‘The Veil’ Ending Explained: What Happened at the Heaven’s Veil Site?

The Veil Ending
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Welcome to the Ending Explained for The Veil, a 2016 horror film directed by Phil Joanou and starring Jessica Alba, Thomas Jane, Lily Rabe, Shannon Woodward, and Reid Scott. The film tells the story of a cult led by one of those messianic figures who always create cults around them. The film also deals with the consequences of the cult of its tragic end. The film takes a lot of inspiration from real-life cults that ended in tragedy in real life. The film especially takes inspiration from the People’s Temple tragedy, which ended with the death of its followers in a mass suicide.

The Veil is a low-budget horror film that really does very little when it comes to pushing the genre in a new direction. The look of the film is gray and devoid of color, which certainly makes for a dire atmosphere, but it also makes the movie feel like it is not taking place on Earth but in some other dimension. The acting is serviceable, but the actors don’t really have a lot of work, as the material is very weak. Nevertheless, the cultist angle to the story is interesting, and the ending really goes out there to create a new perspective for these kinds of cases in real life.

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The following paragraphs contain spoilers for The Veil. Read at your own risk.

What happened at the Heaven’s Veil site?

The film begins with our introduction to the Heaven’s Veil cult. Like many cults around the world during the 1970s and 1980s, The Veil is fashioned around pseudo-Christian ideas, where the soul is eternal and can find life after physical death. We are introduced to Jim Jacobs, the leader of the cult. He is charismatic, handsome, and knows how to work in a crowd. However, we learn that the cult ended up in tragedy, as many cults often do. Jim and his followers committed suicide in what is the biggest mass suicide in the United States of America, at least in the universe the movie is set in.

This entire setup sounds very much like what happened to The Peoples Temple, a cult led by preacher Jim Jones. Even the names of both leaders are similar. However, there is one particular event that makes everything different. Unlike what happened with The Peoples Temple, The Veil does have a survivor. A young girl, who says to the police when they arrive that they should not be worried because Jim will bring everyone back. 25 years later, we meet this young girl, now an adult, suffering from the trauma of those early days. Her name is Sarah, and she is about to receive an offer.

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A documentary crew is contacting her, led by a woman named Maggie and her brother Christian. Sarah is initially unsure, but then she decides to talk to them and tell them what really happened that day. We learn that Maggie and Christian also have personal stakes in the story, as their father was the lead agent on the cult investigation, and he was there the day the FBI raided The Veil, finding all the dead bodies. Maggie’s father committed suicide years later, and so Maggie and Christian want to know what really happened to his father as well.

After a short shoot in her house, the crew moves to the Heaven’s Veil site, where the tragedy happened 25 years ago. The place is abandoned, and there is little to no reason to go there except just to see it. Sarah, who doesn’t really know who their parents were or what her real name is, starts having visions of repressed memories. On the other hand, Maggie has pictures she found in her father’s stuff. They discovered that Jim was recording the mass suicide, but the footage was never found, and so it must be somewhere. These recordings could dispel the entire mystery.

Did Jim found a way to immortality?

Sarah begins having seizures, resulting from these memories returning to her. She apparently was close to Jim and his inner circle. However, things start getting weird when one crew member, Ed, disappears with their van. Two other members go looking for him, while Sarah takes the rest of the crew to a place she knows and remembers as “Jim’s special place.” When they arrive, they find a body that was never found by the police and a set of tapes. This is the footage they were looking for. The crew manages to fix a projector and a cassette tape recorder, and they start listening to the tapes.

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However, when they discover Ed is dead in the van, some crew members want to back down. In the end, they all decide to keep with the investigation, even when Ed is rotting in the sun. They discover that Jim apparently found a way to immortality. The process includes destroying three seals through alchemical rituals. In the tapes, we see Jim dying and resurrecting multiple times. He assures his followers that by doing this, they will be reborn. Jim uses poison to die and an antidote to come back. It seems to be the same poison used during the mass suicide. The crew discovers that all the members of the crew expected to come back when they died, but something happened, and only the poison was administered.

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Ghosts start attacking the different members of the crew, and one by one, they become possessed by these spirits. Ed is just the first one, but each time, more and more of them get possessed until, in the end, only Sarah and Maggie remain themselves. Sarah discovers that Ann, the woman in the tapes, is her mother, and she is Jim’s daughter. Sarah is her real name. We also discover that Jim actually found a way to become immortal, and the spirits of all his followers have just been waiting for someone else to come so that they can get possessed. They are still alive in spiritual form.

Maggie also discovers why his father committed suicide. When the FBI arrived, they ended up interrupting the ceremony; thus, when the poison antidote was about to be given to Jim’s followers, they were stopped, and they all died as a consequence. This would indirectly make Maggie’s father a mass murderer. He couldn’t live with that and killed himself. The movie ends with Jim and his followers’ spirits possessing the entire crew and announcing that the next step is world domination. Sarah returns to the cult, taking her place at her father’s right.

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