The Womb (Inang) follows the story of Wulan, who is left at a crossroads by her boyfriend after she gets pregnant. When a thoughtful couple takes her in, things turn strange when she learns the absolute truth of their kindness.
Directed by Fajar Nugros and written by Deo Mahameru, The Womb is an Indonesian horror movie streaming on Netflix. The 2-hour-long chiller is a slow burn but begins with a great setup that conjures great tension to the point where the viewer starts questioning the characters’ morality.
Some significant elements show the ongoing situation of pregnant women and the struggle they go through every day in the country. The film also makes a statement about the working class people from the lower income community and how things are on edge with the lack of resources available for a sustainable life.
I feel pregnancy and horror/thriller films make a great combination. For instance, films like Rosemary’s Baby (1968) or, more recently, Titane (2022) or Resurrection (2022) have tried to tell stories about inequality or things that women have to deal with. The Womb uses the character of a pregnant woman and her dire situation, adding the elements of occultism, religious make beliefs, and supernatural horror.
Although the film begins on a solid note, somehow, the third act rushes into a haphazard conclusion. Nonetheless, those who love occult science and horror movies, in general, should give it a try.
In the following article, I have detailed everything significant that happens in the film with an added dive into the explanation of how it ends. Spoiler Alert kindly read at your discretion.
The Womb (2023) Plot Summary & Movie Synopsis:
The Womb begins with an interview that introduces us to the Javaenese ritual – Wekasan Wednesday, which is done to avoid bad luck for the children born on a Wednesday. The story follows a young pregnant woman, Wulan, who feels helpless when her boyfriend leaves her to deal with the unwanted pregnancy. Wulan works at a retail store that barely pays anything. With minimum wage and a pervert manager at work, Wulan is often hounded by her landlord for the rent. In the meantime, she gets harassed and fired by her manager when she asks for early salary payment.
With no job and nowhere else to go, she reaches out to her only friend, who has been entertaining the manager from work all this time without Wulan knowing about it. In this helpless situation, Wulan contacts a couple who reached out to her through a Facebook group that provides caregiving for young pregnant women. Eva and Agus are interested in adopting the child, and they immediately take Wulan to their place. Soon we see that Wulan start living with them as they give her a lot of care and make her feel comfortable.
However, things slowly change as Wulan starts noticing the eerieness around her, which makes her change her mind about giving up her child to the couple. She somehow manages to convince Bergas (the couple’s only son) to help her get out there.
Why did Wulan agree to stay with Eva and Agus?
Wulan grew up poor, and her parents had a turbulent relationship where she often saw them fighting. When her boyfriend, who she met through Facebook, showed affection towards her, she gave her all to the relationship. However, the man had no sense of responsibility and threw money at her to pay for the abortion after learning she was expecting. During this helplessness, she turned up to Mrs. Eva and Mr. Agus, who came off as a charming couple who opened their hearts to her. They gave her a pleasant and comfortable abode and made her feel together as if everything was going to get better. Seeing how tender and warm these people are, Wulan instantly decides to give her child to them for adoption.
Things only get strange when one day, she starts getting nightmares about a woman. The couple’s friend, Ageng, visits Wulan to perform a traditional ritual on Wulan. As the date of the child’s delivery nears, strange things around Wulan start getting more and more terrible.. Ageng confirms that the child will be born on a Wednesday. Wulan, in the meantime, also starts having tormenting nightmares where a woman crawls up to her, or the same woman hugs a newborn near a bonfire with an umbilical cord in her mouth.
Wulan also dreams about Agus eating the insides of a newly born child. All these nightmares frighten Wulan as she realizes things are not going in the right direction. She keeps a close eye on the couple until one day, Bergus comes home.
Wulan calls her friend Nita, with whom she worked at the retail store. She tells her about the situation and asks Nita to come and pick her up. Eva overhears her conversation with Nita and cautiously and politely starts questioning her whereabouts. Meanwhile, she tries to ask her doctor for help, but it turns out that the doctor is also somehow on the couple’s side (later, we get to know that the doctor is Ageng’s wife).
Who do Eva and Agu stop their son from helping the now heavily pregnant Wulan?
