What Crime Scene: The Texas Killing Fields is all about without spoiling the show
The documentary Crime Scene: The Texas Killing Fields, which’ll now be referred to as The Texas Killing Fields from now on in this review, is about a well-known case in, of all places, Texas! A series of bodies are found along Highway 45 over the course of several decades. In an area with many small towns and abandoned fields, it looks like the perfect dumping ground for a sadistic maniac.
The Texas Killing Fields covers several of the murders and suspects relating to this area. Clyde Hedrick headlines the list of potential serial killers. However, due to the length of the murders and other factors, there is likely more than one perpetrator over the years. This documentary tries to uncover who did what and which men might be getting away with murder.
Were you familiar with the Texas Killing Fields story before watching?
I knew of the Texas killing fields but not so much about different suspects. The term “killing fields” is used often and in reference to more than just these cases. We learn in this documentary its origin is from a movie that came out in the 1980s about the Khmer Rouge.
Although familiar with the term and only minor details about what happened, most of what was shared in this documentary was brand new.
Will The Texas Killing Fields make people feel uncomfortable?
There is a lot of death in this documentary. Because we are dealing with a serial killer or killers with the victimology of young girls, it can get uncomfortable at times. We learn about things people like Clyde Hedrick have adone outside of the killings related to the killing fields.
The theme of this documentary is very dark. It probably falls slightly more on the side of uncomfortable than some people might prefer. What else could you expect from this subjective matter?
What was good about The Texas Killing Fields?
They covered a lot in this story, shared information about the victims, and had some good archive footage from back in the day. We got to know several suspects pretty well. I came away having enough knowledge about what has been happening.
The tone worked for this subject matter. There is nothing light-hearted about it. When murders are unsolved, it’s tough to have journalists on screen laughing about things. That glee can be saved for when the bad guy is behind bars.
Their angle about Robert Abel, a former NASA engineer who owned property where the bodies were found, was the most interesting part of the documentary. More focus on his guilt or innocence would have helped to make this more attention-grabbing even if we learn very quickly it probably wasn’t him.
What could have made The Texas Killing Fields better?
My main issue with this documentary is how scattered it was at the beginning. Halfway through the first of the three episodes, I couldn’t tell what direction it was going. They seemed to be throwing a lot of information at me. Is this a single case or multiple? Do we have a suspect? At one point I felt like each episode would be about different instances of bodies being found. It’s not. This is one three-part documentary tied together. I was not a fan of the early approach.
The pacing did improve by the second episode. When they began to mention Hedrick more and also introduced us to William Lewis Reece multiple times, there was stability.
The Texas Killing Fields suffers from trying to cram too much information, too quickly on screen. It took a while to understand what was going on. With a true crime documentary, I want to at least know what the thesis of the story is within the first ten minutes. I didn’t. From there, this documentary had to fight to earn my respect.
Is The Texas Killing Fields worth watching?
If you have the time, yes. There are many other better true crime documentaries out there. This was as middle-of-the-road as it gets. The Texas Killing Fields seemed to primarily focus on two major suspects and flirt with a few more. I didn’t hate this documentary. I also didn’t really like it either. There’s an easy score for that.
Overall Score: 5 out of 10
The Texas Killing Fields is well-produced. The storytelling is what sucks. Another episode or removing unnecessary information could have made this much better. Maybe if I had some Ritalin I would have been able to focus more.
Interested in watching Crime Scene: The Texas Killing Fields or learning more about the case? Below you will find affiliate links to the series as well as other information about this case. By using this links, I may receive a small commission of any purchase you may make.
Watch Crime Scene: The Texas Killing Fields on Netflix
Watch Texas Killing Fields (scripted film) on Amazon
Deliver Us: Three Decades of Murder and Redemption in the Infamous I-45/Texas Killing Fields by Kathryn Casey
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