One of the more gruesome familicides in recent history will be the focus of the upcoming Netflix documentary American Murder: The Family Next Door, a in-depth and terrifying look at the killing of the Watts family.
The first trailer for the documentary presents the Watts’ — Chris and Shanann and their two young daughters — as a happy and loving family, with Shanann’s own vlogs from social media used to chilling effect.
“I went through one of the darkest times of my life, and then I met Chris. And he’s one of the best things that ever happened to me,” Shanann said in one video.
However, the then-pregnant Shanann and her two daughters would soon go missing from their Colorado home, with police circling Chris as the main suspect in their disappearance; he would eventually admit to killing his family after their bodies were discovered at a nearby petroleum facility where Chris once worked. He later pleaded guilty to the murders and will spend the rest of his life in prison.
“In 2018, 34-year-old Shanann Watts and her two young daughters went missing in Frederick, Colorado. As heartbreaking details emerged, their story made headlines worldwide,” Netflix said of the film.
“Told entirely through archival footage that includes social media posts, law enforcement recordings, text messages and never-before-seen home videos, director Jenny Popplewell pieces together an immersive and truthful examination of a police investigation and a disintegrating marriage. American Murder: The Family Next Door is the first film to give a voice to the victims.”
As opposed to other true crime docs examining the Watts murders, American Murder puts the spotlight on the victims, with Popplewell spending days Shanann’s parents and brother in North Carolina; the family gave the filmmaker their blessing to use the footage found on Shanann’s laptop and cellphone. American Murder: The Family Next Door arrives on the streaming service on September 30th.