The film’s dark tone changes everything at this point. After learning about Nita, Agus tracks her and find where she lives. Disguised as a delivery guy, Agus hands over a food delivery package that the manager accepts in the absence of Nita while answering the door. Soon, both of them choke on the poisoned food, and Agus slits Nita’s throat with the knife he used to peel off the mango he enjoyed eating while watching them die. He then takes the knife and plants it in the hands of the manager, staging it as a murder and suicide case – thus cutting off the only help Wulan had for her.
The delivery date comes nearer, and Wulan’s fear grows more and more. When she notices that Nita is not picking up her calls, she knows something is not right. And that is when Bergas comes into the picture. Bergas left his job in Singapore after his girlfriend cheated on him. He inquires about Wulan, his parents, who lie to them that she is a distant relative. It somehow bothers Bergas to see a pregnant woman living with his family at home. So he demands the truth from Wulan, who tells him that his parents are onto something and she is not safe.
The following day when Wulan musters up the courage to speak to Eva about leaving, the woman hypnotizes her into staying and going after the delivery of the child. On the other hand, Bergas is deeply paranoid about his parent’s strange behavior and does a little research on his own. It turns out that every ten years, a pregnant girl comes and stays with them and then suddenly disappears. Bergus’s worries make him want to help Wulan.
Hence, he goes to her and plans to take her to a storeroom to learn more about what his parents are up to. The couple catches them red-handed, but Wulan lies that she and Bergas wanted to spend some time alone in private. Bergas later finds out about the rituals done on the pregnant women and how their children are sacrificed to help keep off the evil eye from him since he was also born on a Wednesday.
The Womb (2023) Movie Ending, Explained:
What is Wekasan Wednesday? How does Wulan get away from the Javanese ritual?
Those children born on a Wednesday of a Safar month per the Javanese calendar go through this ritual called Wekasan Wednesday. This day is considered unlucky, and a child born on this day is cursed. Wekesan Rebo prophesies that a child born on this day will not last longer than their tenth birthday. Eva and Agus have been performing this ritual to save their only child Bergas. They sacrifice a pregnant lady and her child, also born on a specific Wednesday. At first, they consulted a doctor, but since nothing could be found, they eventually adapted to this tradition. They first sacrifice their longtime pregnant maid, Sumiyati, and her child to save their son and have been practicing the ceremony every tenth year of Bergas’s new life.
Throughout the film, many instances show the couple as the culprit of something heinous. Things like a rat getting trapped inside the cage when Wulan enters the house or the same rat getting entangled in the grasscutter vehicle indicate the young girl getting involved in a life-threatening situation. The housemaid coming to her dream to cradle the baby indicates that Wulan’s baby is in grave danger.
Understanding that Wulan’s life is in danger, Bergas learns about his parent’s truth. He decides to help her, and the two try to escape from the giant estate that they hav been living on. They find Agus’s car, but unfortunately, it doesn’t work. Agus and Eva find them trying to escape and hypnotizes Bergas; leaving him unconscious. Later, we see Bergas tied to a chair so Agus can explain why he and his wife are doing this to Wulan. But Bergas doesn’t want anyone to lose their life on his account, and traditions and selfishness are simply blinding his parents.
When Bergas returns to consciousness again, he sets himself free by breaking a bottle made of glass free his hands. He follows his father to the storeroom only to find Wulan unconscious and Agus about to kill her after the delivery. Bergas uses the glass bottle to bargain for the safety of Wulan and her child and threatens to kill himself if they don’t do what he says.
Bergas then takes Wulan and her newly born child in the car, but Ageng tries to stop him. Bergas stabs him, and Eva tries to hypnotize him again. However, Bergas hits the gas pedal and drives fast, not caring if he has hit his father while doing so. Wulan wakes from sleep with her baby sleeping peacefully in her hands. She looks around to find Bergas sitting by the tea shop near a highway. Seeing Wulan awake, Bergas steps up to pay the bill. Since the ritual to save Bergas’s life couldn’t get completed, he is soon killed by a truck on the highway.
What does the mid-credit scene in The Womb (2023) mean?
Ten years later, we are introduced to Wulan’s son, who has grown up but looks pale and sick. When her son asks her when he will go outside to play, she replies soon.
In the meantime, we see her keep a watchful eye on a pregnant woman living across her. Since her son was also born on Wekasan Wednesday, it turns out that Wulan is following the tradition of keeping her son alive by sacrificing a pregnant mother and her child. The film ends with her killing the pregnant woman with the same knife used by Agus to kill people.