In The Mood For A True-Crime Documentary? Here Are 10 Incredible Ones

Hi There Gang,

I don’t know about you guys, but there is nothing I enjoy more than a new True Crime Documentary Movie/ or Series hitting Netflix. I’m aware that sounds kind of macabre, but I feel like True-Crime is really having it’s “moment” these past few years. I think “Making a Murderer” back in 2015, really set the stage for what was to come. (For the record I 100% think Stephen Avery is guilty. I mean those CALLS he made to Teresa’s work prior, asking for her to be the photographer sent out??? Sketchy AF.

In the past 5 years or so, True-Crime has become quite the movement. Several incredible Podcasts came onto the scene.. like “My Favorite Murder”, “Crime Junkies”, “Dr. Death”, and the infamous “Serial”. (Also hundreds of other’s that I haven’t discovered yet). With this new interest in the True-Crime world.. people became hooked on Documentary-Style series like “The Staircase”, “Amanda Knox”, and literally like a THOUSAND separate series investigating the “Jon Benet” murder. (In my opinion it was clearly Burke).

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What was so addicting, and accessible about these series.. was the way they were all released at once, on streaming sites like Netflix. I remember when “Making a Murderer” came out in 2015, it was over the Christmas break.. and literally EVERYONE I knew (and had on social media) was watching it. This show, which came out of nowhere.. was all anyone could talk about. It kind of broke the weird taboo around talking (and enjoying discussing) True-Crime. It always felt a bit “off” to talk about those types of horrifying cases, (regardless of the fact when Jon Benet was killed.. her face was literally on every single magazine at the grocery store checkout). People have always been fascinated by True-Crime, and finally it was becoming a culturally normalized thing. This isn’t to say that these people who enjoyed watching it, were in any way lessening the horror and sadness of these crimes. If anything, this outpouring of interest in True-Crime helped police in several cases. People were becoming amateur detectives at home, and in some cases like Michelle McNamara.. were VITAL in helping solve famously unsolved cases.

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Over the last few years, I’ve watched probably every single one of these Documentary Series & Films.. and I’ve complied a list of the Top 10 (that I’ve watched recently). Some are brand new, some are older.. literally almost all of them are done with HBO (which seems to be the kingpin for True Crime). I won’t go too into the plot, because spoilers! I will say though.. that the final ten minutes of the HBO Documentary Series “The Jinx” rocked me so deeply.. I’ll probably never get over it. While it’s hard for me to “recommend” these, because of their upsetting subject matter.. I think they are incredibly important & that they have taken the media we consume to a more real level.

So without further ado

1.) “American Murder: The Family Next Door”

Currently Streaming on: Netflix

This is a case, that I actually remember seeing on the news not long ago. I remember being sickened by this case, especially once I saw the body-cam footage the police officers released. I think the most horrifying aspect of this crime & the film.. is literally watching real life evil happening. Absolute evil. I’m still quite shaken by the whole thing to be honest. This was a powerful Documentary, and it breaks a wall down that hasn’t really been explored before. Which is.. the Body-Cam footage. Being able to see the initial crime scene questioning, and to see everything as if you (the viewer) are the detective.. is weirdly & also horribly immersive.

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Netflix Plot Blurb

(American Murder: The Family Next Door is an American true crime documentary film directed by Jenny Popplewell. The film tells the story of the 2018 Watts family murders, which took place in Frederick, Colorado.)

2.) “Dear Zachary: A Letter To A Son About His Father”

Currently Available for Rent On: ITunes

This is a Documentary film from 2008, that I had never really heard much about. A blogger I follow recommended it, and I went in blind to it. I had no preconceived notions about the whole crime. This Documentary was filmed by Kurt Kuenne, who is close longtime friend of Andrew Bagby who was murdered. He set out to make this Documentary, so that Andrew’s child Zachary could one day know how incredible, and how deeply loved his Father was. He interviews family, friends, and a whole tapestry of people.. who all made up the fabric of Andrew’s life. It also delves into the reason Andrew was killed, and that’s hard enough to stomach. About 1/2 way into this film, it takes a sickening even worse turn that I could have never imagined. When I tell you this movie made me cry…. that seems like an understatement. This movie tore my heart out, and ripped it up into a million pieces. This is a fucking POWERFUL film, and it doesn’t hold back. Please please watch this.

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Google Plot Blurb

(In 2001, 28-year-old Dr. Andrew Bagby is found dead in a park in Pennsylvania. He had been shot by his ex-girlfriend, who then fled to Canada, where she was able to walk free on bail, pregnant with Andrew’s child. Andrew’s enraged parents campaign to gain custody of the child and convict their son’s killer. Filmmaker Kurt Kuenne pairs this story with home movies and interviews with those who knew Andrew, hoping to give his best friend’s son an opportunity to discover who his dad was.)

