True crime content is all the rage these days. We all consume the documentaries and docuseries on Netflix on a regular basis. New crime stories are constantly being produced into movies and high-profile television series.
Whether it be JonBenet Ramsey or an infamous serial killer like Ted Bundy, there are tons of content out there. Lots of big-budget horror films and dramas are based on true crimes too. They're not always about serial killers either. We're taking a look at some of the most underrated films based on true crimes out of the last 20 years.
10 An American Crime
Ellen Page and Catherine Keener starred in this 2007 film about the murder of Sylvia Likens. Sylvia was being taken care of by her caretaker, Gertrude Baniszewski. Throughout several months, poor Sylvia was tortured, abused, and brutalized by Gertrude and her other children before she was eventually murdered.
Keener was nominated for a Golden Globe and the film was also nominated for an Emmy as it initially premiered on Showtime. However, despite its accolades, it is often forgotten about in true crime communities. James Franco and Evan Peters also starred in the film.
Lizzie is a biographical thriller about the infamous killer, Lizzie Borden. If you haven't heard of Borden before, she became known for murdering her family with an ax, although she was acquitted. Chloë Sevigny plays the titular role and Kristen Stewart portrays both her housemaid and her lover.
The movie was made for a small budget and mostly flew under the radar when it released last year. It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Lizzie follows the blossoming relationship between Borden and her housemaid until it builds to a violent breaking point with her disapproving family members.
8 All the Good Things
David Marks (Ryan Gosling) is the heir to a powerful dynasty but often feels as if he cannot live up to path set before him. He eventually falls in love with a woman named Katie (Kirsten Dunst). Katie is one of the few people who doesn't care about David's money.
But their relationship begins to crumble as David becomes increasingly embroiled in the family business. All the Good Things is loosely inspired by the real story of Robert Durst, a man who was accused of multiple murders but eventually acquitted. He was convicted of a dismemberment but not of the murder itself.
Angelina Jolie stars in this dramatic film directed by Clint Eastwood. She plays Christine Collins, who comes home to find her son has vanished. Eventually, he is found but Christine is convinced that the boy who returns to her is not her son.
Changeling is based on the 1928 Wineville Chicken Coop Murders. It did receive several award nominations and wins but is commonly forgotten about when people discuss true crime films nowadays. The Chicken Coop Murders is the name of a time when many young boys were being kidnapped and killed in Los Angeles.
6 Savage Grace
Savage Grace is based on a very real scandal from the '70s involving an intense relationship between a mother and son. Julianne Moore and Eddie Redmayne play the main roles in the film. Moore is Barbara, mother to Redmayne's Eddie. Eddie is gay but Barbara sometimes tries to seduce him to "cure" him of his homosexuality. Eventually, this culminates in a horrific murder.
Barbara Daly Baekeland was a very real person and although the events in the film are all rumored and alleged, some of having been confirmed by Samuel Adams Green, who was involved with Barbara in real life and played by Hugh Dancy in the film. Although he also contests that some aspects of the movie were factually inaccurate.
5 Alpha Dog
Alpha Dog came out back in 2006 and consists of a pretty star-studded cast. Justin Timberlake, Ben Foster, Amanda Seyfried, Anton Yelchin, Bruce Willis, Olivia Wilde, and more all starred in the movie. It was based on the real story behind the murder of Nicholas Markowitz, which took place in 2000.
The movie follows Johnny Truelove, a known drug dealer, who is living a great life in Los Angeles along with his crew and a steady supply of drugs. But one night, Johnny and his crew are forced to kidnap the younger brother of one of his clients after he refuses to pay. Johnny isn't prepared for the chain reaction he sets up by initiating the attack on a dangerous gang.
4 My Friend Dahmer
Ross Lynch, who was best known for starring in the Disney Channel Original Movie, Teen Beach Movie, made a dramatic turn in My Friend Dahmer as the notorious serial killer, Jeffrey Dahmer. In this film, Lynch portrays a much younger version of Dahmer.
This movie explores Dahmer's adolescence and what he experienced as a teenager that morphed him into the murderer and cannibal we know him as today. Since starring in this film, he has continued his streak of starring in dark content with a series regular role on Netflix's Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
3 The Bling Ring
The Bling Ring is a Sofia Coppola film that was highly praised upon its release and publicized heavily due to it being one of Emma Watson's first big roles post-Harry Potter. It was also a drastically different role from her notable portrayal of Hermione Granger.
If you recall the early 2000s, you might have heard about the notorious Bling Ring, which was a real group of teenagers who were robbing celebrity homes. This film tells their story and how the "Bling Ring" came to be.
Bully chronicles the events that led to the murder of Bobby Kent. The film stars Brad Renfro, Bjou Philips, Rachel Miner, Michael Pitt, and Kelli Garner. It's a very difficult film to watch and has been praised for being brutally realistic.
Even though it's not an easy watch, many recommended showing it to younger kids so they can see the impact of bullying and harassment on teenagers in school. The movie also fills in many of the details about the real murderers and their jail sentences.
1 Devil's Knot
Devil's Knot is about the real group of teen murderers known as the West Memphis Three who killed three children as part of a twisted Satanic ritual. The movie is based on the book of the same name, based on the case. It was written by Mara Leveritt.
Colin Firth, Reese Witherspoon, and Dane DeHaan lead the cast. While the movie has a low rating with critics, audiences liked it much more and it's still commonly referred to when people are looking for lesser-known true crime movies to watch.