The true crime revival has been a much-publicized phenomenon, and 2017 proved that the genre isn't going anywhere anytime soon. This year, filmmakers and TV producers elevated the genre with a handful of gorgeously shot documentaries and movies, alongside thoughtful and reflective television series.
Here are the top 10 films and series that raised the bar in 2017:
1. "Casting JonBenét"
An avant-garde experiment, "Casting JonBenét" is a true documentary about the casting process behind the dramatizations within the documentary itself. By the end of the movie, the concept devolves into pure surrealism, but not before the characters give their own personal takes on the infamous murder case that shook America.
2. "Dahmer on Dahmer: A Serial Killer Speaks"
Taking a new look at one of the most brutal serial killers in history, this two-part special explored the psyche of the notorious cannibal through interviews with the man himself. Was he a monster, a madman or just one of us?
3. "My Friend Dahmer"
While we're on the subject of Dahmer, Marc Meyers' remarkable biopic on the killer certainly deserves a mention. This controversial film explores a young Jeffrey's isolation and loneliness long before the violence began. It begs the question: Do evil people deserve empathy?
4. "The Keepers"
Decades ago, a Baltimore nun went missing. Now, a handful of individuals are attempting to solve the case, and in the process, they may have discovered a massive cover-up. Netflix's "The Keepers" asks important questions about justice, both cosmic and terrestrial.
5. "Criminal Confessions"
Who knows more about crime than criminals themselves? In this series, we consider the actual testimony from a plethora of culprits to see if their words shine light on the scandals they've created.
6. "Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders"
This fresh spin on the "Law & Order" franchise takes a close look at one case over a series of weeks. This time, it deals with the famous 1989 killings that fascinated the country. Edie Falco shines as a tough-as-nails lawyer, reinvigorating a tried-and-true trope.
Netflix's David Fincher-directed drama is based on the story true story of John E. Douglas and Robert K. Ressler, two FBI agents specifically assigned with the task of investigating what would eventually be known as serial murderers. Their haunting interviews with mass murderers became the basis for how we understand serial killing as a phenomenon, and the show tracks the psychological toll that kind of research can take.
8. "Mommy Dead and Dearest"
Erin Lee Carr's documentary about the viral murder of Dee Dee Blancharde explores the bizarre phenomenon of Munchausen syndrome by proxy and investigates the complex interrelation between mental illness and justice. With interviews from killer Gypsy Rose Blanchard, this disturbing meditation on death will surely haunt viewers.
Although occasionally quite brutal, "Snapped" has become a nationwide guilty pleasure in terms of binge-ability. Can anyone really watch less than five episodes at a time?
10. "I Am Elizabeth Smart"
"I Am Elizabeth Smart" commemorates the 15th anniversary of the widely publicized disappearance of the eponymous individual. Made with full approval from Smart herself, this dramatization is the only official account of the hideous events that transpired.
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