Nefarious (2023): Ending Explained (With Full Plot)

Nefarious is an independent 2023 Hollywood horror drama written and directed by Chuck Conzelmon and Cary Solomen. The movie focuses on the age-long rivalry between good and evil. It received mixed reviews from audiences and critics, and I’d like to give a fair warning that many viewers see the film as religious propaganda. Here’s the plot and ending of Nefarious explained; spoilers ahead.

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Nefarious Movie: What is it about?

The movie is based on the 2016 novel, A Nefarious Plot, by Steve Deace, showcasing the story of Edward Wayne Brady, a criminal charged with multiple murders and on his way to being electrocuted. A psychiatrist is selected to assess if Edward is sane enough to be put on the chair.

Nefarious: Plot Explained

What is Edward’s condition?

Edward is possessed by a demon called Nefarious. While it appears that Edward might just have a mental condition, he knows far too much information about people and the world outside while having sat in isolation for a year. Over time Edward was coaxed into committing multiple sins and is now damned. While there are metaphors for guilt over ones actions, there is literally a demon in the mix.

What happened to Dr Allen?

Dr Allen Pischer is killed by Nefarious. He was the first psychiatrist assigned to Edward. Allen appears to have been an atheist and was adamant enough not to believe Nefarious possessing Edward. By not giving up his belief and not advocating Edward for a death sentence, Nefarious eventually gets provoked to kill Allen by possessing him and making him jump off the roof.

Who is Dr James Martin?

Dr James Martin is another atheist and is picked by Nefarious to turn him to the dark side. James rejects Edward’s claims and follows Allen’s lead on a multiple personality disorder. However, Edward is adamant and constantly provides information that would support the claims. 

As the interrogation continues, Nefarious claims James would kill three people before he leaves the premises. 

Murder 1: His Mother

Nefarious finally spits up truth bombs as he accuses James of murdering his mother. Now James is shocked like this was his deepest darkest secret, and he claims his mom’s death to be a legal tender, but deep down, only he knows the truth. Nefarious continues to tell as he reveals that James took his mother off the ventilator, as he had an eye on her million-dollar estate. 

Did James really kill his mother?

What James did was within legal boundaries, and he did it because his mother was in pain. I’m sure he lives with that pain each day of his life. But this was Nefarious’ straight attack on the demonic invasion of the mindset of mankind that a son was ready to take his mother’s life just for her inheritance.

Angered, James threatens Edward to declare him sane, which would pave the way for electrocution. Nefarious claims that is exactly what he wants James to do as he would only be free of Edward’s body.

Murder 2: Aborting His Baby

Nefarious mentions James’ second murder is his girlfriend’s unborn child, that she’s about to abort because James is not ready to be a father yet. He is furious and slams Nefarious, saying this is entirely legal. Nefarious laughs and claims it replicates ancient Roman practice of sacrificing young babies and that abortion is the devil’s incarnation in the human mind. And that these sacrifices only make the devil powerful. James is shocked and goes outside to call his girlfriend to stop her, but by then, the procedure is completed. The real clincher here is not the abortion but the fact that James’ was planning on breaking up with his girlfriend after.

Nefarious’ Deal

Nefarious proposes a deal according to which James has to publish a book that would coax people to join the devil’s movement (the opposite of the Bible); in return, he gets a special position on the dark side. James refuses. 

James discovers in Edward’s cell a book with James’ name on it and a little diary tracking his entire life. The devil has been keeping a sharp eye on James his whole life.

Murder 3: Edward’s Death

James is warned by the police officer that if Edward gets out, he will come for James’ family. The interrogation leads to Edward assaulting and almost killing James. Scared, James hurriedly certifies Edward to be sane, which finalizes the electrocution. Nefarious declares that his prediction of James’ three murders has come true. 

The Electrocution

Nefarious, on the chair, as Edward asks James and gives him one last chance to write the book and accept the deal, but James refuses. Edward is killed, and James hears the demon’s voice inside his head. James gets partially possessed, taking a detective’s gun, putting it to his mouth, and pulling the trigger. Miraculously, the gun doesn’t fire.

Nefarious: Ending Explained

The ending of Nefarious shows us that James believes the gun not firing was an act of god, and he does publish Nefarious’ book, but he rewrites it to warn people about the evil that lurks. James explains his story and the threat as he goes on a talk show to promote his book, where he explains how the demon targeted him. As he exits the studio, James is met by Nefarious, who has inhabited another person’s body telling us that the war between good and evil is never ending.

Nefarious: Did James actually write the book? If so, when?

No, James did not actually write the first manuscript though it had his name on the byline. As confirmed by the director Cary Soloman in an interview, the book was actually written by Nefarious when he was in Edward’s body. As James was chosen, Nefarious was sure he would publish the book. The plan was almost successful until James changed it into a book that helped people understand the devil’s threat.

Nefarious: Closing Thoughts

The movie Nefarious is full of theories and speculations. The film has a lot to decode, like James killing his mother. Technically, that happened a long while ago, so even if it was murder, James didn’t commit it during the interrogation. Considering all the other pieces of information the demon gave were true, it is quite possible James sped up his mother’s death by taking her off the ventilator.

Following this, Nefarious speaks openly about the pro-abortion being his strategic inducements of praising the devil, for which he mentions the systematic sacrifices of babies carried out in ancient Rome to please demons before wars to gain inhuman strength and magnificent victory. Again, a very old debate in the USA where verdicts have been going back and forth in the court of law.

In the argument between science and faith, the movie evidently leans in favour of the religious text. This is perfectly fine, but it could have gone into the horror genre deeper without merely gracing it, making it about one person’s morality and leaving many questions unanswered. The leading one being, “Why did Nefarious possess Edward and not James directly?” If James had committed sins in the past, possessing him should have been easier since he was chosen.

What were your thoughts about the plot and ending of Nefarious? Leave your comments in the section below.