Bad Things (2023) Ending Explained – Does Ruthie lose her mind?

Bad Things Plot Summary

Currently streaming on Shudder is Bad Things, a psychological horror movie with a ‘ghostly’ twist.

The movie tells the story of Ruthie and her three friends – Cal (Hari Nef), Fran (Annabelle Dexter-Jones) and Maddie (Rad Pereira) – who spend a week in a hotel for a much-needed break.

The hotel actually belongs to Ruthie as she has recently inherited it from her grandmother. She plans to sell her new property but before she does, she uses it as a vacation home for herself and her besties. 

Unfortunately, what should be a few days of rest and relaxation turns out to be something quite unpleasant when one of them – Fran – realizes the hotel is haunted. Not only that but Ruthie starts to mentally unravel, causing some of the group to feel uneasy in her presence. 

At the end of Bad Things, it would appear that Ruthie has lost her mind. Is this really the case? Let’s take a closer look at this perplexing movie.

Does Ruthie get along with her friends?

Ruthie has known her friends Cal and Maddie for a long time so they are a close-knit group. Cal is actually more than a friend to Ruthie – they are romantically involved – so they share a special kind of closeness. 

Fran, who used to date Ruthie, is the black sheep of the group. She was invited along by Maddie who felt sorry for Fran after her cancer diagnosis, but it’s obvious from the very beginning that she isn’t well-liked by Ruthie or Cal. 

Who haunts the hotel?

Ruthie and her friends aren’t alone in the hotel. Early on in the movie, Fran stumbles into the dining room and discovers it is the dead and not the living that is seated and waiting for their (never-to-arrive) dinner. 

One of these ghosts is a young girl who complains about not being able to feel her fingers. The identity of the girl is unknown but there are hints that it might be the ghost of Ruthie, as we are told that Ruthie once spent three nights alone in the hotel as a child, with frostbitten fingers, when it was without electricity. Of course, Ruthie is alive and well in the movie, so this throws doubts on that possibility. But there is clearly a connection between her and the ghost.

There are other ghosts in the hotel, some of whom were former models who previously died within the property. We don’t know a lot about them but that doesn’t particularly matter as the haunting takes a backseat to the dynamics between Ruthie and her friends. 

Why does Ruthie want to sell the hotel?

The hotel has a dark history, as evidenced by the deaths and hauntings, so it’s little wonder that Ruthie doesn’t want to manage the place. Cal tries to convince her otherwise but Ruthie’s mom would rather she sell it. 

Ruthie gets selling tips by watching videos on YouTube hosted by a realtor named Ms. Auerbach. This woman later turns up at the hotel but when we see her, she is likely a figment of Ruthie’s imagination rather than the realtor herself. 

Ruthie also tries to get in touch with her mom – who may or may not be Auerbach (the movie’s narrative is baffling) – to discuss the sale of the hotel, but most of her texts go unanswered. 

What happens at the hotel?

We’d like to tell you the group of friends had a good time, but that would be a lie. We would also like to tell you that the events that took place at the hotel were straightforward – but that would be a lie too! 

But here’s what we do know.

Struggling to sleep one night, Ruthie gets up and thinks she sees her mother dancing. It turns out to be Fran and not her mom. On making this discovery, Ruthie and Fran become intimate. 

The next morning, Ruthie finally gets a text from her mom telling her that she won’t be coming to the hotel. Around this time, Fran starts to get spooked out by the ghosts that are haunting the place and tries to convince Ruthie and the others to leave. 

The group think Fran is trying to get attention for herself and so come up with a plan to get rid of her. They assure her that leaving is the right thing to do and head to the station together. Once there, they abandon Fran when she falls asleep and return to the hotel. 

Back at the hotel, the 3 friends enjoy their time together without Fran. While they are partying, a man named Brian arrives. He is a friend/lover of Ruthie’s mom, as was revealed earlier in the movie. He doesn’t stick around for long, however, as he comes to a grisly end at the end of a masked figure carrying a chainsaw. This chainsaw would appear to be the same one that Ruthie is seen with at the beginning of the movie when she uses it to free her car in the snow. 

Who is the masked killer?

After killing Brian, the masked figure goes after Maddie and injures her with the chainsaw. Maddie thinks Ruthie is under the mask but Ruthie tries to convince her that it is Fran trying to get revenge on everyone for leaving her at the hotel. 

It could be assumed that Fran is the killer as Ruthie seemingly finds information online about Fran’s dark past. However, Maddie and Cal decide Ruthie has lost her mind and force her out of the hotel.

So, who is the person with the chainsaw? It’s Ruthie, as we discover at the end of the movie. 

Has Ruthie lost her mind?

It would appear so. After managing to get back into the hotel, she has a meeting with Ms. Auerbach and her legal team, but they would appear to be a hallucination.

Later, Fran arrives at the hotel and reunites with Ruthie. But Cal, who is angry about Fran’s ‘affair’ with Ruthie, hits her with a pole and kills her. 

Meanwhile, Maddie finds the body of Ruthie’s mother. The dead woman is wearing a dress that resembles that worn by Auerbach, indicating that the realtor and Ruthie’s mom were one and the same. 

Shortly after, it’s farewell to Maddie and Cal when Ruthie slays them with the chainsaw. We see her killing them in the middle of a parking lot but as there are people walking by who don’t notice this gruesome scene, it would appear that these deaths are imagined by Ruthie. 

If Ruthie did imagine the deaths of her friends, it could be supposed that they weren’t with her at the hotel in the first place. This throws up all kinds of illogicalities but it’s not entirely impossible due to her fractured mind. 

It might be that Ruthie lost her mind a long time ago after the terrible childhood she endured when she was left alone in the hotel by her mother. When we later see the body of her mom, it could be assumed that she died at the hands of her vengeful daughter. 

Unfortunately, what really happened at the hotel is a mystery. This isn’t only because of Ruthie’s hallucinations and poor mental health. It’s because of bad writing because nothing is made clear to the viewer. Was the hotel really haunted? If so, did Ruthie have something to do with the death of the guests? Did she kill her mom? Were her friends really present at the hotel? Was the ghost girl a representation of her?

We can make guesses as to what happens in the movie but the answers are not that easy to come by.

Of course, we may have missed something. If you have seen the movie and can shed light on its many mysteries, let us know your thoughts by leaving us a comment below. 


Read More: Bad Things – Movie Review

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1 thought on “Bad Things (2023) Ending Explained – Does Ruthie lose her mind?”

  1. WORST ATTEMPT AT A MOVIE EVER !!!! Is Molly Ringwold broke or something, why would she do this piece of trash? The writing is terrible and the film work is worse. HORRIBLE I want my time back.

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