'The Sons of Sam' review: A descent into darkness indeed
Netflix's latest limited series has brought forth America's notorious serial killer, Son of Sam (David Berkowitz). The case caught the attention of the world in the late '70s. Divided into four one-hour episodes, filmmaker Joshua Zeman, with help from an ex-IBM employee turned journalist Maury Terry, peels away facets of a crazy case in The Sons of Sam: A Descent into Darkness. Our review.
The start: NYPD arrested Berkowitz for serial murders
The first episode, Hello from the Gutters, sets up New York City from five decades ago - streets filled with garbage bags and crime rampant everywhere. During this chaotic time, a murderer emerges shooting at young lovers in public. Berkowitz was arrested by the New York Police Department (NYPD) for these crimes, but somehow, Terry was not convinced and began his own investigation.
Berkowitz was called .44 Caliber Killer in the beginning
Before being christened Son of Sam, Berkowitz became known as the .44 Caliber Killer, due to the use of a large-caliber revolver in his killings. Terry was convinced that he wasn't the lone serial killer, but part of something bigger. That's when we come to know about Sam Carr. He was Berkowitz's neighbor and had two sons - John and Michael (sons of Sam).
'I never dreamed I'd eventually become a murderer'
The documentary also includes an interview of Berkowitz by Terry for a syndicated news magazine called Inside Edition. Berkowitz spills the beans about a satanic cult he joined after meeting Michael Carr at a party in 1975. He said that the occult intrigued him and it was all harmless fun in the beginning. "I never dreamed I'd eventually become a murderer," Berkowitz said.
Were satanic cults really a part of the killings?
By the third episode, you will be seriously questioning whether Berkowitz was acting alone or there were other parties involved. It is very much possible that he was part of some satanic cult and according to his own later statements, not the only one involved in the killings. We see a masterful use of old news broadcasts and Berkowitz's letters throughout the limited series.
A journalist's relentless pursuit of evil gets solid 4/5 rating
The concluding episode Rabbit Hole shows how the case physically took a toll on Terry from which he later died. He got involved in this case and it became his life. He started drinking a lot, smoking excessively, according to the people who knew him. This is not a story about a serial killer, but a journalist's relentless pursuit of evil. Final Rating: 4/5