‘The Inhabitant’ Ending, Explained: Is It Based On A True Story? Who Was Behind The Murders In Fall River?


With a refreshing take on the legendary case of Lizzie Andrews Borden, “The Inhabitant” delivers a chilling slasher horror. The whodunit is an integral part of the genre, and “The Inhabitant” expectably reveals the identity of the murderer at the very end. The film revolves around Tara, a high school student who enjoys field hockey and designs clothes. Her ordinary life takes a peculiar turn when she starts hearing strange voices and she eventually fantasizes about killing her family. Like most teenagers, Tara prefers living in denial to facing the truth and seeking necessary help. What makes it worse is the fact that her family is the descendant of Lizzie Borden.

 Spoilers Ahead

‘The Inhabitant’ Plot Summary: What Is The Film About?

The inhabitant refers to the dark spirit who transfers from the body of one woman to another in the Borden family to kill in its name. Every October, several deaths occur in Fall River, Massachusetts, which is believed to be the work of the dark spirit. And just like every October, a woman is on the loose with an axe in her hand, terrifying the people of the town. The first victim is Gina. On one of her daily morning walks, she comes across the woman in white. As she steps closer to her, she is slashed with an axe. After having a word with Gina’s husband, Mikhail, the police learned that he had sent sexually provocative text messages to his minor babysitter, Tara. Gina was aware of Mikhail’s disgusting conduct and was deeply upset by it. But she never really took a step against him. The police were interested in Tara because she had a motive.

Tara was a high school student who used to babysit with her best friend, Suzy. She was passionate about designing clothes and even sold them online. Tara’s life was dismantled the moment she started hearing voices. Her family was cursed by the evil spirit of Lizzie Borden, and Tara’s mother, Emily, worried for her daughter. Since the mental illness was hereditary and usually showed signs from the age of 16, Emily knew that Tara might not be spared from it either. She constantly kept Tara in check and suggested she visit a therapist who could prescribe her medication to keep the illness in check. But Tara was not ready to accept it. She denied hearing voices and seeing Lizzie Borden. She searched for her family’s history online. Apart from the hereditary mental illness, it was also believed that Lizzie Borden was possessed by a demonic spirit. Even though Tara was gradually losing control of her life, she tried to make herself believe that she could never hurt her family. Is Tara responsible for Gina’s death? Read more to find out.

Who Was Aunt Diane? Was Suzy In Love With Tara?

After learning about her family’s history with mental illness, Tara feared turning into her Aunt Diane. Aunt Diane was her mother’s sister who lost control of herself and murdered her son when she was 16. She went into a state of complete blackout when she murdered her son with an axe. After the incident, she was left in a psychiatric hospital. Emily loved her sister nonetheless and made it a point to visit her at the hospital. She proposed visiting her with Tara. Later, Emily backed out because her infant son, Jack, had a high temperature. She advised Tara to visit Aunt Diane alone. Even though Tara was not interested in it, she agreed to do so only to keep her mother happy. She took Suzy along with her to the psychiatric hospital. Suzy waited for her outside the room as Tara entered to meet Aunt Diane.

Aunt Diane could sense an evil presence the moment she saw Tara. She stated that the women in their family always met Lezzie Borden at a certain age, and she knew that Tara had seen her. It was not just Tara and Diane who had seen Lizzie, but also her mother, Emily. Aunt Diane gradually got aggressive as Tara vehemently refused to meet with the same fate that she did. Tara was in a state of shock after the meeting. She disclosed to Suzy that she had seen Lizzie Borden recently, and she believed that Lizzie wanted her to murder her family. She had dreamt of holding an axe close to Jack and smashing him with it. One night, Lizzie instigated her to axe her brother, Caleb, in his sleep. Tara was now worried. Whatever she had dreamt of seemed to be hereditary and could result in something catastrophic. Meanwhile, her hockey opponent, Karen, was murdered by someone. The police doubted Tara since she knew both Gina and Karen, and she did not share a cordial relationship with the two missing persons. The third target of the slayer was Mikhail, indicating all the more that the person involved might be seeking some kind of revenge.

Suzy was Tara’s best friend. She could take any risk for Tara out of friendship and love. She was in love with Tara, but she never dared to express her feelings. She knew Tara was in love with Carl, though she always wished that they went their separate ways. Suzy never allowed her feelings to affect their friendship. She would often make love with clothes that Tara made, pretending that it was Tara she was sleeping with. It can never be easy to see the person you love with someone else, especially if that person is your best friend. Suzy often resorts to self-harm when things do not work in her favor. At times, it did seem that Suzy could have been responsible for the murders. She loved Tara a lot and could have sought revenge on all those who might have wronged Tara.

‘The Inhabitant’ Ending Explained: Who Was Behind The Murders In Fall River? Was The Borden Family Curse Lifted?

Tara was curious about the life of Lizzie Borden, and she decided to spend the night at Lizzie’s house, where she had murdered her stepmother and her father. A part of the house was now converted into a museum, while the rest served as a bed and breakfast hotel. Tara and Carl went to the house to spend the night together. Tara could hear voices in the room, and she was possessed by Lizzie’s spirit when she took part in a séance with hotel staff member Gail Olin. She, like Lizzie, imagined Gail to be her stepmother and cursed her for never loving her father. She was about to attack her with Lizzie’s ax when Carl heard the noise from the room and rushed to help Tara. Gail was petrified. She complained that Tara was acting as if she was possessed by a spirit, but thankfully, Tara did not attack Gail the way she had imagined. Tara and Carl had to leave the hotel for her behavior. Meanwhile, Aunt Diane escaped from the psychiatric hospital.