3.)”Don’t F**k With Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer

Currently Streaming on: Netflix

This Documentary film, is almost like two movies in one. It’s about a terrifying criminal, and also about a group of regular people who try as best as they can to catch him. This film poses a lot of big thoughts.. like is it always the “right” decision to take matters into your own hands, and act like a vigilante. Where is the line? This movie is hard to watch, and a major trigger warning for animal abuse/ as well as some hard to hear details in regards to the other crimes. The movie leaves you kind of questioning, what would you have done? Did they do the right thing in getting involved? Or did they provoke him somehow? You will see what I mean, once you’ve watched it.

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Google Plot Blurb

(A twisted criminal’s gruesome videos drive a group of amateur online sleuths to launch a risky manhunt that brings them into a dark underworld.)


4.) “Murder on Middle Beach”

Currently Streaming on: HBO (Crave)

This was an incredible Mini-Series, and it had a very personal hook. The series was filmed by First Time Film Director Madison Hamburg (who also happens to be the victim’s Son). Madison made this series, to find out what happened to his Mother.. who was Murdered in 2010).

This series unfolds in a very interesting way.. almost as if each episode is alluding to a different suspect or “reason” why this happened to his Mother. The series is at moments about his Mom, and who she was a a person, and as a daughter, sister, wife, and mother. It really humanizes her, and makes the knowledge of her murder even harder to find out. At other moments, this show ends up pointing the finger subtly at other members of the family…. and it’s fucking bold. Madison is brave as HELL. He asks family members to their faces if they “had anything to do with his Mother’s death”. He wears a wire in many scenes in police interviews, and even when talking with his Dad privately. It’s a very sad story, and his sorrow is so evident, that it’s very sad to watch. Yet I think he took a risk, and a risk that I believe will lead to the truth. He didn’t take no for an answer, and he asked a lot of hard questions to people in his life.. that could have ultimately hurt his relationships with them long-term. But the TRUTH is his endgame.

I found myself thinking one person was FOR SURE guilty one episode, and then the next totally shifting my suspicion. And I think that’s a reflection of how lost Madison felt making this Documentary. He must have been questioning everything too. That really came off on film.

Another bizarre aspect of this Docu-Series, is how it dives into the M.L.M world of “Gifting Tables”, which is basically “Multi Level Marketing”.. scams. The Gifting Tables stuff was WILD, and one of my favorite episodes. Also Madison Hamburg is a brilliant talent, and I’m sure we will see much more from him soon.

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Google Plot Blurb

(First-time filmmaker Madison Hamburg tries to solve his mother’s violent murder near her Connecticut home in 2010.)

5.) “Out Of Thin Air”

Currently Streaming on: Netflix

This is one of the most insane, atmospheric, and deeply confusing & frustrating.. wrongfully accused Documentary films I’ve ever seen. This case has famously been known as “The Reykjavik Confessions”. It’s a VERY fascinating case, that really examines the justice system.. and the horrors of interrogation, that sometime lead to false confessions. This was a really scary Documentary, because it’s an example of what could go horribly wrong, for innocent people.

I recommend checking out the book “The Reykjavik Confessions”. Here is the plot blurb!

(BASED ON THE CELEBRATED BBC NEWS INVESTIGATION)

‘gripping and bitingly cold… full of fine detail and outrage’ – Sunday Times

‘Gripping’ – Evening Standard


A true story of false memories.

β€˜Over decades and decades in Iceland people have gone missing without anyone finding anything out. They just sort of disappear…’

In 1974, 18-year-old Gudmundur disappears after a boozy night in a fishing town near Reykjavik. Eleven months later Geirfinnur, a quiet family man, goes missing from Keflavik harbour in the southwest of Iceland after being summoned by a mysterious phone call from home. Both men are eventually presumed dead, but their bodies are never found.

This quiet island is in an uproar – two disappearances with no forensics, no leads, no clue what has happened. Soon, the vanishings set in motion an almost surreal series of events, a remarkable tale of corruption, forced confession, false memory and madness that stretches over 40 years.

Based on author Simon Cox’s celebrated BBC News investigation, The Reykjavik Confessions is a chilling journey of discovery into a dark corner of Icelandic history, and a riveting true-crime thriller that will have you gripped until the very last page.)

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Google Plot Blurb

(A notorious murder case is picking up 40 years after six were convicted for two strange murders in Iceland, after doubt is cast on the original confessions.)

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6.) “The Imposter”

Currently Streaming on: Amazon Prime

This Documentary was chilling on SO manly levels. It was WILD. I don’t want to say anything else, because you 100% need to go in blind. It’s so insane, I’m not even sure how I WOULD describe it. It is truly one of the most terrifying real life things I’ve ever seen. So so creepy… if you’ve seen this…you know!

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Google Plot Blurb

(Filmmaker Bart Layton chronicles the tale of Frederic Bourdin, a con artist who seemingly tricked a Texas family into believing he was a relative who disappeared years earlier.)

