Netflix 'The Wasteland' Ending Explained: Diego conquers his fear but pays a heavy price
Contains spoilers for 'The Wasteland'
'The Wasteland' is the latest piece of foreign content on Netflix. Despite impressive patches (much of this primarily due to stellar performances from the cast), the horror fails to captivate after a certain point. At 92 minutes, the feature follows a family of three — a father, his wife, and son as they navigate life in a war-ravaged 19th century Spain. They live away from civilization which they believe is a better environment to raise the child and live in peace, but that life only lasts so long after trouble comes knocking at the door.
Lucia (Inma Cuesta) believes in the gentle and patient upbringing of her child, Diego (Asier Flores) while her husband, Salvador (Roberto Álamo) wants to make a man out of him even before he enters his teens. The kid is still young and curious, and the father hopes to chisel him into a mature lad. It all seems fine for the family until a half-dead man is rescued by the lake only for Lucia and Salvador to watch him blow his brains out. In a bid to give the dead man's corpse to his family, Salvador leaves only to be killed on his journey.
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Paranoia and hallucinations set in for Lucia who fails to process the death of her husband, and that takes a toll on the young Diego who hopes to cure his mother, but his efforts go futile. The deranged mother feels that there is a beast (a figment of her imagination created by Salvador's death) and drives her insane as he whips out the gun and fires at the vast expanse of nothing but land. All the while, her gentle ways with Diego change to rude trash-talking and taunts.
'The Wasteland Ending Explained'
The final minutes of the movie see a terribly ill Lucia and a rapidly maturing Diego face their ultimate test: Conquering the fear that's engulfed the family. Cuesta shows off her acting chops as she toggles between confusion and fear while Diego struggles to make his mother see the light. In the end, he figures that his mother's fear was responsible for causing chaos and he finally conquers the beast, an entity that is shown in the form of a crudely carved wooden figurine.
The end sees Lucia kill herself in the fear of being killed and despite Diego's effort to save her, she succumbs to her injuries. The story is a classic case of the conquering fear but for the young Turk wins at a cost. He loses both his parents as he ventures to a cruel world his parents shielded him from. The beast was killed, but not before it made a man out of him in the most horrendous way possible.
'The Wasteland' is available for streaming on Netflix.