5 True Crime Docs That Will Keep You Up At Night!

If you’re in the mood for true crime, these five Netflix documentaries will definitely scratch that itch. If you love docs like Making a Murderer or The Jinx, these films are for you.

Do you have roughly two hours to kill and want to learn more about the horrors of the world? Yes? Then these docs should be right up your alley! The discussion around true crime has become much more nuanced as of late, and you’ll notice that in these documentaries. Much more time and attention is spent on the victims of senseless crimes, rather than just the perpetrators. You’ll be so touched by the people that loved each victim that the horrifying impact of each crime will keep you up at night.

Where to watch: you can stream all five of these docs on Netflix today!

1. The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker

In 2013, Jett McBride hit an innocent man with his car, injuring him. A woman approached the scene to assist, but Jett attacked her. Kai, the passenger in Jett’s car, jumped in to defend the woman by attacking Jett with a hatchet. Kai was interviewed by local news after the incident, and it eventually went viral. In the interview, Kai gleefully reports that he hit McBride three times during the incident, saying “smash, smash, sm-ash.” This doc follows the truth behind Kai’s rise to infamy and his subsequent crimes. We get to hear from the victim’s neighbors, which offers a welcome respite from Kai’s convoluted life. The real gem of this film is that it sparks an interesting discussion about the ethics of reality television; one that probably none of us are prepared to have.

2. Missing: The Lucie Blackman Case

This documentary follows the disappearance of Lucie Blackman, a young British woman working abroad in Japan. Much of the story is told from the perspective of Lucie’s father and the detectives that worked the case. There is a fantastic timeline function that helps viewers clearly follow the progression of the case. The theories in this case are many, ranging from cults to sex trafficking. You’ll really feel like you’re experiencing the case as it unfolds because there is a lot of archival news coverage to draw from. The resolution of this case is heartbreaking, but the resilience of Lucie’s family and the commitment of the officers that worked her case will leave you with hope for humanity.

3. Girl in the Picture

This doc pulls no punches; it’ll keep you guessing right from the opening lines. Girl in the Picture explores the strange circumstances of an alleged hit-and-run of a young mother known as Sharon Marshall. Through years of detective work, the truth of Mashall’s life and death are revealed. There are so many aliases and secrets uncovered throughout the course of the film that you’ll be left speechless. The interviews with people who knew Sharon and her son are so warm and full of life that you feel like you knew Sharon, too, and can’t help but mourn her death. Check this one out if you’re looking for a good cry.

4. Abducted in Plain Sight

If you only watch one of these films, watch this one. Abducted in Plain Sight is a documentary that tells the story of Jan Broburg. Most of your time is spent with Jan as she recounts the details of her kidnapping by a family friend. Jan is a strong survivor that will captivate you with her ability to relive and retell her traumas with bravery. Her story is truly stranger than fiction. Interviews with Jan’s parents serve to really put you in the 1974 home with Jan and her family, and the doc is an emotional ride from beginning to end.

5. The Lady of Silence: The Mataviejitas Murders

The Lady of Silence is about the hunt to capture the Mexican serial killer dubbed “La Mataviejitas”. Between roughly 1998 and 2006 the Mataviejitas murderer killed upwards of 40 older women in Mexico City. Family members of the many victims tell their harrowing and heartfelt stories throughout this documentary. The heartbreak these murders left behind is real and the victims are numerous. This doc is especially hard to watch if you have a soft spot in your heart for grandmothers. It will make you want to do all that you can to advocate for the safety of our elders, and maybe that’s a good enough reason to watch.

Are any of these docs keeping you up at night? Did any big questions come up for you? What can we do to better practice ethics in reality television production? How can we better protect our grandparents from harm? What can we do to better address violence against women in the U.S. and abroad?

About the Author

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Amber Garcia-Solis

Amber is a rising Senior at UCLA, studying English and Professional Writing. She is an intern for AfterBuzz TV where she gets to write fun articles like the one below! When she's not writing or thinking about pop culture, she is probably doing one of three things: talking to her cat, tending to her garden, or drinking Diet Coke.