Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills

"Excellent"

Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills Review


Paradise Lost is a haunting and tragic documentary about three Arkansas teens enamored with wicca and paganism, who find themselves headed for death row and/or life in prison after three local pre-teens are mysteriously murdered and mutilated. Fingers are pointed, blame is laid, but the only apparent truth to come out of the film is that the three kids doing time are almost undoubtedly not the ones responsible for the murders. Why are they convicted? It's a long story, but one of the three accused kids has a very low IQ and was -- possibly -- coerced into a confession, dragging his friends along with him. It doesn't help that they have long hair and listen to Metallica.

Famous documentarians Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky obtain amazing access to all sides of the case throughout the trials, getting up close and personal with the accused, their families, the local law enforcement, the parents of the victims, and pretty much everyone else in the small Arkansas town -- which almost unilaterally has judged them guilty as hell.

The film's depiction of justice gone wrong is one thing, but the film's biggest horror is probably seen in the lucid Mark Byers, the father of one of the murdered boys. His story is tragic, to be sure, but when he tells the filmmakers how he's going to spit on the graves of the accused -- not to mention the "other bodily functions" he says he will undoubtedly be feeling the urges to do. Later he goes target shooting at a pumpkin in the back country, offering a running commentary wherein he imagines he's firing at the accused children. Even later, he's fingered as a possible -- even likely -- suspect in the murders, though nothing really comes of this.

Many films like this have a tendency to run long -- and at 2 1/2 hours, Paradise Lost is no exception. Some of the scenes have a tendency to repeat older information, and it doesn't help that the film has to cover two separate trials when the cases are split.

Still, it's a powerful movie with an even more powerful message: Never get arrested in the south.

The film's subject matter was revisited five years later in a sequel, which, if you find this story intriguing, you really ought to check out as well. The recent film The Staircase is also frighteningly similar in tone.

The new DVD, released over 10 years after the film's release, includes some recent updates (nothing much to report aside from material seen in Paradise Lost 2), and additional footage from the trials.



Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills

Facts and Figures

Run time: 150 mins

In Theaters: Monday 10th June 1996

Distributed by: Docurama

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Fresh: 25

IMDB: 8.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Starring: as Himself (voice), as Himself (voice), as Himself, as Himself, as Himself

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

This may not be the cheeriest movie of the season, but it's so skilfully written,...

Live By Night Movie Review

Live By Night Movie Review

Ben Affleck launched his directing career 10 years ago with his film of Dennis Lehane's...

La La Land Movie Review

La La Land Movie Review

After storming awards season with Whiplash two years ago, writer-director Damien Chazelle returns with something...

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Hopes were high that this film might finally crack the curse of movies based on...

Silence Movie Review

Silence Movie Review

Faith is a topic Martin Scorsese can't quite shake, courting controversy with complex films like...

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A difficult movie to market, this isn't actually the BFG-style fantasy adventure it looks like....

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Word has it that a 4-year-old came up with the idea for this unapologetically silly...

Advertisement
Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Dramas exploring the nature of death and the true meaning of life are always in...

Paterson Movie Review

Paterson Movie Review

Unpredictable filmmaker Jim Jarmusch ricochets from his artful vampire movie Only Lovers Left Alive into...

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

At 80 years old, British filmmaker Ken Loach won his second Cannes Film Festival with...

Why Him? Movie Review

Why Him? Movie Review

Writer-director John Hamburg continues to recycle the formula that made his first hit Meet the...

Passengers Movie Review

Passengers Movie Review

Anchored by the almost ridiculously engaging Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, this sci-fi movie travels...

Neruda Movie Review

Neruda Movie Review

Clever Chilean director Pablo Larrain (who also directed Natalie Portman's Jackie) takes on the Nobel-winning...

The Eagle Huntress Movie Review

The Eagle Huntress Movie Review

Narrated by Daisy Ridley (The Force Awakens), this documentary is one of the most gripping...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.