This article reveals the explained plot and the detailed events in Paco Plaza The Grandmother, revealing its meaning 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.
The Grandmother (La Abuela) is the new horror movie directed by Paco Plaza, now a cult director of the genre thanks to films such as the Rec saga and Veronica (the latter film based on a real story). With the new film the director shows his best talents, proposing a story full of fascinating symbols, which reveals itself very slowly, and which ends in a way that can leave many doubts open. In this article we will go through the plot together, focusing on the most important elements, and explain the ending and the facts described.
The plot of the movie
The opening and closing scenes are the most significant of the film and cast a very specific light on the entire plot.
In the opening scene we observe the grandmother, Pilar, entering a house. She observes another elderly woman, who we will discover later on to be her best friend Julita, dead and lying on the ground. it’s her birthday, we understand it because there is a birthday cake on the table. She doesn’t appear shocked by the scene. She turns around and meets Eva, a young blonde girl that we will see again during the film. Eva shows Pilar her young naked body. Pilar is happy to see her, kneels and kisses her.
The film then focuses on Susana, Pilar’s granddaughter, her only relative linked to her grandmother. Susana is trying to make a career as a model in Paris and for this reason she calls her grandmother and explains that unfortunately she will not be able to be in Madrid for their birthday (they celebrate it on the same day). A short time later, Susana receives a call from a hospital in Madrid: her grandmother has had a cerebral hemorrhage, she is no longer self-sufficient and now she needs continuous assistance. Susana therefore returns to Madrid and tries to figure out what to do with her.
During the time in Madrid we observe Susana and her grandmother Pilar living together. As the days go by the scenario becomes more and more disturbing, with Susana having several nightmares, she begins to see strange things, she does not feel quiet. There is a portrait that often appears in the film, that of the grandmother as a young man, full of her vital energies. She also receive the visit of Eva: the young girl explains that she is the niece of Pilar’s dear friend, Julita, and that the two were good friends, meeting up from time to time.
Susana has no recollection of Eva and Julita. She goes to re-read her childhood diary, and in fact reads in that diary the memories of her as a child, when Julita and Eva had come to her birthday party. On that birthday the two girls undergo a kind of strange ritual, and their hair is cut. From that day on, Susana will paint scary drawings in her diary, a sign of a fear or trauma of which she has no memory.
Susana tries to find a way to take care of her grandmother, and as she does so she realizes that her grandmother has supernatural powers, which she uses to harm anyone who gets in her way. She leads to death Adela, the woman Susana had hired to look after her grandmother, using her powers to cause a fatal accident on the street. Then Susana takes her to a nursing home, and that night a fire breaks out that kills all the guests in the house. But the grandmother is back home with Susana. We are on the eve of the birthday and we know for sure that the grandmother is a witch.
The ending of the movie
In the finale of the film Susana prepares a soup for her grandmother, leading her (with possible intentionality) to choke to death. At that moment, midnight strikes and it is officially their birthday, the day when the crucial events of history always happen. A few minutes after her grandmother’s death, the phone rings: it is Eva, who hears Susana’s young voice and calls her “Pilar”. Susana replies by saying that she is Susana, and Eva insists: “Are you sure?”.
Shortly after, we see the grandmother moving around the house, to then carry out her plan: with her powers she forces Susana to the ground, opens her mouth and transfers her evil soul from the dying body of the grandmother to the young one of her granddaughter. Once finished, Susana gets up from the ground and whispers to her grandmother’s lifeless body “my body is yours, your heart is mine”. He goes to look at the portrait, which now represents Susana’s moment of maximum vitality, and no more her grandma. Soon after, Eva appears. The two get core in intimate attitudes, like two lovers, and the film ends.
The Grandmother explained
The Grandmother is the story of two witches, Pilar and Julita, lovers, who from long time have been transferring their evil soul into younger bodies to remain immortal. There is an interminable series of portraits in Pilar’s room, so the genealogy through which the evil soul arrived at today could go back a long way. The symbol of the matryoshka doll, a woman inside another woman recursively, could confirm this hypothesis.
The two witches move from body to body through a curse that is activated on their birthday. Years earlier, when Susana and Eva were little, they had performed the ritual on them, to ensure control of the two girls until the moment they were supposed to enter their young bodies. The plan was to take effect on Susana’s 25th birthday, but the fact that Susana won’t come puts it at risk. This is why Pilar stages her cerebral hemorrhage, using her powers to cause an event that would force Susana home with her on her birthday. Susana does her best to ensure that she can be back in Paris for her birthday, but the grandmother uses all of her powers to prevent this from happening.
The passage of Julita’s evil soul into Eva’s body had already taken place a few days earlier, culminating in the opening scene of the film. That’s why we observe Pilar happy to see Eva naked and young: she knows that inside that body is the soul of her lover Julita, and she knows that soon she too will have a young and beautiful body with which the two can start sharing again their life. The matryoshka doll that appears in the opening scene is the symbol of the passage that takes place between the various generations.
The two young women are therefore predestined for that inauspicious role of promised containers for the evil souls of the two witches. The rite marked them for life. The two young women believe they are living a life of their own, but the truth is that the grandmothers keep everything under control so that their lives remain consistent with the purpose for which they live. From this point of view, it is even possible that the death of Susana’s parents is part of the grandmother’s plan. Or even Susana may not even be Pilar’s true granddaughter, but simply a child taken and used for this purpose since she was born. This is not relevant to the story: Eva and Susana are two lives manipulated and used by the two grandmothers for their evil plan. A plan that is destined to never end.