The all-too-common “based on a true story” title card that fades onto the screen ahead of the opening credits in so many horror films has rendered such claims pretty dubious, to say the least. But, if Swedish filmmakers’ Tord Danielsson and Oskar Mellander’s inspirations for their debut horror movie, THE EVIL NEXT DOOR are anything to go by, this arrantly used opening statement might just hold a lot more truth than we’ve come to expect:
“A couple of years ago we came in contact with a family who claimed to have experienced something very scary and paranormal in 2014,” says Danielson. “According to them, some kind of entity had tried to take their child. This all started with them moving into a new home. And it all ended when they decided to move out. The mother of the family was first accused by the husband for being responsible for the injuries on the child. But when the husband himself experienced events that couldn’t be explained he also came to believe that “something” was haunting the family. The family wishes to remain anonymous.”
On writing and directing the film, the duo took it for granted that the project would probably end up getting shown on Swedish television at best. But they couldn’t have been more wrong as it ended up screening in Swedish cinemas last year and also releases today, 25 June in theatres and on demand in the US.
Based on the aforementioned “true story,” THE EVIL NEXT DOOR follows Shirin, a woman new to her stepmom role, who moves into a duplex with her partner, Fredrik, and his son, Lucas. The new home feels like the right place to start becoming a family. But when Fredrik leaves for work, strange things are heard from the other, uninhabited side. Also, who is Lucas’ new friend?
To celebrate the film’s release, SCREAM sat down with Danielsson and Mellander to find out just how closely the film mirrors the true events it was inspired by and what it was like working with one of the most prolific names in the horror industry right now, “Twisty” Troy James…
Words: Howard Gorman