Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

Conversations with death row inmate Michael Perry and those affected by his crime serve as an examination of why people - and the state - kill.

Director:

2 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Grizzly Man (2005)
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A devastating and heartrending take on grizzly bear activists Timothy Treadwell and Amie Huguenard, who were killed in October of 2003 while living among grizzlies in Alaska.

Director: Werner Herzog
Stars: Timothy Treadwell, Amie Huguenard, Werner Herzog
Documentary | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Werner Herzog gains exclusive access to film inside the Chauvet caves of Southern France and captures the oldest known pictorial creations of humanity.

Director: Werner Herzog
Stars: Werner Herzog, Jean Clottes, Julien Monney
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Film-maker Werner Herzog travels to the McMurdo Station in Antarctica, looking to capture the continent's beauty and investigate the characters living there.

Director: Werner Herzog
Stars: Werner Herzog, Scott Rowland, Stefan Pashov
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A documentary depicting the life and work of the trappers of Bakhtia, a village in the heart of the Siberian Taiga, where daily life has changed little in over a century.

Directors: Werner Herzog, Dmitry Vasyukov
Stars: Werner Herzog, Nikolay Nikiforovitch Siniaev, Gennady Soloviev
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Documentary on the Friedmans, a seemingly typical, upper-middle-class Jewish family whose world is instantly transformed when the father and his youngest son are arrested and charged with shocking and horrible crimes.

Director: Andrew Jarecki
Stars: Arnold Friedman, Jesse Friedman, David Friedman
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

About the daring adventure of exploring rainforest canopy with a novel flying device-the Jungle Airship. Airship engineer Dr. Graham Dorrington embarks on a trip to the giant Kaieteur Falls... See full summary »

Director: Werner Herzog
Stars: Werner Herzog, Graham Dorrington, Dieter Plage
Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

An alien narrates the story of his dying planet, his and his people's visits to Earth and Earth's man-made demise, while human astronauts attempt to find an alternate planet for surviving humans to live on.

Director: Werner Herzog
Stars: Brad Dourif, Donald Williams, Ellen Baker
Wheel of Time (2003)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Wheel of Time is Werner Herzog's photographed look at the largest Buddhist ritual in Bodh Gaya, India.

Director: Werner Herzog
Stars: The Dalai Lama, Lama Lhundup Woeser, Takna Jigme Sangpo
Documentary | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A film that successfully argued that a man was wrongly convicted for murder by a corrupt justice system in Dallas County, Texas.

Director: Errol Morris
Stars: Randall Adams, David Harris, Gus Rose
Documentary | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

A horrific triple child murder leads to an indictment and trial of three nonconformist boys based on questionable evidence.

Directors: Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky
Stars: Tony Brooks, Diana Davis, Terry Wood
My Best Fiend (1999)
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

In the 1950s, an adolescent Werner Herzog was transfixed by a film performance of the young Klaus Kinski. Years later, they would share an apartment where, in an unabated, forty-eight-hour ... See full summary »

Director: Werner Herzog
Stars: Werner Herzog, Klaus Kinski, Claudia Cardinale
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Inspired by a true crime, a man begins to experience mystifying events that lead him to slay his mother with a sword.

Director: Werner Herzog
Stars: Michael Shannon, Willem Dafoe, Chloë Sevigny
Edit

Cast

Cast overview:
...
Himself (voice)
Richard Lopez ...
Himself (as The Reverend Richard Lopez)
Michael Perry ...
Himself
Damon Hall ...
Himself
Lisa Stolter-Balloun ...
Herself
Charles Richardson ...
Himself
Jason Burkett ...
Himself
Jared Talbert ...
Himself
Amanda West ...
Herself
Delbert Burkett ...
Himself
Melyssa Thompson-Burkett ...
Herself (as Melyssa Burkett)
Fred Allen ...
Himself
Edit

Storyline

Into the abyss explores a triple murder which occurred in the small Texas City of Conroe in 2001. Michael Perry and Jason Burkett, under the influence of alcohol and drugs, murdered a middle-aged housewife; they then gunned down her stepson and his friend. The film features Conversations with the two inmates and those affected by their crime. Unlike many of the films that deal with crimes, into the abyss isn't concerned with figuring out exactly what happened, but rather serves as an examination of why people - and the state - kill. Written by Brad

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material and some disturbing images | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

| |

Language:

Release Date:

30 March 2012 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Into the Abyss: A Tale of Death, a Tale of Life  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$47,559 (USA) (11 November 2011)

Gross:

$216,262 (USA) (16 December 2011)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Quotes

Fred Allen: Hold still and watch the birds. Once you get up into your life like that, and once you feel good about your life, you do start watching what the birds do. What the doves are doing. Like the hummingbirds. Why are there so many of them.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Ebert Presents: At the Movies: Episode #2.17 (2011) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
"Illuminating and thorough documentary..."
23 January 2012 | by (Norway) – See all my reviews

German screenwriter, producer, actor and director Werner Herzog's twenty-fifth documentary which he wrote and narrated, is an American production about capital punishment which lacks the presence of Werner Herzog's characteristic voice-over. It tells the story about Michael Perry, a 28-year-old inmate on death row with eight days left to live, and his accomplice Jason Burkett who got a life sentence due to his imprisoned father's testimony. These two young men were convicted of a pointless triple homicide which occurred in Conroe, Texas in 2001. Even though the evidence against them was solid, they claimed their innocence.

Though opposed to capital punishment Werner Herzog, who has gone into more than one abyss during his impressive career, does not question the matter of guilt in this illuminating and thorough documentary which is told through a wide variety of interviews with people who were involved in the case. Werner Herzog has a profound way of depicting individuals and their surroundings, and his fascination with unadaptable, eccentric and ill-fated people is evident in this psychological study where he gets the most out of the people he interviews and emphasizes that everyone has lead a significant life and has unique stories to tell.

Werner Herzog draws a multifaceted portrayal of a seemingly peaceful community and brings out its darkest as well as some of its brightest sides. This documentary is subtitled "A Tale of Death, A Tale of Life" which is quite an accurate description, but this is also a story about family relations, traumatic childhoods, grief, redemption, faith and love, where the possibility of hope is present even in the worst imaginable circumstances. The severity of the vile crime which stands at the center of this story is underlined by composer Mark Degli Antoni's efficient instrumental score which creates an unsettling and obscure atmosphere. This unsentimental, humane and at times humorous documentary which has some memorable interviews, is acutely directed by one of the most engaging and genuine storytellers in the history of cinema.


39 of 49 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
'I think he was the most dangerous of anyone I ever met.' mgr2000
Death Row inmates are going to die anyway...why speed up the process? s-d-2
Did anyone else get bored after 30 minutes? professorhulk
Melyssa's Comment About Baby princess_of_pure_delight
Justice melyssamachelle
confused about who was supposed to have committed the murders Evil_Will_Hunting
Discuss Into the Abyss (2011) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page