Stoker (2013) Ending Explained: Why Did India Kill Charlie?

This post includes a brief plot summary, an explanation about the ending of the film Stoker (2013) and a relationship analysis between India Stoker and Charlie Stoker. Why did India kill Charlie?

stoker 2013 ending explained

Directed by Chan Park-wook, the 2013 psychological thriller stars Mia Wasikowska as India Stoker, Matthew Goode as Charlie Stoker and Nicole Kidman as Evelyn Stoker.

Stoker (2013) – Plot Summary

India’s father (Richard) passed away recently from a car accident. At the funeral, India and her mother (Evelyn) meet Richard’s younger brother — Charlie, someone who they never heard of. Apparently, Charlie has been travelling around the word most of his life. During a brief interaction with India, Charlie informs his niece that he’s going to stay in the house for a while.

After a heated argument with Charlie, Mrs. McGarrick (the housekeeper) disappears without notice. During his stay, Richard’s brother tries to befriend Evelyn and India. Although, Charlie’s charms work perfectly on the mother, the daughter is still not very fond of him. Meanwhile, the Stokers have another visitor: aunt Gwendolyn, who came to visit India and Evelyn.

During her visit, Gwendolyn seems to be very wary of Charlie’s presence. Later that night, Gwendolyn reaches out to Evelyn and tells her that they to need to have a discussion about Charlie. However, Evelyn doesn’t like Gwendolyn’s insistence and shuts her off. When Gwendolyn was about to leave the Stokers’ house, she gives India her number.

As a safety measure, Gwendolyn changes hotels. Right when Gwendolyn was about to call Evelyn, she realizes that her phone is not around. Unable to make calls from her motel room, Gwendolyn goes outside to use a phone booth. Out of nowhere, Charlie appears and strangles his aunt with a belt. Meanwhile, India finds Mrs. McGarrick’s body inside the basement’s freezer while she was looking for some ice cream. Despite of the horrific finding, India does not tell anyone about it.

While leaving the school, one of India’s classmates (Chris) decides to taunt her. Enraged, India confronts her bully and stabs him with a pencil. Meanwhile, another classmate (Whip) steps in and tells the others to leave India alone.

At home, India catches Charlie and her mother talking in an intimate manner. Displeased with what she saw, India wanders into the woods and runs into Whip. The two make out, but India gets too excited and bites Whip’s tongue. The boy interprets India’s behaviour as a sexual advance and decides to force himself on her. Right when Whip was on top of India, Charlie appears and strangles the boy with his belt.

Uncle and niece carry Whip’s body back to their own propriety. While Charlie was digging a hole, India decides to call Gwendolyn. After she hears the woman’s phone ringing in the garden, India realizes that Charlie killed Gwendolyn too. After burying Whip’s body, India takes a shower and touches herself while thinking about Charlie killing Whip.

When India was going through her father’s belongings in the office, she stumbles upon a locked drawer. India finds out that Charlie has been writing to her over the years. In those letters, her uncle details his travels and expresses his love for India (the niece that he hasn’t met yet). These revelations bring India to tears but then, she realizes that Charlie has been writing to her from a mental institution.

Upon these findings, India goes to Charlie to confront him about these letters. Turns out, Charlie murdered his younger brother Jonathan out of jealousy. At the time, Charlie blamed Richard for paying more attention to their younger sibling than him. After the incident, the family sent Charlie to a mental institution, where he spent most of his life.

When Charlie got out, Richard gave his younger brother some money and advised him to move to New York and stay away from his family. Enraged, Charlie beat Richard to death with a rock and stages a car accident. When India sees her uncle wearing her father’s sunglasses, she realizes that Charlie killed her father. As India threatens Charlie to leave the house, the man tries to diffuse the situation by saying that he has come back for her and gifts India a pair of stiletto heels. Meanwhile, Sheriff Howard appears at the Stoker’s house, asking questions about Whip’s disappearance. Charlie covers for India by giving her a false alibi.

The sheriff is still suspicious of India and Charlie, but decides to leave them. Knowing that Sheriff Howard is on to them, Charlie asks India to move to New York with him. Meanwhile, Evelyn catches her daughter and Charlie in an intimate moment. Shocked, Evelyn excuses herself and leaves the room. During a mother and daughter talk, Evelyn expresses her desire to watch India suffer.

