True Crime Documentary Review Outcry, Exhausting Trials of Greg Kelley

Outcry. That’s all this true documentary is called. I’ve had a pretty good history of simply titled true crime documentaries. Would this one be able to keep the trend going?

Promoted with a picture of a high school football team, this documentary ended up being something completely unexpected. It tells the story of Greg Kelley who as a teenager is accused by two young boys of sexually molesting them. The documentary covers the evidence for and against him with the start of the film revealing Kelley is already behind bars.

Outcry extends for a number of years through multiple trials (both figurative and literal) ending with a conclusion of sorts. It took up most of my working day to finish. Should you spend your time watching Outcry or is this one not for you?

What was good about Outcry

I was completely unprepared for a story with this heaviness so be warned that you might feel a little sick at the start of this one. There is no murder or much violence throughout this documentary. Even the descriptions of the assault, coming from the young boys, is watered down in their own language. Nonetheless, be warned that there are some details from these accusations and others which may have you ready to vomit up your bag of Cheetos.

Outcry was a lengthy documentary series which felt much longer than five episodes. A part of this was good. Each episode has some semblance of pushing the story along. I won’t get too detailed about each because it’s going to spoil too much of the show.

Outcry successfully does give us a glimpse of Kelley behind bars, what his life was like before the conviction, and at one point turns much more into a legal drama. The legal part of it wasn’t the best, but it did have some fascinating elements.

The documentary features a couple of twists along the way and avoids sensationalism. The tone is pretty tame and stable throughout. Nothing about this film is done to shock the audience which can be appreciated. They don’t leave you on a cliffhanger for the sake of views. I thought they were sensitive to everyone involved throughout, even the high number of corrupt officials. By my count, there were about a dozen and they’re some of the unexpected villains in this one.

My favorite part of the documentary was easily the second potential suspect who happens to practically be a stunt double of Kelley’s and his best friend. It takes a while before we get to know a little bit more about him. When we do, the documentary gets a new breath of life.

What could have made Outcry better

The legal part of Outcry did get a little too much for my liking. As someone who did love The Staircase, which is pretty much all a courtroom drama, Outcry didn’t make the best use of its time in front of a judge. There were moments throughout this documentary where I felt like it could’ve been organized a little better. We seem to jump back and forth between information. One moment we’re hearing about what’s next for Kelley and in the following scene it seems like we’re somewhere else. It’s hard to explain. You’ll have to watch and see if you agree.

To be honest, there wasn’t a whole lot more I could recommend to make Outcry better other than to take out some of the filler. The whole football angle in every way was pretty unnecessary. So what if he played high school football or has dreams of playing again in the future? Five episodes at about an hour each felt a little too long. By the end, I was exhausted.

Is Outcry worth watching?

I’d recommend not binging this one. It’s a heavy topic and maybe that’s why I felt drained at the conclusion. However, I do recommend it. I’m not sure I’ve seen too many good documentaries of this length about a non-violent crime. This one was uncomfortable to watch because of the subject matter but you’ll make it through. It’s a good one.

Overall Score: 8 out of 10

My final score for this one waivered everywhere from a 7 to a 9. Let’s call it even. Outcry caught me off guard because I was expecting a high school football murder and not a legal battle about a sexual assault of minors. I had no idea what to expect throughout this documentary and it kept me wanting to see more even if I was tired when it was over.

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