Netflix’s “American Murder” Brilliantly Highlights the Victims of a Family Tragedy

What separates American Murder: The Family Next Door from other true-crime documentaries is how it constructs the narrative of the murders of Shannan, Celeste, and Bella Watts. There is no dramatic recreations of the crime or Nancy Grace-type interviewees giving their take on the case. Instead, American Murder unfolds the story through first-hand accounts, including Shannan’s social media and archived police footage of the investigation. With this style, American Murder allows the victims to have their voice heard without having to fight against sensationalist headlines.

How “Audition” Terrified Me

Through its cultural reputation, I pictured it being a pulpy J-horror film in the vein of the Saw sequels. So, you could probably imagine the dissonance I felt when the movie opened up with our lead character Aoyama crying over the passing of his (presumably) terminally ill wife. And throughout its runtime, Audition kept surprising me and became one of the most effective horror films I have watched.

No Love For “The Lovebirds”

The plot involves Jibran and Leilani solving a murder mystery that eventually leads them to a deep-state level conspiracy. While that journey sounds outrageous, none of it is memorable due to a lack of stakes or tension. While the characters do face several challenges, there’s nothing that they do that leads to any kind of satisfying resolution. The plot happens around them with their only input being jokes that are dated and poorly delivered.

“Selfie” Is Delightfully Wonderful [SXSW 2020]

Selfie is able to cleverly avoid coming off as condescending by making no morality stance on how social media impacts the world and instead focuses on how people from different backgrounds use it. In one story you’ll see a teacher falling in love with a comedian over twitter and in another story witness a couple contemplating divorce because it will get them more views on their videos.

“TFW NO GF” Attempts to Make Heroes out of Bullies [SXSW 2020]

TFW NO GF offers nothing new when examining the mindset of incels. The film tries to make these young men heroes, but cannot do so without ignoring the effects of their behavior. Everything is a joke to these young men, almost to the point that you wonder if they were being honest in their interviews. Even if they were honestly doing it “for the lulz”, it’s impossible to believe that these bullies are any kind of victim.