The next morning, Suzy went to Tara’s house to collect all the old white frilly clothes she had in the basement. Tara believed that the clothes were a trigger since Lizzie was also a seamstress and would design similar-looking dresses. Emily showed Suzy the way to the basement to collect Tara’s belongings. Suzy could feel the presence of someone; she could hear the floor cracking. The moment she noticed a dress drenched in blood; the slasher dressed in white attacked her with an ax. Unable to reach Suzy over the phone, Tara was worried for her best friend. She and Carl reached home in the evening and heard Suzy’s phone ring in the basement. Tara called for her mother, but she did not respond.

Tara and Carl entered the house and found Caleb and Jack in the attic. Caleb informed Tara that Suzy was dead. He had heard someone enter, so he went to the attic and took Jack along. Tara asked Caleb to call the police. Meanwhile, Tara and Carl went around the house to figure out who had killed Suzy. A sudden attack on Carl’s hand, and Tara knew that it was Emily with an ax in her hand. She had killed her sister, Diane, who had returned from the hospital. Emily was a complete wreck, but she felt alive after taking multiple lives. She had been on medication for years, but she was tired of hiding behind the pills. Emily wanted to be the person she was born to be instead of numbing her senses. She wanted to end the lives of all her children just like she did with that baby years back. It turned out Emily was the one who had murdered Diane’s baby. She considered the baby an abomination since it was born out of incest. Her father had betrayed her mother with her sister, and Emily decided to seek revenge for it by murdering the infant. She had a similar motive for murdering Tara since she believed that her husband and Tara had a secretive relationship. Emily believed that Tara wanted to take her place in the family, which was why she had to be killed. Emily’s eyes turned black. She was possessed by the spirit of Lizzie Borden and was about to strike Tara. The police shot Emily from the back, saving Tara’s life.

Emily was taken in an ambulance. Carl was provided with medical attention. After a few days, Tara and Carl offered flowers on Suzy’s gravestone. In a way, Tara had taken Emily’s position in the house. She was now responsible for Jack and took care of him. She took medication to keep her mental health in check. After the attack, Tara’s father promised to keep Emily away from her. While everything seems to be under control after the series of murders, Caleb is not spared from the family curse. While pretend-driving his father’s car, Caleb notices Lizzie in the backseat and talks to her. The Borden curse lives on. Perhaps Lizzie’s presence in the backseat indicates that she will be waiting for the day Tara decides to stop her medication. Going by the belief, Lizzie’s spirit usually resides in a woman’s body, which is why maybe Caleb will not turn into the axe murderer, but he will have the power to communicate with the spirit of Lizzie. We can conclude that it was Emily who used to dress up like Lizzie and murder those she believed deserved punishment, such as Gina, Karen, and Mikhail. Maybe she wanted to remain anonymous, which is why she did not murder Tara, even though she doubted her. It was only when Suzy found the blood-stained dress that Emily knew her truth would not remain a secret any longer, and she did not care about the consequences. The film blames both mental illness and demon possession for Emily’s actions. She was hysterical in the end, and before attempting to kill Tara, her eyes turned black, meaning that she was possessed by the spirit of Lizzie, who wanted to take her life.

Is ‘The Inhabitant’ Based On A True Story? What Was The Lizzie Borden Case?

Lizzie Borden was the prime suspect in the Borden axe murder case. It is believed that she had murdered her stepmother and father in 1892. Even though there was evidence that proved her guilty, she was acquitted. The murders took place on the morning of August 4th, 1892. Lizzie’s stepmother, Abby, was first attacked with a hatchet. With the help of forensic investigation, it was concluded that Abby was facing her attacker when she was attacked. After the first strike of the hatchet, she fell face down on the ground and was attacked multiple times, which led to her death. After Abby was murdered, her husband, Andrew, was murdered in his sleep using the same hatchet-like weapon. Andrew’s face was left unrecognizable after the murder. Lizzie’s contradictory statements to the police were what made her a suspect. She had not shed a tear after the death of her parents and seemed erratic during the court hearing. The help, Sullivan, provided a statement to prove Lizzie’s innocence since she was present at the house during the time of the murder. Though it is believed that, on her deathbed, Sullivan stated that she said what she did to protect Lizzie.

There are multiple possible reasons why Lizzie might have murdered her parents. According to the rumors in the local papers, the reason for the murder could have been an incestual relationship. Lizzie was said to have been sexually abused by her father. Meanwhile, author Ed McBain speculated that Lizzie and Sullivan might have been in a relationship, and Abby had found them in a compromising position that resulted in her death. Lizzie was rumored to be gay and had remained unmarried all her life.

“The Inhabitant” builds a fictional story around the true Lizzie Borden case. In “The Inhabitant,” Emily discussed how incestual relationships had plagued their family. From Lizzie to her sister, Diane, the women of the Borden family have faced abuse by those who were meant to protect them. Since Emily was exposed to a horrific reality, she tended to distrust the father figure, even her husband, for that matter. But we cannot completely trust Emily’s judgment since she was possessed by Lizzie. 

“The Inhabitant” is a 2022 Drama Thriller film directed by Jerren Lauder.

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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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