The Lady of Silence: The Mataviejitas Murders Review – a documentary whose style feels at odds with its subject

By Nicole Ackman
Published: July 28, 2023 (Last updated: August 4, 2023)
Netflix true crime documentary film The Lady of Silence: The Mataviejitas Murders Review


Not only does the upbeat style of the documentary feel at odds with its grisly subject, but it veers towards glamorizing the serial killer without offering much information about her victims.

Here is our review of the Netflix true crime documentary film The Lady of Silence: The Mataviejitas Murders, released on July 27, 2023.

It seems like true crime documentaries are a dime a dozen, but it’s rare to see one that handles its subjects well.

Too many approach the crimes they are depicting too flippantly or even seem to glamorize the horrific murders that they portray. While it’s far from one of the worst of its kind, Netflix’s new documentary about La Mataviejitas, or “the Little Old Lady Killer,” doesn’t do a great job of balancing its information about the killer with focus on who the victims were.

The Lady of Silence: The Mataviejitas Murders Review

The Lady of Silence: The Mataviejitas Murders tells the story of a series of murders of elderly women that occurred in Mexico City during the late 1990s to mid-2000s. The documentary lays out the murders in chronological order before examining several of the suspects and eventually deep-diving into the woman finally discovered to be the murderer.

It also chronicles the media coverage and the many mistakes the police force made while searching for the killer.

The documentary involves emotional interviews with the loved ones of some of the women killed, including Ana María de los Reyes and Margarita Aceves Quezada.

There are also clips of news coverage from when the murders were occurring, which does a great job of showing the audience first-hand how people were talking about them. However, it also includes lots of photos from the crime scenes and over-dramatized recreations of some of the killings.

These, combined with the jaunty music and creative animations, make the tone of the documentary somewhat confusing.

Instead of focusing on the victims, much of the focus of the documentary is put on the killer. However, even that does not give us much background information on the woman or a real understanding of what caused her to commit these horrific murders.

It also goes into such detail on how she achieved the killings that it feels a bit disrespectful to her victims, or at least will certainly turn off some viewers for being too graphic.

In another documentary about a less serious topic, the music, and the animations might have been something I could praise. However, they felt inappropriate for their subject. All in all, I felt that the documentary did not treat the subject with the necessary delicacy, which is a frequent issue with true crime content.

There should have been more information about the victims, ideally including more of them as well, and more focus on the injustice of the woman who was falsely charged with being the killer.

The section dedicated to her towards the end felt a bit tacked on when the way that both the police and the media played into the sentimentalization of the case could have been more of the main focus.

Is The Lady of Silence: The Mataviejitas Murders good or bad?

It’s definitely not the worst documentary of its type; however, The Lady of Silence: The Mataviejitas Murders does play into lots of the unfortunate traits of true crime stories.

It’s well put together but overly sensationalizes the killer herself instead of focusing on the victims or the way that the media and police mishandled the case. Still, it’s a decent way to learn information about this unique serial killer, and the interviews with the loved ones of the victims have real emotional weight.

Is The Lady of Silence: The Mataviejitas Murders worth watching?

Overall, The Lady of Silence: The Mataviejitas Murders is something that you can skip unless you’re a true crime junkie. You’d be better off reading information about Juana Barraza, particularly Susana Vargas Cervantes’s book, The Little Old Lady Killer: The Sensationalized Crimes of Mexico’s First Female Serial Killer.

This documentary tells an interesting story but doesn’t offer anything particularly meaningful to the genre.

What did you think of the Netflix true crime documentary film The Lady of Silence: The Mataviejitas Murders? Comment below.

More Stories

Movie Reviews, Netflix, Streaming Service