Netflix’s German film Black Island (Schwarze Insel in German) depicts a mystery thriller set in a tiny island community north of the German Mainland. However, the island and its dark secrets are fictional. The director, Miguel Alexandre shot a picturesque narrative in Amrum, Germany, to give the island an enigmatic character.
At the center of the drama, the film follows a mysterious woman who arrives at Black Island, bringing a sense of eeriness with her in a well-knit community. What follows ahead is a series of accidents and bizarre deaths that reveals a dark secret of the past. Let’s dig the buried mystery without further ado.
‘Black Island’ Plot Summary
Black Island begins with the violent attack on Jonas Hansen’s grandmother, by a wild dog who kills her near the shoreline. 4 months later, her father and mother die in a car accident triggered by a mysterious woman on the road.
Jonas and his arrogant grandfather, Friedrich, are the only people left in the family. Jonas and his late father never admired the opinionated Friedrich. Still, with back-to-back tragedies, Jonas stays back at the island until he finishes school and becomes an adult.
A year later, Jonas and Nina Cohrs get along pretty well, and their friendship soon transforms into feelings, which they both are trying to explore. In the meantime, another tragic news arrives. The Klaud-Mann school student learns about their german teacher, Mr. Meinke’s accident in Mallorca. A substitute teacher, Helena Jung, arrives on the island to take German lessons until Meinke’s gets well.
Jonas gets infatuated by Helena, and even she leaves no stone unturned to allure Jonas. The attraction leads to an intimate relationship between a teacher and a student, but Nina is suspicious of Helena. Who is this new German teacher, and what does she want?
Were Helena Jung and Maria Roth, the same person?
An opening sequence already established Helena’s involvement in the accident of Jonas’ parents. In her new house, Helena had some voodoo objects along with numerous pictures of Jonas. These intricate details were enough to establish a sinister mystery around her persona. Nina found Helena’s travel bag in the storeroom tagged with luggage tickets that suggested Helena was in Mallorca when Mr. Meinke’s accident took place.
Nina’s doubts turned into suspicion when Friedrich and Helena exchanged an odd look at the school function organized to honor Friedrich, a retired principal of Klaud-Mann school. Later, Nina’s friend underlined that Helena looked like one of her father’s teachers who studied in the same school. In the archives, Nina found old-school magazines. In the staff column of the 1985 yearbook, she discovered a woman Maria Roth, who shared an uncanny resemblance with Helena Jung. Before Nina could plunge further into the mysterious pit, Helena killed her and dumped her body near the shoreline.
In the end, Helena visited Friedrich in the hospital and called him father. It was that moment when all the questions around Helena’s identity were answered. She was the only daughter of Maria Roth, which she had from her affair with Friedrich. Maria and Friedrich worked in the same school. He was in love with her. When Friedrich found out about Maria’s pregnancy, he abandoned Maria. She thought that the sight of their daughter would stir something deep in Friedrich’s heart but he was too proud to accept his affair.
Four years later, Maria committed suicide leaving behind four-year-old Helena. Maria thought, maybe, after her death, Friedrich would accept Helena. Still, a dignified Friedrich never cared or dared to take the illegitimate child.
What did Helena Jung want?
The death of her mother, Maria, and the ruthless behavior of her father, Friedrich, transformed Helena into a bloodthirsty entity looking for revenge from the Hansen family. She vowed to kill everyone Friedrich loved and to wipe out his family’s name from the face of the earth.
To fulfill her vengeance, Helena murdered Friedrich’s wife and Jonas’ parents. Her next target was Jonas, but Nina discovered her truth. Even without a desire to hurt Nina, Helena killed Nina to accomplish her mission. She wanted Friedrich to witness the death of his family, one by one. Thereby leaving him with the tragic guilt of being the reason for so many deaths. Only because he was too afraid to accept his affair and his daughter.
‘Black Island’ Ending, Explained
Friedrich suffered a seizure as soon as the unfortunate death of Nina arrived. He bit his tongue so hard during the fall that he couldn’t speak for a while. His motor functions were limited due to the attack, and thus he was almost paralyzed (in a way). Helena visited him in the hospital and swore to destroy his family’s only living member, Jonas, in front of Friedrich’s eyes. Friedrich was pinned to the bed with shock and couldn’t reveal Helena’s villainous schemes to anyone. He felt miserably helpless.
Helena brought Friedrich home from the hospital and commenced the last act of her vengeance. She drugged Jonas and revealed Friedrich’s affair with her mother, Maria, making Helena his illegitimate aunt. (let’s ignore the fact that Jonas was fascinated by her aunt). Helena tried to drown Jonas in the garden pool, but Jonas’ survival instinct somehow kicked in, and he ran into the house. When Helena tried to strangle him, he stabbed her heart with a broken piece of glass, killing her after that.
In the closing montage sequence, Jonas finally left the island. In the background, Maria’s voice-over read the last letter she wrote to Friedrich before committing suicide. Maria promised Friedrich not to leave the island (something he would have demanded). Thus she died on the black island, leaving her remains behind. Even while ending her life, she was hopeful that someday Friedrich would adopt Helena, but it never happened. Maybe men like Friedrich never change, or they don’t want to change.
Jonas made a wise decision to sell off his parent’s house and leave the cursed island behind. On his ship’s journey out of the island, a mysterious girl (dressed in similar yellow coast as Helena) pointed out to Jonas that only his island is painted black on the map of North Frisian island. The instance made the girl curious, but probably Jonas knew that it was the work of Helena who considered the island “black” for all practical reasons.
Black Island (Schwarze Insel) is a 2021 Mystery Thriller film written and directed by Miguel Alexandre. It is streaming on Netflix.