The Afflicted: Is the 2011 Movie Based on Real Horror Events?

‘The Afflicted’ is a horror thriller film that revolves around Maggie, a single mother who constantly abuses her four children after the death of their father. In her bid to control them, Maggie keeps the children isolated from the rest of society and does everything she can to make them believe that what is happening to them is normal and in line with religious beliefs and practices.

Directed by Jason Stoddard, the 2011 film features Leslie Easterbrook, Kane Hodder, Cody Allen, Michele Grey Hartsoe, Sims Holland, and Randi Jones in the leading roles. The abuse the children face at the hands of their mother is too brutal and realistic, and the unease it creates is enough for anybody not to wonder whether it’s linked to a real-life incident. Worry not, for we have the answers for you!

The Afflicted Echoes a True Horror Story

Yes, ‘The Afflicted’ is inspired by a true story. Penned by director James Stoddard himself, the film is based on the crimes of Theresa Knorr, who murdered her husband in 1964, two of her children in the 1980s, and tortured the rest. All of this has been chronicled in the 1995 book ‘Mother’s Day’ by Dennis McDougal. Though the film’s premise is based on real-life crimes committed by one woman, it is in no way a biographical account. In fact, the film hardly stays true to the original story except for its basic structure.

The first and foremost change that has been made in the film is the character names. None of the character names match those of their real-life counterparts. Another important aspect that is different in the film is that Maggie is shown having four children, while in fact, Theresa Knorr had six. ‘The Afflicted’ does, however, recreate the crimes that Theresa Knorr committed against and using her children with startling accuracy, albeit in a condensed timeline.

Other facets of the true story that are presented differently in the film include the murder of Maggie’s husband at her own hands and the aftermath, as well as the violent conclusion of ‘The Afflicted’ that will certainly leave the audience shocked. The film is carried forward in part by Leslie Easterbrook, who plays a very convincing deranged Maggie. The way she goes from screaming at her children to a conspiratorial whisper like they are all in on some grand plan is extremely chilling.

Leslie opened up about the character of Maggie in a behind-the-scenes video, saying, “I played such a dark character and the thing I like the best about the character is that she’s complicated. I mean, she probably does love her children and she was quite a good mother at one time; maybe not the most stable but I got to do it like a crazy woman!” At its core, ‘The Afflicted’ is a harrowing account of abuse and does not pretend to be anything other than that.

Loosely based on a true story, it is not meant for anybody’s entertainment but acts as a warning and a reminder instead — a warning to society at large that even though it might not take place in front of them, domestic abuse whether between partners or directed towards children is a very real and prevailing issue. And it is a reminder to believe the victims of abuse, despite their age or gender; something that did not happen in ‘The Afflicted’ or in the real-life case of Theresa Knorr and her many atrocities towards her children.

Read More: Where is Theresa Knorr Now?