What happened to Jackie’s girl: analysis of the ending of the film Haunting of the Queen Mary (2023): explanation of the ending, plot summary, meaning, essence of the film, what real events the movie is based on, similar movies.
Country: UK, USA
Year of production: 2023
Director: Gary Shore
Actors: Alice Eve, Joel Fry, Tim Downey, Nell Hudson, William Shockley
The plot and meaning of the film “Haunting of the Queen Mary” can seem quite confusing due to the constant crossing of timelines, the director’s “clip” approach to filming and slightly crumpled plot twists. But aside from most horror sequences that are made purely for the purpose of scaring, the film tells an overall simple story.
Is the content based on real events?
First of all, it is worth saying that the transatlantic liner Queen Mary (from English: “Queen Mary” – “Queen Mary”, in honor of the wife of King George V of Great Britain, Mary of Teck) is a real ship. Moreover, most of the filming of the film Haunting of the Queen Mary took place on it. Launched in 1930, serving both tourist and military purposes (carrying soldiers during World War II), it was moored in Long Beach Bay (California, USA) in 1967 and eventually became a hotel on water. Among other things, Queen Mary functions as a wedding chapel and museum.
Alice Eve stars as Anne Calder. Still from the film.
The ship’s owners attract tourists not only with its history, but also with scary tales about ghosts supposedly living here. According to rumors, visitors regularly encounter the souls of the dead, who live mainly on the lower decks. Alas, these are just rumors, fueled by the managers of the floating hotel and various “paranormal experts” who conduct their pseudoscientific experiments here.
However, it cannot be said that the passengers of the Queen Mary did not encounter death. For example, in 1942, a ship crashed into the British cruiser Curacao. As a result, the latter quickly sank, taking the lives of most of the crew members (over three hundred people). Given the transport of the wounded in wartime, the deaths of soldiers on board were quite possible. Well, a couple of accidents in peacetime (out of millions of undistinguished tourist trips) are also not excluded.
Most of the stories of the deaths of people on board the Queen Mary (not even to mention their transformation into ghosts) are pure legend. These include one of the most famous local tales – the death of a little girl named Jackie in the second-class pool during a holiday. This rumor has been changed many times. So, at first they talked about a simple drowning due to the parents’ negligence, then they started talking about a murderous maniac, and later they even said that there were two girls. And they suddenly turned out to be twins. Other legends tell of a smoking ghost captain, a ghost lady in white sitting at the piano, a strange pair of ghosts (a handsome rich man and a tramp), and a sailor crushed to death by the door of cabin No. 13. All of them, one way or another, were reflected in the film.
It is also worth mentioning the story on which one of the most important plot lines of the film was based – about the sacrifice of a worker during the construction of a ship. It seems that there is no such thing in the list of legends told to the guests of the Queen Mary – at least, it was not before the release of the film. But human sacrifices themselves during the construction of various buildings and structures in order to strengthen and protect from misfortunes in the future actually took place. Such cases can be found in scientific descriptions of ancient rituals of various peoples, including Western Europeans.
Plot of the film Haunting of the Queen Mary
The content of the film is replete with horror attractions that do not particularly advance the plot, but simply show us various ghosts. So let’s analyze it, based precisely on the story that the authors are trying to tell.
So, we are watching the events of two time lines (they are symbolized by a model with two identical ships following parallel routes on the wall in the Queen Mary salon). Moreover, even within the same branch, the narrative often jumps from the future to the past and back. To avoid confusion, we will present the story in chronological order.
In 1938, the Ratch family of entertainers (mother Gwen, father David and their daughter Jackie), being passengers on the Queen Mary and posing as other people, end up in a first class restaurant. Jackie, who dances and dreams of acting in a movie, wants to be noticed by the film business representatives present on the ship. And she succeeds. The girl is noticed by the American famous actor and dancer Fred Astaire (a real historical figure). He even agrees to dance with Jackie. The dance turns out brilliant – new acquaintances promise the girl a great future.
Meanwhile, Captain Carradine, ignoring the objections of the rest of the crew, demands that the ship’s resources be used to its fullest in order to squeeze maximum speed out of it. As a result, the high-pressure pipes burst, burning one of the sailors. At the same moment, David, who is on deck above, suddenly turns into a brutal killer. The answer is that at the same moment, on the subtle plane, in the world of ghosts, the following event occurs: the spirit of a worker named Edward Clark, walled up eight years ago during construction, escapes from the ship. It was thanks to this “construction sacrifice” that the ship safely transported passengers. He was also incredibly lucky later. Just one incident of a collision with a cruiser, as a result of which the Queen Mary remained unharmed, speaks volumes.
Nell Hudson played the role of Gwen. Still from the film.
Edward, who has taken over David’s body, begins killing everyone around him. Gwen also becomes his victim, despite her attempt to call for help, and later Jackie. Captain Carridine believes that calling for help to repair the ship makes no sense, although there is every reason for this. After all, if you kill David (more precisely, the raging ghost of Edward in his body), luck will return to the crew of the ship. In the end, Captain Carridine succeeds, and he turns out to be right. True, you have to sacrifice both your subordinate, who fell under the hot hand, and yourself.
