Is the Swedish film “The Abyss” based on a true story?

The Abyss is a 2023 disaster thriller film, directed and co-written by Richard Holm with Robin Sherlock Holm and Nicola Sinclair.

This Swedish film tells the story of a woman named Frigga who faces a difficult choice.

By day, she works as a security guard at the biggest mine in the world, which also happens to be located right under her town!

But when the ground starts to rumble and buildings begin to crack, Frigga’s family is put in danger. Will she be able to save them? Read on to find out more about this exciting movie!

Is The Abyss based on a true story?

No, the movie ‘The Abyss’ is not based on a true story but it is set in the real town of Kiruna which has a big iron ore mine. The movie also says at the beginning that a massive earthquake occured in May 2020 because of excavation.

The Abyss true story netflix

At that time of this incident, 13 miners were working in the sinking town, but no injuries occurred. The mine has been operational since the late 1800s and such kind of incidents are quite common there.

While some details about Kiruna are real, the main events about the trapped miners and giant crater are not true events that occurred. So, The Abyss is an imaginary thriller movie, not a true story.

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The Kiruna Disaster Explained

Kiruna is a remote Arctic mining town built directly into the side of a mountain. The continent’s largest iron ore deposit sits right beneath it, stretching over 2,500 feet deep and containing over 1 billion tons of ore.

Mining here is crucial for Sweden’s economy yet extremely hazardous. The constant drilling and dynamiting leaves the tunnels and caverns unstable, prone to cave-ins and quakes.

The Abyss movie true story explained
Courtsey of Netflix

Safety standards lower the risks but trouble is always lurking in a pitch-black world surrounded by million of tons of precarious rock.

It was a frigid summer day when a group of miners descended deep underground, more than one mile into the depths of the Kiruna iron ore mine.

Miles below the surface, a deafening crack rang out – then utter silence. An unexpected seismic event had caused the mine tunnels to collapse, trapping the workers inside.

When the explosion suddenly tears through the mine, shockwaves violently shaking the tunnels, the theater fills with horrified gasps.

An avalanche of debris hurtles towards the miners and their terror is palpable. Then silence. The dust settles to reveal a solid wall of rock blocking the tunnel. In an instant, 13 men were trapped in darkness.

Their helmet lamps flicker to life revealing the scope of the disaster. One tunnel partially held but the way out has vanished, tons of rubble in every direction.

With dwindling oxygen, they huddle amidst the dust and rubble, faces illuminated by headlamps, despair growing on their faces.

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Up on the surface, local emergency crews quickly scramble into action. As word spreads through the small mining community, panic and grief begin to ripple.

In emotional scenes, we see tears and shock as wives, mothers and children refuse to give up hope. What follows is an arduous two-week rescue operation Working around the clock, crews drill small bore holes down thousands of feet towards zones where survivors might have gathered.

People running after Kiruna disaster in The Abyss Swedish film
Courtsey of Netflix

To save the group of 13 trapped in one cavern, rescuers must carve a tunnel laterally through the granite without compromising the precarious cave-in zone.

Meanwhile, underground tensions mount amongst the miners as aftershocks continue to jar more debris loose. Food runs scarce and deadly gases accumulate. When a fire breaks out, their situation turns dire.

Director James Cameron has done an excellent job in depicting those horrendous and emotional scenes in The Abyss.

Claustrophobic shots place us alongside the panicking men who must now battle flames and fumes with just a few precious gas masks between them.

Cameron said, he wants viewers to feel the oppressive stone above, experience each violent tremor that unsettles a deadly hail of rubble. Critics call these scenes some of the most intense footage in any disaster film.

The Abyss Netflix Ending Explained

The emotional climax of The Abyss comes when rescuers finally bore an escape tunnel that intersects the miner’s cavern.

We see the camera pass through the hole, dusty miners stumbling towards the lens, and their haunted eyes overwhelmed by emotion.

Scenes of survivors reuniting with their sobbing families have left no audience member untouched. Hopefully, no casualties were reported.

The movie ends with a memorial for those whose lives were claimed so others might profit. We pan across the faces of widows, as a folk song sung in Sami, the native language of Swedish Laplanders, rings across the Arctic wasteland.

While a disaster film at its core, “The Abyss” sheds light on the exploitative nature of Sweden’s extensive mining industry. Driven by profit yet buried by risk, the chilling events remain all too real for the Kiruna locals.

Yet the incredible rescue also highlights how hope and perseverance can triumph even in life’s darkest depths. This unforgettable Swedish film brings home the full spectrum of tragedy, survival, grief and redemption swirling within the true abyss.

The Abyss is currently streaming on Netflix.

Lakshya Kaushik

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