‘Unwelcome’ is a horror film directed by Jon Wright. It stars Hannah John-Kamen (‘Brave New World‘), Douglas Booth (‘My Salinger Year‘), Jamie-Lee O’Donnell, Colm Meaney, and Kristian Nairn in the lead roles. It tells the story of a young couple, Maya and Jamie, who move to the Irish countryside to live a quiet life. However, their life soon turns upside down when they discover the presence of terrifying creatures in the woods. Given the movie’s scary narrative and complex themes, viewers must be curious to learn about its inspiration. If you are wondering whether ‘Unwelcome’ is based on a true story, here is everything you need to know!
Is Unwelcome a True Story?
No, ‘Unwelcome’ is not based on a true story. The film is based on an original story co-written by director Jon Wright alongside writer Mark Stay with the latter receiving the screenplay by credit in the final film. It tells the fictional story of a couple encountering sinister creatures in the Irish countryside. However, since the movie is not based on real events, viewers need not lose sleep over the possibility of the horrifying creatures running around in the real world. Instead, the movie is based on folklore, and director Jon Wright opened up about the story’s conceptualization in an interview. Wright explained that the film’s basic idea stemmed from a discussion about violence with his writing partner Mark Stay.
The duo sought to explore how people tend to become violent when their children are threatened, which became the character arc for Maya in the story. However, the film also draws inspiration from horror tropes, folklore, and mythology. In an interview with Empire Online, Wright spoke about the movie’s folklore influences. Wright revealed that as a child, he enjoyed reading the Grimm Fairytales by German academics Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. He also heard stories of fairies from his Irish grandfather, which inspired him to draw from his native culture and folklore while crafting the movie. As a result, Wright resorted to using murderous goblins called Redcaps, from Anglo-Scottish folklore, as the primary source of horror in the movie.
“These aren’t nice goblins; these are nasty goblins. The Redcap myth is that they kill their victims and then dip their cap(s) in their blood. They’re malevolent, but they also have a sense of glee. So when they do terrible things, they really enjoy it. There’s no remorse or guilt there; they take a lot of pleasure in it,” Wright said, explaining the nature of the Redcaps. However, Wright also highlighted that the movie’s primary theme revolves around an urban, liberal couple getting back in touch with their primal selves. The same is represented through the violence Maya and Jamie are subjected to in the Irish countryside.
In the same interview, Wright also explained that he drew inspiration from classic creature horror and home invasion movies such as ‘Gremlins’ and ‘Straw Dogs.’ However, he also wanted to create a more modern horror movie with deeper themes and cited ‘Hereditary,’ ‘It Follows,’ and ‘The Witch’ as influences on ‘Unwelcome.’ “Unwelcome is in the vein of these modern horrors where we can get into these more interesting themes and subjects, like the politics of English people turning up and living in this big house in Ireland. We explore that quite a bit,” Wright said.
Ultimately, ‘Unwelcome’ is not based on a true story. Instead, this fictional story draws inspiration from classic fairytales and Anglo-Scottish folklore. However, it also borrows tropes from classic movies in the creature horror and home invasion sub-genres. The movie also explores the fundamental nature of humanity’s relationship with violence and its primal nature. Hence, the movie delivers a realistic exploration of human behavior despite the fantasy and horror elements.
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