Aware that there’s something going between India and Charlie, Evelyn summons Charlie to her bedroom. Then, India’s mother confronts Charlie about his past and Richard’s death. After seducing Evelyn, Charlie tries to strangle her to death with his belt. However, India stops him by shooting him with a rifle.

After burying her uncle in the backyard, India leaves the house and drives away with Charlie’s car. While driving away from home, India encounters Sheriff Howard who tells her to pull over her car for speeding. Meanwhile, he asks India why is she in a hurry. India tells Sheriff Howard that she wanted to catch his attention and she stabs him in the neck with a pair of pruning shears. Then, India leaves the car to chase after the wounded sheriff only to finally shoot him with her rifle.

Stoker (2013) – Ending Explained

As you can see, the Stokers are a pretty dysfunctional family: the daughter, the uncle and the mother. The only sane person in that family (Richard) sadly died in a very tragic manner. Nonetheless, there are still some questions that need an answer. First, why did India kill Charlie? Second, why did India kill the sheriff? Third, why did Evelyn say that she wishes India to suffer?

Before we get into the answers, let’s take a closer look at our two main characters: India Stoker and Charlie Stoker. Who are they?

stoker 2013 charlie and india

Charlie Stoker – Character Analysis

Who is Charlie Stoker? Richard’s brother is a very sick person. Charlie is not who he claims to be. As a matter of fact, the man is a pathological liar, he lies on a constant basis. Despite of his ambiguous nature, Charlie often gets away with almost everything because of his handsome looks.

As the story unravels, it turns out that Charlie has a very dark side that only a few know about: the man is a murderer. Since a very young age, Charlie acquired a dangerous habit of killing people that he deems “troublesome”. His first victim was his little brother Jonathan. Apparently, Charlie was too jealous of the little one. In his very twisted mind, Jonathan had to disappear because Charlie didn’t want to share his older brother’s love with someone else. In other words, Charlie wanted Richard to only love him. Needless to say, the family put Charlie in a mental institution after he decided to dig a big hole in a sand box and bury his little brother in it… alive!

After Charlie got out, he loses the control of his emotions again and kills Richard for not letting him stay at his house. His next two victims were calculated murders unlike the previous two. Charlie killed the housekeeper and his aunt because they knew about his secret. Then, his final victim (Whip) was just a means to bond with his niece. For some odd reason, Charlie figured out that India has the same dark tendencies as him.

Right when they meet, it’s clear that Charlie feels instantly drawn to India. But why is Charlie so obsessed with India? People tend to feel drawn to other individuals that share similar traits. In this case, both India and Charlie are psychopaths. While Charlie is a full-blown psychopath, India is still figuring herself out.

India Stoker – Character Analysis

Who is India Stoker? She is Richard’s daughter and Charlie’s niece. In other words, she’s half human and half psychopath. You see, Charlie is a very sick man and somehow he was able to pass his “crazy genes” to India.

Killing excites India, but the only killing experience that India has had up until meeting Charlie, was hunting. However, she does get very aggressive when someone threatens her. In hindsight, both Chris and Whip got what they deserved. The first tried to bully and the latter tried to rape, so it’s fair to say that India had every right to do something about it.

The main reason why India isn’t a full-blown psychopath is her father. While growing up, India could always count on Richard’s love for her. The man tried to protect his daughter and shield her from Charlie’s influence as much as he could. That’s why he hid Charlie’s existence all these years and pleaded his brother to stay away from his family. Nonetheless, nature always speaks louder and India’s dark side eventually got out.

Charlie and India – Relationship Analysis

While Charlie was excited to meet India, she did not feel the same way about him. However, their relationship eventually takes a turn when they kill together for the first time. Whip’s murder definitely brought Charlie and India closer in a very weird type of way.

The way how Charlie acts around India is a bit creepy to say the least. However, the same goes for India. Sometimes, it feels like there is some sexual tension going on between India and Charlie, which sounds so wrong on so many levels. The man is her uncle, not her lover. Although Charlie never laid a finger on India, his obsession for his niece is very evident.

Despite of showing a complete lack of interest in Charlie, India is not indifferent to her uncle. She doesn’t like him and yet, India also cannot take her eyes off of Charlie. This is very evident, when India catches Charlie in an intimate moment with her mother. Her reaction to them, was a mixture of shock and jealousy. On one hand, India couldn’t stand the idea of her mother flirting with another guy that is not her father. On the other, India hated the sight of watching Charlie seducing Evelyn. That’s why she stormed off and wandered into the woods.

