‘The Stranger’ (2023) Ending, Explained: What Is Kyle Running From? Who Is The Old Woman?

What’s with old people and the paranormal? In movies and movies hence, we have seen how old men and women have been used as conduits not by the devil, ghosts, or souls but by filmmakers to establish fear. The Stranger has only this much relatability, and the rest is just outright absurd. But thanks to people like Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter, making sense of the absurd is something we’ve all taken a liking to, haven’t we? So, with this in mind, let’s talk about The Stranger.

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Spoilers Ahead


Plot Synopsis: What Happens In ‘The Stranger’?

After Amanda’s husband Greg is murdered during a break-in, she takes her daughter Karli and moves to the other side of the country against the latter’s wishes. They move into a building that Amanda is going to turn into a guesthouse, but not just yet. One night, when Amanda is away, a guy named Kyle arrives at the place, pays Karli triple the rate per night to let him stay, and tells her that he will leave the next morning. She can charge him for the night and keep the rest to herself, none the wiser. But the next day, he tells Amanda that he paid her daughter the full amount for three days, although Amanda only finds a part of the amount inside the cash box. On the third night of Kyle’s stay, with him having gone to the market with Amanda, Karli sneaks into his room to find out more about the guy. But before she could find anything, Kyle arrives and takes her and her mother captive. As Amanda and Karli lay on the couch with their hands tied behind their backs, they ask Kyle why he is doing whatever he is doing. He answers that he is trying to escape from something. He even has a gun on him for protection. What is he trying to run from? Who is the “stranger”? Is it Kyle, or is it the old woman who Karli spots in the jungle and then outside the main door later on?

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Not Really The Stranger

At the beginning of the film, we have absolutely no idea what’s going on. Kyle tells his mother that “they” have killed Cassie, who was most probably his wife. Also, there is an old woman who is after him. We then see a guy, probably Kyle, stabbing a man to death. Next, we see Amanda’s husband get his neck slit by a guy while another guy watches. There is no apparent connection between these deaths, and it is only at the end of the film that we find out what’s going on. But about that later. For now, let us try to understand Kyle’s motives.

Kyle is running from something. But this has nothing to do with how he behaves with Amanda and Karli. He lies to Karli first and then to Amanda just so that he can manage to stay at their new guesthouse for three nights and not more. Why did he have to lie, though? Is it because Karli told him that the guesthouse wasn’t ready for the public yet, and he desperately needed a place to hide? If that’s the case, then Kyle should have just told Karli that he was being chased. Maybe he thought she wouldn’t believe him and thus lied to her. The next day, to keep himself safe and not be told to leave, he lies to Amanda about paying Karli for three nights and not one. This way, the mother and daughter can sort out their argument, which results in Amanda finding out that Karli was stealing money. Kyle had offered Karli the money for three nights but told her that he would spend only one night, meaning she could keep the rest of the money to herself. He wouldn’t tell her mother.

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The next day, Kyle tells Amanda that he paid her for three nights and that he intends to stay for all three. He even tells Amanda that he saw Karli keep some of the payment in a box and the rest in her pocket. It is only after he finds Karli in his room that he realizes that he cannot continue pretending anymore. Now, the only reason you decide to stop pretending is when someone else has found some proof against you. We do not see Karli finding anything in Kyle’s room. Karli was just looking around when Kyle hit Karli in the head and knocked her out. Then, with Amanda and Karli captive, he explains to them what’s going on.


‘The Stranger’ Ending Explained – What Are The Black-Masked Entities?

Kyle tells them that there are these entities that are chasing him. He doesn’t mention the word “entities” but does address them as “they.” It is only when we see the human-like entities (literally guys in masks) that we realize who or what they are. As for the old woman that Kyle mentioned, she is just a human that the leader of the pack (of the beings) is using to communicate with other humans. They need to be ushered in in order to carry out their motives, whatever they are (apparently killing humans). When the leader unmasks himself (it seems like a “he” from his physical structure), we come face to face with what seems to be an ugly-looking alien who, along with his peers, kills humans and feeds on them. Amanda is fed up with Kyle and his behavior, which looks more like he is just pretending to be chased by something while his real motive all along has been to steal from them. She even finds multiple credit cards belonging to different folks in Kyle’s wallet. Amanda knocks him out with a baseball bat but has nowhere to run from the entities. She ends up making a deal with the entity (speaking through the old lady) that proposes letting one of the three go in return for the other two.

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So as expected, Amanda tells her daughter Karli to leave, which she does without any hesitation (other than the little bit that must have been suggested by the director) of literally leaving her mother for dead. As she makes a run out of their house and into the woods, she sees her father (also a victim of the entities and not some random robbery), her mother, and some other people who have been killed by the aliens. Whether these people are real or just Karli’s hallucinations, we do not know for sure, but we can guess that they are real because the old woman is real too. It can be that the entities are using them as a means of communication. But we also see some of the entities eat Kyle. So we can assume that if they feel like they don’t need a particular human, they can just eat them.

The Stranger ends with Karli escaping in her car with some of the entities chasing her. So, it is clear that Kyle is the “stranger,” but he isn’t what matters. What matters is what the stranger is running from. The more important question is: what’s the point of the masked entities? What are they after? Well, that doesn’t matter as long as we know that they are here to kill, just like most other pop-culture aliens. How can we be so sure that aliens will arrive only to kill, if not invade, and not with good intentions? Maybe because that’s what we as humans have done throughout history and would do in the future, given the chance, right?

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The Stranger is a 2022 horror thriller film directed by Mike Clarke and Paul Gerrard.

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Shubhabrata Dutta
Shubhabrata Dutta
Shubhabrata’s greatest regret is the fact that he won’t be able to watch every movie and show ever made. And when he isn’t watching a movie or a show, he is busy thinking about them and how they are made; all while taking care of his hobbies. These include the usual suspects i.e. songs, long walks, books and PC games.

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