Sorry, I didn't get what really happened to the guys in Scenic Route. Did they die, dream or really escape from the desert?

  • i think if we try to put a final ending of what happened were missing the point of the movie. its left questionable for a reason.
    – user21215
    Commented May 14, 2015 at 4:05
  • I think the point is what happened to them =)
    – E L
    Commented May 14, 2015 at 11:37

6 Answers 6


I watched Scenic Route last night just to answer this question. It appears that the ending is purposefully ambiguous. I think that enough data was given for someone to make a call in either direction. Let's go over what I came up with

They lived

  • They both heard the phone ring. Normally one person will hallucinate and trigger another person to also hallucinate the same thing, but in this case they both heard the phone at the same time.
  • An ambulance came to get them instead of a helicopter. If you were hallucinating, you would most likely think about a faster way to get saved
  • There were a lot of scenes after they left the desert. These scenes were not flashes, but played out scenes with both happy and sad emotions which might be expected after a traumatic event
  • We see Mitchell being unhappy at his wife's parents house. He is sitting in the hallway and his son comes up to him and they go into the dining room with everyone else. If you were hallucinating about escaping hell, why hallucinate about sadness?
  • It's common for PTSD to occur after a traumatic event which explains Mitchell's concerns about not actually leaving the desert.

They died

  • They drank washer fluid from the truck which contains methanol. Methanol if highly toxic in small amounts.
  • They were dehydrated for 3 days that we saw.
  • Subjected to major temperature swings for 3 days
  • A lot of blood loss
  • The phone rang when they were in the ghost town. If the phone had no signal near the road, why would they have it even further into the desert.
  • When Mitchell called Carter toward the end, Carter started to say, "It's funny you say that" and the line went dead. Mitchell got mad and threw the phone. When he picked it up, it was cracked just like it had been cracked out in the desert.
  • Mitchell still had a scab line where is nose was broken. Broken noses can heal within 3 weeks so this means that within 3 weeks of leaving the desert, Mitchell convinced his wife to let Carter move in with them, Mitchell quit his job to become a rock star, Carter finished a book and Mitchell and his wife decided to just pickup and travel the world. Not only that, but within 3 weeks, Carter got a new car (be it, a used one) but he had no money as made clear during the first half of the movie.

The kicker is the very last part where Mitchell has a flashback of them being in the hole and then crying. This is the reason I say the ending is ambiguous. Does it mean that he was flashing back to them being in the hole and he is sad that it happened and happy he survived or does it mean that the "flashback" is actually showing reality of them dead in the hole and he is crying because he knows he has died?

I'm sure my points can be argued, but it's mostly to show that there is no definitive answer from what I saw and I was watching specifically to answer this question.

  • I think that's the great idea to create another movie, where guys died in the desert but their souls live happily, but some evidences (like broken phone iin this movie) say different. And in the end they came to the place in the desert where they died... or smthng like this =)
    – E L
    Commented Jan 26, 2015 at 20:08
  • I think the most sertaingly they died in this movie.
    – E L
    Commented Jan 26, 2015 at 20:09
  • @EL I believe they died as well, but as I mentioned, you make your own conclusions. If you want a movie like you describe, try Dream House imdb.com/title/tt1462041/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_10 Commented Jan 26, 2015 at 21:39
  • Just watched it. Great movie. The last time I watched a movie with opened mouth was several years ago and it was the Skeleton key. Dream house seems not worse than that.
    – E L
    Commented Jan 31, 2015 at 3:58

I really enjoyed that movie, you see after they fought, Mitchell doped his phone,when he thought that Carter is dead there is a camera rapprochement on his broken phone lying on the ground. I don't think that he ever picked it up! (unless it's not shown)

  • good notice ...
    – E L
    Commented Apr 27, 2015 at 22:55
  • So I guess it is obvious then? They died ...
    – Zoe
    Commented Apr 28, 2015 at 16:02
  • dont think so..
    – E L
    Commented Apr 28, 2015 at 19:31
  • ...I mean, they could be dreaming or something
    – E L
    Commented Apr 28, 2015 at 22:26

Its obvious, and yet so sad. And Mitchel got the blunt of it. These two life long friends, at the edge of death, desperately search for water to survive. Sure they find it, but it was only the beginning of their and they're families death, because they did make it out alive.

But they brought the demon of they're friendship along with them. It shows Mitchel crying at the end and in the hospital because he knows that they are all slowly dying of a deadly parasite that made cozy in that warm rusty water tank at the end. He cries as he knows now where he had obtained it in the flash backs and cries for mercy for his family and himself.

They made it out alive. But only to live life possibly hurting the ones they love and slowly suffering while holding on to the last pieces of they're lives.

  • parasite? don't remember any recalls of this.
    – E L
    Commented May 20, 2015 at 20:12

This movie does pose a lot of interesting questions and i also noticed the phone wasn't cracked during the conversation with carter but yet it appeared again when mitch throws the phone onto the sink. It also leaves the question were they already dead when mitch tried to say "were here" to the tow truck driver as at the end they are lying in the hole the same as they were then leaving the viewer to think "did anything after the driver actually happen?" however the ambulance vs imagining a helicopter and the not imagining sadness thing mentioned earlier leads me to believe they actually are alive just suffering PTSD. Very good movie it really makes you think.


I believe it is up to the viewer to come to a conclusion on how they ended up. For me a weird sort of way I took from the ending was that in some sort of twisted way what they went through in the desert was the first time in their lives they really felt alive and the true reality in their lives was spent in the desert. Almost as if he was more comfortable re-living those days over and over rather than being in the real world.


Kinda seemed like at the end there, he was realizing they're dieing & never got out the hole. The broken phone and flashbacks (plus the whole convo) lead me to think Mitchel realized what was going on while dreaming..(or dieing).

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .