From Black: Is the Movie Inspired by Real Horror Events?

‘From Black,’ directed by Thomas Marchese, is a horror film starring Anna Camp, John Ales, and Jennifer Lafleur. It revolves around Cora Lowen, a grieving mother and recovering drug addict who lost her young son, Noah, due to her negligence. While recovering from such a devastating loss, she meets Abel, who promises her an unconventional solution to her pain: a ritual to bring back her son from the dead. Cora agrees to his offer and tries to right her past wrongs by reuniting with her son again, resulting in terrifying consequences.

The film focuses heavily on themes of guilt and grief and incorporates supernatural horror elements to scrutinize the desperation of a childless mother. The emotional mother-son relationship between Cora and Noah forms the center of the narrative. As such, though the protagonist’s story is bizarre and outlandish, it’s easy to empathize and even relate to her despair and agony at times. Due to the same, viewers might wonder if the film is based on real experiences. If so, here is everything you need to know about the true origin of ‘From Black.’

From Black: Fiction Inspired by Real Police Work

No, ‘From Black’ is not based on a true story. Nevertheless, the film’s basic premise draws inspiration from several real-life incidents. Director and co-writer Thomas Marchese worked as a cop for 15 years, and during that time, he investigated several child crimes and homicide cases. Intrinsically he came across some instances that resembled Cora and Noah’s predicament in the film.

“I’ve seen these scenarios,” said Marchese while discussing his inspiration behind ‘From Black’ in an interview. “Like Cora— I’ve known her a hundred times over. I know these characters. I know this world. So I just kind of folded that into a supernatural setting and put it in a blender. And here we are.” In the film, Noah leaves his house after severe parental neglect due to Cora and her husband’s drug addiction. The police arrange a search party to look for the boy but fail to locate him. Cora later finds out that Noah was kidnapped and murdered by a stranger.

According to a report by Child Find of America, an estimated 2,300 children are missing in the United States daily. The reasoning behind these disappearances varies. In a study, it was found that in 1999, an estimated 58,200 children were abducted by non-family members, and 40% of them were killed. As such, the jumping point of the film is heavily inspired by real life and Thomas Marchese’s personal observations. Moreover, it’s possible that the director poured some aspects of his own life as a cop into the character of Cora’s sister and lead investigator for her case, Sergeant Allison.

Inversely, the supernatural, occultism aspect of the film has almost no basis in reality. Marchese and his co-writer Jessub Flower did minimal research for the ritualistic component of the story. The ritual Cora and Abel perform to bring Noah back spans several days and takes up a hefty portion of the film’s plot. Marchese and Flower wanted to manufacture that facet of the film entirely from their imaginations. As a result, by forgoing real-life connections to any specific rite, the writers afforded themselves some license to build their own ritual from the ground up. This creative freedom allowed them to create something that felt natural and grounded to the world they had created.

Apart from the plot-based elements of the film, another thing that lends to ‘From Black’s’ authenticity and relatability is the central character of Cora. While creating her character, Marchese had one specific trait in mind. “I wanted Cora to be broken but not weak,” said the filmmaker. By employing a profoundly flawed character as the protagonist, ‘From Black’ urges the viewers to sympathize and root for someone regardless of their mistakes. Throughout the movie, Cora tries to better herself for her son’s memory — she sobers up, joins a support group, and gets a job.

Still, a sense of crushing grief sends Cora down a rabbit hole that ruins her whole life. Many people might be able to relate to her mental and emotional anguish and guilt, especially when pertaining to her position as a mother. Nevertheless, ultimately, ‘From Black’ is not based on a true story. It is a fictitious tale of grief, loss, and afterworld horror, penned by screenwriters Jessub Flower and Thomas Marchese.

Read More: From Black Ending, Explained: Does Abel Die?