The Strangers: Chapter 1 ending explained

Daisy Phillipson
The killers in The Strangers: Chapter 1

As the first entry to a brand new horror movie trilogy, The Strangers: Chapter 1 ending is significant in teasing what’s to come. So, we’ve broken down those all-important final moments, who dies, and what happens in the post-credits scene. 

Terrifying realism and a simple premise are what define The Strangers franchise, kicking off with Bryan Bertino’s 2008 feature debut (which is still one of the best horror movies of all time). 

There’s plenty of that in Renny Harlin’s upcoming trilogy, which’ll be a reimagining of the original rather than a reboot/sequel. Madelaine Petsch and Froy Gutierrez portray the leading couple Maya and Ryan, whose pitstop in a quiet Oregon town takes a turn for the terrifying when a trio of masked killers pay them an unwelcome visit. 

Despite its simplicity, details may get lost amid the brutality. So here’s everything you need to know about the ending of The Strangers: Chapter 1. Warning: Spoilers ahead!

The Strangers: Chapter 1 ending explained

The ending of The Strangers: Chapter 1 sees Maya and Ryan tied to chairs as the three masked killers – Dollface, Pin Up Girl, and the Man in the Mask – stand before them. They take turns stabbing the couple before kicking their chairs to the floor. It’s a very similar ending to the 2008 original, the crucial outcome here being that Maya survives. 

For the majority of the 90-minute movie, the trio bide their time and indulge in a little torment. Maya and Ryan try to escape but, as is the case with The Strangers and its sequel Prey at Night, the killers are always one step ahead, making for some tense, terrifying viewing. 

Things go from bad to worse when Ryan accidentally shoots the owner of the Airbnb, thinking it’s the Man in the Mask. After this horrifying realization, they grab his keys to try and drive away, only for the killer to ram into them with his truck. Ryan gets stuck and forces Maya to run away.

She runs through the surrounding woods before finding a ditch to hide in, but she’s not alone — beside her is a human skeleton (more on this in a bit). Maya manages to get signal on her phone and calls the police, but the line is faulty and she can only whisper, knowing the killers are nearby. 

Eventually, she gets out of hiding, but Dollface catches up to her and knocks her on the head. Meanwhile, Ryan’s having problems himself. As is revealed earlier on in the movie, he’s asthmatic, and right now he’s without his inhaler. He manages to save himself using an empty water bottle before going to look for Maya. 

He catches up with Pin Up Girl and holds his gun against her head. Frustratingly, he hesitates and the Man in the Mask catches up with him first. 

Maya and Ryan both wake up to find themselves tied to chairs and in a true Hollywood move, through fits of tears, he proposes to her. But before they can continue their heart-to-heart, the killers interject. 

The Pin Up Girl in The Strangers: Chapter 1
Ryan blows his chance at taking one of the strangers down

Ryan is ruthlessly stabbed in the stomach and then kicked to the floor, where he’s left to bleed to death. In a callback to the original The Strangers movie, Maya asks them, “Why are you doing this to us?” To which Pin Up Girl coldly replies, “Because you’re here.”

“F*ck you,” Maya screams before she’s similarly stabbed and kicked to the floor. But the killers can’t stick around to watch her die, as police sirens approach — Maya’s call worked. They make a run for it, leaving Maya to seemingly die. 

Except she manages to survive. Right at the end of The Strangers: Chapter 1, Maya is seen recovering in a hospital bed. The words “To be continued” then appear on screen. But that’s not all…

The Strangers: Chapter 1 post-credits scene explained

Rather than a post-credits scene, a short teaser arrives midway through the credits of The Strangers: Chapter 1. It shows Maya recovering in the hospital bed, but as she sits up, she doesn’t see The Man in the Mask is in the bed beside her. 

In other words, Maya’s struggles are far from over. Yes, the masked killers are set to return to torment her in The Strangers: Chapter 2. All three movies of Harlin’s trilogy were shot back-to-back, with the second arriving sometime in fall 2024 and the third in 2025. 

Who dies in The Strangers: Chapter 1?

The main character deaths in The Stranger: Chapter 1 include Ryan, the Airbnb owner Joe, and an unnamed finance worker who also passed through the Oregon town before Ryan and Maya showed up. 

The first death is the finance worker, who appears in the very first scene of the movie. He’s not in a good way, running through the forest wearing a suit with blood on his head. As he’s running he’s keeping an eye out for an unseen threat, causing him to trip and hit a rock. 

Coming up behind him is the Man in the Mask, who proceeds to finish the job with his axe. Later, when Maya and Ryan visit the local diner after their car breaks down, they see a poster for the missing man. 

The waitress explains that he was “some big, corporate finance guy” who “passed through” and then “totally disappeared.” 

Maya and Ryan in The Strangers: Chapter 1
Ryan accidentally shoots the Airbnb owner

He could be the aforementioned skeleton Maya finds in the forest, although the body would’ve had to have been missing for some time given the flesh had decomposed. The Strangers: Chapter 2 may reveal more. 

The second character to die is Joe when he visits his Airbnb to fix a broken fridge. Little does he know that at this point in the film, Maya and Ryan are battling against the masked killers. 

After finding a gun, they walk around the outside of the property and hear someone at the front door. Before thinking, they turn the corner and Ryan pulls the trigger, thinking it’s the Man in the Mask. Instead it’s Joe, who is killed instantly. 

Then, in those final moments, Ryan is stabbed to death by the killers. They’re set to return and finish the job in The Strangers: Chapter 2 — although Maya will be feeling pretty vengeful. 

The Strangers: Chapter 1 is in cinemas now. For more horror, check out the horror movies to get excited about in 2024. You can also discover everything we know about Terrifier 3, Longlegs, and how to watch In a Violent Nature. Or, why now take a look at all the new movies heading to streaming this month.