American Murder-The Family Next Door (2020): Till Murder Do Us Apart

As another Netflix crime documentary streams on our screens, is there fatigue which audience is facing? Going by the slate of Netflix it seems that the audience is lapping it up. American Murder relies solely on footage from cops and friends to narrate and it does away with voiceover completely. This becomes the major plus for this documentary as we are placed right in the middle of happenings.

Let me tell you at the outset, I was unaware of the press and social media buzz that this ghastly incident had generated in America.  The limited knowledge I had was that it traces the disappearance of Chris Watts pregnant wife and his two daughters. What follows is a web of lies, misogyny, domestic violence, and the myth of perfect life on our social media account.

The documentary is not interested in being a whodunnit, though in it’s limited running time it wants us to relive the lives of the victim.

Shannan Watts is someone who has undergone a bad marriage before marrying Chris and her dreams of owning a home. The need to share everything on our social media to reach out to the followers to get the two minutes of dopamine rush is something which we as a human being should investigate. We are trying to make content and consume it in a way which no human beings before us have done. We see Shannan texting Chris to tell her when he arrives at the airport to let, he knew so she can film the moment when he meets their children.

I cannot fathom the inherent nature of human beings to share everything on social media to strangers, but I guess that is how our mind works. All of us crave attention and are substituting real connection for likes.

As we try to gather and process of who Shannan is, we get to know her vulnerable side from her texts to her friend and the trouble in their paradise.

The confession scene hits you right in your guts, but you are not prepared for what is to come next. The undoing of love, the slow build up of hatred in a relationship and our obsession for social media can lead to consequences for which we may not be prepared.

It is a stark reminder for us that domestic violence is still a reality for women across the world, and it is a problem which grapples us.

The documentary is streaming now on Netflix India.

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