The fate of Clara, the kidnapped girl, isn’t hard to guess: She’s killed. Rosa takes her out to a field, gets her to turn around by pretending she’s going to snip a lock of her hair, and then shoots her in the back of the head. That part corresponds with the real-life case that inspired the movie, and it’s hard to watch, though not especially graphic.
Equally horrific, however, is the empathetic backstory for “The Beast” that Coimbra apparently invented. Over the course of their affair, Bernardo treats Rosa more and more abusively; one scene borders on rape, with Bernardo forcibly removing Rosa’s underwear and threatening her with a belt as he makes her repeat degrading things. It gets worse, however, when Rosa learns that she’s pregnant with Bernardo’s child, and informs him that she intends to keep it. By this point, the affair has ended, and Rosa emphasizes that she doesn’t want anything from Bernardo or expect him to care for the child in any way. Initially angry, he soon calms down, and even arranges a doctor’s appointment for Rosa to confirm that she’s really pregnant, since drugstore pregnancy tests are often unreliable. But when the doctor ostensibly goes to take a blood sample from her, there’s a terrible moment in which it becomes clear that his hypodermic needle is injecting rather than withdrawing. Bernardo (who’s present) and the doctor conspire to knock Rosa out, then perform an abortion without her consent. Which makes Rosa’s subsequent murder of Clara feel much more eye-for-an-eye.
Again, there doesn’t seem to be any evidence that this actually happened in the 1960 case. Nonetheless, it feels appallingly credible, and there are probably variations on this scene happening around the world today, even if the coercion is psychological (browbeating, threats, mind games) rather than physical. In any case, A Wolf At The Door is stronger for trying to fathom what might have precipitated such a seemingly unthinkable crime, as opposed to simply gawking in horror.