed the ability to enter the mind and body of the person he drew. 

He kept it a secret for many years and feared that it could be a curse until Archangel Samael told him that it was a gift. Arnaud claimed that he was born as an angel of death. Kelly had no choice but to shoot him, and Jake came back to his senses. She immediately apologized and informed Jake that he was the copycat. But Jake requested that she stop Arnaud. Meanwhile, Arnaud immediately burned Jake’s sketch. The officials claimed that Jake suffered from an identity-type psychosis that was triggered by the first incident involving Zeke’s death. Because of this, Jake believed that he was “The Artist.” Well, everyone moved on with their lives, and Kelly met her father for one last time and even attended his funeral. “Mindcage” ended with a conversation between Kelly and Dr. Loesch. But it was none other than Arnaud again. He possessed Dr. Loesch’s body and informed Kelly that she was his next victim. Arnaud never wanted to escape prison, but he wanted to continue his necessary work. The entire story took a different turn when Arnaud figured out that Kelly had tricked him. From the very beginning, Arnaud had a habit of chewing on his pencils. So, she filled the pencils with the same poison he used to kill all the women. Arnaud lost control over his body and fell to the ground as the poison took control of him. “Mindcage” will certainly play with your mind with its psychological elements as it inclines towards the religious aspect of the film. It was pretty clear that Arnaud misused his power and controlled everyone around him to carry out his work. Even now, the concept is uncertain. Arnaud might have been the Angel of Death, but there’s no doubt that a part of his mind evolved during the fall and helped him gain manipulative abilities. All the characters played exceptional roles, especially John Malkovich as “The Artist,” who gave an exemplary performance in delivering the complexity of Arnaud’s character.


‘Mindcage’ is a 2022 Drama Thriller film directed by Mauro Borrelli.

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Raschi Acharya
Raschi Acharya
Raschi Acharya is a Mass Media graduate and she is currently working and living in Mumbai. From a very young age, Raschi was heavily interested in reading and writing. She prefers to write everything that her mind nurtures her to do as shaping up her imagination is her forte!

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