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5 Netflix Original Crime Documentaries You Need To Watch!

by Muhammad Hamza Shah about a year ago in tv review
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Get Your PJ's On & Climb Aboard The Documentary Train

Man, don't you just love Netflix and its shiny new collection of titles to binge on. If you're anything like me, every once in a while, you might find yourself scouring the site for something spooky to watch. Unfortunately, when such a need arises, we instinctively opt for horror films to satiate our visual appetite. Consequently, documentaries get overlooked as a viable option, seemingly intended for a certain sophisticated audience.

Now I know what some of you movie buffs might be wondering - aren't most horror films based on true stories anyways, why do I need to watch these prosaic documentaries instead? And while that might be true to some extent, you need to factor in how films can mask the actual story. Sensationalizing a few details increases their appeal to the audience and films rake in millions owing to this synthetic "wow" factor. Conversely, documentaries lay out the facts in a straightforward manner and let you form your own opinions.

(Here, I should probably point out that I am not discrediting all the work directors put into making these films and I thoroughly enjoy watching them from time to time, it's just that I have a real propensity for the unimaginary)

Okay... so I got to stop rambling now or else some of you might click off. Without any further ado, here are my top picks:

1. Confessions With A Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes

Ted Bundy's prolific serial killing habits were in stark contrast to a typical murderer - he was soft-spoken, well-educated and used his alluring nature to attract unsuspecting victims. There were no brazen attempts at killing women, everything was done systematically and from a vulnerable place (he usually had a cast on, or used crutches to walk when approaching his victims). Furthermore, Bundy had worked in the sphere of politics and felt somewhat invincible, often having no qualms about returning to the bodies he had dumped. In fact, forensic psychologists have attempted to explain why this case garnered widespread attention, often chalking it up to Bundy's rapidly fluctuating personality. How is it that someone can be such a gentleman during the day and quickly transform into a menacing killer by night? If you are looking for the answer, this documentary explains just that!

2. Casting JonBenét

It's hard to explain why most people harbour a bizarre fixation with the JonBenet Ramsey case. Perhaps, it's the age of the victim or the brutality of the crime itself, nobody really knows why it continues to bewilder us. In my case, I believe it's the range of possible suspects that initially piqued my interest. Sadly, with thousands of theories being peddled out by detectives and true crime enthusiasts every year, it's easy to lose track of what's plausible. Casting JonBenet adopts a unique approach by hiring actors who play these suspects for us, making their case as to why they can't be the killer. Therefore, you can grab yourself a notebook and channel your inner Holmes for this one (because trust me, you will need to!)

3. American Murder: The Family Next Door

Shannan Watts seems to be living the American dream, with a house in Colorado suburbs, two beautiful daughters and a doting husband, her life is on the right track. But under this veil of perfection, something sinister seems to be brewing as Shannan and her daughters disappear under murky circumstances. Her husband, Chris Watts, is devastated at the loss of his family and makes a nationwide televised appeal for any information regarding their whereabouts. What happens next baffles everybody as the world reels in shock, unable to process whether anybody could be so cold-hearted.

4. Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez

There is no telling how athletes express their aggression outside the field, especially when you consider the frustrating nature of their livelihood. Regrettably, Aaron Hernandez let this anger get the best of him as he shot Odin Lloyd to death and received a life sentence for the crime less than 2 years later. Nevertheless, the sheer extent of his quick downfall compelled Netflix to explore Aaron's life in great detail (including his upbringing and the meteoric rise to fame in American football). From reported sexual molestation at the age of six to claims of homosexuality in high school, no stone was left unturned. Moreover, the relevance of CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy) in encouraging violent behaviour was also investigated. All in all, if you are a football fan, this might just be your cup of tea.

5. Don't F**k With Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer

I believe it was Stephen Hawking who said "We are now connected by the Internet, like neurons in a giant brain". Interestingly, this documentary demonstrates just how right he was as we witness internet sleuths successfully locate kitten killer, Luka Magnotta. By the time authorities caught up to him, he had already moved onto a human victim, Jun Lin. What unravels next spanned two continents and saw Luka evade justice every time somebody got close. Eventually, he is caught and extradited back to Canada before receiving a life sentence for Lin's murder. On account of this, "Don't F**k With Cats" serves as a great lesson to those who believe the internet isn't patrolled like the streets.


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tv review

About the author

Muhammad Hamza Shah

Medical Student | Trying to discover my forte in writing while snoozing over lofty medical textbooks.

Instagram: @anatomical.medic

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