Like for Like: The Sons of Sam: A Descent Into Darkness, on Netflix

May 5, 2021
M.N. Miller 0
Like For Like, Netflix
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This article discusses 10 movies and TV shows like the Netflix series The Sons of Sam: A Descent Into Darkness, so it may contain minor spoilers.


Netflix’s The Sons of Sam: A Descent Into Darkness is now playing on Netflix! Here is a list of ten series or films like this crime docuseries. Please take a gander and fall down the rabbit hole of conspiracy theories, paranoia, and madness that was born out of the events of the 1970s and beyond.

A Wilderness of Error (2018)

10 movies and shows like the Netflix series The Sons of Sam: A Descent Into Darkness

Based on the book by The Thin Blue Line director Erroll Morris, A Wilderness of Error chronicles dozens of unreliable narrators that inspired the book, Fatal Vision. Morris gives the series instant credibility, but this darkly wild ride offers more questions than answers. Just like The Sons of Sam: A Descent Into Darkness, it just depends on what side of the crackpots you fall on.

Available to stream on Hulu right now!

Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes (2019)

Ready Steady Cut critic Dan Hart called this series an “..undoubtedly fascinating, with never-heard-before audio, but it’s hardly groundbreaking work.” The same argument can be made for Maury Terry’s sit down with Berkowitz 16 years after the murders. The footage featured in Sam is fascinating and engrossing. However, Terry clearly asked leading questions that made the Son of Sam’s answers hardly earth-shattering.

Available to stream on Netflix right now!

Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel (2020)

Any news magazine junkie knows the story of the Cecil Hotel and the tragic death of Elisa Lam. While this Netflix true-crime docuseries is rather bloated, it does grab the viewer with its creepy and engaging history. Just like The Sons of Sam: A Descent Into Darkness, this docuseries draws lines from wild conspiracy theories of who may have killed her; even the infamous reputation of the hotel’s deaths, suicides, and the stay of the infamous Night Stalker. Cecil also offers interviews from a team of web sleuths, which Maury Terry had a team of before the internet existed.

Available to stream on Netflix right now!

Fear City: New York vs The Mafia (2020)

10 movies and shows like the Netflix series The Sons of Sam: A Descent Into Darkness

An engrossing, albeit sometimes stagnant retelling of the first effective use of the RICOH statute in 70s New York City. No one can deny this series’ compulsively watchable style, but you have to wonder why it felt so light on depth. How though is it like the mentioned series? Fear focuses on the win at all costs of politics, policing, and prosecuting. The district attorney at the time was Rudy Giuliani. The Sons of Sam: A Descent Into Darkness makes the same references to questionable tactics and corrupt policing in the same New York City era (including a connection of a mob hit).

Available to stream on Netflix right now!

I’ll be Gone in the Dark (2020)

Famed documentary filmmaker Liz Garbus adapted this documentary series from Michelle McNamara’s true-crime book. The series offers a surprisingly deep dive into the author’s dogged determination to bring a serial killer to justice and an unparalleled human element that holds your attention. McNamara’s relentless pursuit with her gang of web sleuths is much like Maury Terry’s “Pine Street Irregulars” that consisted of cops, writers, and a Son of Sam survivor, to discuss the case.

Available to stream on HBO Max right now!

Murder on Middlebeach (2020)

HBO Max’s true-crime series is a fascinating and engrossing combination of grief, murder, white-collar crime, red tape, and co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorders that have everyone trying to cut their family ties that bind. Like most unsolved mysteries, there is an accusation of a cult being involved in the murder, which seems to be a go-to factoid for all true-crime docuseries. The Sons of Sam: A Descent Into Darkness is no different.

Available to stream on HBO Max right now!

Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer (2020)

This true-crime docuseries’ methodical style — notice how the camera lingers on its subject for a few moments as they’re still haunted by the case — compliments the narrative of the grueling investigation. It’s a binge that’s shocking and equally engrossing. It points to the trauma the serial killer suffered as a child by his parents. This ramped up the progression of his mental health issues that led to the killings. The same line is pointed by Terry to a father named Sam. He lived behind Berkowitz and was known to be mentally and physically abusive to his sons. Maury Terry believes these boys were part of a cult that teamed with Berkowitz that committed the murders.

Available to stream on Netflix right now!

The Pledge

Sean Penn’s The Pledge was another successful collaboration between Jack Nicholson and was little-seen, but leaves an indelible mark. It’s hard to believe Nicholson’s obsessively determined turn as a detective on a mission could be outdone by anyone else, but someone did. Mickey Rourke’s startling turn as a father who is still grieving years later over the death of his child is, in my opinion, the greatest cameo in the history of film.

Available to stream on HBO Max right now!

The Ripper (2020)

This Netflix docuseries brings a fresh angle to the true crime genre. The Ripper sparked the British feminist movement. The film makes the case the men heading the investigation were at fault for not bringing the man to justice much sooner. Effective, enraging, and even engrossing, that draws parallels to an incompetent investigation that led to more deaths. This is something Maury Terry often pointed out. The citizens often voice their displeasure as well. The New York City could never get their act together and it prolonged the investigation.

Available to stream on Netflix right now!

Summer of Sam (1999)

10 movies and shows like the Netflix series The Sons of Sam: A Descent Into Darkness

One of Spike Lee’s more critically panned films, Summer of Sam arrived in theaters with fans and critics looking to quench their fascination with serial killers. What they got was a film that used the infamous killer as a backdrop (I mean, it’s practically in the title). Lee made a film that summed up a time in American history where emotions ran high as the heat index in that summer of 1977. It also drew the audience’s eye to mental health, government mistrust, race riots, and feverish paranoia. Sound familiar?

Available to stream on Hoopla (what the hell is Hoopla?) right now!

Zodiac (2007)

10 movies and shows like the Netflix series The Sons of Sam: A Descent Into Darkness

The fascination with serial killers brought a host of reports who made books out of their conspiracy theories at the end of the 1970s and into the 1980s. David Fincher’s brilliant Zodiac, based on Robert Graysmith’s nonfiction bestseller of the same name, was a look at one cartoonist obsessed and relentless determination to bring the man to justice. He was the perfect west coast version of journalist Maury Terry.

Available to stream with an Amazon Prime Video or Paramount Plus subscription!

So there you are — 10 movies and TV shows like the Netflix series The Sons of Sam: A Descent Into Darkness – have you got any other recommendations? Comment below.

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