Is No Exit Based on a True Story?

‘No Exit’ is a tense thriller that follows a young woman who, stranded in a blizzard with a small group of people, realizes that she is in the presence of a kidnapper. As Darby (Havana Rose Liu) tries to determine the identity of the criminal, things take a turn for the worse. With no one to turn to for help, the group is put in a violent situation as twist after twist reveals hidden layers in each character.

The film follows a remarkable narrative that sets up circumstances to make for a highly intriguing, edge-of-your-seat situation. However, the events seen in the movie are also comfortably in the realm of possibility as crazier things have been known to happen in real life. If you’re beginning to wonder whether ‘No Exit’ is based on a true story or not, we can point you in the right direction.

Is No Exit a True Story?

No, ‘No Exit’ is not based on a true story. The mystery thriller is based on the 2017 novel of the same name by Taylor Adams and seemingly follows the fictional book’s narrative quite closely. The film’s screenplay, penned by Andrew Barrer and Gabriel Ferrari, was directed by Damien Power. According to the director, the script remains relatively faithful to the novel due to the latter’s intriguing character-driven plot. Aspects like the story’s high stakes, hostile setting, and frequent twists also make it a worthy basis for a tense film.

In an interview, Power explained that his film explores how people react when put under extraordinary pressure. Thus, more than the character going on a journey that makes them change and grow, the narrative focuses on who a person actually is. The deadly circumstances in which the film’s small group of central characters find themselves force each of them to reveal their true colors, with often deadly results. Of course, the question of the characters’ hidden inner identities is also one of the major themes of the film, which hinges on Darby trying to figure out which one of the group is the kidnapper.

A few aspects are also suitably changed from the novel, likely to make the screen adaptation a little more dramatic. The novel’s central character, Darby, is an art student on her way to meet her ailing mother. In the film, Darby is depicted as a recovering drug addict who initially escapes from her rehab facility (to meet her ailing mother) but then finds herself caught in a snowstorm and stranded at a rest stop. The narratives of the novel and movie align soon after as Darby (in both cases) discovers a young girl being held hostage in a van outside the rest stop.

And so, ‘No Exit’ is based on a work of fiction that is meant to intrigue audiences (and readers) as well as keep them guessing till the end. The novel, and the subsequent movie inspired by it, follow a carefully plotted structure that builds tension and plays out almost like a murder mystery with shifting suspects. Talking about the book’s adaptation, the director stated that he was extremely satisfied with how elements of Adams’ novel had been carried over to the film. Ultimately, the film excels at creating tension by presenting a situation that seems entirely plausible but is actually a carefully crafted fictional narrative.

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