In recent years the streaming platform Netflix has released a slew of popular documentaries/docuseries’ such as Making a Murderer, Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez and Tiger King. It is no surprise that these type of programs create intrigue and have a big audience much like other crime series’ such as the Law & Order series. The newest entry into this genre comes off the heels of the 2018 disappearance & murder of 38 year old Shanann Watts and her two young daughters. The story of their disappearance gained mainstream attention as the small town of Frederick, Colorado had never been witness to such an atrocity. Directed by Jenny Popplewell American Murder: The Family Next Door shows you the final moments of Shanann’s life with additional footage provided through friends and neighbor’s security/cell phone footage, police body/station cameras as well as posts from Shanann’s Facebook feed. In wanting to keep this spoiler free I will not go into much detail. What I will point out is how much more personal this feels simply through the addition of the social media posts. Shanann was not shy of sharing her everyday life moments which grants the viewer a full look into her world and that includes her two young daughters. These numerous posts and texts between Shanann and her friends gives an unprecedented feel to the documentary and as horrific as these crimes were, I felt more shook as if I had personally known these people.
3 out of 5
Film is available now via NetFlix