The Keepers (2017)
The question that this new doc is asking, is “Who killed Sister Cathy Cesnik?” The answer; is dark and twisted. This documentary has it all – abuse, religion, history, murder, family secrets, conspiracies and a long buried cold case. What makes the doc much more powerful is that it’s amateur sleuths, who are searching for the truth of what happened to their beloved teacher, and the depths they go to will leave you a little empty.
A Murder in the Park (2014)
Wrongful conviction is a hot-button issue in the American criminal justice system, and there’s been a lot of documentaries that have been made. This one is different. A Murder in the Park explores the other side of the coin – wrongfully released. Anthony Porter was convicted of murdering two people in 1982, yet his conviction was overturned by a Northwestern professor and his students. Except once Porter was released, the details of the evidence became the subject of scrutiny.
The Karma Killings (2016)
Between 2005 and 2006, children started disappearing in a small suburb of New Delhi. As many as 15 kids vanished without a trace, and the police tracked them down to one specific house, where a man admitted to killing them and eating them for dinner. The crime got a lot of press in India, but the details of the killings and the suspect didn’t quite add up, leading to a lurid story.
My Friend Rockefeller (2015)
This documentary is all about the most prolific con men in history – Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter – though he always went by the name Rockefeller. While pretending to be a descendent of New York’s richest families, he also had 5 other identities that he used before he was captured. This is a fascinating look into the life and effort of playing a long con, including murder.
The Seven Five (2014)
During the 80’s, NYC was at the height of a crack cocaine epidemic, while crime ruled the streets. In the 75th precinct, NYPD officer Michael Dowd was one of the key figures in corrupting cops, taking bribes and running drug deals. The crackdown on their activity led to one of the largest scandals in NYPD history.
Whitey: United States of America v. James L. Bulger (2014)
If you’re interested in true stories about organized crime, then you shouldn’t miss this one. After a life of crime, Whitey Bulger is serving two life sentences for racketeering and murder, and this film shows the challenges of bringing a man like this to justice.
This documentary is a heartbreaker. Taking a look at the Newtown/Sandy Hook Massacre on Dec 14, 2012, when 20 elementary school students and 6 teachers were gunned down by Adam Lanza. With the participation of the victim’s families, the director takes a deep look at the system that led to this horrifying event.
Amanda Knox (2016)
Twice convicted and acquitted of the murder of her roommate, this documentary takes a look at the details around the murder, the exoneration and the issues with the trial, through new interviews with Amanda and her compatriots.
Shadow of Truth (2016)
Thirteen-year-old Tair Rada was found brutally murdered in 2006, with her body stuffed in a locked bathroom stall at her school in Israel. The murder rocked the community until suspect was found – a Ukranian immigrant named Roman. After he was arrested, the mystery deepened as none of the evidence and facts made sense.
Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father (2008)
While there are a lot of really powerful true crime documentaries out there, this one is gut-punch. What starts off as an investigative doc about a friends murder, becomes a letter from a dead father to his son. This is probably the most emotional, heart wrenching documentary you’ll ever see.
Casting JonBenet (2017)
This is an unusual approach to a documentary about JonBenet Ramsey, as it frames the inquiry as if they were casting a fictional film on the case. The director uses and interviews actors from Boulder, Colorado (the place of the crime), in place of the actual family, and their auditions form the story, with the actors thoughts and memories of the family and events, creating the narrative of the documentary.
Team Foxcatcher (2016)
This is the true story behind the depressing 2014 film Foxcatcher, starring Channing Tatum, Steve Carrell and Mark Ruffalo. The tale of the rise and fall of the wealthy and eccentric John E. du Pont is a deep dive into the mind of a psychopath. It was du Pont’s dream to build an American Olympic wrestling team, and recruited several men to live and train on his farm. Somehow, however, things got out of hand and ended up in cold-blooded murder.
Who Took Johnny? (2014)
The disappearance of Johnny Gosch is a strange and tragic event. Johnny, a 12-year old paperboy from Des Moines, Iowa, was on his route early one morning in 1982, when he disappeared. The case went cold despite other paperboys going missing and several reports of Johnny being sighted in Oklahoma.
What makes the film more complicated is that his mother, Noreen, claims that Johnny visited her in 1997, with a strange man, but wouldn’t tell her where he’d been. The documentary follows Noreen’s attempts to find him again, delving through fascinating and terrifying theories about what really happened.
Aileen Wuornos: The Selling of a Serial Killer (1993)& Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer (2003)
Filmmaker Nick Broomfield takes a dark journey into the mind of America’s most notorious female serial killers. The first documentary chronicles her trials through the legal system and the lack of support she got from her first legal representation.
Ten years later, he returned to Wuornos to follow her to her execution in 2002.
The Tower (2016)
Using rotoscope animation and narration from the surviving victims, this doc recreates the events of August 1st, 1966, when a lone sniper went up the clock tower at the University of Texas in Austin, and starting firing. By the end of his spree, he had killed 16 people and injured dozens of others. With the animation, it feels like you’re watching the events in real time, making that that much more visceral and real.
The Fear of 13 (2015)
Nick Yarris was sentenced to 105 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Sitting on death row, in his own nightmare, he spent 21 years behind bars before DNA evidence exonerated him in 2014. This doc, is Nick’s story, featuring him and narrated by him, and it’s a powerful look at how justice goes wrong.