The Spanish thriller Fever Dream (Distancia de Rescate) is directed by Claudia Llosa and based on Samanta Schweblin’s novel. It tells the story of Amanda (Maria Valverde). She moves to a small town in rural Argentina along with her daughter and discovers the reality of the strange town through her friendship with Carola (Dolores Fonzi).
Unlike many adaptations, the movie justifies the book. Like the book, the film also has a perplexing ending that forces viewers to question their outlook on life as a whole, specifically on environmental pollution and spirituality. The film also highlights the harsh realities of parenting, making it somewhat uncomfortable and chilling.
Without wasting another moment, it's time to jump onto Fever Dream's ending:
Disclaimer: Spoilers ahead.
Netflix's 'Fever Dream': Ending explained
Fever Dream opens with a narrative dialogue that brilliantly weaves itself throughout the movie, pushing the viewers on the edge while still allowing them to follow the mysterious story that switches between the past and future whenever necessary.
Viewers will see the happy mother-daughter duo, Amanda and Nina, moving to Spain to enjoy their summer in the family home when they come across the kid next door, David (Emilio Vodanovich). As time goes on, Amanda befriends her neighbor, Carola, and ends up sharing about their vulnerabilities, making motherhood the common ground for both.
Like every mother, Amanda worries about terrible things that might happen. In contrast, Carola shares her son's tragic near-death experience from drinking river water which she believes has changed him after spiritual healing. However, after spending time with David, Fever Dream viewers will learn that Amanda's conversations with him are nothing but a psychological game going on inside Amanda’s head.
As the story unfolds and reaches the end, it's understood that Amanda and Nina came into contact with the contaminated river water, and viewers will see Amanda dead. After she leaves the hospital, she is found by David but dies on her way back home from the river's poisoning. Meanwhile, Nina is under Carola's care, who tries to cure her the same way she saved her son by splitting her soul, ends up making Nina behave precisely like David.
The final scene of Fever Dream makes Nina's fate a bit confusing as she is not seen. Still, along with Nina's favorite doll, David leads the viewers to believe that her soul now resides within David, also depicting the trauma shared by the kids.
Fever Dream does not provide answers about what that healer did to David but does make one feel and understand the idea of a child becoming a stranger to their parents, rest all being metaphors of real-life catastrophes.
Fever Dream is now streaming on Netflix.