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Friday, January 21, 2022

The best true crime documentary films and series to watch on Netflix


Can’t find anything to watch on TV? These Netflix films and shows will have you thinking you can solve a crime. 

Admit it. We’ve all fallen through the rabbit hole of watching true crime videos on YouTube. What may have started as innocent curiosity has probably led to nights of insomnia trying to decipher unsolved crimes and cold cases you read about online.

If you’re wondering whether or not you should be worried about this new, and perhaps odd, obsession, worry no longer. There are reasons that regular people might find themselves drawn to stories of true crime.

Forensic psychologists have explained the reasons behind the popularity of the genre. Evil fascinates us, and we have an itching need to understand why people commit heinous acts.

Some psychologists even believe that fixations on this genre may even help us feel prepared should we find ourselves in dangerous situations. It could also simply be because we can’t keep our eyes off of the horror.

Whatever your excuse might be, here are the top 10 true crime documentary films and series on Netflix to satisfy your cravings.

Trigger warning: these series and films may include depictions of violence, death, and sexual abuse.

Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes

Starting off strong with this four-episode mini docuseries that has made Ted Bundy a household name in the world of true crime.

Bundy was one of America’s most prolific serial killers. He was convicted in the deaths of over 30 women, before finally getting caught in 1978.

While he was executed in 1989, the fascination with Bundy lives on 32 years after his death.

The docuseries, Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes, invites watchers to step into the mind of the criminal known as the “Jack Ripper of the United States.” It features archival footage and audio recordings of Bundy that were made while he was on death row.

Amanda Knox

The story of Amanda Knox may be the ultimate tale of ‘wrong place, wrong time.’

This 2016 Netflix documentary follows the story of Amanda Knox, who was an American exchange student studying in an Italian city. In 2007, Knox’s roommate, a fellow exchange student by the name of Meredith Kercher, was found dead on her bedroom floor.

Knox was consequently charged with murder. The documentary comprises of a series of interviews with Knox following the trials that changed her life.

The Sons Of Sam: A Descent Into Darkness

The infamous 1970s hunt for David Richard Berkowitz, the ‘Son of Sam’ killer, took the world by storm. It was the biggest police manhunt in the history of New York City, and Berkowit’z killing spree, which took the lives of 6 people, left New Yorkers in a state of terror.

This four-part Netflix docuseries explores what may be hidden in the case of the Son of Sam, the infamous serial killer who claimed to have received orders from a 6,000-year-old demon residing in his neighbour’s dog.

It follows the work of late journalist and Ultimate Evil author Maury Terry’s, and his quest to find evidence that Berkowitz had not acted alone.

Terry had spent decades attempting to prove that the serial killer’s murders went deeper than what was public knowledge, and his pursuit of that truth would eventually cost him everything.

Don’t F**k With Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer

This thrilling docuseries details the gruesome nature of a widely publicised series of crimes that, with the help of plain folks and the internet, were ultimately solved.

Don’t F**k With Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer features a group of online amateur investigators who stumble upon one disturbing video.

Little did they know, that video would only be the start to a massive online investigation into a criminal whose activities escalated beyond imagination.

Abducted in Plain Sight

If you’re looking to develop severe trust issues, look no further. Stepping away from the murder genre, the chilling Netflix documentary film ‘Abducted in Plain Sight’ teaches us that we can never completely trust those around us, even the ones closest to us.

The film tells the story of the kidnappings of Jan Broberg Felt, a teenager in Idaho who was abducted by her neighbour and close family friend Robert Berchtold in the 1970s on two different occasions.

The heartbreaking documentary features a series of interviews from the Felt family, including recounts from Jan herself. Viewer discretion is advised as this film features themes of pedophilia, Stockholm syndrome and grooming.

Tell Me Who I Am

This documentary film is a retelling of a true story. In 1982, a man by the name of Alex Lewis woke up from a three-month coma after a motorcycle crash and could not remember a single thing about his life.

His identical twin brother, Marcus, is then presented with the task of painting a perfect happy life for Alex, as he shares many of his brother’s memories. Alex trusts his brother to tell him all about his life that he can no longer recall.

In ‘Tell Me Who I Am,’ it is revealed that a deep and dark secret about their childhood lies within the perfect world Marcus created for his brother.

The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann

Growing up in the early 2000s, you’ve most definitely heard or read about the case of Madeleine McCann.

In 2007, while on vacation with her family, four-year-old McCann disappeared from her bed in a holiday apartment in Portugal. The McCann case has been called the most heavily reported missing-person case in modern history.

14 years later, her family still hang onto hope that their daughter is out there and alive. The Netflix limited series takes a deeper look into one of the world’s most famous disappearance cases.

This Is A Robbery: The World’s Biggest Art Heist

Here’s a documentary series that will have you wondering how the criminals could pull this off.

In the early morning of March 18, 1990, thirteen works of valuable art were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.

The perpetrators dressed as police officers and were given access to the museum on the pretence of responding to a call. The they tied the museum guards up and stole the artworks.

‘This is a Robbery’ takes a deeper dive into the unsolved crime that still has seen no arrests, no sign of the missing artworks, and a $10 million reward from the museum for information – the largest bounty ever offered by a private institution.

Wild, Wild Country

This one is for those who have a deep fascination with cults. Wild, Wild Country is set to take you on a wild, wild ride.

Centred around an outspoken Indian guru who built a civilisation with its own police, airport and economy in a barren US desert, Wild Wild Country is a Netflix docuseries that explores the Baghwan Shree Rajneesh, also known as Osho, and his rise as an infamous cult leader of the Rajneesh movement.

As hundreds of thousands of spellbound followers flock into the Oregon desert to be closer to their leader, conflicts with the local ranchers escalate and the movement results in  the first case of a bio terror attack in US history, as well as illegal large-scale wiretapping operations.

Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel

The Cecil Hotel is a cult landmark in the world of true crime which was made infamous by the mysterious death of 21-year-old Elisa Lam in 2013.

This hotel is plagued with mystery, from at least 16 unexplained and disturbing deaths within the hotel’s walls, to even being home to infamous serial killer Richard Ramirez.

The Cecil Hotel has been described as ‘hell on earth,’ with many believing the ghosts haunt the establishment’s halls.

Find out more about the mysterious hotel’s past in this four part Netflix miniseries.

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