Fever Dream is a Netflix American-Chilean-Spanish suspense drama film based on a novel of the same name about the haunting story of broken souls, toxins, looming environmental and spiritual catastrophes, and the ties that bind a parent to a child.
A woman is dragged by unseen forces across a damp, dark forest floor as a young boy’s disembodied voice counsels her to stay awake: “What you see, we all see.” It’s later revealed that it’s Amanda and David.
The story begins with Amanda (María Valverde), who has come to a Chilean farming village for a summer holiday with her daughter Nina (Guillermina Sorribes Liotta), while her husband Marco (Guillermo Pfening) stays at home. She first meets her neighbour, Carola (Dolores Fonzi), when she arrives bearing buckets of water, warning that the stuff out of the tap isn’t always fit to drink.
Carola has a son, David (Emilio Vodanovich), who she claims got sick a few years ago, and that a local mystic woman traded part of David’s spirit to another body in order to mitigate the toxins. Half of his soul has been hosting someone else ever since. A complete stranger is now living inside Carola’s precious son. Amanda is shocked by her story but does not fully believe her.
One day, Amanda sees Carola bending over a sleeping Nina, admiring her and saying that she wanted Nina for herself. Amanda is uncomfortable and at night Amanda tries to escape with Nina. She stops at a light only to see a group of kids pass in the middle of the night. All of them have deformities, presumably from the unregulated toxin industry. There are no normal children in this place. Turns out that all that was Amanda’s fever dream of paranoia.
The next day, Amanda regrets her paranoid behavior and goes to meet Carola at her workplace, a chemical factory. A can of chemicals spills on the lawn, unaware of this Nina and Amanda lie down on the grass, Nina’s dress is wet with the chemical but Amanda assumes it is dew. They both become very sick.
What happens to Nina and Amanda? And what secrets are the mysterious Carola and David hiding?
Fever Dream ending explained in detail:
What happens to Nina?
Farmers sprayed the poison around the golden fields of wheat that surround Amanda’s rental house. The grain is always soaked in dew, but it was not dew. Nina has been running around the field of poison for weeks.
Amanda wakes up in a hospital unable to move and asks for Nina. The nurse tells her she is being looked after by a friend.
Carola tells Amanda that Nina is very sick and she must take her to the lady in the greenhouse. Amanda tries to object but has no strength to do anything. She later dies. It is assumed that Nina has undergone migration and is cured.
Months later, Marco visits Omar (Carola’s husband), at their stables. He finds out that Carola has left. Omar has no idea where she is. Marco asks Omar if he knows what happened? Apparently, Nina is acting strange at home. Omar says he does not know anything and asks Marco to leave.
Nina And David
David, once a bright-eyed young boy, became an angsty teen. A so-called “stranger”. Presumably a metaphor for when children grow up and become strangers. When Marco starts to leave David runs out of the house as Omar yells at him. They both find him in the back of Marco’s car, which was once Amanda’s, and he won’t get out.
Marco yells at him to get out, but he won’t leave. Omar begins to wrestle him out, and David reaches for Nina’s beloved stuffed animal, the mole, in the back seat.
Marco drives off, and David looks after him as if he is trapped in there forever, indicating that it is Nina, trapped inside David’s body, thinking her father has come back for her. That would explain Nina’s strange behavior as well.
Toxins and pollution are constant themes throughout the film. Omar and Carola had thoroughbreds but went into deep debt due to one of their stallions falling sick and dying. To make things worse, their son David falls ill and changes for the worse as well.
Amanda dies due to the poisonous chemicals on the grains. Amanda sees disfigured children, presumably due to the extensive pollution in her fever dream as well.
Carola works in a chemical plant, suggesting the economical conditions to be less than adequate. The ending suggests Nina and David switching souls as well. What is real? and what is the result of Amanda’s fever dream? This interpretation is left to the viewer.
The film neatly wraps up environmental pollution, spirituality and the bond between a parent and a child in one neat little package.
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