Andrew’s review published on Letterboxd:
Foreword: I watched this on Hulu.
The disappearance and, most likely, murder of Susan Powell is horrific. One tragedy after another, one piece of potential evidence, one new twisted secret come to life but they all go nowhere. When I thought that everything had come to light there's a curveball and the case becomes darker and more tragic. Susan Powell: An ID Murder Mystery is a shocking true crime documentary about one of the, to me, most baffling and horrific crimes of the 21st century.
The documentary has different journalists, lawyers, detectives, friends and family members of Susan as talking heads. Hearing the testimony from her loved ones was so heartbreaking, especially her father's. I've never had kids but I imagine that losing a child in such a despicable way and still not having any closure (as of November 2020) must be so hard. The documentary is a rollercoaster from start to finish. New information, one after another, is relentless and it consistently shocked me.
However, the shock factor is a bit detrimental to the overall quality of the film. Similar to how Netflix does their true crime documentaries, certain information is withheld to create a more compelling story. While Investigation Discovery doesn't do it to the same degree, it's a pet peeve of mine. However, it does work to create that shock factor they were likely going for so they succeeded in that aspect.
While watching this film, to me, it's blatantly obvious that Susan's husband, Josh Powell, was responsible for her disappearance (I believe it is murder even though it's still open as a missing person's case). The detectives kept reiterating how they didn't have any hard evidence connecting Josh to Susan going missing despite all the information that came to light over the years. By the end of the film I think that both law enforcement and the justice system is responsible for so much of what happened to Susan's and the tragic events that continued after her death.
I'm putting on my detective hat and getting my clay pipe to speculate for a bit. Susan and Josh's two boys told the investigators that their mommy had gone to stay with the crystals. I feel that information was never thoroughly followed up on. Since it was the middle of winter there must have been some icicles or a frozen lake where he could have disposed of her body. The investigators also thought that she may have been dropped down a mine shaft. Certainly there could have been a crystal mine where they could look for Susan. They did find one mine of interest but couldn't enter because of the toxic smell emanating from it. I would assume they'd have some gas masks or protective equipment to enter, but I'm no expert so it's just pure speculation on my part. Finally, why haven't they been able to crack Josh's hard drive? Again, I'm no expert, but with all of the technology at our disposal, I would think that they could have easily cracked it by now.
End of spoilers!
I was glued to Susan Powell: An ID Murder Mystery the entire time and what happened is absolutely horrific. I'm not a fan of true crime documentaries withholding information to elicit shock it paints a compelling narrative. If you're a true crime aficionado like me, this is certainly a very good documentary to watch. If you're a casual fan of true crime shows, I still think you'd enjoy this. If you don't care for them I don't think this will change your mind. I highly recommend it!