Netflix's newest true crime documentary has gripped viewers worldwide. The 80-minute film, American Murder: The Family Next Door, tells the heartbreaking story of the murder of 34-year-old Shannan Watts and her two young daughters - Bella, four, and Celeste, three - by their husband and father, Chris Watts.
The documentary details the family's life in the run-up to the callous murders, as well as Chris' reaction in the aftermath of their 'disappearance'. The 35-year-old lied to police and the media, insisting his wife must have left him. But in reality, he had killed all three of them - and the couple's unborn baby son.
There's no doubt it's a harrowing watch. Viewers of the documentary took to Twitter afterwards to describe how the film made them feel "sick" and "disturbed". "I don’t think I’ll ever be the same after watching American Murder: The Family Next Door," posted one distressed woman.
If that's the kind of reaction the story could stir up in a complete stranger, how must it be for the family of Shanann? For those who were left devastated at the brutal harm she and her daughters came to at the hands of the man she had married? Naturally, it must have been a hard watch, but it seems that overall the family is pleased with the outcome.
Shanann's brother Frankie Rzucek has posted several times about American Murder: The Family Next Door on Facebook, and his feedback is largely positive. Particularly, it seems, because Frankie feels this is a cathartic way for his late sister to "tell her story, with her own words."
Taking to Facebook to "highly recommend" his friends watch it, Frankie says of the programme: "This documentary gives my sister a voice and she speaks throughout it. It also shows what her life was like before he came along and how happy she was with her beautiful family until he cheated and turned into a different person and became that monster."
The grieving brother added that the director had included Shanann's family throughout the whole process. "We met the whole team personally. They made sure we were ok with them making this before they even started," he posted.
Upon spotting that Kylie Jenner had shared an Instagram Story about American Murder, Frankie mused: "How crazy that even Kylie Jenner watched it and shared this on her Instagram. My sister is an inspiration to millions of people all over the world and I'm honoured to be her little brother. She's still changing lives and I couldn't be more proud."
In a later post, he touched on the grief he and his family continue to suffer as a result of Chris Watts' actions. "We miss you, you're truly an inspiration to millions of women. You're a hero to me and many others. God bless you Shanann, Bella, Celeste and Nico [the name Shanann and Chris had given their unborn son]. We love you and we wish you were here."
It's nice to hear that Shanann's family have been completely included in the Netflix documentary, considering it focusses on such a distressing topic. As Frankie said, Shanann's story has now been told in a way that would have been true to her, and for her loved ones, that must be so incredibly important.
American Murder: The Family Next Door is streaming on Netflix now.
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