Nightmare Ending, Explained: Why Did Mona See Mare in Her Dreams? 

‘Nightmare,’ originally titled ‘Marerittet,’ is a spine-tingling horror film of 2023 directed by writer and director Kjersti Helen Rasmussen. The film boasts an exceptional cast, including Eli Harbo, Herman Tømmeraas, Dennis Storhøi, Gine Therese Grønner, Preben Hodneland, and more, who bring the narrative to life with their captivating performances.

The story chronicles Mona, who embarks on a new chapter of her life by moving into a new home with her boyfriend, Robby. However, what initially seems like an exciting venture soon takes a terrifying turn. Within a few days of residing in their new house, Mona starts experiencing sleep paralysis and haunting nightmares. These nightmares depict a demonic entity attempting to use her as a vessel to breach the mortal realm. Mona desperately tries to free herself from this torment, but her struggle against the malevolent forces takes a toll on her sanity and perception of reality. If you’re curious to see how Mona overcomes the demonic entity, here’s everything you need to know about the ending of ‘Nightmare.’ SPOILERS AHEAD! 

Nightmare Plot Synopsis

Mona (Eli Harbo) and Robby (Herman Tømmeraas) are a young couple in love, relishing the pleasures of their romantic life. They alternate their hours between making plans for the future, cooking, and decorating their house. Mona and Robby have just moved into their new apartment after Robby lands a very lucrative job. Following the move, the couple organizes a grand housewarming party to acquaint themselves with the neighbors and potentially make new friends. The party is a success, but soon, Mona starts to feel uneasy in their new abode. Not to mention, the couple’s next-door neighbors, Siren (Gine Therese Grønner) and David (Preben Hodneland), often engage in loud, heated arguments, hurling insults at each other. However, this was only a prelude to what Mona was about to experience.

One night, Mona wakes up from her sleep and finds Robby bare-chested, standing in front of her. Aroused, Mona tries to kiss Robby and eventually pushes him against the Sofa to have sex, but soon realizes that she’s hallucinating, and Robby is standing behind her. The following night, while painting the wall, Mona discovers a secret attic. Curious, Mona enters the attic and discovers that it leads to Siren’s home. Things get drastic from there as Siren informs Mona that she’s expecting and punches in her gut. Suddenly, Mona wakes up in her apartment, realizing this was just another nightmare. Mona tries to find the secret door again, but it proves futile. At first, Mona tries to shrug off the visions as mere dreams, but soon, she grasps that it’s something else.

Siren visits Mona’s apartment and invites her to attend Dr. Aksel Brunn’s lecture with her. The lecture was about sleep paralysis, nightmares, and their cultural interpretation. According to Nordic culture, nightmares are also defined by the idea of “Ridden by Mare.” Mare is a creature from Nordic folklore that climbs on the chest of a sleeper, causing him to be unable to move. Mare then attacks the sleeper with hallucinations and causes temporary physical paralysis. As the lecture progresses, Mona begins to experience multiple nightmares. In these nightmares, she sees herself carrying a “Mare” in her womb. Moreover, Mona also hallucinates that her boyfriend, Robby, is involved in an extramarital affair.

Things get interesting when Mona visits Siren in her apartment. Contrary to their previous encounters, Siren displays an icy demeanor, lacking the usual warmth in her greeting. That same night, Mona experiences another hallucination and witnesses an evil Robby (Mare) crawling under her duvet. Startled, Mona wakes up and engages in a huge fight with Robby, who accuses her of disrupting his sleep. Seeking to improve their relationship, Robby suggests Mona take a vacation. However, Mona rejects the idea, convinced it wouldn’t resolve their issues.

Mona learns she’s pregnant but decides to abort the child. The doctor tries to convince her of the latter, but Mona sternly claims that she doesn’t want to keep the child. Mona visits Aksel Brunn (Dennis Storhøi) in hopes that he can help her get better. Mona recounts her episodes of feeling immobilized in the middle of the night as if a heavy weight is pressing on her chest. Mona also confirms seeing things that have no basis in reality, like a secret door in the wall and the evil Robby. In response, Aksel Brunn suggests that Mona participates in his lucid dream study, assuring it can significantly improve her condition. Aksel also urges Mona to make sure Robby accompanies her for the next appointment.

