Capturing the Killer Nurse review – an engrossing and horrifying documentary feature

By Marc Miller
Published: November 10, 2022 (Last updated: November 23, 2022)


Capturing the Killer Nurse is an engrossing and horrifying documentary that is must see companion piece to The Good Nurse.

Bringing more context to the serial killer Charles Cullen, we review the Netflix documentary Capturing the Killer Nurse, out on November 11, 2022.

Hollywood may love nothing more than a true crime documentary like Capturing the Killer Nurse. If it’s a serial killer, even better. Charles Cullen puts most of them to shame, reportedly a self-proclaimed angel of mercy killer who murdered over four hundred innocent victims. That’s something the Jeffrey Dahmer or Ted Bundys of the world never did. Cullen jumped from hospital to hospital, nursing home to nursing home, town to town, state to state, leaving a trail of tears in his wake.

This was all because hospitals would rather have their patients die than have two things happen. One is ongoing lawsuits, and their insurance premiums rise astronomically. Two, if you know anything about the healthcare system, it’s a business. You need licensed registered nurses to access private insurance and government-based funds like Medicare. In short, they don’t care if you live or die just as long as the dead patient or psychopathic nurse doesn’t cost you anything.

Capturing the Killer Nurse follows the story of Cullen, who freely begins injecting insulin or other hard-to-trace drugs into patients. After he was caught, he told detectives that he was doing it to spare them pain. However, after interviewing clinical staff and family members, most of his victims were on track to recover. Someone involved in a bicycle accident is not suffering the same as a patient with terminal cancer. However, Cullen failed to differentiate this or didn’t care.

Capturing the Killer Nurse was directed by Tim Travers, who wrote the screenplay with Robin Ockleford. (Yes, documentary films have scripts, look them up). The film is a highly informative and interesting look at the holes in the healthcare system and legal loopholes in government and insurance that allowed Cullen free access to hospitals and medication. Numerous scenes in this film share information about how nurses would be too afraid to speak out against Cullen. This mostly had to do with fear of retribution and their jobs. The brave ones that suspected Cullen was murdering patients made sure to contact hospitals not to hire him or warn them after he was hired. However, they ignored the pleas. This indicates the need to employ licensed clinicians to keep medical facilities solvent.

There really is no way not to compare Capturing the Killer Nurse with Netflix’s recent release of The Good Nurse. The aforementioned documentary film succeeds because it forges the ambiguity of Tobias Lindholm’s thriller and offers solid and steady suspense. Traver’s film surpasses it because of how truly terrifying the story is. The movie toiled in the ambiguity of being in the dark, where we get to hear interviews with the hero nurse, Amy Loughren, who took down Cullen. You listen to the facts of the case, which are vastly different from the film (read more of that in our ending explained).

Capturing the Killer Nurse is an engrossing and horrifying documentary of not just a serial killer but the malfeasance of the hospital administrators. If anything, Traver’s film proves that everything is a business. And you have to think Cullen found the ambiguity in when money changes hands.

What did you think of the Netflix documentary film Capturing the Killer Nurse? Comment below.

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