Netflix’s ‘Sister Death,’ originally titled ‘Hermana Muerte,’ is a Spanish horror film directed by Paco Plaza. It revolves around Sister Narcisa, who comes to teach young girls in a school that used to be a convent before the war. While trying to get a sign from the Virgin Mary about her faith, she comes across situations that seem much darker than she’s prepared for. As a presence slowly makes her question everything she knows, Sister Narcisa soon figures out the role she plays in the convent’s dark past. There are plenty of easter eggs and themes that truly shake you. SPOILERS AHEAD!
Sister Death Plot Synopsis
‘Sister Death’ begins with an incident in 1939, towards the end of the Spanish Civil War, where a young girl gets a vision of the Virgin Mary. People from across villages come to get a good look at the “Holy Girl,” who grows up to be Sister Narcisa. Many years later, she takes up a teaching job as a novice at a school for underprivileged girls, which used to be a convent before the war. Here, she comes across the cold Sister Julia and the overly friendly Mother Superior, who feels blessed to have someone as divine as Sister Narcisa with them. Mother Superior wants her to get ordained soon, but Sister Narcisa has her doubts. She has prepared to be a practicing nun all her life, but when the time for commitment is close, she is scared and reveals it to the priest at a confessional. She hasn’t had any more visions of the Virgin Mary since the first time when she was young, and she feels like she needs a sign from her to strengthen her faith.
From her first day in the room she is assigned, strange things start happening. She finds a cigar box with Sister Socorro’s photo and a pair of scissors. Every time she touches this photo, the chair in her room tumbles over, and she hears knocking on her door. While she can ignore this, it’s harder to turn a blind eye to the whispers of the girls in her class, who seem scared of something but aren’t willing to share any details with her. Sister Narcisa also keeps getting nightmares about bad things happening to her. While she is strangled in one, another hallucination during the day makes her see blood on her hands as all the sisters pray with her. One day, her students- Rose and her sister, decide to visit the washroom at night. Rose is strangely drawn towards the bathtub, which starts boiling water on its own. But Sister Julia thinks she’s being naughty and punishes her.
Between her nightmares, hallucinations, strange drawings on the wall and the secrets of the girls, Sister Narcisa knows there’s something else at play. She visits Rose to learn more about the strange things that keep happening after noticing the scissors from Sister Socorro’s box with Rose. Through Rose, she learns that Sister Inis, the one she replaced as a teacher, left because she got scared after something bad happened to her. Rose knows there’s a spirit of a young girl with them, and if she writes someone’s name on the chalkboard, it means they are cursed. Rose tries to adjust in the classroom after this but runs away in panic one day. Sister Narcisa’s suspicions are confirmed when she notices Rose’s name written on the board, which appears out of nowhere.
Sister Narcisa wants to help Rose break this curse, so she draws the last leg on the hangman drawing on the wall with Rose, which isn’t supposed to be touched. Rose suddenly disappears from the room, and while searching for her, Sister Narcisa enters the confessional and gets locked. She realizes the priest she is talking to might be a demon, and this time, hands reach out as if to strangle her. She somehow escapes, only to find Rose hanging from the roof of the box. Devasted by these events, Sister Narcisa packs her bags and walks straight towards the sun, even if it is a solar eclipse, which is known to make the person who looks directly at it blind. But she seems to be in a trance and can’t stop looking at the sun till Sister Julia intervenes. When Sister Julia touches her, Sister Narcisa gets glimpses of the past during the war when the convent was attacked.
Sister Death Ending: How is Sister Socorro Connected to The Girl? How Did They Die?
From the very beginning, Sister Socorro seems to be calling out to Sister Narcisa in subtle ways. The box in the room where Sister Socorro stayed, the missing picture of her, and the mysterious knocks on her door all point to a connection between them. Despite the visions, Sister Narcisa is never harmed, probably indicating that Sister Socorro always views her as an ally on the other side. And when she loses her sight, she knows she needs to touch Sister Socorro’s photo to understand hidden clues. Sister Narcisa already knows from Sister Julia’s touch that a nun was raped by one of the delinquents who demolished the church.
