You may be a fan of crime and mystery movies, but when the crime is realistic and the people are real, you may not bear the consequences of what you see. You will need a lot of courage to watch the latest releases of Netflix, a new documentary entitled “American Murder: The Neighbor’s Camera.”
The film examines the disappearance of American Shanan Watts (38 years) and her two children: Bella (4 years old) and Celeste (3 years old), and the shocking events that occurred after her. And it displays real and unmodified video clips, telling the story of one of the most heinous domestic violence crimes in American society.
“Hello guys, my name is Shanan Watts and I live in Colorado.” So Chanan started one of the videos she posted on her Facebook account at the beginning of her path, becoming one of the social media celebrities.
Then Chanan’s page was filled with many pictures and videos of her with her husband Christopher Watts and their two daughters, showing her great happiness with her small family and her love for her husband, who she considered her savior after she went through many difficulties before she met him, then he came to start her life full of blessings with him, as she described.
Amidst the laughter of Shanan and her two daughters and covering their lives – which seemed to be happy in the fullest – on a daily basis, no one could ever imagine that behind this perfect image many problems, and that this happy family was waiting for an unexpected painful end.
On August 14, 2018, a friend of Chanan contacted the police to report that she was absent and did not answer her calls, unlike her usual, so that the police began a journey to search for her, and her husband Christopher began searching with them and expressing his deep concern that his family had been wronged or in an insecure place.
During the police search for the murderer, it was not considered that this family-loving husband, whose pages of Chanan are filled with videos expressing her love for him and her daughters ’strong attachment to him, is behind everything that happens and he is the only one who knows their fate.
Finally, after days of investigation, Christopher admitted in November 2018 to the killing of his pregnant wife and their two daughters, and how he disposed of the bodies in an industrial oil field near their home.
You may not believe what happened, as no mind can combine the ideal image that Shanan publishes of her husband, and this tragic ending that did not occur to anyone, not even the killer himself.
Beyond the pictures
The film is characterized by its presentation of the story other than the usual form of documentary crime films, so instead of telling the story by showing the dates with the presence of a narrator, and this interspersed with some emotional interviews British filmmaker Jenny Popplewell chose the film entirely from archival footage Channan frequently posted on social media, police investigations, and Shanan’s messages to her husband and friend.
One of the biggest strengths in the film is to show the floundering human side of Shanan, as she appears in a video clip celebrating with her children the New Year and their father wearing Santa Claus clothes to surprise them and happiness overwhelms the house, but what was not shown in the video is that Shanan at this time was writing to her friends about Her painful and aggravating marital problems, to show the two contradictory realities in succession is difficult to believe, but it is the truth.
Among the ideal picture of the couple’s relationship on Facebook, and what happens during the searches for Shanan, the investigations ended with her husband’s confession to killing her, after the lie detector showed that he was not telling the truth, before he later admitted to killing his two daughters by suffocation, so that the documentary is the best example of the wide distance that It is difficult to perceive between what is shown on social media and what the truth hides.
The film is eerily intimate, as it sheds light on a group of the most important social issues regarding marriage and social media deception, in addition to an insightful examination of domestic violence that many women around the world are exposed to.
“This is perhaps the most inhuman and brutal crime that I have worked on among the thousands of cases that I have seen, and anything less than the maximum punishment will reduce the seriousness of this crime. Take the accused to custody to spend the rest of his life in prison.” Killer Christopher spent the remainder of his life in prison.