MaXXXine, ending explained: Who is the killer?

Mia Goth in MaXXXine, Credit: Justin Lubin/A24
Mia Goth in MaXXXine, Credit: Justin Lubin/A24 /

The (supposed) final film in Ti West's acclaimed horror trilogy is now playing in theaters. Mia Goth returns in MaXXXine, playing the titular character Maxine Minx, who narrowly survived a massacre on a Texas homestead during the 2022 film X.

Six years after that fateful incident, Maxine has moved to Los Angeles and is actively pursuing her dreams of becoming a movie star. But when someone starts killing off Hollywood starlets it seems like she might become the next victim.

Here's what happens at the end of MaXXXine. Spoilers ahead.

The Puritan II
Lily Collins in MaXXXine, Credit: Justin Lubin/A24 /

Who is the killer?

The film's third act reveals that the overarching antagonist is none other than Maxine's own father, the televangelist Ernest Miller, played by Simon Pratt. In addition to hiring Kevin Bacon's character, the private detective John Labat, he has been murdering Maxine's friends throughout the film, including Leon, Tabby, Amber, and Maxine's co-star Molly Bennett.

Simon blames the devil for stealing Maxine away from him and believes she has been influenced by satanic forces in Hollywood. Simon's goal from the start has been to perform an exorcism on his daughter and "free" her from the evil inside, the evil he believes led her down a path of sin that includes working in the adult film industry.

He and his cult succeed in kidnapping Maxine, demanding she repent or receive the pentagram branding like Simon's other victims. Luckily for Maxine, Detectives Torres and Williams arrive before things go too far and they manage to rescue her. Together, the trio chases Simon and the cult members.

Detective Torres gets shot during the fight and succumbs to his wounds, while his partner manages to mortally wound Simon, though not before he stabs her in the eye with a crucifix. The last we see of her she's stumbled and fallen down the Hollywood hills, so it seems unlikely she survives. Maxine delivers the killing blow, shooting her father in the head with a shotgun.

The Puritan II
(L-R) Giancarlo Esposito, Mia Goth in MaXXXine, Credit: Justin Lubin/A24 /

What happens to Maxine in the end?

With Simon dead and the case wrapped, Maxine continues to work with director Elizabeth Bender on The Puritan franchise. Now a big star, she returns to the set of The Puritan II. At some point, she did finally manage to sit for the life cast since the movie ends on a final shot-within-a-shot the fictional film crew filming a close-up of Maxine's (as her movie character Veronica) severed head.

It seems to be a little bit of a nod to the ending of Pearl, since that film also ended in a close-up of Mia Goth's face, though in MaXXXine, the camera pans up and up and up, all the way out of Hollywood and into the stars above.

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