The Netflix Arabic film ‘Naga’ is a thriller drama film that employs trippy visuals and restless imagery to present a story about a young girl’s overwhelming night out in the deserts of Riyadh. Sarah is a covertly rebellious girl with a strict father. As such, she attempts to use a shopping spree in the market with her friend to sneak off on an adventure in the desert with her boyfriend, Saad. However, through a series of events, the night turns into a disaster full of misfortune and one particularly vindictive camel.
Hours away from home and stuck under the desert sky, Sarah must return home before her curfew or face her father’s anger. Despite the grounded premise, Sarah’s situation is intensified through cultural context and extreme environment. Thus, viewers must be curious to know how Sarah’s frightening journey comes to an end. SPOILERS AHEAD!
Naga Plot Synopsis
Ever since the incident of 1975, where Sarah’s grandfather opened fire in a hospital room due to male doctors accompanying his wife in childbirth, the family’s reputation has been marked by the violent streak across its patriarchs. Thus, even though Sarah is comfortable enough around her father to request a later curfew when she goes to the market with her friend, she knows not to cross the decided 10 pm pickup time. Although her mother had burdened her with a number of shopping chores, Sarah spends her time with her secret boyfriend, Saad, after a petty argument with her friend.
Saad has big plans for the day and tells Sarah about an exclusive party on a campsite in the desert that he has scored an invitation to. Furthermore, at Sarah’s request, he also procured some psychedelic drugs for the woman to try out. Once Sarah has enough confidence that the trip should be relatively safe without stepping over her father’s curfew, she agrees to accompany Saad. The couple begins to enjoy their time in the desert under the influence of drugs.
Eventually, Saad receives the party’s tight-lipped location once the sky turns dark. Even though Sarah remains uncertain about making the trip, she relents on the condition that they return to the market square in time. However, since they make their drive deeper into the desert under the night’s darkness, Saad ends up hitting a camel, severely injuring it. Although the camel’s caretaker is enraged at first, he calms after learning Saad is Abu Fahad’s guest. Therefore, after killing the camel to put it out of its misery, the man helps Saad with directions to the campsite.
Once the couple arrives at the party, they are met with a decked-out venue and a stage prepared for a famous singer’s performance. However, Sarah’s time at the party soon sours when Saad leaves her alone to catch up with his friends. The girl was already feeling uninvited at the event, and the feeling increases when she’s left to her own devices. Worse yet, her phone dies, leaving her no means to find Saad. After a few ill attempts, Sarah manages to find a charger in a secure tent.
However, unbeknownst to her, the tent belongs to Abu Fahad, the guest of honor. As a result, Sarah ends up becoming a witness to the man forging his famous poems by stealing them from other people. Although this interaction lands her in some trouble, a police raid soon overshadows it. As it would turn out, the police had discovered the drugs hidden at the party and decided to storm the campsite.
In the chaos that follows, Sarah tries to flee from the scene in a stranger’s car due to her anger at Saad, but the other man manages to convince her to leave with him. Yet, things worsen when they run into the cops, leading Sarah to hide inside the car as Saad gets taken away. Thus, in the end, Sarah remains stranded in the desert all alone. To make things worse, the vengeful mother of the camel Saad previously hit manages to find Sarah.
Naga Ending: Sarah’s Wild Trip Back Home
After Saad’s arrest, Sarah effectively loses her sole ticket back home. Even though she’s left with his car, its fuelless nature leaves her fresh out of options. Worse yet, the camel’s appearance promises a cruel fate for the woman. Camels are known to be vindictive and have a tendency to remember those who hurt them. Therefore, it seems the camel Sarah now finds herself facing against remembers her as the woman complicit in her child’s killing.
As a result, the camel turns to violence, running Sarah over and leaving her with quite a few bruises. Still, Sarah manages to escape from its attacks by sliding under the narrow space beneath Saad’s car. Yet, the woman doesn’t have the luxury of waiting for the camel’s attention to dwindle since she has a ticking clock working against her. As such, she risks her life to retrieve her phone and contacts her friend, Hadeel.
Although Hadeel agrees to pick Sarah up with her driver after some convincing, Sarah’s phone gives out at the last minute, leaving her unable to share her location. Consequently, Sarah realizes she must find a way out of this desert on her own. With the help of some drugs in Saad’s car as well as wild grass, the woman manages to subdue the camel. Afterward, she journeys through the desert until she finds a lone house belonging to a man who lends out desert bikes.
Following some trouble at the house, Sarah manages to escape with one of the bikes and makes her way back into the city by tracing her steps. Yet, the bike malfunctions before she can enter the city. As a result, she has to resort to making the trip on foot until her paths cross with an ice-cream truck vendor, who agrees to give her a ride. Furthermore, the country’s recent sports tournament win allows Sarah an extra window to the curfew due to the heavy traffic flooding the street.
Eventually, the truck driver takes Sarah to a hospital despite her arguments against it, forcing the woman to jog the rest of the way to the marketplace on foot. Ultimately, Sarah manages to arrive at the location in time. Still, she realizes she left her purse behind in the ice cream vendor’s truck. Even though she managed to make good on the curfew, her lost belongings and frazzled state are bound to attract her father’s suspicions. As a result, a new issue takes over even as Sarah stands a few feet away from her oblivious father in a crowd.
Does Sarah’s Father Discover Her Lie?
Upon arriving at the marketplace, Sarah discovers that the local bakery, which has been experiencing gas line issues for a while, is on fire. A crowd has amassed near the spectacle, which includes Sarah’s father, as he repeatedly attempts to reach his daughter’s phone. During this time, Sarah realizes she has to do something extreme to rationalize her situation without tipping her father off about her misadventures.
As a result, Sarah decides to pretend to be one of the victims caught in the fire by smearing soot and ashes on her body. Since Sarah’s mother had asked her to pick up a cake for her younger brother, the woman’s presence in the bakery at the time of the fire can be easily explained away. Likewise, it would also give her an excuse for not answering her phone earlier.
In the end, Sarah’s father finds her at the scene and frantically rushes to help her receive first aid via the ambulance. Afterward, he takes her back home without any questions, and the woman successfully gets away with her night out. Yet, as the story comes to an end, Sarah decides to make one last move before leaving the traumatic night behind her. From Abu Fahad’s first mention, Sarah has been dismissive of the man. Therefore, she starts detesting him even more after realizing he’s a fake poet.
Consequently, after her return from the desert, when Sarah catches a glimpse of Fahad on national television reciting one of his stolen poems, she makes a rash, vindictive decision. During her time in the poet’s tent, Sarah got a recording of Fahad stealing his verses from another man. Thus, in the end, she uploads the footage on social media to show the artist’s true colors to the world.