Welcome to the Ending Explained for Malum, a horror film directed by Anthony DiBlasi, and stars Jessica Sula as Jessica Loren, a young cop serving the night shift at an old police station. However, Jessica is no normal police officer as she is the daughter of a hero captain who then committed terrible crimes. Jessica has followed in her father’s steps by becoming a cop, allowing her to search deeper into the events of her father’s death. The answers will change her life forever. DiBlasi, also serves as the screenwriter, along with Scott Poiley.
Malum is a very curious piece of filmmaking, as we see DiBlasi remaking or reimagining a previous film of his, “Last Shift,” from 2014. It is not often that we see directors remaking their work. However, this is not a shot-by-shot remake in the style of what Michael Haneke did for Funny Games.
Instead, DiBlasi takes the opportunity to expand the story, add more supernatural elements, and increase the production values to a new level. Last Shift was certainly a smaller and cheaper picture than this, but in some ways, the storytelling in Last Shift was a lot better. Or at least certainly more clear and concrete.
The following paragraphs contain spoilers for Malum. Read at your own risk.
What Is Really Happening At The Police Station?
Malum, and Last Shift, for that matter, take a lot of inspiration from the Satanic Panic that began to exist during the 1980s in the United States of America. Suddenly, society started to feel assailed by an invisible enemy that then became Satan.
The panic became quite mainstream, and from there, we got a ton of controversy as games like Dungeons & Dragons and heavy metal bands were then associated with Satan beyond a visual aesthetic. Malum basically takes this framing device and uses it to form its premise. It also adds classic elements from the Folk Horror genre and even some cosmic horror.
One thing that makes the movie so confusing is that Jessica, our main protagonist, is clearly having trouble distinguishing reality from fiction. At many points during the film, Jessica sees one thing, only to later see the same thing in a different shape. For example, when a monstrous woman without a face then turns into a pig.
In the original film, the character of Jessica ends up having hallucinations that push her into defining herself from entities she identifies as demons when, in reality, they were only members of a HAZMAT team. The revelation made the ending ambiguous and creepy, as we never really understood if Jessica saw demons.
In Malum, the answer to what is happening is much more straightforward. At the beginning of the film, she receives a warning from another police officer not to go into the holding wing of the now almost abandoned police station.
The office never explains to her why she needs to stay away, but when the circumstances push Jessica to visit this part of the police station, she discovers the entire place is covered in a sort of bad case of mold. The movie implies that this mold could cause hallucinations.
This could mean that all the terrible things we see, monsters, and horrific imagery are just fragments of Jessica’s subconscious coming to the surface.
However, as the movie progresses, we are reminded that Jessica starts to see a lot of weird stuff even before going to the holding section of the station. We learn that Jessica’s father, Will, saved several girls from a demonic cult led by a man named John Malum.
As the movie progresses, Jessica discovers that her entire life is somehow connected to John Malum and the cult. In the end, while the movie tries to mess up with Jessica by not having a good grasp on reality, this doesn’t translate well into deceiving the audience similarly. So, we can be sure that there is something truly supernatural in the station.
So, what is really happening? In summary, a demonic cult tries to capture Jessica to transform her into a vessel that can sit beside the demonic John Malum. It is real, and she is being assailed by the demons who want her flesh.
Why Does Malum Want Jessica?
And so, we face a demonic ritual trying to bring a demon to the earthly. Movies never depict this situation as something good, and Malum doesn’t deviate from that norm. The movie goes into great length, trying to explain why Jessica is the victim. We learn that his father, Will, killed the cult members and saved three girls who would be used in the ritual.
Why did it happen? Well, it is revealed that Will was also part of the cult, and we also learn that his wife, Jessica’s mother, was also involved. In fact, we learn that Jessica came to be born to become this vessel once she was an adult.
Of course, Will stopped the ritual when he saved the girls from becoming sacrifices, thus interrupting this terrible fate for Jessica. However, Malum, who is somehow still alive and could involve supernatural forces, is ready to start the ritual again. To do this, he has dispatched his followers to cause chaos around the city.
This becomes one of the reasons why Jessica shouldn’t expect reinforcements from the other police station. It is a bit contrived, but this is what the movie chooses to do. The other policemen are occupied with the rest of the cult.
Jessica starts seeing her father’s spirit in the hallways, and she also starts seeing basically other spirits that have been stuck inside the police station since the incident involving her father. In that incident, just after Will saved the girls, he grabbed a shotgun and started eliminating other police officers just before committing suicide himself. As the movie progresses, we can see that Jessica is also going through the same thing her father went through that day.
She even has her father’s shotgun as a weapon and tries to deal with the demons, who are possibly just members of the cult.
Ultimately, the movie reveals the demon that will take Jessica as a vessel. The demon looks a bit goofy, but what matters is that Jessica has failed to get away from the cult. She was born to do this, and through some very overcomplicated situations, Malum manages to take Jessica and make her his queen as the darkness of the demons descends upon the Earth. It is implied that they are doing this in search of power.
The world’s end will come, and Jessica and Malum will be King and Queen of the ashes. The movie ends with Jessica having failed in her fight against evil. It is a very underwhelming ending that doesn’t leave a lot to the imagination, which is the thing that makes the original ending in Last Shift a lot better.