Is American Murder real footage? The Netflix documentary tells a true story which is leaving audiences shocked and heartbroken.

Netflix has offered audiences a number of documentaries so far this year, from the inspirational Crip Camp to the insanity of Tiger King.

Arguably, viewers have grown more of a taste for non-fiction filmmaking in recent years and the streaming service has been keen to cater to demands.

There are a number of reasons we watch documentaries, but first and foremostly, it’s surely to learn something and to be entertained.

On the other hand, there are some which have you utterly gripped and aghast, making you wish you could turn away but being totally unable to, desperate to find out what happened next.

Many will perhaps feel this is the case for American Murder: The Family Next Door, directed by Jenny Popplewell.

NO TIME TO DIE | Trailer 2

It’s a crushing and insightful piece of work but some can’t help but ask…


Is American Murder real footage?

  • Yes, American Murder: The Family Next Door uses real footage to paint a portrait of the 2018 Watts family murders.

As highlighted by CNet, the documentary was assembled from all real footage from a range of archival sources.

These include police body cams, interrogation room footage and news footage.

So, rather than simply witnessing professionals who worked on the case reflect on it in the studio, you are watching the case play out with footage that was actually captured as it was ongoing.

It includes footage of Shan’ann Cathryn Watts entering her home on the night of the murder courtesy of a security camera.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, director Jenny Popplewell addressed how they got the footage:

“… In the interest of transparency, anyone can contact Weld County and ask for the body of evidence and the discovery documents. Once we went to North Carolina and met with her family, we were able to have access to her phone and her laptop. We transferred it onto a drive, and her mom just said, ‘Please tell the truth’.”

She added: “I’m grateful she entrusted us with that, because within those videos — of which there were thousands — were poignant moments, especially in the last few weeks that the relationship broke down.”

Where is Chris Watts now?

Christopher Lee Watts confessed to killing his pregnant wife and their two daughters, pleading guilty in November 2018.

As noted by the Express, Chris Watts is now in a maximum-security prison in Wisconsin after receiving five life sentences without a chance for parole.

He was eligible to receive the death penalty. However, the source acknowledges that the district attorney agreed not to if he pleaded guilty to all of the crimes in question.

According to Hello! Magazine, the 35-year-old is aware of the documentary and an insider told People that its existence “makes him feel a lot of shame.”

Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Audiences react to Netflix documentary

Since the documentary arrived on Netflix, a number of audiences have taken to Twitter to weigh in their thoughts.

Check out a selection of tweets:

In other news, where was Emily in Paris filmed?