Is Lifetime’s Murder Runs in the Family Inspired by an Actual Story?

Originally titled ‘Finding A Killer,’ Lifetime’s ‘Murder Runs in the Family’ has been directed by Kyle Cooper and Jason Wan Lim. The crime thriller film revolves around Wren Williams, who, after witnessing a murder in her family, is forced to step into the shoes of an investigator. After her stepmother dies in a bathtub while Wren is away, she starts learning more details about how complicated her family is. She has to deal with weird neighbors, half-siblings Kayla and Brody, who seem unusual and her father, Paul.

As more secrets are uncovered, Wren starts suspecting her father of the murder since her birth mother also died mysteriously in a similar manner, with Paul acting as the obvious connection between these two incidents. There’s definitely more to the story, and to confirm her suspicions, Wren needs to do everything she can. Starring Laura Lieben, Bryan J. McHale and Joshua Earl Brennand, this is another murder mystery very close to the family. It’s not unusual for the perpetrator of a serious crime to be someone known to the victim, which makes us curious about whether this could be a real true crime story we come across on a daily basis.

Murder Runs in the Family is Not Based on a True Story

‘Murder Runs in the Family’ is based on an original script by Lauren Greenwood, with all the elements of a chilling thriller to keep you on the edge. While fictional, the story unravels from the perspective of the protagonist, highlighting suspicions anyone might have when they’re faced with a situation like this. The movie is all about complicated family dynamics, where Wren is forced to doubt her father and many others involved to uncover a mystery. With the untimely deaths of her biological and adoptive mother in a similar manner, it would be hard for anyone not to question the absurdity of the situation to get to the bottom of the real story.

Such themes aren’t exactly unheard of. In fact, a real-life case comes to mind of a Colorado man who was convicted for the murder of his second wife, and an investigation was conducted to learn of his involvement in the death of his first wife as well. Harold Henthorn allegedly killed his first wife, Lynn, when they were together but passed it off to anyone who asked as a terrible car accident. But when his second wife, Toni Bertolet, died after falling from a cliff near Rocky Mountain National Park, Henthorn’s role was investigated. All his testimonies seemed inconsistent, and it was eventually found out that he did push Toni to her death. This shows that even fictional stories like this film can be very similar to real-life incidents.

These elements are also the focus of some films that address the issue of a man murdering his wives. While they don’t focus on the daughter’s point of view, they discuss similar themes of what leads a man to murder his partner. One example is the 2009 film ‘Bluebeard,’ which is based on a folk tale but centres around a man who consistently marries and kills his wives. Another similar film is ‘The Stepfather,’ which follows similar themes of murder within the family, but in this case, he moves one step further and kills even the children of his wives if the marriage doesn’t work out. This highlights how popular such themes are, even if they don’t find an exact replication in true crime stories.  

Read More: Is Lifetime’s Secrets of My Stepdaughter Based on an Actual Murder?