‘The Piper’ 2023 Ending Explained & Movie Recap: What Happens To Catherine?

Remember the tale of the Pied Piper of Hamelin from our childhood? The one where a piper came to rid the town of rats by playing his magical tunes, luring the pests away into the lake? But when he wasn’t paid as promised, he took away the children as revenge. Classic folklore, right? But what if I told you that legend has it that the Pied Piper isn’t just a story of the past? He still lurks among us. Not in bright, colorful clothes, but as a dark and ominous creature, playing his haunting musical hymns in a sinister manner. In the movie The Piper, directed by Erlingur Thoroddsen, the story goes like this: Catherine, inspired by the legend of the Pied Piper, creates a concerto for children. But when the tunes from her concerto lead to tragic consequences, causing the deaths of children, she tries to destroy them. However, instead of burning the concerto, she ends up burning herself to death. Now, the question is: what will happen to the concerto? Will these deadly actions continue? I don’t think so. Melanie really wants to figure out what’s going on with those spooky tunes. Melanie is super focused on her career and won’t stop until she gets to the bottom of it. But can Melanie put a stop to the scariest piper ever being awakened by this concerto? Let’s see what happens.


Spoilers Ahead

Why did Melanie think of finding Catherine’s concerto? 

Melanie is a piper being trained by her teacher, Gustafson, who pushes her but believes in her potential, thinking she can do much better. But in their orchestra group, Melanie has her rival, Franklin, whom she can’t stand and is always in competition with. The problem is that Gustafson blindly trusts Franklin, which obviously doesn’t sit well with Melanie. She’s a hard worker, and on top of that, she’s the single mother of a deaf child. Balancing her child’s hearing impairment, school, and piper classes is a lot to handle, but she wants her daughter to follow in her footsteps and play the pipe too. Anyway, Melanie finds peace in playing the pipe and being part of the orchestra group. Then there’s Professor Catherine, who tragically died in a fire, leaving everyone devastated. She was considered a legend, and the rumor is that she was working on a concerto for children when she died in the fire, but nobody knows the full story.


Now the institution desperately needs someone to replace Catherine, and Melanie thinks she’s up for the challenge. But Gustafson believes Franklin might be a better fit since he’s sharper and bolder, while Melanie is softer. Meanwhile, the 50th anniversary of their institution is coming soon, and Melanie thinks they should perform her concerto composition in the orchestra. But Gustafson disagrees, thinking she’s not ready for it. Feeling desperate, Melanie takes up a challenge. She promises that she’ll find Catherine’s concerto score, the very one that led to her tragic death. Melanie and Catherine used to be close, both coming from Brighton, and Melanie believes that, by performing Catherine’s last score, they can honor her memory and legacy in the orchestra. If she fails to do so, she’ll leave the orchestra forever, and Gustafson can have Franklin as her replacement. Gustafson sees the opportunity for power, fame, and money if the concerto is found and played, so he agrees to Melanie’s terms happily. 

What happened once the concerto was found? 

When Melanie went to Catherine’s house to find the concerto, she met her sister Alice, who claimed to know nothing about it. Their house was overrun with a rat infestation, making the search even more challenging. Despite Alice’s denial, Melanie sneaked into their house and eventually found the concerto. But when she listened to the piper tune in the concerto, she saw strange visions of a lake and drowning children. Being alarmed, she stopped listening immediately. Unfortunately, the third verse was missing, but Melanie believed she could fill it in based on Catherine’s style. Bringing the melody home, Melanie was unaware that her daughter Zoe and her friend Colin had found it. While Zoe was unaffected, Colin heard the concerto and began experiencing terrifying hallucinations of a hooded black figure stalking him. One night he even heard rat noises under his bed, and when he investigated, he vanished without a trace by morning. Melanie realized the danger of the musical hymns, as she too had been seeing strange things.


Digging deeper into Catherine’s story, Melanie discovered a news report indicating that none of the children who attended her concerts survived when her concerto for children was played. It reminded her of the Pied Piper of Hamelin folktale, where children suffered after hearing the Piper’s tune. Was the Piper awakened by the concerto, or was he the one who wrote it? And was he here to torment children like Colin again? Melanie feared for her daughter’s life. Strange occurrences continued during orchestra rehearsals, with Melanie’s nose bleeding, Franklin’s fingers bleeding while playing the violin, and the concert hall temperature rising. Zoe also heard the piper’s tune and began experiencing visions and hearing the whistle constantly. Melanie took the tune to a music composer named Philip for analysis, who detected weird sounds in the background, possibly in Latin and with a harsh tone, indicating an ominous presence, so it is true then that the creature of this tune is not Catherine but the Piper himself. Constantly listening to the tune made Philip burst his eardrums to make it stop. Tragically, Colin’s mother committed suicide amidst the chaos. Melanie saw these horrors unfolding and realized that something evil had been awakened. She knew she had to stop it.

What happened during the concert? 

In the original Pied Piper of Hamelin‘s story, while all the other children followed the Piper, there was one deaf child left behind because he couldn’t hear the tune. It’s hard to say if that was good or bad, but in this movie, it turned out to be an advantage for Zoe, Melanie’s daughter, during the concert. When the 50th-anniversary concert started, Gustafson and Franklin were pumped to give their best performance in front of the live audience and the children, especially because it was Catherine’s concerto for kids. But things took a scary turn when the music started playing. Everyone, including the audience and the players, started passing out. And then, out of Franklin’s body, came out the deadliest creature of them all—the piper himself! With his piping tune, the piper called for all the children to follow him toward the doorway, right between the stages. Melanie spotted Zoe among them, about to follow the piper and meet a terrible fate. Quickly, Melanie grabbed Zoe from behind and took away her hearing aid, stopping her from hearing the creature’s tune. Together, they managed to escape through the doorway. But the creature wasn’t willing to let anyone go. He chased after them, determined to capture Zoe. But Melanie had a plan. She had discovered the third verse of the tune, which was the creature’s weakness. By making Zoe play it along with her, they caused the piper to suffer and vanish away. 


In The Piper‘s ending, we see all the children returning safely to their parents, probably without any memory of what happened. At least, that’s what Melanie hopes for her daughter Zoe. But Melanie herself experienced everything and wonders if she truly broke the curse of the deadliest piper. But here’s the thing—Melanie isn’t the only one who remembers the hymns. Zoe remembers them too, even if she doesn’t recall the events of that night. The tunes are still stuck in her mind. So, what will happen next? There’s a possibility that Zoe might play the hymns again, awakening the piper creature once more. That’s exactly what may have happened to Catherine as well. Maybe she couldn’t forget the tune either. But there’s hope. Melanie and Zoe know about the piper’s weakness, and perhaps they can fight against the creature if it ever returns. They just need to be careful and not be isolated, or they might end up like Catherine, facing a terrible fate. After all, they’re aware of the danger now, and they might just have what it takes to stand up against it when the time comes.

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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.

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