American Murder: The Family Next Door (2020) Poster

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9/10
This is heart breaking to say the least
andibrag30 September 2020
I can only say that I maybe the only one who was not aware of this terrible crime committed. Using Police body cam , Personal home movies. Facebook and text messages this had me gripped from start to finish. I was absolutely glued. I was left emotional and drained.
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8/10
It's hard to say it's great, but it is.
rikvanagt30 September 2020
This documentary got me hooked within minutes. Stepping into this family's private life with only original police footage and personal homevideo's gave the most realistic image to start a horrific story. The mystery surrounding it made me feel instantly anxious of the outcome. The tension rises to unbearable levels until the climax hits. I wouldn't recommend this to young parents or anyone who likes to sleep right after watching this, because I won't for some hours... that's for sure.
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8/10
Haunting
rhona-kay30 September 2020
Warning: Spoilers
As a mum of two babies this will haunt me. How could any parent do this to their kids? It's a well made documentary that I think does justice to this poor lady, and those innocent little girls...Heartbreaking
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9/10
Unflinching look at a murderer.
aamir90101 October 2020
Before watching this I had heard about this particular case, but my mind was blown when they were looking at the neighbors footage. At that point you can see how he changes his expression and gets all nervous.

Great use of footage and body cams it made us seem like we're were part of the entire investigation. Another Netflix documentary hit out of the park!
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8/10
Heartbreaking
nikolemarovic9 October 2020
So I was very interested in this case when it first happened. Horribly tragic and sad, but I was curious as to how someone who was portrayed so normal could do this. Especially to his two daughters. According to everyone interviewed he was an attentive and caring father. Also according to Shannan, he was the best thing that had happened to her. Who doesn't want to know what happens to a person to make them "snap" like this? That's what the documentary was missing. The psychological stand point was completely emitted. This documentary was put together very well, with home footage and Shannan's personal videos she would post on Facebook, but what happened to Chris Watts to make him do this was an important piece that should have been included.
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8/10
unsettling in another way
Henry_Seggerman4 October 2020
A very intoxicating detective story. But what makes it really spooky is, if you've seen fiction films like CACHE and DOSSIER 51, this uses real surveillance footage and text message and voicemail evidence as most of the film's content. It's a technological marvel -- but in a scary, Big Brother/Stasi way.
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8/10
So freaking depressing and, unfortunately, real
billyt333 October 2020
Warning: Spoilers
I'm a Dad, a proud Dad. I would do anything for my children, I mean Anything! This documentary made me so so mad! This person doesn't deserve to exist, he is an animal and something truly possessed this person. He's not a man, he's not a Dad...he doesn't even deserve to be described as a human. He's a pitiful excuse of flesh! No Dad is his right man would ever harm his babies or their Mommy...no matter what the relationship is like. Get a freaking divorce! That's all you had to do, you freaking loser! Give me 5 minutes with this low life, please! My heart breaks for those babies and the Mom that tried so hard to just be normal, have a family and be loved. No excuses man, this guy is the worst of the worst and this was one of the hardest shows I've ever watched. It's painful and unfortunately, it's real. Too sad for sure.
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9/10
Shocking and sad, and not only the murders
jckhammer30 September 2020
Warning: Spoilers
Very shocking account of a domestic murder. There are a number of more complete footage clips on you tube that are shown here in this movie and if someone desires they can search for even more explanation on how Chris eventually was caught. One commenter here mentions the audio is hard to hear and its a guessing game in the interrogation room....nonsense. Unless this commentator is illiterate, there are full subtitles and there is no guessing. Ignore that review. In addition to the actually murders of the children it is almost equally disturbing and at at the number of superstar detectives behind there phones and screens that think they know all what went on. Many people were claiming Chris innocence and threats against the wife's family. Social media is a curse .
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8/10
I wish I never heard of this movie
ivko7 October 2020
Warning: Spoilers
It's kind of amazing how the modern digital life is so extensively documented that a clever team of editors can take your social media accounts and the videos off your phone and make a fairly comprehensive movie of your life even after you've gone. That's what happened here; the production team assembled a detailed accounting of the lives of a family that experienced an unspeakable tragedy. By the end of the film you have a sense that you know these people, which is also part of the problem: the more you find yourself caring, the harder it will be to keep watching.

