'Deadly Illusions' Ending: All the Best Theories About What the End Means

Deadly Illusions may not have been a critical hit, but viewers across the world have become gripped by the erotic thriller and its twist ending. While some enjoy the movie from the persepctive of so-bad-it's-good, others are genuinely trying to work out what the ending means.

A quick reminder of how the Netflix movie ends: Novelist Mary (Sex and the City's Kristin Davis) goes to visit her friend Elaine (Shanola Hampton) only to find her dead. She later goes to visit her ex-nanny Grace (Awkward's Greer Grammer) in a mental hospital, where she is being treated after trying to attack Mary's husband Tom (Dermot Mulroney) while having a psychotic episode that saw her become her alter ego 'Margaret'.

After Mary visits Grace, a woman dressed exactly as the Elaine's killer leaves the hospital. But who is she? Here are some of the biggest theories:

Grace killed Mary

According to this theory, Mary's suspicions about Grace all along are real, and Grace really is a violent psychopath on a killing spree.

This is the only theory so far to be publicly endorsed by a star of the movie. Aunt Lotty actor Melissa Chambers tweeted: "My take is Grace/Margaret killed Mary and escaped to kill again." The movie's director also liked the tweet alongside a number of other theories.

In many ways, this may be the ending that the movie goes with. After all, Grace still being loose is the best way to set up a sequel for the movie, which Netflix may order if the film is enough of a hit. Seeing as it is currently the most-watched movie across the world on the streamer, that it becoming more and more likely.

Mary killed Grace

deadly illusions ending fan theories
Kristin Davis in Greer Grammer in 'Deadly Illusions.' Netflix

The film also hints that the opposite was true, that Mary killed Grace at the mental hospital just as she had previously killed Elaine.

Why she would do this, however, it less clear. Perhaps as revenge for Grace trying to seduce and then attack Mary's husband, or simply because Mary is a deranged killer who uses her murders as fuel for her books.

In a Twitter thread, a Deadly Illusions viewer posited that Mary would kill Grace because she is the one with a murderous alter ego. They wrote in part, "Mary walked out with the disguise after just killing Grace because Mary's alternate ego finds out that Margaret [Grace's alter ego] is all gone...But her alternate ego found more stronger connections with Grace's alternate ego creating sexual tensions which made an illusion for Mary's normal ego."

Mary imagined the whole thing

Throughout the book, reality merges with the things that Mary writes in her book, making it hard to know what is really real and what is not. Some viewers have taken this to its ultimate conclusion and speculated that Grace is really a figment of Mary's imagination – meaning it was either Mary who killed Elaine as she started acting her own plot or, alternatively, Elaine was never murdered except in Mary's fevered imagination.

This seems to be the dominant theory on social media, but viewers are torn over exactly how much was imagined. One Reddit user, for example, wrote: "My theory half way through was the main character was making everything up in her head because of her writing. Like the babysister was normal the whole time." A Twitter user, meanwhile, asked: "anyone else asking the question was Grace real? After watching #DeadlyIllusions"

The ending is a parody of bad thriller books

One of the more out-there theories about the whole film is that what we are seeing is the plot of the book that Mary is forced to churn out by her money-hungry publishers.

This was first expressed by a Twitter user who wrote: "#DeadlyIllusions theory. All of our reactions are part of the movie's experience because what we watched was the stupid forced novel that she had to write filled with every dumb suggestion her publishing team gave her along the way."

How much you buy this ending will depend on how much you buy that Deadly Illusions is bad on purpose rather than accidentally. With its Rotten Tomatoes score currently under 20 percent, most critics clearly think the latter.

Deadly Illusions is streaming now on Netflix.