Badland Hunters (2024) Ending Explained – What’s the truth behind the luxuries of the apartment?

Badland Hunters (2024), Netflix’s latest post-apocalyptic action film starring the celebrated and beloved actor Ma Dong-seok of Train to Busan (2016) fame, has finally arrived amidst great anticipation. Although presented as a sequel to its buzzworthy predecessor, Concrete Utopia (2023), Badland Hunters quite efficiently works as a stand-alone film. In this article, we take to through the nitty-gritties of Badland Hunter’s ending.

What are the fabled apartments?

The apartment is the only standing structure in the post-apocalyptic world of Concrete Utopia and Badland Hunters. Everything else is reduced to dust and rubble, and so the fabled apartment is a “heaven on earth” where clean drinking water, once a myth, is now a reality, along with the luxuries of decent food and facilities of tap water. 

Why do Suna and her grandmother agree to relocate to the apartments?

After the bandit attack in the bus district which threatened Suna’s safety as a young woman in the “badland”, an unknown woman visits Suna and her grandmother. She tells them that she is a teacher and a leader of an organisation which has been successful in setting up a safe heaven in Seoul. Upon Suna’s cross questioning, she tells them that they are prioritizing the safety of families with children below 20 years of age. It is to protect the youth who are survivors of humanity.

She finally manages to convince the two upon promise of clean water and food which in the post-apocalyptic world is nothing short of a luxury. Nam-san further questions them about the safety of such a place with invaluable resources to which the woman clarifies that a security force of ex-military personnel guards the place, ensuring that no gang attacks take place.

What happens to Suna’s grandmother and why?

The golden fruit of living at the apartments sets off Suna and her grandmother on a long journey. The woman tells them that medical aid for her grandmother would be available at a distance. Sometime at night, the grandma and another grandparent of a different family are taken to the said medical aid which is but an empty promise. In reality, the grandfather is pushed off of a cliff and Suna’s grandmother is stabbed to death. There is no place for the elderly in the apartment, who neither can contribute to the workforce nor are the embodiment of a hopeful future.

What does Suna discover at the apartments?

The apartments are as much as a dream as one could imagine in an apocalyptic world – a clean room that screams “you’ve made it” with running tap water, food and clean drinking water. What more could one ask for! Suna soon discovers that the apartments have a new god-like figure – Yang Gi-su, a scientist on a journey to restore humanity. In the new world order of the apartment, the students are secluded to the 8th floor, never to meet their guardians again while the parents work underground in shifts to purify water that is more akin to gold.

She discovers that the students in her class are mere living dead and notices scars of medical procedures on their body. The entire class is more an effort to educate the newcomers about the necessity of Gi-su’s experiments to survive in the new world and the importance of mutation of the human body.

What’s the truth behind Gi-su’s experiments and the paradise of the apartments?

Suna soon learns about the reality of the paradise. She becomes suspicious of the cultic environment of the whole place and decides to escape one night. She stumbles into Gi-su’s lab and sees the friend that she met on their journey to the apartments, Lee Ju-Ye, lying as one of Gi-su’s experimental subjects. The reality of Gi-su’s experiments unfolds.

It is revealed that Yang Gi-su had come up with a strange transgenic procedure that somehow mutates an individual’s body with characteristics of a reptile. This gives them the ability to be immortal to an extent with regenerative abilities. Gi-su injected himself with a test dose that he developed to save her dying daughter just before the earthquake hit Seoul.

This was the reason he was able to survive the catastrophe. In order to make the dose, he requires a substance from the pituitary glands of teenagers which is why Suna was brought into the apartment complex. The water that the students are encouraged to drink during the classes activates this substance that is to be extracted later. The “saving humanity” narrative comes crashing down.

Does Suna survive?

Gi-su discovers Suna hiding in the lab when things with Ju-ye and her parents go awry (Ju-ye dies of shock and he kills the parents). Suna becomes his next target. As Nam-san and the team barge into the apartment to save Suna, Gi-su extracts the substance and makes another dose which he injects in himself. Amidst the euphoria of the completed procedure, he soon feels that something is amiss while Suna gains consciousness in a “rare” event and tells him that she did not drink the water that they gave her. It is clear that a chemical misalignment has occurred which has Gi-su’s appearance change drastically. Meanwhile, Nam-san and the team break into the lab and save Suna.

What happens to Yang Gi-su?

Yang Gi-su tries to escape the apartments with his daughter who is but a weakly beating heart and grossly preserved remains of a torso. However, the parents have now learnt the truth about their children. They attack Gi-su collectively. Gi-su gets hold of a nearby gun and in a manic state kill everything and everybody in his line of sight. He soon discovers that his actions have caused the glass preservation of her daughter to collapse leading to her finally “dying”.

Just when he tries to shoot Nam-san and the group in a fit of rage, Nam-san shoots him in the head and kills him. At the same time, rain finally graces them, ending the drought.

What happens to Lee Eun-ho?

Lee Eun-ho is a special forces sergeant who helped to set up the apartment to aid the survivors of the catastrophe. Soon after Yang Gi-su comes to the apartment, she escapes and asks for Nam-san’s help. After Gi-su’s death, she decides to stay back in the apartment and rebuild it.

What happens to Nam-san, Choi ji-wan and Suna?

Nam-san and his partner Choi Ji-wan, another teenager of the bus district who has a crush on Suna, take Suna to her grandmother’s grave after the events at the apartment. The three then go back to the bus district where Suna begins living with the two, and helping them in their butcher shop.

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