I really struggled with the foregone conclusion that was the lives of this family. Some things are so horrible my brain just doesn't want to accept them. I watched the movie in fits, drawn on by morbid curiosity but forced to continuously stop by some childish part of my brain that believed that if I simply stopped watching then somehow the remaining unseen events of the film would be trapped in a time bubble that couldn't proceed until I did. If only life worked that way. I never did make it to the very end of the movie because I just never want to hear the full detail of certain events.

The movie is well made, but painful to watch. I'll admit to a certain amount of tears, and a sincere wish that I'd never heard of the Watts family. I will never understand why certain people fought to remove the application of the death penalty; if I had those memories floating around my skull, I would think death would be my best friend. Instead I'll just hope certain people are around for a long, long time, getting visited every single damn day by others who know what this person did to kids.
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9/10
1984 Is Here!
ObscureFilmLover10 October 2020
Warning: Spoilers
This documentary could not have been done in 2000 or maybe not even in 2015. The story is told well. It documentary has no present day interviews. It is all recorded at the time of occurrence. The film opens with the mother arriving home as captured their home security. Then it jumps to a friend trying to locate the mother. This I believe is capture at first on someone's cell phone and then on the body cam of the office who responds. There are recorded phone messages and texts. Videos of police interviews. The mother apparently posted her entire life on social media from her lupus story to her pregnancy announcement and the father's reaction. This is such an achievement in film making, its stunning. However, when you don't have any interviews to fill the backstory, the entire situation seems flat and without depth. The film gives you the barest of hints of hints as to why the father got tired of his marriage and took up with the girlfriend. However, the biggest unanswered question was why did the father not only kill his wife but his children as well. Is he another Susan Smith? His girlfriend says no. Since he plead guilty there is no expert testimony as to his mental health not that that would be definitive. That issue aside, this is both a stunning achievement and extremely unsettling how much of out life is being recorded, either by third parties or ourselves.
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7/10
Concise doc
Calicodreamin1 October 2020
A concise documentary covering the disappearance of shannan watts and her two children, and the subsequent investigation. The timeline was well established and well presented. The first hand footage was quite extensive.
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8/10
Emotional meets Madness
TimJFrancis30 September 2020
Warning: Spoilers
This was a refreshing way to tell this families devastating story. I was pleased that it wasn't another sensational shock fest with focus on the villain where you don't remember the victims.

Instead this cleverly brings to life the victims life before the crime, revealing her private emotions and her fight for love in her relationship using multiple footage sources and texts. Anyone with a soul can't help feeling emotionally exhausted from watching this.

It is heart breaking and there are no words, just prayers for the family effected from this.

From the start, you feel its that ordinary, modern ideal life, busy, successful, and loving, with the addition of Shanann sharing every moment with her followers. But then shortly after you realize that her life has become her, the kids and the web followers group. and he isn't engaging, but rather submitting to take part in the online life Shanann is sharing. This might be an edit choice but it didn't seem he was shooting anything to share. I mention this because it's an important other relationship going on.

The stupidity of this crime I will never understand, it's evil madness, of course, but it's stupid.

And I can't believe he did it just because he wanted to be with someone else.

The interview with the girlfriend was odd too. it seemed she knew more, and was enjoying the attention too much.
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6/10
Like watching a plane crash
edwin-wks1 October 2020
Other than stitching up vignettes in a chronological order, this documentary offers barely any new insight to the Watts familicide. It has been nearly two years since his incarceration and there are no recent interviews with the killer or family members.

