Featuring never-before-seen footage, this documentary delivers a startling new look at the Peoples Temple, headed by preacher Jim Jones who, in 1978, led more than 900 members to Guyana, where he orchestrated a mass suicide via tainted punch.
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Chilling documentary about Jonestown and its aftermath. A small number of survivors, including Jones' son, are interviewed on screen, and segments based on their memories are reenacted using a large cast of amateur actors. The only problem with this is, the guy playing Jim Jones is not terribly convincing, and only serves to remind us of how effective Powers Boothe was as the notorious cult leader in a network miniseries some years before. Nevertheless, this is powerful stuff. One of the hardest things to watch is the actual mass murder itself. Someone -- the son, I think -- points out this was not a mass suicide but murder plain and simple. Things I hadn't known or forgotten: the children were killed first, members of the congregation who were unable or reluctant to drink the poison were injected with it, some members managed to escape into the woods, and Jones sent a death squad to kill the congressman, reporters and defectors at the air strip. They killed at least five and wounded several more. Decidedly not for the squeamish. And I'm not sure what purpose it serves. If its message is to tell us to beware of cults, you have to figure it's preaching to the choir. If it serves as a catharsis for the survivors, more power to it. It is not at all like one of those cheaply made STVs that focuses on a particular killer like Dahmer or Gacy; it's too well made for that.
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