Waco: American Apocalypse Review – yet another tragedy involving a religious cult

By Romey Norton
Published: March 14, 2023 (Last updated: April 19, 2023)
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A cult manufacturing illegal weapons ends in a bloody battle with the FBI. Thirty years after the tragic incident, Netflix brings this unbelievable story to our screens.

We review the Netflix true crime documentary series Waco: American Apocalypse.

“Do you put your trust in the lord?” a recorded voice asks. “I am the lord,” the cult leader responds.

Netflix is back at it with their true-crime documentaries, still claiming the crown amongst streaming services for some of the best, top-quality content available. Released to commemorate thirty years since the incident, this three-part documentary series looks into one of the bloodiest shootouts in American History.

Waco: American Apocalypse Review

We see the dramatic story of David Koresh, a cult leader who took control of the Branch Davidians Religious Sect in the late 1980s, claiming to be a prophet. His followers believed that the world’s end was coming, and they would battle with the federal government. Due to this, they were manufacturing illegal weapons/guns. 

Now if you’re a true-crime documentary fan, you’ll know that most people who claim to be a prophet usually have some serious allegations; otherwise, why would Netflix pump money into making these documentaries? Koresh was accused of polygamy and child sexual abuse, so much so that it promoted the federal government to raid his Mount Carmel Center compound near Waco, Texas in 1993. This resulted in a bloody siege that lasted for fifty-one days and caused multiple unnecessary deaths. Unbelievably this standoff was live on television, and we got to see a lot of that dramatic footage. 

We hear from relatives of David Koresh, his ex-cult followers, and agents/law enforcement who were building the case to arrest Koresh and seize all firearms. There is a lot of emotion from both sides, and you can tell people didn’t want the violence and casualties that occurred. 

You’ll see familiar patterns with con artists, especially cult leaders. They use religion to control and manipulate people, and they’re always taking advantage financially and sexually. In this cult, the men were prohibited from having sex with their wives, and only Koresh could have sex with them. Kathy, a woman interviewed, talks about how being with Koresh was her having sex with God, and he was doing this for her selflessly. Koresh would have sex with girls as young as ten years old, and Kathy seems to think this is okay. Her perspective is so interesting because she’s still so institutionalized; perhaps the reality of her choices is too awful to face. 

READ: Where is the Waco Survivor Heather Jones Now?

There is a lot of footage from the events, and they’re almost unbelievable to watch. The bullets raining down is like something from a Hollywood blockbuster, not a small place in Texas, USA. The FBI was not negotiating, especially after hearing children were being sexually assaulted, and they were willing to fight to stop Koresh and his cult. 

The ending and outcome are highly upsetting; a burning building and a bloody riot resulting in the deaths of four federal agents, eighty-two adults, and twenty-eight children in Waco; you can’t help but watch and wonder, could this have all gone differently? 

Is Waco: American Apocalypse good?

Yes. This is a great true crime docuseries, easily binge-able in a day/few days depending on your time, and you will be hooked from the start. It’s an awful piece of history, but a story I am glad has been shared and hopefully helps some of the people involved get some closure.

What I will ask for anyone who watches, to the followers of Koresh, were they martyrs dying for their God, or people manipulated so much by a con man they were part of mass suicide? Both David Koresh and the FBI and ATF knew how to abuse power, and did, which led to many unnecessary deaths. The apocalyptic carnage that ensued is hard to believe and hard to imagine, and it’s clear they could have and should have saved more lives, if not all.

What did you think of the Netflix true crime documentary series Waco: American Apocalypse? Comment Below 

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