Terry McDonough’s mystery thriller “Damaged” (2024) is beyond saving, despite a cast of stellar actors like Samuel L. Jackson and Vincent Cassel. Perhaps these actors somehow owe someone in the production, or else why would they want to be part of such a disastrous ride consisting of shallow writing and an aimless plot? The film centralizes the theme of serial killing. Yet, the killings are never portrayed in a way that will eventually shock the audience. Even if we look past that, there’s basically not much investigation surrounding the killings. Is that a fair approach to making a serial killer movie? Well, you will find more about the ifs and buts in the review article. Now let’s dive straight into the plot then.

Spoilers Ahead

Damaged (2024) Plot Summary & Movie Synopsis

The film starts with the killing of a woman named Abigail in Scotland. The killer comes in the disguise of a delivery boy and kills her ruthlessly. When the crime scene is scrutinized by the police, they find that the head, arms, and legs are placed in a cross-like structure, but the torso is missing. This whole pattern is similar to the series of killings that took place more than 5 years ago in Chicago. So, as a consultant, Detective Dan Lawson is asked to come to Scotland.

Lawson was investigating the murders in Chicago more than 5 years ago along with his partner Bravo, who has retired from the field. Here in Scotland, Lawson meets with the investigating officer, Glen Boyd, and the chief of the police force, Kessler. Boyd is dealing with his own family issues as Lawson overhears him talking to his wife and understands his situation. They focus on solving the crime, with Lawson suggesting that the only distinction between these killings and those in Chicago is the religious motivation, potentially categorizing them as hate crimes at the very least.

What does Lawson learn about Boyd?

As the two detectives start to get along, Lawson realizes that something is bothering Boyd very much. When he asks about it, Boyd says that since they have lost their baby boy, he and his wife, Marie, have been distant as they mourn separately in their own way. Marie, because Boyd avoided spending much time at home, once cheated as she was in a difficult situation. This made their lives even more difficult. From that time, Marie is trying too hard to make their marriage work, but Boyd has completely immersed himself in work to avoid any confrontation.

Lawson tells him about Sarah, who was murdered in Chicago by the serial killer, and they share their pain, hoping to catch the killer in Scotland. Since he (or she, as of now) is a copycat killer, they look for the cult societies around the town. Lawson has called for Bravo, his ex-partner, and seeks help from him about the situation. Boyd doubts that Abigail’s neighbor has something to do with the killing, as another neighbor says there has been some spat between them. But, later, it is proved that the neighbor has nothing to do with Abigail’s mother as the detectives are back to square one.

What happens to Marie?

While Boyd and Lawson are busy questioning Abigail’s neighbor, a woman named Grace Hall is killed, and her body (the remaining parts except the torso) is staged in the same manner. After interrogating Grace Hall’s mother, Boyd learns that Grace has an ex named Conor McGregor. Boyd pays a visit, and knowing that there is a chance he might be accused of the murder, Conor refuses to talk until his lawyer is present. From that point onward, for every question Boyd asks, Conor never gives a straight answer, and since his lawyer is present, Boyd fails to do anything about it.

Damaged (2024) Movie Ending Explained
A still from “Damaged” (2024)

Later that night, we see Conor creeping around Boyd’s property, and he peeks inside the house to see Marie. He engaged himself in self-pleasure, looking at her, which is definitely a sign of a mentally distorted person. Anyway, later, Boyd learns that Conor used to be a part of a cult in town, which is based on a local church. When Boyd goes to investigate this, he learns that Conor was thrown from the group because he never complied with their thoughts. Anyway, Abigail’s lady neighbor comes to the police and says she has seen Conor a couple of days before the murder near her house.

Now, the police are ready to take Conor into custody, and they set up a trap. Boyd somehow manages to capture Conor as he tries to escape. Later that night, when Boyd comes back home, he fails to find Marie inside the house. He tries her cellphone but she is not picking it up. Boyd follows the ringtone, which leads him to the storeroom, where he sees Marie’s dead body the same way, just like the other victims. Only this time, the arrangement of the remains does not represent anything related to any cult. The following day, with a little help from Lawson, Boyd learns about the whereabouts of Marie’s remaining body part- the torso, and when he sees that, he promises to catch the killer and put an end to this.