The story plays like an episode of Air Crash Investigation (minus the investigation) - multiple failures must occur to precipitate the ultimate catastrophe. Chris stalks Shanann on Facebook. Shanann agrees to meet but would repeatedly rebuff Chris' advances. But why? Best guess would be her feelings of inadequacy about herself and her lupus. She finally succumbs to his charm and agrees to marry him. But Chris' family fails to attend his wedding because Cindy, his mother, does not approve of Shanann and does not want to lose her son to her. What does this say of Cindy? It would take a deeply narcissistic person to make her son's wedding about her and sabotage her son's happiness.

According to the neighbours, Chris Watts is a subdued man. In his text messages to his wife, we see a man whose words do not reflect his actions. This is a man so accustomed to putting on a performance that he probably does not have a coherent sense of self because he has dedicated his life to appeasing everyone around him, not least his mother. According to Shanann's friends, she is "bossy"; in other words, she is a control freak. This is consistent with her anxious and validation-seeking personality. She massively over-reacts while at her in-laws despite an already tenuous relationship with Cindy. Her text messages to her friends and husband also do not paint a portrait of someone with healthy emotional regulation. Despite all of her protestations via text messages and hand-written letters to her husband detailing her anguish, she seems incapable of having face-to-face discussions with him without flying off the handle. This was a couple in dire need of relationship counselling and the basics of effective interpersonal communication.

Nothing can bring back Shanann and the kids. Just as the lessons of air crashes have made air travel safer and prevented more lives lost unnecessarily to air crashes, these tragedies hopefully serve as cautionary tales to couples in toxic or unfulfilling relationships. Get help as soon as issues arise. Most of all, do not flog a dead horse. Sometimes the best thing to do is simply to walk away calmly with dignity.
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7/10
Good doc
ajn-759365 October 2020
Warning: Spoilers
American Murder: The Family Next Door is a great doc that really shows what a true monster Chris Watts was. I remember watching the same uploaded body cam footage on YouTube while this case was happening, however I would've enjoyed a more narrative story to the doc explaining key points throughout. One point being that you can clearly see how nervous Watts was being in front of police and neighbors when they were watching him put his own wife's body in his truck. If the doc had expert criminal psychologists or law enforcement who were involved with the case share their thoughts and story, would've been a nice addition to the doc and give it more insight. The ending was so gut wrenching how he described what ultimately happened to his family, crazy to think how twisted people can be in this world.
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9/10
So...
flynnflon1 October 2020
Warning: Spoilers
Before I share my hot-take opinion-and that's all it is, people--let me first preface by stating the obvious:

This was a tragedy. The husband is a POS, full-stop (I mean, Buddy has tribal art tattoos...that tells you everything). Violence against women is a serious issue that requires greater resources to combat. Toxic masculinity is a very real problem, for many men. This should not have happened. He should have filed for divorce, and dealt with things like a responsible adult.

I hope that is clear. Please re-read, if necessary.

That said, I couldn't help but cringe as the wife posted (seemingly) every detail of her/their relationship online.

I know/have known many people like this-who are so caught up in their social media feedback, as they attempt to grow their brand. It gets to a point where everything is fodder for content.

Again, and to be crystal clear, bring extra AF doesn't justify having violence directed towards you. But the entire time she was passive-aggressively lamenting the state of her marriage, I wondered if she considered her role in it becoming stagnant?

Sadly, this will never be known, due to this SOB's actions.

