“American Murder” Trailer Puts a Twist on the True Crime Doc

For all but the most obsessive fans, true crime documentaries have gotten a little stale in recent years. There's only so many times you can see drone shots of trees and false cliffhangers stretching the story out beyond its limits to keep viewers binging.

But American Murder: The Family Next Door takes a different style to tell its story that gripped the nation for weeks. Exclusively using archival footage, director Jenny Popplewell sifted through Facebook posts, body cam footage, and home videos to make this documentary. What began as a desperate search for Shannan Watts and her two daughters became a grisly murder investigation that pointed back to Shannan's husband Chris.

While the story has already been recounted in the usual spots – 20/20, HLN, and even a Lifetime movie – Netflix claims this is the first version to "give a voice to the victims." Check out the trailer below.

American Murder: The Family Next Door is currently streaming globally on Netflix.


About Kip Mooney

Kip Mooney
Like many film critics born during and after the 1980s, my hero is Roger Ebert. The man was already the best critic in the nation when he won the Pulitzer in 1975, but his indomitable spirit during and after his recent battle with cancer keeps me coming back to read not only his reviews but his insightful commentary on the everyday. But enough about a guy you know a lot about. I knew I was going to be a film critic—some would say a snob—in middle school, when I had to voraciously defend my position that The Royal Tenenbaums was only a million times better than Adam Sandler’s remake of Mr. Deeds. From then on, I would seek out Wes Anderson’s films and avoid Sandler’s like the plague. Still, I like to think of myself as a populist, and I’ll be just as likely to see the next superhero movie as the next Sundance sensation. The thing I most deplore in a movie is laziness. I’d much rather see movies with big ambitions try and fail than movies with no ambitions succeed at simply existing. I’m also a big advocate of fun-bad movies like The Room and most of Nicolas Cage’s work. In the past, I’ve written for The Dallas Morning News and the North Texas Daily, which I edited for a semester. I also contributed to Dallas-based Pegasus News, which in the circle of life, is now part of The Dallas Morning News, where I got my big break in 2007. Eventually, I’d love to write and talk about film full-time, but until that’s a viable career option, I work as an auditor for Wells Fargo. I hope to one day meet my hero, go to the Toronto International Film Festival, and compete on Jeopardy. Until then, I’m excited to share my love of film with you.