Review: American Murder: The Family Next Door

2 mins read

*Spoiler Warning*

Christopher Watts pleaded guilty to the murder of his 2 children and pregnant wife in November 2018.

The family were smothered and then buried under an industrial oil field and placed in oil tankers, where he worked on less than an hour away from their home.

For the next week, the police and public were led on wild goose-chase by Watts as he falsely pushed the idea that his family were missing, and a manhunt was organised to try and bring them home.

British filmmaker Jenny Popplewell moves away from your usual whodunnit true crime documentary in order to form a film that provides a haunting take on the crime which shook the Watts Family.

American Murder shifts the tone of a traditional true crime documentary, there is no sensationalism, it is raw, emotional, and terrifying.

This is the opposite of the Dr Phil interviews and the lifetime movie (which was not authorized by the family) which were quite over the top and dramatized, aiming for shock value mainly.

The majority of the documentary comes from Facebook videos, text messages and police body cam footage.

During the beginning of the documentary, this new way of showing the information was difficult to wrap your head around. Though as time went on it became clear this was the best way to display all of the information, the whole film felt raw and disturbing, seeing the personal relationships also as if it was told by the victim themselves.

With this it not only goes into the details of the murder but shows how social media is deceptive when it comes to what is actually happening in people’s relationships/life. It shows how domestic violence affects everyone and what occurs behind closed doors.

Popplewell has created an amazing piece that I can’t not recommend. It is not easy going, but it is something that every true crime fan should definitely give a go!

Feature Image: Netflix

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