Waco: American Apocalypse Documentary Review, Another David Koresh Story

There are some weeks when I check streaming services for new documentaries and I’m thrilled. When the MH370: The Plane That Disappeared documentary popped up as a notification on my phone from Netflix, I was elated and ready to finish my day so I could get to the next and watch this one during work. I had the exact opposite feeling when I saw Waco: American Apocalypse on Netflix, too.

Another David Koresh story isn’t something I was too eager to watch. The Waco siege is too well-known. Documentaries have been done to death about this.

I began watching Waco: American Apocalypse with some doubts. Could it sway me?

What was good about Waco: American Apocalypse

We get right into the siege. There is no background on Koresh, his followers, or much of anything. The documentary isn’t a slow burn. It makes it clear from the beginning this is all about the standoff and not what led to it. 

I absolutely loved this take. Previous documentaries about Koresh or similar situations seem to take too long to start. I was expecting the end of the first episode would be the start of the siege. Instead, the action starts right away.

The documentary includes a lot of interviews with FBI, ATF, and Branch Davidians who were inside the compound when the firefight took place. We hear from both sides. In a strange way, you can almost feel some sympathy for Koresh and his followers. This is a highly debated incident in American history. It’s the kind of event worthy of more than one documentary.

Waco: American Apocalypse chose to focus more on the people who were present for the action rather than all of the journalists who covered it. This made it different from some other things I’ve watched. I felt like this worked. I hadn’t seen a lot of the footage or interviewees included.

What could have made Waco: American Apocalypse better

Do you know what I want to see? I want to see a full combination of the Waco siege and how it spawned the Oklahoma City Bombing. Timothy McVeigh makes a brief appearance in this documentary, but it’s only a footnote on the incident. Before 9/11, the Oklahoma City Bombing was the biggest terror attack in my lifetime. I remember the manhunt as a kid. I have never come across a good documentary about it.

Perhaps it’s because I was expecting something different that has me feeling good after watching this documentary. We find out so many little details about the event. Where snipers were positioned. What it was like to see Koresh 300 yards away in the crosshairs of your gun. As far as a documentary goes, the only thing I wanted was for it to, no pun intended, branch out a little more.

Is Waco: American Apocalypse worth watching?

Yes! This was surprisingly much more fascinating than I thought it would be. When there are stories we already know the outcome for, it’s hit and miss. I don’t ever need to watch a Ted Bundy documentary ever again. Waco: American Apocalypse benefits from getting interviews with people on both sides of the fight. It made for an incredible watch.

Overall Score: 9 out of 10

I wanted to hate this documentary and rip apart how it offered nothing new. On the contrary, it skipped a lot of the boring stuff and instead made a film series all about how both sides handled the fight and the media coverage. I loved this take. It helped make it stand out.

3 thoughts on “Waco: American Apocalypse Documentary Review, Another David Koresh Story

Add yours

  1. Great review! I appreciate the insight into what makes Waco: American Apocalypse stand out from previous documentaries about the siege. Your suggestion about a combination of the Waco siege and the Oklahoma City Bombing is interesting. Do you think there’s potential for another documentary to explore that connection more in depth?
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    1. Definitely potential for it. Some of my favorite documentaries are the ones where they connect what seem like completely different stories together. Obviously in this case they’re VERY connected. Let’s throw in some Ruby Ridge while we’re at it.


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