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True crime explores the darkest, most twisted corners of the human mind — and that's what makes it such an incredibly terrifying genre. In fact, if you think about it, a typical true crime documentary is logically scarier than the best horror movies ever made simply because the "monsters" in true crime are real people.
Over the years, there have been plenty of true crime movies that have highlighted how horrible humanity can be to one another. Many give candid glimpses into the minds of serial killers and how they choose victims.
That being said, some of the movies based on true events on Netflix take it to a whole new level, which is why people looking for a bone-chilling flick need to check them out.
The Thin Blue Line
Not to be confused with the British comedy TV series starring Rowan Atkinson, The Thin Blue Line is one of the most chilling true crime movies on Netflix. The documentary-dramatization hybrid explores the strange case of a police killing that left the world confused, shocked, and stunned.
Was it the driver, teenager Dale Harris, who killed the cop? Or, was it Randall Dale Adams, the hitchhiker who got a ride from Harris? Though the jury claimed Adams was the killer, this classic documentary sheds light on evidence that there was perjury involved in the case.
Was an innocent man imprisoned? Did the police play a hand in obstruction of justice? You need to watch this classic Errol Morris movie on Netflix to find out.
Someone once said, "The only reason some people are alive is because it's illegal to kill them."
In Bernie, this saying gets flipped on its ear. Bernie Tiede, a much-loved citizen of a sleepy Texas town, is friend to everyone. He's active in church, a funeral director, and a Sunday school teacher.
Bernie even managed to befriend the mean, bitter, and hated widow, Marjorie Nugent. However, when Nugent's body was found in a freezer, police quickly arrested Tiede. This dark comedy shows the true story of Bernie, and the town that quickly came to his defense — despite knowing that he was guilty of killing the widow.
This is one of the funniest true crime movies on Netflix right now, but make no mistake about it. Bernie is also pretty terrifying if you think about it. Imagine being so hated that your murderer walks free, and you'll get a chill realizing it could actually happen.
Only a decade ago, American foreign exchange student Amanda Knox made international headlines after she was convicted and later acquitted of killing another student in Italy.
Amanda Knox is a movie that shows real footage of Knox, the victim, the Knox family, and more in a chilling docu-drama about what led to the murder. What's really unsettling about this movie isn't seeing the facts about the murder trial; it's realizing how much media affected the case.
By the end of the movie, you will feel sorry for Amanda Knox — and may even doubt she committed the crime that the world seemed to pin on her. Most alarmingly, the movie ends with Knox admitting that people still recognize her from the trial, and that she might never actually live a normal life again.
For parents, one of the most disturbing and gut-wrenching true crime movies on Netflix would have to be Changeling. This Clint Eastwood film depicts the true story of a time when LAPD tried to pass off a runaway boy as a murdered child, despite the parents adamantly insisting that the boy is not their son.
NPR called Changeling "a tale too strange for fiction," and we're inclined to agree. It's every parent's worst nightmare, laid bare in one of the most haunting films you'll ever see.
Aileen: Life And Death Of A Serial Killer
Many people find serial killers to be fascinating. That's why many of the books written by serial killers have managed to sell out, and why so many different documentaries have focused on what makes serial killers kill.
Aileen: Life And Death Of A Serial Killer is a documentary that looks into the life of Aileen Wuornos, one of the most notorious female serial killers in recent history. The movie shows real clips of her trial, and talks about her death sentence at the hands of the Florida justice system.
Surprisingly empathetic towards Wuornos, Aileen is one of those movies that makes you wonder whether the killer *really* knew what they were doing, or if they were too far gone to accept the reality of their fate.
It's one of those true crime movies on Netflix that will give you a sinking feeling in your stomach for more reasons than one and that's why it's great.
Most of the true crime movies on Netflix involve murder, but not Unspeakable Acts. That doesn't make it any less creepy, or any less disturbing, though. This made-for-TV documentary movie follows Frank Fuster, a daycare owner who became accused of Satanic sex abuse by the children that they watch over.
The movie shows how two child psychologists by the name of Laurie and Joseph Braga coerced children into lying about Frank Fuster and his wife. Frank Fuster, though later found innocent due to fraudulent evidence, is still serving over 163 years in prison.
Unspeakable Acts is one of those terrifying movies that suggest that you can be a great person — and still be a monster in society's eyes.
The Hunting Ground
With people throughout Hollywood and college campuses now loudly speaking out about sexual assault, The Hunting Ground is one of the most relevant true crime movies on Netflix right now.
This documentary discusses the rampant problem of sexual assault on college campuses, and why so many people are afraid to speak out against their attackers. While it's not about murder, the truth is that it's terrifying to realize how often sexual assault on college campuses goes unchecked.
Josef Fritzl: Story Of A Monster
In 2008, the entire world was shocked by the discovery of Josef Fritzl's crimes. Fritzl was found to have locked his own daughter in a basement, raped her daily, and even fathered his own grandchildren with her.
Considering the subject matter, it's unsurprising that Josef Fritzl: Story Of A Monster has become one of the most upsetting true crime movies on Netflix. It's terrifying, sickening, and alarming to the core. As such, it's not a good watch for anyone who's been sexually assaulted in the past.
Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father
If you're looking for a movie that will make you a sobbing, uncontrollable mess, then look no further than Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father.
This highly emotional movie was made by Kurt Kuenne as a way to pay homage to his friend Andrew Bagby — a man murdered by Shirley Lane Turner, who later gave birth to Bagby's son. Later on, 13-month-old Zachary died in a murder-suicide via his mother's doing.
While it's more heartfelt and loving than anything else, it's still one of the creepier true crime movies on Netflix. When you're looking at those people on film, it's hard to fully grapple with the way they died.
It's even more alarming when you realize that the scenario in Dear Zachary has happened many other times before, too.
Every small town has its own local legends, and in Staten Island, the most notorious urban legend was Cropsey. The boogeyman was allegedly a serial killer who kidnapped children.
However, unlike most other urban legends and local boogeymen, there's legit evidence that Cropsey existed — and that his real name may be Andre Rand. Cropsey goes into depth, investigating the disappearances of five children throughout the Staten Island area.
This might be one of the creepiest true crime movies on Netflix, simply because it suggests that some of the monster stories kids make up may actually be real.