In modern times, the writer Anne Calder, her husband named Patrick and her disabled son named Lucas, arrives on the Queen Mary to propose cooperation to the owners. She plans to write a book about the history of the ship through the eyes of a child. The last one should be Lucas. Anna presents her ideas to Captain Charles Bittner, and Patrick and his son go on an excursion. Lucas falls behind the group. The ship itself seems to lead him to the lower deck, where the boy meets the ghost of Jackie. And then near the pool someone attacks him and drowns him in the water.
We see Anna and Patrick leave the ship safely with Lucas. The latter seems not to be himself. Soon we get an explanation for this: in the boy’s body it is now not Lucas at all, but Jackie. The ghost parents bless her to go to a new place of residence (the scene of Lucas leaving the ship) and promise to join her soon.
Realizing what has happened, Captain Bittner pretends to accept Anna’s proposal to write a book, and invites her and her family back on board. The point of this polite gesture is to bring Jackie’s ghost back. But Anna comes with Patrick without Lucas-Jackie. The fact is that a ghost girl in the body of a boy fell out of the window of the Calder family house and died. Previously, she told Anna about her transformation. And now the latter, together with her husband, is trying to rescue her son from the ship, realizing that she might just join him. At the same time, Patrick remains partially unaware, thinking that Lucas, who has been possessed by Jackie, is at home.
Still from the film.
The couple begins to be terrorized by ghosts – primarily Jackie’s parents. In addition, Captain Bittner is now hunting for them. After all, investors are rushing him: due to the situation with the disappearance of Jackie’s ghost, he is forced to close the ship to visitors, fearing the revenge of the spirits.
Between the option of trying to return the girl’s spirit and the option of sending Anna and Patrick to the other sinister inhabitants of the Queen Mary, given the latter’s reluctance to return home, he chooses the second. In one of the episodes (the destruction of Carradine’s portrait, which causes Bittner’s injuries), we are given an explanation for the behavior of the new captain. The point is that he is also a guardian, called upon to leave the previous state of affairs on the ship at any cost.
Haunting of the Queen Mary Ending explained
Let’s look at the meaning of the ending of the film Haunting of the Queen Mary. It contains an interesting plot twist. For many it remained incomprehensible.
At the end of all the tests, Anna and Patrick find Lucas and stay with him on the ghost ship. And in their bodies, Jackie’s parents, Gwen and David, return to the city. The couple is immediately arrested by the police for the murder of a child. It turns out that Anna closed the window, which is why Jackie, in Lucas’ body, fell and died. Gwen initially refuses to admit it, repeating the phrase “We got out!” and hoping for a family reunion. However, in the front seat of a police car, she sees a protocol with a Fortuna card attached to it (the name of the goddess of luck and unpredictability of fate).
It was this that Jackie pulled out when she was about to try her luck in communicating with filmmakers. However, this card was followed by another – Sacrifice. In other words, Jackie’s success, which was embodied in dancing with Fred Astaire, cost her her life. And in order for her parents to leave the ship, the girl, being in Lucas’ body, sacrificed herself once again. This act was half-conscious.
Florrie Wilkinson played the role of Jackie. Still from the film.
After all, on the one hand, Jackie did not want to die again. On the other hand, she climbed out the window into the rain, essentially causing an accident (or murder, if you consider Anna’s impulsive action). To some extent, Jackie foresaw all this. It’s not for nothing that the killer Edward Clarke calls her by the name of the fortuneteller from ancient Greek myths – Cassandra.
By the same principle, in the context of the events of the film, there was a ghost ship: while the victim (not only Edward Clark) is imprisoned in the Queen Mary, good luck accompanies the ship. From this cycle “There is no way out” – Captain Bittner invites visitors to an excursion with this name at the end of the film.
The meaning of the film Haunting of the Queen Mary
When trying to understand the idea of the authors of the film Haunting of the Queen Mary, it is hardly worth looking for some hidden meaning in its plot. The creators clearly focused primarily on horror attractions and numerous references to the history and legends of Queen Mary, as well as to classic horror films (including Alfred Hitchcock and Stanley Kubrick).
But they do not require additional interpretation – everything is done for the sake of atmosphere. The explanation for the ending is also quite logical (again, in the context of the universe of the film Haunting of the Queen Mary). Alas, a clear perception of it is hampered by the crumpled and “clip-like” nature of the narrative.
The thought “Luck requires sacrifice” was hardly intended as a morality that should be accepted as truth. Rather, this is just a way to instill a little more horror into the audience.
Dorian Locke played the role of Captain Bittner. Still from the film.
- “1899” (Germany, USA, 2022): an unfinished series about a journey on a ship that turned into a nightmare;
- “Triangle” (UK, Australia, 2009): a science-fiction thriller set on a huge ocean liner.
- “Ghost Ship” (USA, Australia, 2002): another horror film with a “ship” theme;
- “The Shining” (USA, UK, 2009): a film by Stanley Kubrick, which clearly inspired the creators of “Ghost Ship”;
- The Haunting of Hill House (USA, 2018): one of the most thoughtful and dramatic horror series.