Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer review – a generic but worthwhile true-crime series The evil of Richard Ramirez.

January 13, 2021
Daniel Hart 0
Netflix, TV Reviews
3

Summary

While this documentary is not highly-rated, it’s worth having on your true-crime list like many other series before it.

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3

Summary

While this documentary is not highly-rated, it’s worth having on your true-crime list like many other series before it.

Netflix series Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer was released on the platform on January 13, 2020.

With Discovery+ around the corner, you can only imagine Netflix planning to ramp up on true crime documentaries, a market they have enjoyed the last few years, triggered by the fan frenzy of Making a Murderer. Next on the true-crime original list is Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer, and if you are American, you’ll probably be aware of the horrors of Richard Ramirez. His home invasions and brutal murders had police authorities scratching their heads in LA and San Francisco between June 1984 until August 1985, with the media sensationalising him as the “Night Stalker”.

Richard Ramirez is part of a long list of serial killers that have captured the imagination of film and TV, bringing the same perplexion as the likes of Ted Bundy. What’s fascinating about these concluded investigations is the meaning of time — there’s certainly a point to be made that horrific events have perspective years later, allowing documentary makers to truly analyze the material to come up with a concrete timeline of events and expert opinions. There’s certainly that feeling with Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer, where its 4-part documentary series delves into the emotions, practicalities, the science and facts with ease.

But like many other true-crime documentaries, Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer is routine and ticks boxes. The usual format will undoubtedly warm true-crime fans, but this is like many series’ from a critical perspective. And even though that’s not a serious criticism, we are dying for a series that encourages a community of conversation, rather than the usual nod to another serial killer in America.

Netflix’s Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer has a shock value to it, with witness accounts telling stories from the time that compounded the police with confusion. There’s plenty of descriptions of the horrific and evil crimes that Richard Ramirez inflicted on his victims. The four-part series explains the intricacies and the progress made naturally all the way up to the conclusive manhunt. But what is clearly compelling and awful is how Richard Ramirez was entirely evil — a satanist that never expressed any remorse. The series does well to provoke thoughts from the viewer — how evil truly exists and is not something we can control or prevent. Encouraging that provocation is one of the series’ true strengths.

While this documentary is not highly-rated, it’s worth having on your true-crime list like many other series before it.

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