Documentaries That Took a Wild Turn When Reality Rewrote the Script!

A comprehensive list of documentaries where the narrative unravels in real time, capturing filmmakers on an unpredictable journey.

Documentaries hold immense value as they narrate genuine stories about individuals and illuminate pressing matters. Yet, what occurs when the narrative unfolds unexpectedly before the filmmakers’ eyes? When the plot diverges from its initial course or intention? This article delves into a selection of remarkable documentaries that embarked on one path only to veer dramatically, presenting the filmmakers with unforeseen challenges and revelations.

Into the Deep (2020)

Into the Deep unfolds the tale of an Australian filmmaker who embarks on a documentary chronicling the endeavors of an inventor dedicated to constructing a submarine. Initially focusing on the inventor’s creations, the narrative unexpectedly veers into darker territory. The filmmaker, caught off guard, finds the story’s direction radically altered when the submarine inventor commits a shocking act: the murder of a journalist within the confines of the submarine.

Where to watch: Netflix

Sasquatch (2021)

Sasquatch is a true crime documentary series that follows investigative journalist David Holthouse as he investigates an unusual triple murder case from twenty-five years prior, allegedly the doing of a mythical being. However, rather than uncovering evidence of a sasquatch, he stumbles upon a vast illegal cannabis cultivation. The documentary takes unexpected turns, featuring a cast of intriguing characters that add layers of complexity to an already captivating narrative.

Where to watch: Hulu

Icarus (2017)

Icarus chronicles the journey of a filmmaker who embarks on an experiment to enhance his cycling performance through doping, aiming for a competitive edge. He connects with a Russian scientist specializing in doping, and their partnership evolves into friendship as they collaborate to concoct a performance-enhancing regimen. The narrative takes a dramatic twist when the Russian scientist faces repercussions from Russia for his doping activities, triggering a global Olympic scandal that entangles the United States and Putin. This documentary veers significantly from its initial focus, unfolding into a story with far-reaching implications beyond the filmmaker’s original intent.

Where to watch: Netflix

Tickled (2016)

In the Tickled documentary, a journalist discovers the peculiar world of competitive tickling and, intrigued by the concept, decides to contact the production company behind these tickling videos. What starts as a curiosity soon morphs into a grim revelation as he uncovers that the videos serve as a front for exploitation, revealing a sinister underbelly to what initially appeared as innocuous entertainment.

Where to watch: Pluto

In conclusion, documentaries possess the unique power to immerse us in the complexities of reality, often revealing truths far stranger and more profound than fiction. The stories highlighted in this article exemplify the unpredictable nature of documentary filmmaking, where initial curiosities and intentions can lead to discoveries that challenge both the filmmaker and the audience’s expectations. These films remind us that reality is often unpredictable, and the pursuit of truth can lead us down paths we never anticipated, enriching our understanding of the world and the human experience.

About the Author

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Madison Payne

Madison Payne, currently a senior at the University of Texas at Austin, is pursuing a degree in Film Studies, with aspirations to excel as a cinematographer and editor. Madison has a keen interest in the realms of unscripted television and documentaries.