‘The Hand That Robs The Cradle’ (2023) Story & Ending, Explained: What Happens To Delondra And Danny?

Trusting someone is difficult. But whom to trust? It’s hard to say. “The Hand That Robs The Cradle” is a thriller drama that revolves around the Chessmans’ happy little family. The film introduces our main protagonist, Delondra, a medical student who has just moved into her new flat. Delondra is also a part-time babysitter and is looking forward to working with Mrs. Linenberger and her twins. But Mrs. Linenberger is about to be transferred. Delondra is stressed because she needs a job as soon as possible. Luckily, her landlady, Mrs. Tubbs, offers her a job babysitting Danny Chessman, the son of Joel and Melody Chessman. The first meeting with Melody doesn’t go well. But as the days go by, the couple feels more and more comfortable with Delondra’s presence around Danny, until a strange woman tries to kidnap him from the park. The woman claims that Danny is her child. Fortunately, Delondra manages to have her arrested, and the family moves to a cabin in the woods. Here, Delondra discovers strange secrets about Danny and learns that the child doesn’t belong to the Chessmans.


Spoilers Ahead

Danny And Delondra’s First Meeting

Danny is a funny and outgoing little boy who loves to play with his coloring book and is obsessed with snakes. Delondra and Danny’s first meeting goes unexpectedly well. They get along well and spend the day playing in the park until Melody shows up. She immediately freaks out and warns Delondra to stay away from Danny. Luckily, Mrs. Tubbs arrives on time and helps Delondra get over her sudden awkwardness. Delondra notices that Melody is very overprotective of Danny. But Delondra doesn’t think much of it because that’s how some mothers are. Gradually, Melody and Delondra become good friends. Besides, little Danny loves spending time with Delondra. She brightens his whole day because they have similar interests. A few months pass, and Danny and Delondra are inseparable. The Chessman family entrusts Delondra to Danny and is convinced that they have made the right choice.


Delondra becomes a part of his everyday life, and the next day Danny and Delondra go to the park again. Danny can be outrageous sometimes, and he decides to play hide and seek. So, the game begins, and everything goes well until Danny disappears.

Who Is The Strange Lady?

Delondra freaks out when Danny disappears. She runs through the park, trying to find the boy. Suddenly, Delondra notices a strange woman in the distance. And what’s worse? Danny is with her. Delondra intervenes in their conversation and tries to bring him back. But the woman stops her. Danny doesn’t like this and walks away from the woman. Delondra and Danny immediately leave the park, and she forgets everything. That evening, Joel and Melody go off to run some errands, leaving Delondra alone in the house. Once Danny falls asleep, she waits for his parents to return. Suddenly, she becomes aware of a strange noise. Delondra realizes that she isn’t alone in the house and decides to go see what’s going on. She doesn’t give much attention to it because Danny likes to scare people. But to her surprise, the strange woman is back. She ransacks the house and tries to reach Danny. Luckily, Danny’s parents are back on time. She storms out of the room and informs them about the stranger. But she’s nowhere to be found.


Melody calls the police, and the officer thinks the woman is a tramp. But Melody is no longer comfortable in this place. She explains that Danny was kidnapped once when he was a baby. Although Melody has never seen her, she’s sure that the woman is the same kidnapper.

The Cabin In The Woods

Melody and Joel decide to take a little trip in the summer. There is a beautiful cabin in the woods that belongs to Mrs. Tubbs. Melody also reveals that they have been changing locations every two years to make sure Danny is safe. They decide to stay there until things get back to normal. Melody wants Delondra to accompany her as the couple has no private time. With Delondra, things are easy to handle. Delondra agrees to go with them as she needs to boost her finances. However, Delondra’s boyfriend, Rob, doesn’t agree with this trip. Besides, the fact that they haven’t told her the location is very strange. Delondra assures him that everything will be fine. The following night, the strange woman breaks into Delondra’s house again. She asks her to listen to her, but Delondra is too scared to talk to her. Nevertheless, she locks her in the bedroom and calls the police. Officer Leiker and other police officers take her to the station because she has no ID.


The next day, Joel and Melody leave for their holiday, and Officer Leiker arrives on time. He tells them that the woman is known as Karla Wichael. She has troubled a lot of people by believing that their child is her son. Nevertheless, Melody doesn’t feel comfortable staying behind and leaves immediately. A few hours pass, and the family reaches their destination. Danny is happy to be in the house, as the place is surrounded by a beautiful forest. Soon, Delondra decides to pick some flowers to decorate the room and meets an unexpected stranger.

Who Is Caleb? How Is He Connected To The Chessman Family?

