10 forgotten real crime movies that deserve a second chance
In recent history, real crime has been a booming industry. True crime podcasts are climbing the charts, and documentaries seem to be released on Netflix or HBO every year. While it can’t be said how fascinating it is, real crime narrative movies aren’t always taken seriously.
Real crime has to have a lot of assets to attract an audience. The directing, budget, and actors have to be top notch to be critically acclaimed. Often, certain films pass or are completely forgotten. But there’s a reason real crime is so prevalent. Even the forgotten films have something to say about society – more than the public would like to admit.
The Zodiac Killer terrorized the Bay Area between 1968 and 1969. What makes these murders so fascinating is that there has been no definitive proof of who the real killer is. One of the well-known books on the subject was written by Robert Graysmith and is the protagonist of the 2007 film by David Fincher.
David Fincher brings immaculate production value to the film, but Zodiac did not do well at the box office. This ambitious film was quickly forgotten. Zodiac should be reconsidered because while there is no answer to who the zodiac killer is, Fincher does incredible feats in filmmaking and the film will be remembered as one of his best.
9 Celestial creatures
While Celestial creatures might not have sparked the real crime craze, it was a solid addition to the genre’s obsession. The subjects of the film themselves are rife with obsession which may also have been a contributing factor. Based on the true story of Juliet Hume and Pauline Parker, Celestial creatures catapulted its actresses into stardom.
The film was widely recognized as a critical success when it was released in 1994. It cannot be ignored for the effect it has had on pop culture. Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynsky have become household names, while director Peter Jackson has been praised for his dreamy and fantastical vision. The film predicted a bright future for those involved and capitalized on the true genre of crime.
8 The Iceman
Although a lesser-known name in crime culture, The Iceman‘s Richard Kuklinski was as brutal as he was prolific. First a burglar and porn hacker, Kuklinski’s criminal career grew even darker when he became an assassin for the Mafia. Michael Shannon stars in the 2012 film with a star cast.
Michael Shannon skillfully plays the cold hitman. What makes Kuklinsky so terrifying is that he isn’t driven by impulse or depravity. His crimes are calculated. He monetizes this skill because he is good at it. The Iceman take a look at a really mean man.
7 The black Dahlia
Coming in film noir heels LA Confidential, The black Dahlia attempts to replicate success, but did not reach as many audiences. The two LA Confidential and The black Dahlia were adapted from books written by James Ellroy and investigating the Los Angeles crimes of the 1940s. This film sensationalizes one of the most famous unsolved murders in modern history, though it received a poor reception at the box office.
As the Black Dahlia case has never been resolved, this may contribute to the poor performance. But the film still has seeds for a compelling story. De Palma’s film is not about solving the whole crime. Rather, it revolves around the detective who cannot drop the case. And as he delves deeper into the mystery, he realizes that the world as a whole is what is corrupted. The film takes a well-known story and turns it into a moral tale worth watching.
6 All the good stuff
Notoriety surrounding Robert Durst and his crimes peaked during Andrew Jarecki’s true crime documentary on HBO The Jinx. However, this was not Jarecki’s first foray into this topic. The reason The Jinx was born was due to Jarecki’s film in 2010 All the good stuff.
With Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst, All the good stuff represents the fictional character David Marks who bears a striking resemblance to Robert Durst. All the good stuff fictional real-life events like Durst’s missing wife and his subsequent murder of a neighbor in Texas. All the good stuff did not use real names but had a ripple effect that still causes waves today.
5 Devil’s knot
In 1993, three boys were falsely charged with the murder of three children in West Virginia. The trial was obsessively covered and ensured that Damien Echols would not be released until 2011.
This miscarriage of justice was tragic, and the 2013 film Devil’s knot brings the issue back into the public conversation. Devil’s knot doesn’t capitalize on the pain of the West Memphis Three. Instead, it focuses on one of the mothers of the deceased boys, Pam Hobbs. As the case did not bring charges against anyone else, the film draws attention to the pain and endurance of the family that remains.
4 Extremely mean, incredibly evil and vile
Ted Bundy monopolized the territory on a real crime cover. He is one of the most notorious serial killers in American history and his crimes are appalling because they are vile. Extremely mean, incredibly evil and vile take the opportunity to tell the story from another angle.
What has not been covered in the past is the experience of his girlfriend at the time of the crimes, Liz Kendall. The film was based on the book she wrote about the experience. Bundy claims his innocence with her. It is full of dramatic irony because the public knows he is guilty. Liz must confront the person she thought she knew with the truth. The film culminates with her confrontation with Bundy, an extremely cathartic experience for her as well as the audience.
Aileen Wuornos was the most prolific serial killer in American history. She killed seven men in twelve months. This was portrayed in Patty Jenkins’ 2003 film Monster, with Charlize Theron. Although the film has changed some names to respect the privacy of those involved, Monster was largely a realistic depiction of events.
Monster also benefited from being told from a female perspective. Patty Jenkins wrote and directed the film, which translated well into the story. The women in the film were shown as themselves. They weren’t glamorized in typical Hollywood fashion, and events were shown with reality, not glossed over.
2 Die for
The 1995 Gus Van Sant film Die for stars Nicole Kidman as Suzanne Stone, a woman who manipulates a teenager into killing her husband. The film was adapted from the book of the same name by Joyce Maynard, which was heavily inspired by the Pamela Smart affair. Suzanne Stone is an ambitious woman working as a meteorologist. She aspires to do something big in the media and begins to document the lives of three high school teens.
Van Sant uses wall-breaking and interview styles to draw parallels with Suzanne Stone’s desire to be a true journalist. Immediately, the film opens with the news that Suzanne has allegedly committed a plot to kill her husband. There is no question of her guilt and the film takes pleasure in following her down the rabbit hole.
1 Frozen ground
Frozen ground premiered in 2013, apparently the height of crime’s true popularity. But he had more advantages than that. Nicolas Cage plays alongside John Cusack and Vanessa Hudgens. More fascinating is the subject of the film. Robert Hansen is not as famous as Bundy or Jeffrey Dahmer, but was still fodder for the real crime film.
One of the reasons Hansen could get away with his crimes was because he was so far away. Its point of origin was Alaska. In the film, Hansen targets those who would not be investigated, like Vanessa Hudgen’s Cindy Paulson. The Frozen ground respect those women who often go unnoticed when they go missing. One of the perspectives is that of the victim and follows his experience in the desolate landscape. The Frozen ground ends with Hansen’s arrest and his dedication to all of his victims.
NEXT: Best True Crime Shows On Netflix Right Now
10 scariest scenes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, ranked
About the Author