‘Murder Runs In The Family’ Ending Explained & Movie Summary: Are Oliver And Julie Dead?

Lifestyle is back with another murderous plot, this time with a film titled Murder Runs in the Family. As the title suggests, the murder mystery film ropes in various members of a family that had nothing going right for it. The Williams family is not your typical suburban family. With lots of secrets hidden at its core, its real trouble begins when Wren Williams arrives home to find her adoptive mother dead in the bathtub. With an interesting beginning, the film promises to be an engaging watch, but soon, with its dull performances, poor dialogue, and generic set design, the film becomes another run-of-the-mill mystery thriller. If you are addicted to big reveals, where the explanations are given as to why you saw characters run around in circles for 90 minutes, then you should stick with this one; otherwise, you should not.

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Spoilers Ahead


Plot Synopsis: What Happens In The Film?

Wren Williams had been away for a long time. She had been through something that warranted such behavior, at least in her mind. Some time ago, she was waiting at the altar, just about to say her wedding vows to local boy Oliver, but she got so overwhelmed that she not only canceled the wedding but ran away. Everybody was shocked, including her adoptive parents, Paul and Julie. They had done everything for her, and yet she had run away. When she decided to return, she came back as an art therapist, and she witnessed something that sent her back to that same feeling she had been possibly running away from all her life. She found Julie dead in the bathtub, and it was later ruled to be an accidental death. Paul, his son Brody, and his daughter Kayla were distraught to learn that Julie had died, but it was just odd that no member was at home at the time of death, while it was Wren, rejoining the family after a long time, who found the body.

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What Did Wren Find Out?

The moment before Wren entered the house, she saw Mia, Julie’s neighbor, who claimed to be Julie’s friend. She was holding a champagne bottle as if she had just bought it for a dinner date. She questioned Wren, not recognizing that she was Julie’s adopted daughter. Mia instantly gave a sinister vibe to Wren, but the important thing was to find where Paul was at the time of the murder. Bathtubs had strong unconscious connections in Wren’s mind, and Julie’s death kept bothering her. Wren didn’t exactly know what bothered her about the case, but she started to go out and look into Julie’s business, hoping to know something. Meanwhile, Oliver, the boy who she almost married, was pleasantly surprised that she was back and wanted to be friends again. Oliver said that Paul was having dinner with him at the time of Julie’s death, and he was so sorry that he couldn’t be there to help her. After Paul hastily cremated Julie’s body without informing Wren, she started to get more and more suspicious about his motives, but since Oliver gave her an alibi for Paul, she moved on to other suspects. At Julie’s flower shop, which was being managed by Wren’s old-time friend Gina, she was informed that Mia was the co-owner of the business and that Julie had been furious with her just a few days before the accident. The actual words used were that Mia ‘stole’ something from her.


Why Did Wren Draw A Bathtub?

So there were people who had motives to kill Julie. Mia certainly did. One day, Wren tried to calm Kayla down and asked her to do an art therapy session with her, thinking that it would help her process the grief and trauma of losing Julie. Meanwhile, Wren continued her investigation, which is why she went to Mia’s place and gauged her reaction. For some reason, Wren tried to snake around Mia’s house and glanced at the bathtub. Something from a buried past returned to haunt her, and in order to process its meaning, she underwent her own therapeutic process back in the Williams household. The result was a bathtub that looked quite similar to the one in Mia’s house, but there was a dead body in it with a teddy bear dropped right beside the bathtub. Wren couldn’t figure out what it all meant, and after seeing the morbid drawing, Kayla got even more traumatized. Brody started to act as her protector, and this event created a rift between Kayla and Wren. Wren badly needed to figure out what the drawing meant, as she knew it wasn’t Julie she had drawn, even if the others thought so. Soon, an elderly lady across from the Williams household told Wren something that disentangled the entire thing. Wren found out that Sonya, Wren’s real mother, was Mia’s cousin, and Sonya too had accidentally drowned in the bathtub.

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Why Did Brody Kill Oliver And Julie?

Wren understood that the drawing was of that time when she had seen her real mother drown. This memory was so deep in her subconscious that she didn’t even know that it was an actual memory. It was absurd how Sonya and Julie both died in the same fashion. The only common factor here was Paul. He had adopted her after Sonya died, and once she found a note from Mia professing her love for him, Wren’s suspicion became even stronger. Not just on Paul, but on Mia as well. She first thought Mia was a homewrecker and pressured Paul to take a drastic step by removing Julie from the equation. But then what about Sonya? If Mia and Sonya were cousins, she would know something about her death. So she confronted Mia and got the shock of her life. According to Mia, Paul had had an affair with Sonya, and it was he who was to be blamed for all the mess. The needle now pointed to Paul alone. It was as if he had once killed Sonya for Julie, and now he had done the same to Julie for Mia. It seemed Oliver had helped him after Wren found out that he had lied about having gone to dinner with Paul on the night of Julie’s death. The truth was much more shocking. The killer was Brody, who killed Julie because he didn’t want her to go to the police. Mia had told Julie about Paul and Sonya’s affair, and Julie knew the truth about Sonya’s death, which Wren found out much later.

At Julie’s wake, Oliver drugged Wren on Paul’s advice, as he didn’t want her to pester Mia with difficult questions. Wren found out that she was drugged the following day and decided to use the same medicine on Paul. In a drugged state, Paul started to hallucinate and saw Sonya in Wren’s face. She was, after all, her daughter. There, he apologized for having let Sonya drown, as her death made it easier for him to marry Julie. Julie knew this truth: Sonya’s death wasn’t purely accidental, and now she could go to the police. Brody couldn’t allow that to happen. If Paul went to jail, his business would collapse, and so would Brody’s dream of taking over the business from Paul. Paul wasn’t totally innocent, but he could have done little to prevent Julie’s death. Brody was a psychopath and had killed Oliver as well, after overhearing that Paul was going to hand over the business to him if he could marry Wren now that she was back in town. Wren knew everything now, and that was a problem for Brody, so he decided to fake another accidental drowning. And if you think that someone would catch on to these numerous accidental deaths and smell something fishy, think again, as the local police officer was a complete buffoon, and he thought accidentally dying in your house was a normal and frequent occurrence. Thankfully, Wren was rescued by Kayla.

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During the ending of Murder Runs in the Family,” Wren discovered that she was Paul and Sonya’s daughter, so she wasn’t Kayla’s stepsister but her real one. Brody always felt Paul loved her more, and hence Brody harbored a lot of resentment towards her. The elderly lady called the cops just in time, and Brody couldn’t harm Kayla or Wren and ended up in prison with Paul. Mia didn’t get either the business or the house she was after. Wren decided to convert the flower shop into an art therapy studio named Sisters, as she truly believed in art’s healing power. Her first client was Kayla herself, and with Gina there as the manager, Wren started a new life, hoping to take care of Kayla.


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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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