‘Destroy All Neighbors’ Ending Explained & Film Summary: Did William Produce His Album?


Destroy All Neighbors is a horror comedy that revolves around a musician obsessed with prong rock and the road blockage he faces while producing his own album. William Brown made a living as a sound engineer, but he knew he was capable of taking the world by storm with his music. For the last three years, he had been working on his album, but he always found one excuse or another to keep delaying the process. William lived in a modest apartment with his girlfriend, Emily. She had been supportive of William’s dream, but over the years, she lost all her expectations from their relationship. She was hopeful that things would get better someday, but William’s current obsession with their neighbor made her lose all hope.

Spoiler Alert

Plot Summary: What Is The Film About?

William was a little envious of his young neighbor, Alec, who managed to finish his screenplay and make a decent income out of it. Alec had emptied his apartment and was ready to leave the old, leaky building, and going by the condition of his apartment, it is safe to think that William, too, must have been desperate to leave the place. William realized that if he ever wanted to be done with his album, it was important that he had complete peace of mind and no distractions.

William hurried to the studio while listening to “Swigg” Anderson’s video on Prong Rock. Clearly, William had watched the video several times, and he had all the lines memorized. William trusted Anderson when he said not everyone would get their music, but for him, following his passion was way more important than giving in to trends and popularity. William had no respect at his workplace. The owner of the studio, Scotty, was proud of bringing local musician Caleb Bang Jansen on board, and he was ready to do anything to retain his special client. A proud musician with little talent, Jansen started to rain on William’s parade when he played his track for Scotty. Initially, Scotty enjoyed the music William composed, but the cocky musician convinced him that the music was terrible.

After a bad day at work, the homeless guy outside the studio all of a sudden started to make predictions for him. He warned William not to pay attention to the voices in his head because if he did, there would be blood, and three ghosts would come to visit him. William did not take the prophecy into account and drove back home. He noticed a strange-looking man pushing a sofa through the corridor and into the next-door apartment. William was afraid of looking into the man’s bloodshot eyes, and he immediately closed the door behind him. The repeated grunting sound that the new neighbor made kept William occupied. He could not concentrate on his music, and he went on complaining about it. Emily advised him to have a word with the neighbor, but William was too afraid to do so. Instead, he settled for a soft pounding on the wall, and that clearly angered the neighbor. The man walked up to William’s door and spit on it. William called the cops, and by the time he briefed them about what had happened when they arrived, he found Emily and their strange neighbor, Vlad, enjoying a cup of tea together. Apparently, Vlad had been apologetic about his behavior, and he made tea for his neighbors. The cops decided it was not a case worth investigating, and they left. Vlad was all sweet with Emily, but he despised William for not having the courage to discuss the matter directly with him. William tried to warn Emily of Vlad, but she thought it was all too ridiculous to believe. Vlad continued to play loud music, and William was not ready to let it go.

How did William deal with the murders?

William believed that the moment he took care of Vlad’s situation, he would be able to make his music peacefully. Emily was too tired of having to deal with William, and she decided to take a break. With Emily gone, William tried to make peace with his present situation, but he found it impossible to live with. He entered Vlad’s apartment in the hopes of convincing the man to reduce the volume of his stereo system. Vlad was lifting weights, and upon seeing William, he provoked him to physically attack him. William was nervous, and all he wanted to do was leave the apartment. But Vlad was quite persistent, and the fight started with a few punches. He encouraged William to slam him against the wall, and the situation slowly went out of control. William tried to defend himself using a beer bottle, but Vlad was unafraid and instead taught him how to break the bottle in a man’s head. He forced William to draw a scar on his face using the rough end of the bottle, and when William pushed him off, he ended up slipping on the chicken wing on the floor, and his body dashed into an iron rod. William had ended up murdering Vlad by accident, and he did not know what to do. He tried to pull the rod out, but in the process, he ended up decapitating his neighbor. To his surprise, “Swigg” Anderson’s video started to teach more than just music. He discussed ways to get rid of a dead body, and William followed his advice.

William dismembered Vlad’s body, but to his surprise, the corpse started to speak to him. Even though Vlad was dead and his body was literally piled up, he continued to communicate with William. The gory, bloody mess got worse, with Vlad’s body parts acting the way they liked. While he tried to find out the best way to get rid of the body, for the time being, he stored it in his van. The homeless man, Auggie, noticed the body parts sticking out of the van, and William tried to bribe him off with drugs. William thought of driving off when Auggie refused to sit in the van, but Vlad had some other plans. The van ended up running over Auggie, and William had another dead body to take care of.