As Delondra is busy picking flowers, she’s approached by a man named Caleb. Somehow, Caleb persuades her to listen to him. He reveals to her that Danny’s real name is Aspen. Caleb shows her some photos of Karla and a newborn baby, and she also finds out that Karla and Caleb are siblings. Now they’re helpless because Karla has falsely accused many people in the past. Delondra is the only person who can help them prove that Melody and Joel are the real kidnappers. If she can get a sample of Danny’s DNA, Caleb can file a lawsuit against the couple. If the Chessmans suspect Caleb is stalking them, they could leave the country to protect their secret. Delondra decides to trust him when Caleb gives her another piece of evidence. When the police had given up on Karla, Caleb commissioned a sketch artist to draw what Danny might look like in the future. Surprisingly, the sketch matched his facial features, and Delondra was speechless.


Melody interrupts their conversation, but she doesn’t suspect them. It seems she doesn’t know Caleb, and Delondra convinces her that he was just asking for directions. When they get home, Delondra calls Rob and informs him about Caleb and Danny, but Melody overhears their whole conversation.

What Happens To Caleb? Is He Alive?

That same night, Delondra manages to get a sample of Danny’s hair for Caleb. Delondra looks everywhere, but Caleb is nowhere to be found. At the same time, Delondra receives a call from Rob, who tells her that Joel and Melody are actually known as George and Carol. According to Rob, George and Carol had a son named Danny, but he died in a household accident seven years ago. Nevertheless, Delondra decides to save the boy, while Rob wants her to leave the cabin. But Delondra doesn’t want to leave him alone. Delondra tries to find Caleb, but she fails. She returns home to find that Joel (George) has been waiting for her. He asks her about Caleb, but Delondra pretends she knows nothing. But she had no idea that the couple had murdered Caleb to protect their little secret.


George is sure Delondra knows nothing about Danny, but Carol doesn’t want to take any chances. That same night, Delondra decides to escape with Danny and takes him to her neighbors. Delondra informs them of everything, but it turns out that the neighbors are on Carol’s side. They inform her about everything, and Carol forces Delondra to leave.

What Happened To Delondra? Did She Save Danny In The End?

Carol packs her things, and Delondra prepares to leave. But Danny stops her and asks her to stay behind. Carol and George take Danny to his room, and Delondra takes the opportunity to sneak into the other room. She finds Caleb’s ID and his clothes on top of the refrigerator. Delondra opens the refrigerator only to find that they have hidden his body inside. Suddenly Carol attacks her, but Delondra is able to escape. George protects her and tells Carol to stop hurting her. He knows that her death won’t change the fact that their son is dead. Besides, they can’t control Danny’s actions every time. When he was a little boy, it was easier to move around. Now that he has grown up, Danny already notices that something is wrong. George is also tired of running around, and it’s clear that they have killed many people in the past. George wants Carol to understand that Danny isn’t her son. But she isn’t ready to accept it and hits him with a statue. George dies from the impact, but Carol doesn’t care. She sets out to find Delondra. Fortunately, Delondra manages to take Danny with her and escape from the cabin in Caleb’s car.


Eventually, Delondra meets Danny’s parents, and Karla apologizes for her behavior. Danny is uncomfortable around them, but Delondra tells him that Karla and Todd are his real parents. The police decide to keep him with Delondra, as Danny needs more time to get used to his new parents. Officer Leiker decides to wait outside until his team arrives, as Carol is nowhere to be found. Also, Delondra and Danny return to Mrs. Todd’s house to spend the night. But things take a different turn when Delondra realizes that Mrs. Todd is working with Carol. She tries to call Officer Leiker, but he’s already dead. So Delondra hides in the basement and knocks Carol out with a spade. She manages to trap Mrs. Tubbs and Carol in the basement and escape. Luckily, Delondra and Danny are safe. A few months pass, and Danny celebrates his birthday party with Todd and Karla. Moreover, he is happy to have his parents back.

In the end, Carol and Mrs. Tubbs are arrested for their crimes. The film shows another aspect of Carol’s life, as Carol suffers from various psychological problems. The loss of her son must have been difficult to cope with. Moreover, to make things worse, Mrs. Tubbs decided to steal a baby for her. It turns out that Carol is her daughter. But as a mother, Mrs. Tubbs should have shown her daughter the right way. With time, Carol might have improved, and she could have decided to have another child. But for her, it was easier to inflict pain on Karla and Todd than to face her problems. Now George tried to communicate with her, but she was no longer the same woman. In the process, George lost his life. Fortunately, Delondra’s decision to save the boy changed his whole life. Now, Danny’s mother worked on her mental health as she no longer had to worry about anything.


‘The Hand That Robs The Cradle’ is based on true events where many families have lost their children to abduction. Some are lucky enough to get their child back, while others fight to the end. Many people have lost their families, and things never return to normal. Moreover, losing a child is very painful, but some people like Carol and Mrs. Tubbs will never understand that pain. Although they had the same problem, Mrs. Tubbs didn’t help her daughter but encouraged her to commit a crime. Gradually, Carol tried to protect her secret by all means and became a monster that she shouldn’t have become.

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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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