Just when everything seemed okay between Charlie and India, things take a different turn. So, why did things end up the way they did? One would think that two people that enjoy killing other people would get along, right? So why did India shoot Charlie with her rifle?

Why Did India Kill Charlie?

As mentioned before, Richard and India were really close. As a matter of fact, Richard was the only person that really cared for India. Having said that, India wasn’t going to just let it go. How could she ever forgive Charlie for murdering her father? Having said that, when India shot Charlie, it was payback for what he did to her father.

Turns out, India was playing along during this entire time. The girl was waiting for the right moment to kill her prey, just like Richard taught India during their hunting trips. In addition, India realizes that what Charlie feels for her is not love. Charlie sees his niece as an extension of himself. Having said that, India’s uncle wants her to be exactly like him. However, India is her own person and she had no plans to let Charlie dictate who she is or can be. That’s why she shot him.

Charlie had to go because he murdered India’s father. Now what did sheriff do to her? Charlie had a quick death, but the sheriff wasn’t so lucky. First, India used pruning shears and then she shot the sheriff (presumably dead) with her rifle.

Why Did India Kill The Sheriff?

India could’ve left town quietly, so why did she decide to kill Sheriff Howard? In very simple terms, India wanted to get away with murder. In order to do that, the girl needed to cut all loose ends. Something that we’ve seen Charlie doing throughout the film…

The sheriff was already suspicious of India and Charlie. When the man was asking questions about Whip in the Stokers house, he got the impression that both uncle and niece were hiding something. Therefore, even if India left town, Sheriff Howard would very likely continue looking for her. Having said that, killing the sheriff was India’s ticket to freedom.

Now, let’s talk about the one that did not die in the amidst of all of this. Why did India do to Evelyn to make her so angry?

Evelyn And India – Relationship Analysis

During one of their final moments together, Evelyn says that she couldn’t wait to watch life tear India apart. Why would a mother say something so horrible to her own child?

Right from the start, one can tell that India and Evelyn are not very close despite of being mother and daughter and living under the same roof. There is always a certain distance between them. The way how Evelyn speaks to India doesn’t come from a place of love. If one takes a closer look, Evelyn is rather cautious and maybe a bit jealous of India.

Now, why would a mother ever feel jealous of her own daughter? Evelyn is an unstable woman. In addition, the film hints how close India and Richard were: they had a very close bond. Something that Evelyn envied. On one hand, Evelyn wanted India to love her more. On the other hand, Evelyn also wanted Richard to only pay attention to her. In her eyes, India’s birth and existence took away some of her spotlight.

When Evelyn realized that Charlie only had eyes for India, that of course, sent her over the edge. However, the woman wasn’t concerned about Charlie’s inappropriate behaviour towards India. Evelyn was furious because India was once again the centre of attention. That’s why India’s mother said those horrible words to her daughter.


Stoker [DVD] (2013)

Final Thoughts

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.

At first sight, Charlie seems to be a mysterious and charming man, but let’s be honest, you would’ve used the word “creepy” if he wasn’t so good-looking. By the way, kudos to the director for choosing a really attractive actor to play the role of uncle Charlie.

By the end of the film, it’s clear that everyone in the Stoker family is a little bit crazy. Nonetheless, who is the most disturbing character in Stoker? Although, Charlie is a pretty strong contender, Evelyn is the one who actually wins the race. But why? Here’s the thing, Evelyn might not have any dead bodies under her belt (no pun intended), but she does have a very disturbed mind.

First, Evelyn detests her own daughter and desires India to suffer. Second, this woman has no morals: her husband just died and she already has her eyes set on another man, who happens to be her brother-in-law. Third, Evelyn doesn’t care about anyone but herself. This woman chose to be jealous of her own daughter, instead of protecting her from a murderer.

By the way, when Evelyn called Charlie to her room it’s clear that she’s not as oblivious as she appears to be. Evelyn knows about Charlie’s past and the truth behind Richard’s death. However, how unsettling is this information? I mean, why would you let a murderer live inside your own house? But then Evelyn confesses, it’s because of Charlie’s attractive looks. I get it, but Evelyn is still a terrible person. India deserved a better mother.

Overall, Stoker is a very interesting study on people and their inner darkest desires. As I said before, the film is creepy but in a good way, because it challenges the viewer’s personal biases. Stoker is definitely a very noteworthy watch with incredible performances.


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