Disappearance at Clifton Hill is Based on a true kidnapping

Disappearance at Clifton Hill

Netflix is responding to a loss of viewership by flooding its catalog with unmissable content, including the thriller Disappearance at Clifton Hill. It follows Abby, a woman who’s returned home to Niagara Falls, Ontario, to run a family-owned motel called The Rainbow. She remembers witnessing the abduction of a one-eyed boy and starts investigating. 

The official narrative is that the boy committed suicide by jumping over Niagara Falls, but this story has a problem – they never found the body. She hooks up with a local conspiracy theorist to look for answers, and in the course of their investigation, she crosses paths with a one-eyed stranger who might be the lost boy. 

The fictional film is based on a real abduction the director thinks he saw

Albert Shin co-wrote and directed Disappearance at Clifton Hill. Shin told NowToronto.com that he based it on an abduction of a young boy he witnessed:

“What I did see for sure was a guy take a boy, throw him in the trunk and beat him with a tire iron. To this day it’s seared in my head. He was saying something like, ‘Shut the fuck up or I’ll beat you again.’ He slammed the trunk and then drove off.”

As the years rolled by, Shin started questioning whether he really witnessed the abduction of a child. “I don’t even know if I just made that story up,” he said. 

Shin remembered where the alleged kidnapping took place, but he wasn’t so sure about the details, so he decided to write a script about it. He continued:

“I have all these vivid memories of this thing. I could trace it back to a place. But I don’t know if I actually saw anything, which made it more interesting for me to write about it and craft a whole story about a pathological liar.”

The production team faced resistance from locals when filming

Shin’s parents owned a motel near Niagara Falls, but he never ran it. He based the film in Niagara Falls, incorporating all his childhood memories. 

He aimed to ‘make Niagara Falls as cool, interesting and mysterious as I remember it growing up.’ However, locals weren’t happy with the film, claiming that it would paint the city and its people negatively. Shin said:

“There were certain people in the city that would rather us not have been there. We tried to be as low-key as possible.”