Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills

Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills ★★★★½

In May 1993, three young boys were found horrifically mutilated on the banks of a muddy ditch in West Memphis, murders so vile, the community was convinced it was part of a Satanic ritual. The authorities found their lead suspects in three teenage boys who looked the part (aka the West Memphis Three).

The first in a decade-spanning trilogy, Paradise Lost is a seminal work of true crime documentation with accreditation to the parents of the victims, the families of the accused and the two gripping trials that followed. The willingness of all involved to speak their mind, often to their own detriment, is simply staggering.

The nauseatingly explicit crime scene footage and photos mixed with the premium cable aesthetics of the 1990s give this the aura of a banned exploitation film. Factor in the soundtrack fueled solely by Metallica—a first for the band—of which fandom is numbered among the sins of the defendants. Sensationalism can be downright sensational.

◘ HBO Max (Highland, UT)