American Murder: The Family Next Door is the perfect murder mystery

Khrystyna Stets, Broadcast Coordinator

On August 12, 2018, Christopher Watts of Frederick Colorado, killed his family, in a murder mystery case that goes down in history. Netflix has created a documentary on the case. The recently released Netflix documentary American Murder: The Family Next Door highlights all parts of the murder case. Directed by Jenny Popplewell, the series provides an interesting angle on a murder mystery as well as near perfect cinematography.

Without prior knowledge of the case, I was pleasantly surprised by Popplewell’s story development. Using timelines, archived footage, emotional interviews, digital graphics, dramatic narration, and vital emotional tactics, Popplewell easily described the case and made it clear to the viewer.

Another beneficial film tactic Popplewell utilized was foreshadowing. She added subtle hints and remarks engaging the audience in the quest for a solution to the crime. Throughout the documentary, Watts is seen more and more as the criminal and the prior foreshadowing emphasizes those theories.

Despite the documentary style based film, the twists and turns you take as an audience member are similar to a murder-mystery film. There are many scenes within the documentary that make you take a step back in shock.

Overall the tone and effectiveness of cinematic strategies emphasized the power of the documentary. Every twist in the plot made it feel like a story while in reality it was highlighting a series of real life events. This documentary is a must watch if you are interested in murder-mystery or any type of film that keeps you interacted and on your toes.