At this point, the true crime genre has become one of the most important pillars of any streaming service. The material for these types of shows basically writes itself. There are so many crimes and crazy stories out there that a team of filmmakers can actually compose a very nice product very quickly. Especially, if we are talking about the most recent crimes, dealing with social media. People record everything these days, so, there is a lot of stuff to see out there. HBO Max is ready to give us more true crime with Low Country, their new true crime docuseries.
Netflix is definitely the king of true-crime shows, but HBO Max has been making some good ones here and there. Their output is certainly lower than Netflix’s, but they also feel more substantial, and the research is more detailed. Low Country: The Murdaugh Dynasty is absolutely a very interesting true-crime story involving one of the most important and influential families in South Carolina. What begins with a boat accident develops into a series of murders that basically destroy the family’s centuries-long legacy in just one year.
The story itself is the major element that will attract and keep people watching across all three episodes that compose the series. There are just so many crazy details that the audience will become engrossed in finding out who is responsible for all these deaths. There is also the fact that the Murdaugh family is basically depicted as the worst of the worst, an entitled family that thought they were above everyone else, only to find out that to the cannon, every man is equal.
The docuseries uses classic documentary tools to provide information to the viewer. There is a ton of archive footage being used, from street cameras to even Instagram stories. There are also several interviews being conducted with people involved in the case, and they all have different points of view and details to provide. Some interviewees are clearly on one side of the issue, and others are on the other side. This prevents the documentary from feeling like it is piling on a specific group, and that is very nice.
Nevertheless, it is very clear that the Murdaugh and the people who worked for them and are still on their side feel a bit like just mindless goons. It might be harsh to judge these people, but at least for what is presented in the docuseries. These people are trying more to hide the fact that they are being forced to say these things than they are to actually feel them for real. At some points, some declarations are so out of context that you can certainly feel they have been prepped to say what they say.
The series only consists of three episodes, which run for about 45 minutes on average. This means that the docuseries doesn’t overstay its welcome, and information is provided at a very good pace. None of the episodes feel stretched out, which is something that can happen in many of these shows when they need to meet a certain quota. None of the interviews go around the bush too much, and they really manage to keep the audience interested in the next big development.
The episodes also end with very good cliffhangers that will make you press play on the next episode immediately. It is fascinating to see how one family can gather so much power to them, and lose it basically all in just a very short time. The bigger they are, the harder they fall, and it really becomes quite a spectacle to see this family fall from grace, not only in front of their community but also in front of the entire nation. In the end, not even all the money and influence in the world can really cover the truth of who people are.
In the end, the series is a good way of killing a couple of hours of time and getting out knowing a bit more about the dark history of South Carolina. For people outside the States, the documentary might also serve to teach them how some things are run in the country. It doesn’t matter where you are from, the documentary has been assembled in such a way that you don’t need a lot of previous knowledge to understand what is happening.
Could the documentary have been more innovative? Sure, if there is something that can get tedious about this type of show, it is that the format used in each one of them doesn’t really change. There is no director out there who seems to have the capacity to make something different with their available resources. If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it, sure, but at some point boredom and that feeling that you’re watching the same thing over and over again starts to settle in and that might make some people leave the genre.
Low Country: The Murdaugh Dynasty is a very well-made docuseries, it tells a very compelling story and really goes deep into some legacies that are better left forgotten.