What happens to Conor McGregor?

Boyd is almost certain that Conor is the one who has killed Marie and then comes back to his property, from where the police catch him. He even interrupted the interrogation to threaten Conor that he would bring havoc upon him once proven guilty. Lawson tries to keep him away from Conor as this may cause some serious damage to the investigation. Even Bravo is astonished, knowing that after all this, they fail to catch Conor because of the lack of evidence.

In the meantime, Lawson asks Boyd whether he has told about Marie’s affair to anyone else because it can backfire on him, making it officially a motive for him to murder his wife. Later that night, we see Conor drinking in a bar, and when a lady asks him for payment, he shows her a lot of attitude and then runs away from the backdoor. Soon after, the original killer turns up and stabs Conor numerous times, ending his life once and for all.

Damaged (2024) Movie Ending Explained:

Who Is the Real Killer?

Boyd puts his men to follow Conor, and when he sees the text that his man has lost track of Conor, he goes straight to his house. There he finds Conor’s body the same way as before and calls in the squad. Inside the house, there are all the details about Abigail and Grace, but there is not a single photo of Marie. Lawson tells Boyd that Conor did not kill Marie as even her crime scene represents the exact similarities to the Chicago killings. So, the copycat killer is now dead, but the real killer is still out there.

Later, Lawson goes to the website of ATEM Security, where Conor used to work, and finds his picture with Bravo. During the interrogation, Conor once mentioned a ‘foreigner’ who met him in London and told him about the Chicago killings. Lawson receives a call from Bravo right at that moment, and when he tells him about knowing Conor all along, Bravo decides to talk to him in person. Meanwhile, Boyd is already alarmed, and he is on his way to catch Bravo.

But, during the confrontation between Bravo and Lawson, the real truth comes into play as Lawson admits to the killings of Chicago. The reason was that he knew that Sarah and Bravo were having an affair. When Lawson was confronting Sarah, he pushed her in a heated moment as she slipped and died on the spot. From this time onward, there was no going back for Lawson. He cuts her body into pieces and disposes of the torso and the symbols; religion follows afterward. It was all an accident that Lawson never intended in the first place.

However, one by one, he killed four people who were responsible for Sarah and Bravo’s affair. He could have killed Bravo long ago, but he wanted to see him suffer the pain of losing someone and not even find out who had killed the woman he was in love with. In Scotland, Lawson killed Marie because she was unfaithful to Boyd, which eventually reminded him of Sarah’s situation. Later, he killed Conor simply because he was a copycat killer (killing both Abigail and Grace because Conor thought they were lost in their path of being faithful to their religion), and serial killers do not like copycat killers at all.

Is Boyd Able to Catch Lawson?

When Boyd arrives at the hotel, a shootout has already taken place, as Lawson has already shot Bravo. Lawson slowly removes himself from the hotel as Boyd starts to understand the real deal. He finds the missing jewelry from the Chicago killings (a trademark of those killings where some pieces of jewelry used to go missing when their bodies were found). So, Boyd goes after Lawson, but unfortunately, he is successful in getting away.

Boyd even tries one more time to catch Lawson at a harbor but again, he is left with nothing but to surrender to the cunning mind of Lawson. Lawson’s car is driven by an imposter who looks almost similar to him, but ultimately, it is not Lawson. The case goes into the hands of Interpol as Boyd screams out of failure because the revenge of his wife’s murder remains unfulfilled. While Boyd is too frustrated to deal with the situation, we see Lawson enjoying nature and smiling, probably justifying the murders to himself.

Read More: Damaged (2024) Movie Review: A Shallow Mystery Thriller that Wastes its Creative Potential

Trailer:

Damaged (2024) Movie Links: IMDbWikipediaRotten TomatoesLetterboxd
The Cast of Damaged (2024) Movie: Samuel L Jackson, Vincent Cassel, Gianni Capaldi, Kate Dickie, John Hannah, Mark Holden, Laura Haddock, Brian McCardie, Nicolette McKeown
Damaged (2024) Movie Genre: Mystery & thriller/Crime, Runtime: 1h 32m
Where to watch Damaged

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