Stoker (2013): Why Did India Kill Charlie?

What is Stoker about? Desire to kill and dysfunctional family dynamics. So, there are essentially two main psychopaths in the film: India and her uncle Charlie. However, why did India kill Charlie?

stoker (2013) india and charlie

Two words to describe this dark coming-of-age tale directed by Park Chan-wook? Beautiful and disturbing. Let’s just say that Stoker is not one of those films that you would want to watch with your parents or kids.

Stoker: Mother And Daughter Dynamics

stoker (2013) india and evelyn

Let’s start with India and her mother Evelyn. Right from their first couple of interactions one can tell that something is off. There’s a certain distance between them. The way how she speaks to her daughter doesn’t come from a place of love. She’s rather cautious and a bit jealous of her. Now you might ask: why would a mother ever feel jealous about her own daughter? Only God knows. However, the film hints how close India and her father were — really close. I guess that made Evelyn a little bit jealous of India? In her mind, India’s birth or existence took some of the attention away from her. In other words, she used to be the brightest star in her husband eyes, but now there’s a new star in town — India.

Stoker: Uncle Charlie and India

stoker (2013) india and charlie piano scene

If you thought that Evelyn and India have a f*cked up relationship, wait until you see uncle Charlie and India’s one. This is by far, the most dysfunctional relationship in the entire film.

Who is Charlie Stoker?

Let’s start with uncle Charlie first. Who’s is Charlie? He’s a very sick person and he’s not who he claims to be. He lies all the time. However, he often gets away with it because of his handsome looks. By the way, kudos to the director for choosing a really attractive actor to play the role of uncle Charlie. You see, Charlie is a very mysterious character but I must confess, I would’ve used the word “creepy” if he wasn’t so good-looking.

As the story unfolds, Charlie reveals himself as a murderer and a pretty “crazy” person. However, how “crazy” is he and how long has he been that way? Well, he’s been “crazy” for a while. Do you know why he was put in a mental institution? Because he killed his little brother. Apparently, he was too jealous of the little one. In his twisted mind, he hated the fact he had to “share” Richard’s love with his younger sibling. Having said that, what did he do? He decided to dig a big hole in a sand box and bury his little brother in it… alive!

Uncle Charlie And India’s Relationship

When Charlie meets India he becomes instantly drawn to her. However, India does not share the excitement as him. Their relationship eventually takes a turn when they kill together for the first time. At this point, it’s very clear that they are both psychopaths.

The murder definitely brought Charlie and India closer in a very weird type of way. However, there’s still a lot of unanswered questions about about uncle Charlie. Having said that, she decides to do some “digging” in her father’s office. Guess what she finds? Dozens of letters that uncle Charlie has sent her over the years. In these “loving” letters, Charlie expresses his love for India (although he has never her) and describes in great detail his travels around the world. First, India felt betrayed by her father for hiding Charlie’s existence from her. But then, she finds something very disturbing about those letters, they all came from the same place: the mental institution.

When she notices Charlie wearing her father’s sunglasses she put two and two together. The truth is: her father didn’t die in an accident, Charlie murdered her father. Needless to say, India was furious and threatened Charlie to leave the house. However, Charlie is very a persuasive man…

India’s Coming-Of-Age

stoker (2013) india and her rifle gun

The murder of their first victim doesn’t go unnoticed. Soon, the town’s sheriff appears at the Stoker’s house. As expected, Charlie and India coordinate their stories and lie straight to the sheriff’s face. As the circle grows tighter, Charlie tries to convince India to move with him to New York. However, Evelyn is already aware of what’s going on and she has the strangest conversation with her daughter. So, you would think she would try to convince India not to go… but instead, she just lashes out at her by saying that she wants India to suffer. What a weird woman.

By the way, I don’t know what Evelyn was thinking when she decides to to talk to Charlie (one more/last time). From their conversation, one can tell that Evelyn is not as oblivious as she appears to be: she knows about Charlie’s past and the truth about Richard’s death. Which is quite unsettling to say the least. I mean, why would you let a murderer live inside your house? But then she confesses, it’s because of his good looks. Shallow observation, but understandable.

Now Evelyn clearly knows too much and Charlie is about to cut to all loose ends and does what he was thinking during the entire conversation: kill Evelyn! This is when India has the most unexpected reaction, she kills uncle Charlie with a riffle.

Why did India Kill Charlie?

Now, why did she do that? Her mother made it very clear that she despises her… I believe it’s payback for what Charlie did to Richard. As I said before, India and her father were really close. As a matter of fact, Richard was the only person that really cared for India. What Charlie feels for India is not love. He sees India as an extension of himself and he wants her to be exactly like him. That’s not love.

To say that India is not as evil as her uncle is quite a stretch. Let me rephrase that, I don’t think Charlie was evil. However, he’s very sick and somehow he was able to pass those “crazy genes” to India. Having said that, India is perhaps a psychopath but not a pure sociopath like her uncle. In other words, she likes to kill but it’s not just for pure fun. The ending scene is very open to interpretation: why did she kill the sheriff? My answer is: she wanted to get away with murder! In order to do that, she needs to cut all loose ends. Something that we’ve seen Charlie doing throughout the film…