Hidden movie ending explained: who are the Breathers?

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This article reveals the explained plot and the detailed events in the Duffer Brothers’ movie Hidden, revealing its meaning, symbols and storyline. We recommend you to read it only after watching the movie, and not before, in order to preserve the pleasure of the first vision.

Hidden is a 2015 thriller / horror film, which was somewhat 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. In this article we will clarify what happens and how the film ends.

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 have been living in a nuclear bunker for months, trying to survive. The threat is the Breathers, of whom for most of the film the viewer knows nothing. Both parents recommend never leaving the bunker and above all never losing control. Outside the bunker the world is extremely dangerous, because the Breathers are different creatures, who want to kill them.

What happens in the film’s ending? The Breathers discover the family shelter and succeed to force open the hatch. The three protagonists try to escape from a secondary exit, but Ray is unable to cross the exit. He falls back into the shelter and is attacked by the Breathers, while Claire and Zoe try to escape. They therefore find themselves facing the border of Kingsville, their village, and there we begin to understand what happened: a mysterious and very dangerous virus has spread in the area, of which the viewer still knows nothing. The government has placed the entire area in quarantine and, starting from the first day the virus spread to the area, the US military has bombed the whole of 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.

Hidden | Official Trailer | Warner Bros. Entertainment

Claire and Zoe are captured by the army. As the army 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 the little Zoe transforms herself 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 an almost normal life, as long as you do not “lose control”. That’s why Ray and Claire insisted so much on this rule. Apparently, the infected can decide when to lose control and turn into monsters, but if they stay calm they are perfectly normal people. This does not rule out the fact 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”. 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 Kinsgville to avoid the spread of the virus.

Hidden is a peculiar film, which makes you fond of the family only to discover that they are the infected that the world wants to kill. It makes you think about what it means to lose everything and just survive, 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.