Incantation (2022) Ending Explained: Does Li Ronan save Dodo from the curse?

‘Incantation’ Plot Synopsis

Directed by Kevin Ko, Netflix’s Incantation is a Taiwanese horror film recorded as if compiled from found footage. In it, Li Ronan is making a documentary that films her reunion with her 6-year-old daughter, Dodo. But when Dodo starts acting strangely, Ronan has to reckon with a dark taboo she violated years ago. A curse now settles over her family. Can she break it to save her daughter?

What taboo did Ronan, Dom, and Yuan violate?

For a long time, Incantation keeps us in the dark regarding details of the taboo that causes Dodo to see ghosts (“baddies,” as she calls them) as well as other paranormal activities that occur around Ronan and Dodo. At the beginning of the film, Ronan records a message about having violated a taboo that had grave consequences.

It’s later revealed that Ronan (then pregnant with Dodo), her boyfriend Dom, and Yuan investigated a cult ceremony six years ago. There, they secretly entered a creepy (and forbidden) tunnel.

Ronan was too sick to go deep into the tunnel, but Dom and Yuan explored further. When they set their gaze upon the statue of the Mother Buddha, her curse caused their demise.

Ronan was cursed as well, for entering the tunnel. After she gets out, she has a brief stint at a mental institution and has to give up her daughter. Six years later, she reunites with Dodo–but the curse isn’t done with her or her daughter yet.

What happens to Dodo?

When Ronan takes her out of foster care, Dodo starts seeing “baddies” everywhere. At one point, they compel her to say a chant (the same that Ronan asks the viewer to memorize at the beginning of the movie). Dodo then becomes paralyzed.

Ronan tries to help her, but Dodo only becomes sicker, eventually becoming comatose in the hospital.

What does Ronan discover about Mother Buddha, the incantation, and the symbol?

With help from Dodo’s foster father, Ronan puts together details about her curse in order to save Dodo. She discovers that the cult members worship the Mother Buddha, a malicious deity. Those in the cult repeat an incantation and make a symbol with their hands that invites the Mother Buddha’s curse onto themselves. The deeper one looks into the curse, the heavier the burden becomes. And the burden is the greatest when one looks onto the face of the Mother Buddha, as Dom and Yuan did.

Does Ronan lie to viewers of her documentary?

Ronan reveals these details at the end of the film, which shows that she earlier misguided viewers of her found footage. At the beginning of the movie, Ronan asks us to memorize the Buddhist incantation and hand symbol. She instructs us to chant the incantation in order to help save her daughter.

But Ronan later apologizes. She’s known–ever since she first visited the tunnel–that partaking in the incantation is sharing in the curse. She misguides viewers of her footage because sharing in the curse also dilutes the curse. Ronan believes that causing others to invite the curse upon themselves is the only way she can save Dodo.

Does Ronan break the curse and save Dodo?

With Dodo in the hospital and unlikely to recover, Ronan enters the tunnel again. This time, she explores deeper, as Yuan and Dom did. But she sets to rights everything they damaged six years ago.

She then shows the Mother Buddha’s face to the camera, with hopes that the curse will become diluted enough to save Dodo. But the curse soon becomes too much for Ronan to bear, and she commits suicide.

At the end of Incantation, we see a brief clip of Dodo, alive and happy. It seems that Ronan’s theory was correct, and her footage was found and viewed. She was able to save her daughter.


Read More: Incantation Movie Review

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