7.) “The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst”

Currently Streaming On: HBO/ Crave

My #1 On This Whole List.. Because of THAT LAST TEN MINUTES

This 6-Part Documentary Series, was fucking incredible. I knew a lot about Robert Durst & all the drama surrounding his legal troubles. By legal troubles.. where to begin. He’s been accused of more than one murder, and he’s confessed to one! He’s also suspected of being a serial-killer. So yeah. it’s an interesting tale. He was suspected of killing his wife Kathy, who went missing in 1982. He was also suspected of killing his best friend Susan Berman. The murder that he DID confess to, was of his neighbor Morris Black. I will spare you the details, but what he did to the neighbor, in what he claims was “self defense” …. is honestly bone chilling & inhumane.

Also if you are interested in the Robert Durst case, there is movie called “All Good Things” starring Ryan Gosling & Kirsten Dunst.. and it’s really good!

I don’t want to give anything away, but they Interview Robert Durst himself…. and trust me you ARE NOT PREPARED for the last episode. I still think about those ten minutes all the time.

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Google Plot Blurb

(A groundbreaking six-part documentary directed and produced by Andrew Jarecki and produced and shot by Marc Smerling (the Oscar nominees behind `Capturing the Friedmans’). The story delves into the strange history of real estate heir Robert Durst, long suspected in the still-unsolved 1982 disappearance of his wife as well as the subsequent murders of family friend Susan Berman and neighbour Morris Black. It features an extended, revealing interview with Durst himself, with whom Jarecki developed a unique relationship following the release of `All Good Things’,’ Jarecki’s 2010 feature about Durst’s life starring Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst. `The Jinx’ results from nearly a decade of research by the filmmakers, who expose police files, key witnesses, never-before-seen footage, private prison recordings, and thousands of pages of formerly hidden documents.)

8.) “The Vow”

Currently Streaming on: Crave

Over the last year, I’ve been hearing tons of weird stuff about this “Vancouver based Sex Cult” called NXIVM. I didn’t know much about it, other than the horrible stories of the “Branding” that went on.. and the insidious cult it seemed to be. Also that random girl from “Smallville” was in it?

So going into this series, I didn’t know much at all. This was an incredibly interesting watch, not only because of the branding & sex-cult stuff… but mainly because of the survivors (people who escaped) stories. Hearing them describe the way they found themselves descending.. and giving into this “Cult”.. was very very fascinating. I believe all of these people (other than the corrupt predatory leaders) believed initially they were doing something good for themselves, by joining. They were pitched this idea of “bettering yourself, and reaching new heights in your career”. What they didn’t realize, was the way they were being sucked into a manipulative cult (similar in many ways to Scientology). This series was wild. What was so powerful, was the two main survivors who are the focus of the Documentary.. were at one point both “leaders” in this cult. Watching them describe their journey, and the moment they realized it was all lies.. was heartbreaking. They dedicated themselves to exposing NXIVM, and saving as many people as they could. I won’t tell you what happens, but lets just say… Mark & Sara made one hell of an impact. So proud of them.

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Google Plot Blurb

(Following the experiences of people deeply involved in the self-improvement group NXIVM, an organization under siege with charges including sex trafficking and racketeering conspiracy brought against its highest members and founder Keith Raniere.)

9.) “There’s Something Wrong With Aunt Diane”

Currently Streaming: On Crave (HBO)

This was a very interesting Documentary. It’s a tragic awful story, but it leaves a lot of questions. It’s confusing, and overall very ominous. It’s one of those weird situations, where a situation.. or in this case this accident, seems explainable enough. Except that it was VERY out of character.. and something was just “off”. Loved this one. If you guys have seen this, lets discuss.

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IMDB Plot Blurb

(This documentary explores the depth behind the case of a woman whose vehicle collision killed numerous people, including herself. Was she really the reckless drunk, or the perfect suburban mother?)

10.) “Who Killed Garrett Phillips”

Currently Streaming On: Crave (HBO)

This movie will make you question yourself and your societally ingrained assumptions. It packs a punch, and it’s an important one. This film scared me, because it shows the viewer how easy it is to just “believe” everything the media feeds us. It shows you how much a “rumor” or a false accusation can DESTROY a persons life. This was a really heartbreaking journey to witness, but I do believe some good with come out of this. It makes the viewer stop and think.. and the next time they hear “gossip” or assumptions about people, they might finally think twice.

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Google Plot Blurb

(The documentary examines and chronicles the years following the 2011 murder of 12-year-old Garrett Phillips and the subsequent trial of Clarkson University soccer coach Oral “Nick” Hillary.)

Thank you all so much for reading my little posts πŸ™‚

I see all the views you guys give me, from places like Ireland, Australia, Switzerland, India.. and so many other places. I can’t believe it πŸ™‚ I love connecting with you guys through my screen. I hope each and every one of you are doing ok & finding ways to be creative and happy.

Love Carly

xox

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Also my little sweater is from the Metropolitan Museum of Art Gift Shop (Online)

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