'Memories of a Murderer' review: Netflix documentary is hauntingly good
Netflix released a fresh documentary on a notorious criminal, Dennis Nilsen, titled Memories of a Murderer: The Nilsen Tapes, recently. It deals with audio recordings left by the Scottish serial killer and necrophile, who called himself the "Murderer of the Century." Disturbing to sit through at times, director Michael Harte lets Nilsen tell his story in his own (chilling) voice. Here's our review.
A meek civil servant turns out to be serial killer
First, to brief you on the notoriety of Nilsen, in 1983, the 37-year-old meek, "ordinary-looking" civil servant was found to have been associated with human bones being discovered in the drain of a London flat. Little did the police, media, or entire Britain know, they were looking at a serial killer who had killed and disposed of the bodies of at least 15 men.
Nilsen's testament in contrast to other statements creates enjoyable tension
Harte is to be praised for using over 250 hours' worth of tapes recorded by Nilsen in his prison cell and juxtaposing his testimony with the statements given by investigating officers or his victims. We understand Nilsen has created a perfect illusionary world in his mind where the facts remain the same, but the definition of the hero and villain is subverted.
When a tale of horror is narrated by Horror himself
"It's a tale beyond comprehension," says Nilsen, as begins to narrate how he used to pick his victims, and how he disposed their bodies under the floorboard, or garden, or drain. As soon as you think you've figured him out, a piece of new information is hurled unforeseen and Andrew Skeet's music enhances these twists with sound on par with top Hollywood murder mysteries.
Homophobia, media trial again play a role here, gets 4/5
Like another Netflix documentary, Murder By The Coast, we find homophobia and sensationalized reporting again have affected this case. However, Memories... is far more cinematic in treatment. Director of Photography Tim Cragg employs the cut shots effectively. But the retelling of the haunting crimes does get a bit too dramatic after a certain point. It'll be a treat for criminology lovers. Verdict: 4/5.