A Sacrifice (2024) Ending Explained – What happens to Hilma?

Plot Summary

In Jordan Scott’s new movie, Eric Bana stars as an American social psychologist named Ben Monroe who is living in Berlin and writing a book about cults and the power of group consciousness. 

Little does Ben know that his daughter Mazzy, who has recently come to Berlin to stay with him, is being pulled deeper into a cult led by a woman named Hilma who believes in the sacrifice of others.

In this ending explained for A Sacrifice, we briefly recap elements of the plot and ask the question: What happens to Hilma?

How does the movie begin?

The movie begins in an apartment building where Ben is speaking to a young woman from the other side of a door. 

Ben is interviewing the woman as part of his research for a new book he is writing. She talks to him about her friends and how she doesn’t want to be part of a society that is coming to an end. According to her, nature is targeting cities as a consequence of mankind’s destruction of the planet. 

At this point in the film, we don’t know who the woman is. But later on, we discover that she’s Lotte, a woman who was sacrificed by the cult that Mazzy eventually becomes a part of.

After Ben speaks with Lotte, he gets a call from his colleague Max, who invites him to a murder scene where Nina, a criminal profiler, is also present.

When Ben arrives at the building, he sees a large number of dead bodies on the floor which have been arranged into a pattern. After talking to Max and Nina, he discovers they were all members of a cult who died after taking cyanide. 

We don’t know it at this point in the film but the cult that these people were a part of is the same cult that Mazzy falls into. 

How does Mazzy join the cult?

When Mazzy arrives in Berlin, she meets a guy named Martin at the train station. The meeting appears to be random but we later learn that this wasn’t the case. 

After getting off the train, Mazzy meets with Ben, her father, and they have a happy reunion. Shortly after, she is invited by Martin to a group that cares for the protection of the environment. It’s here where Mazzy meets Hilma, the group leader. 

Later, Mazzy gets into an argument with her father and blames him for the divorce that split up their family. She then goes to the community centre where Hilma and the group reside. When talking to Hilma, she shares her feelings about her father and admits that she thinks she is to blame for her parents’ separation because of an accident she got into when she was younger. 

The accident in question happened in the ocean where she almost drowned. Ben saw what was happening to his daughter but fear froze him in place. Thankfully, his then-wife ran into the water and saved Mazzy. It’s this incident that Mazzy thinks caused a rift in her parent’s marriage. 

Hilma encourages Mazzy to untangle herself from her parents. This is a typical cult ploy, wherein a cult leader will pull group members away from their families. Worryingly, Mazzy agrees that she needs to free herself from her parents’ influence. 

What happens to Lotte?

Lotte was a member of Hilma’s cult. She was recruited by Martin, the young man who later met Mazzy at the train station. 

Throughout the film, there are scenes of the media reporting Lotte’s death at a lake. It turns out that Martin took Lotte to the lake, under Hilma’s instruction, where she put stones and rocks into her pockets and then stepped into the water to drown herself. 

Following Lotte’s death, we hear Hilma speaking on a pre-recorded video. She says: “To dispense with the individual is to always make sure the group is fed. A solitary person is nothing. The group is everything. Sacrifice is redemption. Out of death comes life.”

From the recording, it’s clear that Lotte believed she was helping the group with her sacrifice. Presumably, she also thought she was helping the planet by giving it life from her death.

What is Hilma’s plan?

Hilma’s plan is to recruit Ben, as she thinks his mastery and power will lead the cult to global recognition. She has faith in him because of the book he wrote which she thinks gave him a lot of influence over others. 

To get to Ben, Hilma had instructed Martin to recruit Mazzy into the group. A flashback reveals that Martin didn’t meet Mazzy by coincidence at the train station. Hilma had sent him a photo of Mazzy, which had been passed to her by a contact with knowledge of the girl’s arrival. 

Hilma’s contact turns out to be Nina who, years before, was recruited into the group when Hilma first became its leader. It was Hilma’s plan for Nina to get closer to Ben so she could then lead him to the cult.

Does Ben meet Hilma?

After Mazzy is brought to Hilma unconscious, following an incident at a nightclub, Hilma decides to hurry up her plan. She abducts Mazzy, drugs her, and orders Martin to take her to the lake to become the next sacrifice. 

Meanwhile, Ben realizes Mazzy is missing and becomes distraught. He’s about to call the police when Nina tells him she has had a tip off to Mazzy’s location. 

Nina then takes Ben to the community centre where Hilma tries to recruit him. Of course, he doesn’t fall for her ploy, as he’s more concerned about finding his daughter than listening to her ramble on with her crackpot speeches.

Does Ben save Mazzy?

During Ben’s conversation with Hilma, she says something that makes him realize her connection to Lotte. It’s at this point that he remembers Lotte drowned at the lake and that this is where the group may have taken Mazzy. 

Ben leaves the centre and heads for the lake, along with Max, who he contacts after realizing where Mazzy might be. He arrives at the lake just in time to see Mazzy floating on top of the water, just before she sinks. Upon seeing this, he runs into the lake and pulls her out before she succumbs to a watery fate. 

This final moment is important because Ben is not only saving Mazzy. He is also saving himself as he previously felt guilty for not rescuing Mazzy from the ocean when she was younger. 

What happens to Hilma?

After Ben heads to the lake, Hilma instructs Nina to set herself on fire as a sacrifice to the cult. Nina does so and dies as a consequence. She isn’t the only one to die as the other cult members burn to death too after having petrol poured on them.

Hilma escapes a fiery death by fleeing the building. 

In the final scene of the film, we see Max’s daughter Elsa watching a video online. The video is of Hilma preaching her message. Does this mean Elsa will become the next recruit of Hilma? Possibly!

We don’t know where Hilma is at the end of the film but if she is on another recruitment drive, it means that Elma and other vulnerable people like her are not safe from the crazed cult leader. 


Read More: A Sacrifice Movie Review

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