A Blumhouse Productions series, ‘Into the Dark’ is a horror anthology that features stories loosely inspired by seasonal holidays. The stories offer plenty of thrills as they traverse across distinctive horror elements that give the series a dynamic outlook. An episode of the second season is titled ‘Tentacles,’ which is an eclectic mix of science fiction and psychological horror. The premise of the episode teases the existence of a Lovecraftian monster who stalks its prey systemically.
However, the narrative also deals with a relationship that goes the wrong way, as a ghastly truth emerges from its secret places. ‘Tentacles’ follow Sam (Casey Deidrick) and Tara (Dana Drori), who enter into a relationship in a short span of time after meeting each other. As they solidify the foundation of their bond, hidden truths come to light that have ominous forebodings. The story deals with the gender roles in a relationship and reverses them in a wild twist that is hard to predict. We decided to decipher some confusing yet intriguing moments of ‘Tentacles.’ SPOILERS AHEAD.
Into the Dark: Tentacles Recap
In the beginning, we see a young woman frantically trying to escape from a lurking threat. The entity barges in, and we see the silhouette of a person with tentacles dangling from the body. In the present day, the same girl is identified as Tara, who is seen burying a packet of money. She heads off to a neighborhood searching for a house and stumbles upon a commercial photographer named Sam. Sam and Tara are instantly hooked with each other and end up establishing a physical bond.
They both move into Sam’s parents’ house in the hope of establishing a long-lasting relationship. As they get to know each other, Sam finds that Tara has a stalker named Grant, who is constantly threatening her. Tara says that her previous relationship got scary, and thus she had to relocate to a new place. Meanwhile, Esther, Sam’s friend and business partner, is disgruntled with him for his over-indulgence in Tara. Esther wants Sam to ease into the relationship and not make decisions in a hurry.
Nevertheless, Sam’s and Tara’s relationship grows further amidst their unhindered sexual passion. As Sam decides to get engaged to Tara, he is afflicted with a strange earache that disorients him. The pain keeps recurring, and Sam faces some disturbing hallucinations that exacerbate his condition. When Tara’s stalker, Grant, appears in the fold, the situation becomes even more complicated. Sam decides to investigate Tara’s past, which entails a dangerous revelation that costs him his life.
Into the Dark Tentacles Ending: Invasions of the Shapeshifters
Sam finds a huge scar on Tara’s stomach that holds the key to her secret. He investigates her past after facing some morbid hallucinations and severe discomfort. Sam finds out that Grant, Tara’s stalker, was engaged to her, and she was known as Lina during that time. He finds out that Lina had duped Grant and ran off with his money. Lina apparently was in a relationship with Alice, and when Sam goes to her old house, he finds a rotting corpse. Disturbed by the findings, he decides to sneak away from Tara but is caught in the act.
Tara’s scar opens up to release a tentacle that constricts Sam. It is revealed that Tara is actually an entity that slowly absorbs the characteristics of a person. The rotting corpse is actually Lina’s dead body, and it can be assumed that the entity now embodies Lina’s features, albeit posing as Tara. The entity was planning to assimilate Sam’s identity but had to speed up the process because of Grant’s sudden arrival. Sam is eventually killed, and the entity assumes his identity (who later becomes a photographer).
In the end, we see that there are more shapeshifters in the narrative, as Sam (the entity) meets another one at an exhibition. We can assume that these shapeshifters are amphibious entities who encroach human bodies through sexual relations. The story has parallels to horror films that blends science fiction with body horror. Films like ‘Blob’ and ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ deal with similar alien life forms that eliminate humans and ultimately inhabit their shape.
In this case, Alice can be considered as the harbinger of the dread, as it connects with the opening scene where we see Lina attacked by a similar shapeshifter (Lina was in a relationship with Alice). Moreover, when Tara is in a bathtub, Sam sees an inky mass in the water and thinks it to be a hallucination. Perhaps this could be another physical appearance of the alien life form.
What is the Shapeshifters’ Modus Operandi?
The entity, as we can call it, depends on its pheromones to entice humans in establishing sexual contact. It establishes a biological viewpoint of the entity, much like the film ‘Species.’ Tara’s and Sam’s relationship is based on a sexual attraction. Physical contact helps the alien life form to slowly absorb the victims’ characteristics and control them. It is evident in the scene where Sam goes to a doctor to take his reports and leaves abruptly with a straight face.
By that time, Tara actually can control Sam’s body and make him do her bidding even in the face of strong reluctance. She also makes Sam establish a physical relationship with Esther, probably in desperation to satisfy her own libido. The weird telepathic connection between Sam and Tara becomes clear as the story progresses. In the end, when the other shapeshifter asks Sam whether there is anything more calming than the ocean, he replies in affirmative and talks about sex.
Maybe, this denouement indicates that more shapeshifters like them follow the same method to inhabit a human form. Sex is indeed an important function of these entities, exemplified in a scene where Sam and Tara engage in sexual acts depicted in a time-lapse. The sequence is reminiscent of a similar sex scene in ‘A Clockwork Orange.’ Even though the two stories are poles apart, the sexual encounters assume an important part in the protagonists’ lives.
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