Stopmotion (2024) Ending Explained – What happens to Ella?

Plot Summary

If you’re looking for a stopmotion film akin to Chicken Run or Curse of the Were-Rabbit, you might want to turn your attention elsewhere, as Stopmotion is a bewildering horror flick about a woman named Ella whose plasticine creations may well give you nightmares.

Ella is a stop-motion animator who is plagued by memories of her past. As the film progresses, these memories cause her mental health to deteriorate. 

In this ending explained article for Stopmotion, we briefly recap the movie’s plot and ask the question: What happens to Ella at the end of the film?

How does Stopmotion begin?

The movie begins with a black egg that slowly begins to crack. We return to the egg at the end of this dark tale but in the meantime, we join Ella, a stopmotion animator who, at the start of the movie, is helping Suzanne, her filmmaker mother, finish her own stopmotion film. 

Suzanne is a legend in her field but her hands are crippled by arthritis. This is why she needs Ella to help her with her film, though she’s not very forgiving of her daughter when she makes a mistake. 

Ella has her own ideas for a film but Suzanne is dismissive of her. But when Suzanne has a stroke and is taken to hospital, Ella has a chance to work on her own project.

What is Ella’s film about?

After staying with her boyfriend Tom, Ella moves into a rented apartment to work on her film. Her initial idea is to create a film about a cyclops but when she meets a young girl who lives in the building, she changes her mind.

The girl, whose name we don’t know, enters Ella’s apartment to get a closer look at what she is doing. She doesn’t like Ella’s cyclops story so creates a tale of her own. 

The girl’s story involves another little girl who is lost in the woods. This character has an encounter with a monstrous figure known as the Ash Man, who chases her.

Ella begins to animate the story but the girl doesn’t think the child figurine looks real enough. She tells Ella to use raw meat on the plasticine figure to make it look more realistic. Later, the girl tells Ella to alter the figurine of the Ash Man too. This time, she tells Ella to add pieces of a fox carcass to this ghoulish creation. 

Why does Ella listen to the girl?

Ella is short of inspiration so is reliant on the girl for help. If she doesn’t do as the girl asks, she won’t learn more of the story from her, so this is why she goes along with the crazy requests. 

Later, when Ella doesn’t hear from the girl, she becomes distressed as her project is far from completion. Tom’s sister Polly gives her some LSD as Tom thinks this might help with her creative processes.

That night, Ella has a hallucination of the Ash Man coming to her door. When Tom meets with her the next day, he suspects the LCD caused her to hallucinate. However, she never actually touched the drug. 

Is Ella losing her mind?

Ella is losing her mind but when this deterioration in her mental state began, we aren’t really sure. The opening scene of the black egg is indicative of her frail mental condition, so it’s possible her mind was deteriorating before the events of the film.

The hallucination of the Ash Man is another indication of her weakened mind but so too is the girl, who is another figment of her imagination. It’s possible that this girl is her younger self, who appeared to Ella when her mother entered the hospital. Her appearance might signify the possibility that Ella is trying to reckon with a past trauma that she tries to lay to rest with her film project. 

When her mother dies, we see Ella strangle the little girl, who then dies before reappearing behind her. This is a strange scene in a film that is full of them, but it might signify Ella’s attempt to kill the part of herself that was once dominated by her mother.

Two people who are killed for real are Tom and Polly who die at Ella’s hands when they try to take her to hospital for psychiatric help. After killing them, she uses parts of their flesh to put the finishing touch to the girl and the Ash Man in her film.

What happens to Ella?

When making the film, Ella is opening up old wounds. Indicative of this is the scene in which she literally opens up a wound on her body and pulls out her flesh. These wounds were likely caused by the person who was the inspiration for the Ash Man.

It’s heavily hinted that Ella is the girl in her stopmotion story who was once attacked by a man. There’s a chance that he sexually assaulted her, a memory that resurfaced when Ella was given distance from her mother. Towards the end of the film, the Ash Man consumes Ella and the black egg breaks. Does this mean that her mind has now broken completely?

At the conclusion, Ella enters a red cabin which is like the one she created for her film. She then enters a coffin-like box and closes the lid.

So, is Ella dead, a consequence of mental breakdown and possible suicide? Or is this final scene one that signifies her ability to move on in life? After allowing herself to create a film based on her past trauma, it’s possible that she can now lay her past to rest, as indicated by her getting into the box. 

Stopmotion is a tough film to analyze so our interpretations might not be correct. But what do you think about the film’s ending? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. 


Read More: Stopmotion – Movie Review

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