Is Premonition Based on A True Story?

German filmmaker Mennan Yapo’s 2007 supernatural psychological thriller ‘Premonition’ is a quintessential family movie unfolding through the eyes of a confused protagonist. Linda gets the news of her husband’s death, only to find him alive and kicking in the following morning. As the story moves back and forth with scars and dead birds, we think we may have an idea about Linda’s ailment, but the open-ended finale does not give in to the viewer’s anticipation. Sandra Bullock shines in the drama of suspended disbelief, but you may want to know whether the story has any truth in it. If you are asking around to validate the story’s credibility, let us probe further into the matter.

Is Premonition Based on A True Story?

No, ‘Premonition’ is not based on a true story. German filmmaker Mennan Yapo directed the movie from a screenplay penned by Bill Kelly of ‘Enchanted’ fame. It was the director’s second feature-length endeavor, following his 2004 action-romance movie ‘Soundless’ (originally titled: ‘Lautlos’). If the movie’s story strikes you as a bit confusing, you would be relieved to know that even the actors did not understand the complex, time-bending plot right off the bat.

According to the screenwriter, the story of the movie is another exploration of the “memento mori” motif. The idea is that if fate cannot be escaped, and death is the only outcome, you may as well hold on to the fleeting present. About ten years before the movie was made, Bill Kelly had this genius idea to tell a week’s story with days not following a particular order. He had the image of a deck of cards. He said, “What if the days of the week were playing cards and you threw them in the air and played them out the way they fell?” However, he had to story around the idea back then, and it took some time to develop the skeleton.

The idea of nonlinear storytelling appeared intriguing to the director, and he came to be involved with the project. As the director and the screenwriter were both on the same page, they chose to keep the movie open-ended, urging audiences to come forward and create their meanings. The director paid more attention to the emotions and expressions of the characters and let the silences speak. The camera often points at Sandra Bullock’s flabbergasted face, and the director had to acknowledge that the movie is ultimately Bullock’s movie. The veteran actress delivers a stunning performance in this twisty and loopy thriller by keeping her character grounded.

The contrasting and correlating binaries of reality and illusion seem to be a central theme in the movie. As artistic endeavors often attempt to allude their fantasies to reality, it remains a significant motif in various art forms since times immemorial. Coincidentally, the painting in the office of mysterious shrink Dr. Norman Roth may have something to say about the non-dualistic principles of reality and illusion. The painting in question is called Las Meninas, conceived by Spanish Golden Age painter Diego Velázquez in 1656. One of the most widely analyzed artworks in the Western classical canon, the painting plays with light and shadow while consciously creating distance between the art and its beholder.

There is a Japanese movie of the same name, but this movie was not a remake of the Japanese one. These two ventures are not related in any which way. However, the story has certain semblances with the CBS Radio Mystery Theater original episode ‘The Ides of March,’ which premiered decades ago in September 1975. However, the pills shown in the movie are not real. While as per the cinematic story, Dr. Norman Roth prescribes Linda lithium pills, the medications used for the filming purpose were only Tylenol. Considering all the aspects, the film weighs more towards the realm of fiction, but an emotive performance by Bullock makes the journey realistic.

Read More: Where Was Premonition Filmed?