Even though Auggie was killed, he continued to communicate with William. It was during Auggie’s last few minutes that William realized, seeing the ring on his finger, that he was his mentor, Swigg Anderson. William had killed his mentor, and as painful as it was, he had to get rid of the bodies. He dumped them in the woods and finally felt a little relieved. Upon returning to his apartment, he came across the charred remains of his landlady, Eleanor Prescott. She had always wanted to help William with his music, but he did not think she would like it. After her death, he found out that she was a Prong fan. It was all a little too much for William to take, and by the time he woke up from his sleep, he once again heard loud music from the next-door apartment. It turns out that Auggie and Vlad found their way back to William. Without thinking much about logic, William ends up partying with the dead men. He had a heart-to-heart conversation with Auggie, and he professed his love for Prong. Vlad demanded to listen to the music the two were talking about. As William and his dead guests played Prong music, his neighbor, Phillip, walked into the room to complain about the loud noise. The argument escalated into a fight, and William ended up with another dead body.

Was William arrested?

Unlike the other murders, Emily witnessed the killing of Phillip. She freaked out upon seeing William all covered in blood, and she was afraid that he would harm her as well. She managed to escape from the building and called the cops. William was eventually arrested, but to his surprise, his lawyer informed him that the police did not have a strong case against him and that he was free to leave. They did not come across any dead bodies upon searching his apartment, and William wondered if the pigs had consumed their master. William found the lack of evidence hard to believe, but he was glad to be released. After being released from prison, William was sent to identify Eleanor’s body, and once again, the corpse spoke to him. She had always wanted to gift something to William, and after managing to sneak her out of the morgue, Eleanor handed him the musical instruments that were once played by Swigg Anderson. William and the corpses decided to record the album he had been planning for so long. He finally had the perfect band, although the members were mostly dead.

Towards the end of Destroy All Neighbors, William walked into the studio to record his remaining album, and he met Scotty and Caleb Bang Jansen there. Caleb pulled out his gun and informed Scotty that William was arrested for being a mass murderer, but William corrected, saying he was a mass manslaughter. William’s crew did all the work for him and tied Caleb and Scotty to chairs. It was finally time to record their music, but unfortunately, the cops interrupted.

The cops had come to rescue the hostages. Emily arrived at the scene as the negotiator, and all William wanted was to complete his album before releasing the hostages. Instead of making false promises, Emily chose to be honest with William. She admitted that she was mad at him for not allowing her to help him, even though she had always been by his side. William agreed that he was not his best self because, for all these years, he had blamed everyone and everything around him for his inability to produce music, but at the end of Destroy All Neighbors, he realized that it was not the apartment that was the problem, but he. He begged for some time to complete the album now that he was so close to being done with it. While Emily narrated a story from their past, William focused on finishing what he started. 

Just when William was feeling good about himself, Vlad broke his bubble. He confessed that he was the one who called the cops because he believed William was nothing but a loser. Vlad transformed into a gigantic demon and constantly reminded Willy of his chances of failing, but William did not give up. He believed that there would be people who would appreciate his music, and he went on to record his killer music. The police forced their way into the studio, and by the time they arrested him, there was no one around.

Did William produce his album?

During Destroy All Neighbors‘ ending, William finally wins the Album of the Year award, though he could not be at the show to receive it. William was still in prison, and he received three life sentences for the murders. Emily and William continued to stay in touch, though being in a relationship might be a stretch, considering William will spend the rest of his life behind bars. But Emily admired William’s talent now, and he had managed to prove to the world that he was a capable musician and all he needed in life was a little madness and a few ghosts as assistants. Even though it might have seemed that the murders were also playing in William’s head, the ending confirms that it was all real. William imagined the corpses talking to him, and at the end of the day, it was he who composed the entire album (though a film such as Destroy All Neighbors must not be taken seriously, and on that note, the ghosts might have well been real, and they possibly played music with him). It must have been difficult to cope with the murders, and the talking corpses made it all a little easier to deal with. Maybe it was all the voices in his head that culminated in him creating the album he dreamed of. Vlad was clearly the doubtful side of him that always hindered his creative journey, but in the end, he triumphed.

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Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni has worked as a film researcher on a government-sponsored project and is currently employed as a film studies teacher at a private institute. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies. Film History and feminist reading of cinema are her areas of interest.

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