When she holds Sister Socorro’s picture after losing her vision, she starts seeing things that aren’t visible to people with eyes. She can even touch Sister Socorro’s ghost in the flesh, who holds Sister Narcisa’s hand to finally reveal the truth that everyone else wanted to bury. Sister Narcisa learns that Sister Socorro was the nun who got raped during the war, and the identity of the father was kept secret among the nuns. When her daughter was born, the nuns wanted to ensure she was always kept a secret. When she was much older and running a fever, they locked Sister Socorro in her cell while they took her daughter, the young girl, for a bath to help control her fever since they didn’t want her to visit a hospital, which might expose her existence. The nuns put her in the bath with hot water, but she kept protesting since she didn’t want to be away from her mother.
As the sisters kept overpowering the girl, the screams suddenly stopped because she hit the back of her head in the tub and died. Knowing something was wrong with her daughter since the screams had stopped, Sister Socorro climbed the same chair that kept toppling in Sister Narcisa’s room and hanged herself. She was later found by sister Julia, who, along with Mother Superior, decided to keep this incident a secret for years till Sister Narcisa came. Her gift of sensing the supernatural was something that even the priest, who might have been an evil spirit, warned her about in the confessional earlier while telling her to see things without her eyes.
How Do Sister Julia and Mother Superior Die?
When Sister Socorro and her daughter died many years ago, the nuns possibly contained Sister Socorro’s spirit inside the door that Sister Narcisa eventually opened. But her daughter died in the bathtub, which could be the reason her spirit is still free and haunting the little girls, always asking for help. It seems the daughter wanted to be reunited with her mother, which had not happened even after both of them died. Before Sister Socorro was going to be released by Sister Narcisa, the young girls and the nuns had already started hearing the screams of the child as she struggled to escape from the nuns. This seems to be an indication of what was to come. Sister Narcisa, after experiencing what truly happened to Sister Socorro and feeling angry about it, was guided to finally free her spirit from the room.
When her spirit was unleashed, Sister Socorro finally got her revenge on Sister Julia and Mother Superior, who she felt were responsible for keeping the mother and daughter apart and their subsequent deaths. The way both the nuns died can only be described as supernatural since it seemed to oscillate between their past and the present. The spirit of Sister Socorro, through flashbacks, started reminding Sister Julia of the day she and her daughter died. While in the present, Sister Julia starts picturing an alternate version of her past, which seems to be a trick by Sister Socorro. In this revenge version, Sister Socorro wakes up after dying while she is hanging from the rope and starts haunting Sister Julia.
Sister Julia runs for her life, in the present and the past, and wherever she goes, she can see Sister Socorro following her. In the present, she finally comes to the classroom, where she watches her name being written on the board, which means she is now cursed and will die soon. After that, Sister Julia of the past starts getting cuts on her face and finally stands below the statue of Michael, which falls on her and breaks her face. In the present, she is suspended in the air, possibly still stuck in that vision, but eventually drops and dies.
Something similar happens with Mother Superior. While she is praying in the present, she is taken back to that moment in the past when she watched Sister Socorro’s daughter die in the tub. But when she raises her head this time, the girl is missing, and all there’s left is a pool of blood. As she bends down, the hands of a demon grab her to drown her in the tub. In the present, too, she starts throwing up blood. And with the vision of her getting drowned as her past self, Mother Superior finally dies of suffocation in the present.
What Happens to Sister Narcisa?
Sister Narcisa plays a pivotal role in freeing the spirit of Sister Socorro so she can finally get her revenge on the nuns and be reunited with her daughter. When she first came to the convent, the voice of the priest in the confessional once told her that she was in that place for a reason, and it was for her to figure it out. When Sister Socorro gets her revenge and succeeds in finally killing the nuns who ruined her life, Sister Narcisa knows she has, in a way, fulfilled her purpose. After Sister Narcisa gets to watch the beautiful spectacle of a mother reunited with her child after years, she realizes something else, too.
When Sister Narcisa was young, and she thought she saw the vision of the Virgin Mary, what she actually saw was the silhouettes of Sister Socorro getting reunited with her daughter. This is a breakthrough moment for her because she knows it wasn’t the Virgin Mary who got her to this convent, but something that could either be the devil or fate. She knows now that she got the vision when she was young because it was her responsibility to finally make something like this happen.
When everyone else is dead, Sister Narcisa lives and is there in the last scene from 1991, which also connects the film aptly with its sequel ‘Veronica.’ Sister Narcisa is now old and wise, and teaching at the school where Veronica is a student. When she is introduced to the class, she still has the gift of sensing the supernatural, even if she can’t see clearly with her regular eyes. But as her cold eyes reach Veronica with a smile and a knowing look, Veronica knows something terrible is about to happen to her.