Author: Ellie Marino
American Murder: The Family Next Door
Fair warning, you’ll never want to get married after watching this one. I remember seeing this case in the news a couple years ago so my interest was already piqued when I saw this on Netflix. But the more details I learned through this documentary, the more fascinated I was with this case. It was perfectly paced, and extremely unsettling. Also, I think this is the only documentary on my list, the rest were limited docu-series; so if you’re looking for a quicker watch, this is your best choice!
Overall Rating: 10/10
The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
Okay so this one is technically a dramatized version of the Versace case, but it sticks really closely to the actual details of the case so I’m still classifying it as “true crime”. This series was extremely well-made, and I love all of the creative liberties they took. For example, this series is chronologically reversed, which only enhanced the story. In addition, this series does an amazing job of telling the story from different perspectives, and at times you’ll catch yourself truly sympathizing with Andrew Cunanan, the serial killer. It was amazingly well-done, and I was hooked throughout the entire show.
Overall Rating: 9.5/10
The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story
Like The Assassination of Gianni Versace, this is also technically a dramatized version of the OJ case, but once again I’m including it. This one is on the longer end of this list, with ten episodes, each about 45 minutes long. That being said, it is TOTALLY worth the watch time. It’s so detailed and it does a really good job of keeping your interest. I think the casting in this was really spot-on too. And it gets bonus points because now whenever older adults mention the OJ case, I can keep up. Overall it was a great series, I highly recommend it.
Overall Rating: 9/10
Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich
If “ignorance is bliss” is your type of mindset, don’t watch this one. So intriguing but so disturbing. It definitely makes you feel repulsed and uncomfortable but I suppose that's the point. There are so! many! creeps! This documentary not only exposes Epstein’s wicked behavior, but also that of many other rich and powerful people. Epstein’s empire was a web of evil genius and its intricacy just makes it that much more disturbing. I highly recommend this one, but it's definitely a harsh dose of pedophilia so proceed with caution.
Overall rating: 8/10
Don’t F**k With Cats: Hunting An Internet Killer
Another good docu-series that keeps you hooked. This one is unique because it's told from the perspective of internet sleuths rather than that of law enforcement. It was kind of a slow burn but the dedication of people from all around the world to finding one person was so fascinating to watch. Oh, and the ending was super unsettling.
Overall Rating: 6.5/10
This one is a small-town murder that extends far deeper than anyone would have thought at first glance. It was a really interesting story with lots of unexpected twists and turns. At the same time, lots of dead ends and irrelevant information was presented, and I think it weakened the series as a whole. It just felt a little bogged down with clunky details and irrelevant leads, and sometimes episodes seemed to just be recaps of previously presented information. But overall I’d still recommend it.
Overall Rating: 5.5/10
Night Stalker: The Hunt For A Serial Killer
A very interesting case but I think that the documentary fell flat. Kind of the reverse of the Keepers documentary, I felt like this one was too fast-paced. They breezed through the details of most of the individual crimes. For this reason, I never feel super invested in this series, which is such a shame because there was so much crazy material for this documentary to further explore. Also this one was unnecessarily graphic so if you don’t like seeing messy crime scenes, don’t watch this one.
Overall Rating: 3.5/10
Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel
The actual Elisa Lam case is so interesting but just like the Night Stalker, this documentary falls short of its full potential. The series as a whole was really good but the ending was both abrupt and unexpected. It kind of ruined the whole vibe they had going up until that point. But even without the case of Elisa Lam, the Cecil Hotel is creepy enough on its own to warrant a documentary. Worth watching for the Cecil.
Overall Rating: 3/10