Is it just us or has Netflix become a breeding ground for dark and disturbing documentaries recently?
In the last year, there has been a sudden spike in shocking documentaries, including The Ted Bundy Tapes and The Disappearance of Madeline McCann. Accompanying the release of these documentaries has come to a widespread obsession with serial killers.
Is Netflix encouraging our dark obsessions and should we be worried?
When it comes to controversial content, advocates of free speech remind everyone that you don’t have to watch this content just because it is there. They are absolutely right but missing out on this content also means missing out on the conversation.
Earlier this year, Ted Bundy was massively trending across social media platforms. Can we really expect adolescents to sit out these shows when it means risking being left out of the conversation? And should we be concerned that Making A Murderer was a defining cultural moment for our television habits?
These aren’t really questions for us to answer and it would be dishonest to deny that some of these documentaries have been some of the most well-made shows of 2019. All of us have a repressed curiosity for the morbid and at least Netflix is helping us to exercise this curiosity in a safe and informative way. What’s more, many of these documentaries have some important lessons for us to takeaway.
In The Ted Bundy Tapes, we learn not to judge a book by its cover. The psychopath was good looking, enough so that Zac Efron played him in the movie. When most of us picture a killer, we picture someone who looks has evil and unattractive on the outside as he or she is on the inside. The Ted Bundy documentary subverts these expectations and reminds us why we must always keep our guard up and trust our instincts.
In the recent Fyre Festival documentary, we are taught not to trust shiny and filtered adverts on Instagram or to do so at our own peril. Even the recent release of Our Planet has had audiences taking to the internet to complain about the disturbing walrus and flamingo scene. Although these scenes were difficult to watch, the environmental message the show shares are infinitely important.
So yes, there has been a suspicious increase in disturbing Netflix content but these shows are a reminder of why we must be vigilante in the unpredictable world around us. More often than not though, it’s best not to watch these terrifying portrayals of real-life horrors alone.