Originally appeared in Film Companion.
Note: This is a review of a documentary based on a real crime. If you are unaware of the subject matter and haven’t seen the trailer, do not read this review or anything related to the film. The film offers an enhanced viewing experience when seen with no prior knowledge of the subject matter.
The Social Dilemma, a recent Netflix documentary,examined how social media platforms are designed to transcend the virtual actions into the real world consequences, by influencing our choices. American Murder: The Family Next Door countermands this idea by reconstructing events, which seemed all hunky-dory on social media, but which metamorphosed into harrowing tragedy in reality.
Over the years, social media has seamlessly become an integral part of our lives. While The Social Dilemma answered the ‘why’ and ‘how’, American Murder acts as a case study, offering a new perspective, and is exponentially more humane and distressing than the former owing to the sheer darkness of the subject matter. As our reliance on social media becomes more intrinsic with each update, aspects like how much of our ‘self’ we project onto the social media and the light in which we portray our personality have remained a subject of debate, both on an individual and broader level. This documentary allows you to figure out the conclusion for yourself…
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