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Is Netflix’s Signs Based on a True Story?

July 22, 2020
3 min read

A beautiful setup, intriguing characters, and some clichéd yet entertaining crime drama—all these together make Netflix ‘Signs’ a wholly enjoyable eight-part series. Its plot revolves around the lives of several morally ambiguous residents of a small town whose lives start changing after the murder of a young girl. When investigators deduce the similarities between this murder and another one that took place almost a decade ago, Commissioner Michal Trela takes it upon himself to put this killer to rest. Little does he realize that this investigation will hit much closer to home than he had initially anticipated.

At times, the riveting, edge-of-seat crime drama of the series feels far too real. So in case, you’re wondering where it draws its inspiration from, here’s everything you need to know.

Is Signs a True Story?

No, ‘Signs’ is not based on a true story, but it does draw its inspiration from a real-life crime. As you may already know, the show’s thrilling plot unfolds in a small town located in Poland’s Owl Mountains. In an interview, Jakub Miszczak, the director of the series, revealed that one of his screenwriters, Błażej Przygodzki, was well versed with geography of the mountains and even wanted to write a book about the location. So, in some ways, his knowledge and expertise surrounding the area translated into the storyline of the series. Adding to this, the Owl Mountains also have immense historical significance. During World War II, the Nazi German government had driven a vast tunnel system through these mountains. While some parts of this tunnel system are open to tourists, others still hold unknown mysteries. The show has a subplot that explores the dark history of this tunnel through its fictional storyline. By doing this, it also makes the location a character in itself.

Jakub Miszczak also added that the starting point for the show’s plot was an actual murder that took place in the mysterious Owl Mountains. As recounted by the director, two students were killed in an Owl Mountian Town, and even to this day, their case remains unsolved. But even after drawing inspiration from this real-life mystery, the director avoided digging too deep into it. To ensure that his series in no way harmed the affected families, he made significant changes to the show’s story. But along with that, he just took a few trivial aspects of the actual incident to make the show look a lot more realistic, especially the parts where it portrays the different stages of a police investigation.

The show’s subtle atmospheric build-up adds more heft to its overall sense of realism. Furthermore, the series also has several consequential elements in its character developments and even in its overarching police investigation process. All of these together create an immersive experience and allow viewers to become amateur sleuths themselves.

Read More: Is Netflix’s The Woods Based on a True Story?

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