Is Netflix’s Grudge Based on a True Story?

‘Grudge’ (originally titled ‘Kin’) follows Chief Inspector Harun, who finds himself unwittingly pulled into a convoluted revenge plot. The Turkish thriller takes audiences down a twisting path that slowly reveals its many layers. As Harun falls further into the plot, he is forced to face the ghosts of his past and attempt to solve a case that’s many decades old.

In the end, the film seems to hinge on a morally gray interpretation of vengeance and leaves no outright winners or losers. Though clearly taking artistic license for some of its more dramatic twists, the film does offer a relatively authentic look at the complexity and pressures of solving crimes without glorifying them. Could parts of ‘Grudge’ be based on a true story? We decided to find out.

Is Grudge Based on a True Story?

No, ‘Grudge’ is not based on a true story. The film is a work of fiction scripted by Yilmaz Erdogan, who also essays the lead character — Chief Inspector Harun. It is seemingly inspired by a South Korean film from which Erdogan adapted it for the Turkish remake. The film follows many established themes from revenge thrillers like switched identities and intergenerational feuds that offer ample opportunities for unexpected twists and a compelling plot. The characters, too, are well crafted for the genre, with a murderer hiding in plain sight being one of the film’s biggest reveals.

Erdogan has been a fixture in Turkish cinema and theatre for many years and has experience penning productions. The writer, actor, filmmaker, and poet has worked extensively in comedies, with one of his biggest successes, the 2001 comedy-drama film ‘Vizontele’ that he helped write, direct, and stars in, breaking box office records. With ‘Grudge,’ Erdogan has turned his attention to serious, slow-burn thrillers and skilfully navigates the film’s convoluted plot and character dynamics.

The film attempts to realistically depict the morally gray choices that police officers have to make from time to time and the long-lasting effects they can have on civilians. However, a healthy dose of artistic license is also taken, with overly dramatic story arcs like vengeful siblings plotting revenge for many years and killing themselves when their plans have come to fruition. The film’s iconic image of a dead body hanging from a crane at a construction site is also likely not associated with an actual incident but gives the story a dramatic visual.

‘Grudge’ takes inspiration from a South Korean film and tells the dramatic story of a troubled senior police officer. The film is fictional and effectively uses thriller tropes like hidden identities and long-running revenge plots to craft an entertaining narrative. The melancholy ending, which stresses how good and bad is relative and that even the most upstanding people have skeletons in their closets, gives the film a hint of realism. This aspect is seemingly helped by Erdogan’s theatre experience, which allows him to craft compelling characters that can portray such complex and authentic personalities. However, much like the film’s plot, its realistic characters are also almost entirely fictional.

Read More: Grudge (Kin) Ending, Explained