House of Darkness (2022) Movie Ending, Explained – What happens to Hap?
Neil LaBute is no stranger to creating films around misogyny, and how it rears its ugly head in male-female dynamics. His In the Company of Men is a scathing criticism of flippant male cruelty when establishing “domination” over a woman they perceive as vulnerable. LaBute’s latest comedy horror, House of Darkness, attempts to do the same while flipping the tables on a self-proclaimed “nice guy,” whose veneer of niceness is torn to shreds by the end of the film.
Before we dive deeper, please note that there are major spoilers ahead for House of Darkness.
HOUSE OF DARKNESS (2022) PLOT SUMMARY AND MOVIE SYNOPSIS:
House of Darkness opens with Hap (Justin Long) and Mina (Kate Bosworth) in a car approaching a gothic mansion near the woods. It turns out Hap and Mina had a chance encounter at a bar in the city and the former is dropping off the latter at home out of the goodness of his heart. No, not really. Hap is expecting something in return — a casual hookup, if you will — but dresses his words in ways that betray his true intentions.
Right off the bat, there’s something off about Mina, and the audience is made aware of it via layered dialogue and visual cues. For starters, Mina says that she’s a creature of the night, and the silence and solitude are comforting for her, and that hearing/seeing things is a part of her everyday existence. At several points in the film, Hap hears weird sounds and silhouettes both inside and outside the mansion but pooh-poohs the idea due to his over-eagerness to sleep with Mina. There’s an acute lack of genre awareness for Hap right until the last minute: he does not know what kind of story he’s in, as he is blinded by his need to get laid and brag about it to his friends later.
As Long is the kind of actor that viewers automatically are bound to have an affinity towards, it is easy to write off Hap’s covert misogyny as harmless. Sure, he’s not a raging douchebag in the traditional sense of the term, as he does not take advantage of Mina or the fact that she purportedly lives alone. But, he’s a bumbling idiot whose words get slurred as he gets drunker, revealing his not-so noble intentions which he is so desperate to conceal. Mina expertly calls out his pretentious, and what ensues are witty quips between the two (the wit stems from Mina’s cold, playful, mysterious demeanor, while Hap is just a horny, drunk dude who’s not in control of the situation).
Just as the two are about to get it on, they are interrupted by Lucy (Gia Crovatin), who happens to be Mina’s sister. At this point, horror-savvy audiences will understand exactly what is going on. The sisters are allusions to Mina Harker and Lucy Westenra in Bram Stroker’s “Dracula,” which immediately brings in the veiled vampire aspects of House of Darkness. Hap is clueless though, as his mind jumps to a threesome with the sisters, which he thinks he’s suave enough to make happen (he’s not).
WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE NIGHTMARE HAP EXPERIENCES?
After Lucy walks in on the two, Hap apologizes profusely and is puzzled by Lucy’s presence. Mina reveals that she’s her sister and that she wasn’t aware that Lucy would be around tonight. Any self-aware human being would immediately question everything that has happened so far: the mansion’s flickering lights, the sights and sounds Hap hears, Mina’s veiled dialogues, and Lucy’s sudden and creepy presence. Not Hap. When the sisters ask him to stay for another drink, he says yes, and waits in the parlor till they return.
In the meanwhile, Hap is exceedingly drunk. He looks at Mina’s half-drunk cup of extremely old wine and gulps it down with gusto. What ensues is a nightmare that is more of a premonition than a mere dream: he sees that he is bound inside a cave littered with men’s shoes, where Mina is seen ominously roaming the area. He wakes up with a jolt, clearly shaken, but dismisses it soon enough as an odd nightmare.
As Hap drank from Mina’s cup, which contained really old wine, he had access to the reality of his situation in the form of a dream. Mina, who’s an ancient vampire, spends her nights hunting men and luring them inside the mansion on the pretext of possible sex. However, she’s not the victim, but an apex predator — she toys with her food, binds them in caves when she feels like it, and kills them slowly. Hap is given a warning if you will, but he chooses to ignore his intuition completely. After all, dudebros who brag about their sexual conquests with women and view them as “body-count” rarely exercise their intuition. Needless to say, Hap pays the price.
HOUSE OF DARKNESS (2022) Movie Ending, Explained:
Towards the end, Lucy tells a foreboding tale of a young girl who was raped by a group of men, who left her bruised and almost dead in the forest. The girl was taken in by a vampire family, which included two sisters, and was nursed back to health (they turned her into one). Then on, the three sisters, immortal creatures of the night, rip the perpetrators to shreds, which led to an eon-spanning cycle of vengeance on men who prey on women in one way or another.
Although Hap listens to the story, he is still clueless about his fate. He muses, “Well, I’m lucky there’s only two of you,” which is when the third sister Nora (played by Lucy Walters) presents herself. By this point, the danger Hap is in is too on the nose, and he refuses to believe the truth that is so plainly apparent. Calling the women demeaning names and threatening to physically harm them, Hap attempts to leave the mansion. However, Mina appears and bites a chunk of his neck, followed by the two other women feasting on his blood and ripping himapart. What does this ending signify and did Hap deserve it?
WHY DOES HAP DESERVE HIS FATE IN THE END?
House of Darkness is a vampire story, where the victim is not aware of the kind of movie he’s in until the last minute. It’s important to understand why this happens: Hap is a self-proclaimed fibber, who starts the date with a veneer of respectability, focused on telling the right things to Mina in order to sleep with her.
The result is an inauthentic portrayal of who he is, as he is not a nice guy at all. In fact, the moment he’s alone, he tells his coworker on the phone that he can’t believe he’s “scored” someone like Mina, and brags about the inevitability of his sexual conquest. He even tells him that he would give him the “play-by-play” of the act. However, when Mina arrives and asks whether he was talking to someone, he straight-up lies. He also fumbles when asked whether he’s married, and every line he utters is laden with cringy sexual innuendo.
Lucy’s arrival, which should have startled him, makes him lose grip of his situation further. Hap is so convinced that he’s a glib player that he thinks he’s entitled to a threesome with the sisters, and even makes an unsavory “joke” about it when he’s asked to tell a horror story. Men like Hap believe that they’re entitled to sex if they pretend to be kind to women. The problem with this outlook is that women are not objects of desire, to be coddled and won over as long as they fulfill the whims of the male gaze. Kindness is not authentic if there’s a covert ulterior motive, and politeness is insincere when peppered with half-truths.
Hap pays the price for thinking he can get away with it without being held accountable. Moreover, he’s never unsettled by the fact that he’s in a haunted mansion, cut off from the world, along with two strange women. Why would he; after all, he’s a man, what could these women possibly do? Well, Hap finds out the answer to this assumption the hard way, meeting a violent, gory, and rather ignominious death at the hands of three dangerous vampires.