In their next meeting, Aksel Brunn outfits Mona with specialized headgear designed to capture her brainwaves and convert them into images using a sophisticated algorithm. Shortly after Mona falls asleep, Aksel Brunn begins the lucid test. Accidentally, Aksel Brunn let out that he wasn’t able to save his past patient, but with Mona, he’ll succeed. As the lucid dreaming test falters, Aksel tries to rouse Mona from her sleep. However, Mona, trapped in her own nightmarish reality, mistakes Aksel Brunn as evil Robby and retaliates. After seeing the images on the monitor, Aksel concludes that Mona is indeed telling the truth. The creature tormenting her in her dreams is the Mare, a malevolent entity that haunts individuals during their sleep. 

Nightmare Ending Explained: Why Did Mona See Mare in Her Dreams?

Robby steals some files from Aksel’s office and finds that the last patient Aksel had treated was Siren, his next-door neighbor. Aksel was Siren’s doctor and was training her to control her lucid dreaming. Like Mona, Siren also complained of seeing Mare in her sleep, but her nightmares ceased to exist when she gave birth. That same night, a loud thud coming from the wall rouses Mona from her sleep. After investigating, Mona finds a baby hidden in the wall. However, this was just another one of Mona’s nightmares. In the real world, Robby finds Mona in the bathtub naked and bleeding.

Robby rushes Mona to the hospital only to find that the fetus has died. The couple encounters Aksel Brunn again in the hospital, who pleads to let him help Mona control her dreams. Aksel explains that Mare, disguised as Robby in her dreams, is attempting to impregnate her to manifest in the mortal realm. However, Robby pushes Aksel away, labeling him as a Psycho. Mona’s struggle intensifies, reaching a point where she’s unable to differentiate between reality and her hallucinations. Tragically, in one such nightmarish episode, Mona ends up attacking Robby with a knife.

Mona returns to Aksel again, seeking help to get rid of the demon. Aksel discloses that Mona can’t escape Mare’s grasp until she takes control of her dream and kills him by switching on the light. Meanwhile, David enters Robby’s apartment in a possessed state and kills himself, chanting that the demon is coming. On the other hand, in Aksel’s clinic, Mona falls asleep and begins dreaming. Aksel also drugs himself to help Mona conquer the demon. Mare appears and attacks Aksel in Mona’s dream. Aksel tries to resist, but Mare ties a noose around his neck and suffocates him. Later, Mare places a baby beside Mona, signifying that she’s carrying his child. 

Fortunately, Robby arrives and manages to pull Mona out of her dream. Mona succumbs to the coma, but surprisingly, she’s still carrying the fetus inside her in the real world. In the coma, Mona dreams that she has become a mother and has given birth to a child. Mona picks up the baby from the crib and walks toward the balcony to do what’s necessary to break the cycle. Robby (Mare) tries to intervene, but Mona kills him by switching off the light and throws the baby from the balcony. The movie culminates with Mona claiming it was a Mare. 

What Happened to Siren and her Baby?

Siren and her husband, David, were once a loving, joyful couple. They had hoped for a child for years, attempting various methods to conceive, but without success. Things changed when Siren and David moved into their new home. Just a few months after moving in, Siren revealed that she was pregnant with a child. However, Siren revealed a terrifying reality as well. She cried to David that a man who looked like him infiltrated her dream every night and raped her. 

David took Siren to Aksel, who revealed that Mare was using her womb as a vessel to be born into the mortal world. Aksel tried everything in his power to help Siren, but the latter couldn’t manage to stay awake In her dream. David suggested aborting the babe, but Siren staunchly denied it, claiming she couldn’t live without the child. Finally, Mare was born into the world. A couple of weeks later, Mare tried to kill David, and the couple had to kill the baby. With his mortal coil gone, Mare needed another vessel to be born into the world and, hence, targeted Mona. 

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