Hidden movie ending explained: who are the Breathers?

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Hidden is a 2015 thriller/horror film that was rediscovered after the 2020 pandemic due to some touchpoints about quarantine and infections. It is a well-made film with a linear plot that offers some final twists and can leave some doubts open at the end of the viewing. This article will clarify what happens and how the film ends, having the plot explained.

Hidden explained: the plot and the finale

Throughout the film, we observe a family of three, father Ray, mother Claire, and nine-year-old daughter Zoe, who has been living in a nuclear bunker for months, trying to survive. The threat is the Breathers, about whom the viewer knows nothing for most of the film. Both parents recommend never leaving the bunker and never losing control. Outside the bunker, the world is perilous, because the Breathers are different creatures who want to kill them.

What happens at the film’s ending? The Breathers discover the family shelter and succeed in forcing open the hatch. The three protagonists try to escape from a secondary exit, but Ray cannot cross the exit. He falls back into the shelter and is attacked by the Breathers while Claire and Zoe try to escape. Therefore, they find themselves facing the border of Kingsville, their village, and we begin to understand what happened: a mysterious and very dangerous virus has spread in the area. The government has placed the entire area in quarantine and, starting from the first day the virus spread, the US military has bombed Kingsville, trying to kill all the inhabitants, in an attempt to prevent the virus from spreading. In this way, we discover that the Breathers are not evil creatures infected with the virus but soldiers of the US army who want to kill them. This explained the war we see in Hidden.


The army captures Claire and Zoe. As the military takes blood samples to check if they are infected, Ray reappears, his face distorted like an aggressive monster, and kills several soldiers to save Claire and Zoe’s lives. When Claire sees that the soldiers are about to shoot them, she turns into a monster as well, and, at the end of the fight, even little Zoe transforms and kills the last soldier. She is even about to kill her mother, but she manages to stop at the last moment.

In this way, we understand that the family is indeed infected. They are the different ones, the infected ones, not the Breathers. The virus, however, is not lethal: as an infected, you can live life almost normally, as long as you do not “lose control.” That’s why Ray and Claire insisted so much on this rule. The infected can decide when to lose control and turn into monsters, but if they stay calm, they are perfectly normal. This does not rule out that they are infected and that the army wants to kill them all.

In the film’s finale, after Ray is dead, Claire and Zoe discover that there are other survivors, also infected, who have been living for months in the Kingsville sewers, now renamed as “new Kingsville.” This way, Hidden plot explained to us that their destiny will be to live hidden because going out would mean defending themselves from the army, whose goal is to exterminate every individual in Kingsville to avoid spreading the virus.

Hidden is a peculiar film, which makes you fond of the family only to discover that they are the infected people the world wants to kill. It makes you think about what losing everything and just surviving means, what it’s like to be hunted down as infected who have lost any right to live. All topics that, in some way, in more recent years, have become part of the common imagination.

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