How did Amazon not recommend this one to me sooner? The true crime documentary Missing Kenley had all of the makings of being the exact kind of film/series I adore.
The mystery. The theories. The possibility of no crime at all was committed. The possibility a horrific crime was done. Missing Kenley is such a fascinating true crime documentary. It belongs in your top 10 list.
What was so great about it? Let’s dive into a few points.
Missing Kenley is the Canadian version of The Keepers yet totally different
I got a lot of the same vibes watching this as I did when I watched The Keepers. The topics are much different. Kenley Matheson is a missing college student who disappeared in 1992 up in Canada. The Keepers is about the death of a nun and sexual abuse of students in the Catholic school system in Baltimore. What had me thinking of The Keepers watching this is how you NEVER know what’s going to happen next. Their twists are authentic. This was well-done storytelling. By the time you jump from episode three to the finale, the story has completely changed the same way it did often throughout the episodes in The Keepers.
Missing Kenley proposes so many theories you won’t know what to believe
After watching this, I’m not sure what to believe. There is a main suspect we don’t know the name of until the latter half of the five-part series. When we’re introduced, it adds a whole new element of weirdness. By this point the filmmakers have already done a good job of making us think one or two of Kenley’s close friends were the ones behind his disappearance. Then we’re introduced to a whole new character and focus shifts to them. If it’s this other suspect, what’s with all of the obvious lies the other persons of interest seem to be cooking?
Missing Kenley works well as a one episode documentary as it does for a long one
When the first episode ended I felt like they could have almost wrapped it all up already. This was a missing persons case. Unfortunately, many of those are left unsolved. However, they came out with the first twist. Sometimes true crime documentaries get caught with too much content or not enough. They drag or they leave you wanting more. Missing Kenley is so perfect in length that Goldilocks couldn’t refuse.
Missing Kenley is a whirlwind of emotions
I know a documentary was good when I get goosebumps writing about it after. I have them now. Missing Kenley has so much emotion in it. From the usual “OMG that’s who did it!” to that “GD this is tragic,” we get it all. I like a documentary that makes me feel something. There’s anger, sorrow, and whatever it’s called when we feel entertained.
Missing Kenley has the perfect amount of involvement from the filmmaker
I don’t think we actually ever see the cameraman in this one. I’m not even going to bother to look up the filmmaker’s name because he’s humble enough to avoid getting too involved. We do hear his voice plenty but he stays behind the camera at all times except for one secret recording where we see his knees. Regardless, I love a filmmaker who takes a backseat.
Missing Kenley is at least 3 documentaries wrapped into one
While this deals with just one case, I felt like Missing Kenley was at least three different documentaries. It’s like the film The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. The first part leads to them finding the gold. The second part is them running away from The Ugly. The third part is the face-off. Missing Kenley’s three parts are background on him and his family, a review of some suspects and the holes in their stories, and finally the new suspect whose own family sold them out.
This isn’t my favorite true crime documentary of all time but already I’d openly declare I’m ready to watch it again. This isn’t a court case like Paradise Lost, The Staircase, or even Two Shallow Graves which takes place after the sentencing; my three personal favorites. Missing Kenley is a whole different kind of documentary. It works and it’s easily in my new top 10 I seriously need to create.