In any case, this was a horrible tragedy, and the documentary presents a comprehensive overview of the victim, the suspect, the crime and the investigation. Very well done, and definitely a worthwhile watch.
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5/10
Incomplete
Ye7692342 October 2020
Warning: Spoilers
First off, for a documentary that's nothing but surveillance and body cam footage, it was exceptionally riveting. Unfortunately the filmmaker seemed incredibly uninterested in exploring why this tragedy happened. The simplest google search tells you this family was in financial armageddon, yet they're going on vacations, buying expensive trucks and a nice home, along with a having another kid? That seemed like important info that wasn't explored. Also this may not be for me to say but I refuse to believe that dirty girlfriend of his didn't have something to do with this. I was shocked by how disingenuous her sympathy for the family seemed along with the fact that her complaints about his lying seemed a calculated move to turn the investigators away from her. Oh and apparently she knew all about the family before she met Chris and was making phone calls to him around the time the murders happened! You know how much of this was explored in this film? Absolutely nothing. Instead you're left believing he was a normal man who just randomly killed his family when there is so many other details to this. Obviously because men are killers, right?
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5/10
Story is heartbreaking, but retreads ground
fishfingerscustard30 September 2020
Warning: Spoilers
This is a tragic real life story, but you can get even more evaluation and educational content from the YT documentary on this story by JCS Criminal Psychology.
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10/10
Well done. Focuses on the victims life (video clips) and not just on a crime
Utilisateurdimdb1 October 2020
Clips taken from the family's social media posts added something good to the documentary. It wasn't just a crime documentary following the criminal. It was made in light of the victims as it showed lots of video clips of the mom and the girls. This part was very good because it makes you remember them throughout their life, their smiles, their experiences, and not just remember them for the sad ending. Some people will complain that you get more footage on YouTube regarding the criminal and the police part than you get on this documentary, but that's the good point. The family of the victims and the victims themselves deserved to be remembered for their life; their smiles, not just for what a criminal did to them. If you are interested in knowing more of the police details just go on YouTube.
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8/10
Heartbreaking
chrislunness30 September 2020
Told really good, but really heartbreaking, don't want if you get upset.im a fully grown man that doesn't get upset but that got me going like a baby
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5/10
Curious
rws_201 October 2020
Warning: Spoilers
This documentary is mostly just police footage and text messages that the people involved sent to each other. It's a shame that it didn't dig a little deeper, as there are a lot of unanswered questions in this situation.

I think it's pretty clear that Shanann was a very controlling and dominant person and she had a serious addiction to social media. She was obsessed with keeping her "followers" updated in every single aspect of their private life. I'm sure Chris hated the fact that she was so obsessed with portraying this facade of "the perfect family" and sharing every ounce of their private life online with a load of people, most of which they probably didn't even know.

I'm not at all trying to defend Chris in any way, shape, or form, what he did was completely monstrous, I'm just confused as to why he took that path. Why kill them all? Why not just be honest and say that the love he once felt for Shanann has faded and he wants out? I just don't get it. Because honestly, he really didn't strike me as a "psycho killer." Normally there is something clearly "off" about someone that would commit such a horrific atrocity, but not Chris, he just seemed like your average Joe.

He either planned the whole thing out and knew exactly what he was going to do the moment Shanann arrived home that night, or he was just overcome by so much suppressed anger that the moment Shanann started the fight with him he finally snapped and for some reason went into full "psycho mode."

Also, I'm surprised that Chris' mistress wasn't looked into further, as it wouldn't shock me if she acted as a conspirator in this case. Who knows, she may have even been the mastermind behind the whole thing. (I use the term "mastermind" very loosely of course)

It's a very strange and unbelievably tragic scenario that took place. I just feel that there is so much more to this story that hasn't been brought to light.

Those poor little girls, i can't imagine what they were feeling and how much fear and confusion they were experiencing that night.

Why do it for God's sake?
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8/10
Thought I knew the full story...
erinchatters1 October 2020
Even though I had previously watched crime shows on this tragic story, I felt this was done from a perspective in which focused on highlighting events that I either knew little or nothing about, which made for a sad but informative watch.
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10/10
Good film/bad anti male message
dchowdhuryfilms3 October 2020
This is a very intriguing and interesting case. Mainly because it is virtually impossible to understand why Chris Watts did what he did or how he thought he was going to get away with it.

