Tarot: Horror movie ending explained

Jasmine Valentine
Paige in the trailer for Tarot

A bunch of teens, an empty house, and a deck of cards — what can go wrong? As it turns out, everything, according to the Tarot ending.

2024 has had no shortage of amazing horror movies — just take The First Omen, Immaculate, and Late Night with the Devil — but now Tarot has added itself to the deck (pun intended).

Co-directed by Anna Halberg and Spenser Cohen, the movie stars Harriet Slater, Jacob Batalon, Humberly González, Larsen Thompson, and Avantika.

As one of the most hyped film releases of the year, the dreaded deck of cards has a lot to live up to, so here’s the full ending of Tarot explained. Warning: spoilers ahead!

Tarot ending: Bad decisions are made

At the beginning of Tarot, a group of friends decide to spend the night at a mansion in the Catskills Mountains for Elise’s (Thompson) birthday. After they run out of alcohol, they find an abandoned tarot deck in the basement along with a collection of astrological goods. The friends ask Hailey (Slater) to read their horoscopes after revealing that she taught herself how to read tarot. Hailey explains that it’s an unwritten rule not to use someone else’s deck, but the group pressures her into reading for each of them regardless.

One by one, Hailey reveals the fate of each of her friends, drawing a main card — known as the Major Arcana — as the theme of their reading. The group brushes each reading off, particularly Hailey’s ex-boyfriend (Adain Bradley) after the group found out they had split up. The next day, they head off back to college, with half of the group listening to a true crime podcast on their way. Making a pit stop, one of the group wins $700 on a scratch card after Hailey tells them financial changes are in their future.

The group arrives back in town later that night. Elise and her girlfriend Paige (Avantika) go their separate ways, calling each other while Elise is in the bathtub. When she gets out, Elise faces off against her Arcana The High Priestess, who kills her with a sudden blow from a ladder — just like her reading. A second member of the group (Wolfgang Novogratz) is later killed by their Arcana, The Hermit, on his way back from dropping Madeline (González) at home after Elise’s death. He is killed by a train in a restricted area of the subway T line.

The group realizes they are right

Realizing that their friendship group is being picked off one by one, Hailey suggests that they are being killed according to her readings, which the others hesitantly believe. Googling to see if anything similar has happened in recent years, they stumble upon the details of Alma (Olwen Fouéré) who claims to have knowledge of similar dealings. While some of the group are hesitant, it’s agreed that the survivors go to meet her. She reluctantly lets them in after hearing of their deaths.

Alma tells the group about the history of the deck of cards Hailey read from, which dates back to the 1790s. A Hungarian royal once had his own personal astrologer (Suncica Milanovic), who he banished after reading that his wife and unborn child would both die. When that did come true, the royals took the life of the Astrologer’s daughter in an “eye for an eye” payment. As a result, she cursed the deck through a satanic ritual, killing herself and binding her spirit to the cards through her blood.

Groups of people have been reading from them over the last few decades, with all dying except those who didn’t have their fortune read — including Alma, who never read her own. Equipped with new knowledge, the gang set off to destroy the cards at the mansion, but their car gives out on the way there. Madeleine knows this is her fortune coming true, with Arcana The Hang Man in hot pursuit. Even though the group decides to try and reverse fate by doing the opposite of their readings, Madeleine gives in, running away from the danger. As a result, she’s hanged in front of the group from a bridge.

Paxton (Batalon) decides he isn’t having it anymore, leaning into his own reading by making the rash decision to wait things out at home. Sure enough, his Arcana meets him en route, with The Fool terrorizing Paxton while he tries to enter his apartment building. Cornering him in an elevator, The Fool pins Paxton to the floor as the screen cuts to black.

Survivors face off with The Astrologer

Harriet Slater in Tarot

During the ending of Tarot, the final three head back to the mansion, where Alma meets them. She tells them that she has waited her whole life for this moment, and performs a ritual to summon The Astrologer from the cards. Alma tells them that The Astrologer embodies each of the Arcanas they have faced. When she appears, The Astrologer forces Alma to have her fortune read before killing her with swords, plummeting her body from the ceiling. The group takes off in fear, but Paige gets split up along the way.

Hearing a voice calling for help, Paige ends up in the basement, where she’s confronted by the magician. He binds Paige up and throws her in a coffin, performing the classic saw-through-a-box act to a demonic audience. Paige is killed when her legs are severed. With only the ex-couple left, the pair confront whether they were actually meant to be after Hailey’s horoscope foretold that love would be the death of her. Two Arcanas — The Devil and Death — chase the pair simultaneously, leading Hailey back to The Astrologer herself. Realizing that she can try to change fate by reading The Astrologer’s own horoscope, Hailey succeeds, saving her ex-boyfriend from being dragged to the spirit world while watching The Astrologer disappear.

The ordeal appears to be over, leaving the pair to walk down the main road on the way back to the city. They spot a car coming in the other direction, believing it to be another test from the horoscopes. Instead, it’s Paxton, who reveals that he managed to survive after his roommate entered the elevator at the last minute, banishing his Arcana.

Tarot is in cinemas now. Find even more amazing new movies and TV shows streaming this month, or dive into all the new true crime documentaries around right now. If that’s not enough, find out what’s in store this year for K-dramas coming to Netflix.

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