In November, 2018, the Colorado resident Christopher Watts pleaded responsible to murdering his pregnant spouse, Shanann, and their two daughters, then disposing of the our bodies in an industrial oil area close to their suburban house. It’s exactly the type of ugly story of a seemingly idyllic American household that evokes prime time information specials and true crime obsessions. What adopted have been televised exposés, Dr. Phil interviews and even a dramatized Lifetime movie. The new Netflix documentary “American Homicide: The Household Subsequent Door,” licensed by the victims’ household, takes a much less sensational strategy, offering one thing extra haunting and looking concerning the story.
The movie’s energy rests within the British filmmaker Jenny Popplewell’s resolution to eschew the standard type of the televised crime documentary — the datelines, the dramatic narrator and emotional interviews — to assemble a story completely out of archival footage. Shanann’s incessant social media updates, her video confessionals and textual content messages along with her husband kind the central materials of the movie’s narrative. These components finally collide with police physique digicam footage and polygraph surveillance video of Christopher’s confession. The result’s a movie that feels eerily intimate but additionally expansive sufficient to replicate the space between the web efficiency of a cheerful marriage and the devastating fact of a relationship’s unraveling.
I’ve struggled with this style of storytelling and whether or not the voyeuristic attraction of such ugly tragedy justifies the watching. However Popplewell’s movie presents the Watts story as greater than a criminal offense story. It’s a thematic movie about marriage and the deception of social media, in addition to a piercing examination of home violence constructed with care and plain craft.
American Homicide: The Household Subsequent Door
Not rated. Operating time: 1 hour 22 minutes. Watch on Netflix.