This film is almost redundant because of the sheer amount of information freely available on the 'net. I have gone through the whole CBI case file and transcribed the whole series of interviews just in an effort to understand what made this man tick and I'm still none the wiser. Chris Just comes across as the really nice bloke next door.

Seriously wtf? This has to be one of the most stupidest, illogical and heartless crimes in history. I will never in a million years understand why he felt the need to do what he did. Never. Not only because it was just so callous but because there was no way he was getting away with it. Unless he really was that stupid.

I could understand if Shan'ann was having the affair and was going to leave Chris and take the kids. I could understand that Chris might be devastated and committed murder out of despair. But that's not what happened. All he had to do was say goodbye and get a divorce.

The film is ruined somewhat by the End statements highlighting how most family killers are male. I felt this unnecessary. Women also kill their children and partners. It doesn't matter if more men do it. It's not the sex that determines but their mental state. Don't witch-hunt men. Witch hunt psychopaths.
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6/10
No respect for privacy of the victims.
billiejoesmum27 November 2020
Warning: Spoilers
This was overall a good show for it's length. It could definitely be improved by being a short series and going more in depth, but it still exposed the deception fairly well.

The reason I gave it a lower score was that it showed extremely personal communications from Shannan to her husband and friends, which her next of kin may have given consent for, but still took a lot of dignity and respect away from her IMO.

I would be mortified, if after I'd been murdered, all the texts & letters discussing my sex life - in detail - were plonked on a screen for entertainment in a Netflix documentary.

Things like 'I've taken a night shower, he knows that means I want sex' or 'I'm so horny today' should stay between either a couple, or the close friends one chooses to share it with, not the rest of the world.

They could still have used most of the texts to demonstrate a marriage breaking down (or one person neglecting it), without using everything and leaving her some dignity.

I know if it were possible, I'd be haunting the one who gave those permissions as well as the husband who murdered me and me children!
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9/10
A uniquely styled documentary that works extremely well
jtindahouse22 October 2020
Usually I absolutely despise spoilers, but 'American Murder: The Family Next Door' is actually one time I would recommend knowing the final result of before going in. I had this spoiled for me before watching and ultimately actually ended up being happy that it happened. The reason for this is that the most fascinating part of this documentary was watching the killer's movements throughout the runtime. Watching how they acted knowing full well what they'd done. It's one thing to watch a guilty character in a movie move about, but a whole other watching a real life person do it.

This documentary was captivating from start to finish. It's unlike any documentary I've seen before in the sense that it contains zero current interviews. All the footage is from police body-cams, surveillance footage, interview room footage and Facebook footage. It almost feels like a real movie in that sense. I understand why not many documentaries are lucky enough to have this much footage available to them, but if they do they should absolutely always use it.

This is a heart-breaking story. The details of the crime are absolutely devastating. It's not an easy watch. It is proof that pure evil does exist in this world sadly. It is a very well-made documentary though and well worth your time to watch it. I highly recommend this one.
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1/10
Extremely disappointed
kehanlon-039052 October 2020
Warning: Spoilers
I'm extremely disappointed with this documentary! I was initially interested assuming that this would give everyone new insight not currently revealed to the public. I was very wrong and essentially just watched clips from YouTube copy and pasted together to make this and then labeled it as a documentary. Most of these types of documentaries about high profile murder cases have the investigators interviewed, family members recalling information, sharing back stories and even interviewing the murderer himself. This did none of the above and I felt like I wasted my time. You can get a lot more information on YouTube.

Also they touch on the fact that people were victim blaming and the things that were said about Shanann. You know not everybody is going to be your cup of tea. She was clearly the more dominate person in the relationship but that doesn't give people the right to say that she deserved this or claim she pushed him over the edge. He could have gotten a divorce and walked away. It's not like he was worried about losing his kids. What he did was clearly done in order to try to build a new life with a new woman. Investigators even touch on the fact that this was all premeditated.
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