The 15 best documentaries to watch on Netflix right now

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IF you’re looking for a new documentary to binge while in lockdown then look no further.

With some harrowing, some humorous and some downright bizarre, there’s a variety for all documentary lovers.

1. The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez

The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez has left Netflix viewers in tears

Thi harrowing new documentary reveals how eight-year-old Gabriel was bound, gagged and made to sleep inside a tiny cabinet before he was murdered by his evil mother and her partner.

The little boy was repeatedly beaten and tortured by mum Pearl and Isauro Aguirre in 2013 because they thought he was gay, and put inside a cabinet they nicknamed the “the box”.

The series doesn’t shy away from detailing what poor Gabriel went through during his short life, and it has left many viewers struggling to watch it.

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 80%

2. Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness

Joe Exotic with one of his big cats
AFP or licensors

This Netflix seven-part series follows the now-infamous Joe Exotic and his passion for big cats.

He ran his own private zoo in Oklahoma for over 20 years containing the likes of tigers, bears and 1,200 lions.

The docuseries delves into the controversial and eccentric life of the self-professed Tiger King as he spirals out of control.

We see him come face to face with animal activist Carole Baskin and their rivalry escalates when Joe Exotic tries to hire a hitman to kill her.

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 85%

3. Don’t F**K With Cats: Hunting an internet killer

Don’t f**k with cats documentary about a lone serial Killer.

This Netflix documentary is about an online manhunt for Luka Magnotta.

It follows a group of internet sleuths as they follow his moves after he shares a graphic video of him killing two kittens.

They follow clues from objects in the room, examining each tiny detail to predict his next move.

Eventually this game of cat and mouse comes to a close as those investigating discover their target has more horrors to come.

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 79%

4. Dark Tourist

More than just a travel show

Dark tourism follows a journalist on his quest to find the wackiest and darkest tourist attractions.

David Farrier visits old nuclear bomb sites and forests associated with suicide in this series.

He examines the history behind the sites and explores why people would pay money to visit the harrowing places.

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 70%

5. Reggie Yates: EXTREME

Award winning filmmaker Raggie Yates has two seasons on Netflix

Reggie Yates is back with another award-winning series where he travels the world to explore different social issues.

He examines the climate of homophobia in Russia, what it’s like to live as a prisoner, addiction and racism.

The acclaimed film maker sheds light on the ever-shifting global landscape, but don’t expect feel good vibes.

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: N/A

6. Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes

Corbis – Getty

Netflix’S Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes[/caption]

The docuseries brings the infamously twisted mind of serial killer Ted Bundy into the light for the very first time, with never-before-heard interviews from the “Jack the Ripper of the United States,” himself.

This unique series focuses on a man whose personality, good looks and social graces defied the serial-killer stereotype, allowing him to hide in plain sight as he committed the brutal sex-crime slayings of more than 30 women before being caught in 1978.

While on trial, Bundy received extraordinary adoration from American women, which made his gruesome crimes doubly haunting, even in an era of anything-goes mayhem.

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 74%

7. Making a Murderer

 The acclaimed Netflix show divided the audience over Avery's guilt
Making a Murderer is just one of the amazing documentaries on Netflix right now

After two Colombia students read Steven Avery’s story, they thought it would make a good idea for a documentary.

Little did they realise just how successful it would go on to be.

The film follows Steven Avery, who spent nearly twenty years in prison for a crime he maintains he didn’t commit, delving into the complexities of the American justice system.

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 98%

8. Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez

Aaron Hernandez
AP:Associated Press

Aaron Hernandez went from being one of the NFL’s most promising players to a convicted murderer and his story is told on Netflix[/caption]

American football player Aaron Hernandez had it all: a multi-million dollar contract for the New England Patriots, a Super Bowl appearance, a fiancée and a daughter.

So how did one of the NFL’s most promising rising stars end up jailed for life for a brutal gangland-style murder – and on trial for two more?

That’s the question posed by this three-part series, and the answers aren’t as simple as one might think.

What starts as a character portrait swiftly turns into an examination of wider issues: masculinity, the college football system and the NFL’s attitude towards player safety.

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 82%

9. Surviving R. Kelly

Andrea Kelly, the ex-wife of R. Kelly, is one of the women who has accused the singer of abuse

Me Too ignited a movement that the world wouldn’t forget and this documentary traces R. Kelly’s history and speaks to the survivors of his allegedly predatory behaviour.

The documentary series exposes the dangers of enabling celebrities and gives the needed voice to his alleged victims.

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 95%

10. Louis Theroux Weird Weekends

Buckle up for a wild ride

Britain’s favourite journalist heads Stateside to talking to some of the weirdest, most offensive people imaginable.

From the West-borough Baptist Church to The Tiger King, Theroux explores why these people are liked or hated by the majority of people.

Expect to meet America’s most hated family, Nazis, prisoners and all other manner of misfits.

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: N/A

11. Homecoming: A Film by Beyonce

Beyoncè’s looking flawless in the 2018 documentary film

Homecoming provides an insight into the most accomplished pop star in the world.

Beyonce shows her historical 2018 Coachella performance where she reunites Destiny’s Child and pays homage to America’s black colleges and universities.

The rare candid footage details her journey with creativity and cultural movements.  

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Rating: 98%

12. Murder to Mercy: The Cyntoia Brown Story 

Cyntoia Brown was wrongly tried as an adult and this is her story

In 2004, 16-year-old Cyntoia Denise Brown was arrested in Nashville, Tennessee for murdering a 43-year-old man who picked her up to have sex.

After being tried as an adult and being sentenced she thought that would be the end of the line for her.

However, after 10 years, multiple appeals and new evidence in the form of her own biology and public campaigns she was released.

Now on a new path in life, she looked back at the complexities of her life being a product of three generations of violence against women in her family.

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Rating: 77%

13. Blackfish 

SeaWorld faced significant backlash after the release of this harrowing documentary

The emotional story about 8000 pound orcas or ‘killer whales’ as they’re also known.

The story follows the beautiful animals captivity stories and how one orca named Tilikum made international headlines.

After killing several people in captivity, the orca was still kept at SeaWorld despite multiple public pleas to release him back into the wild or improve the squalid conditions for these huge mammals.

The documentary explores SeaWorld’s involvement in orca’s captivity and other organisations that contribute towards this cruel practice. 

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Rating: 90%

14. Amanda Knox 

Amanda Knox’s trial was heavily publicised, this is her side of the story

The Netflix Original Documentary questions whether Knox was actually a cold-blooded psychopath who murdered her roommate brutally.

Alternatively, she was just a naive student who was trapped in a nightmare that was not her fault.

The notorious case is explored in depth with interviews from Knox herself talking about her time on trial.

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Rating: 71%

15. Miss Americana 

Billboards Woman of the Decade shares a rare behind the scenes look at how she works and how her life has changed

A raw and emotional look at the life of one of the most iconic artists or our time.

Taylor Swift gives a rare insight into her album making process and her life as a songwriter and performer.

The documentary is candid when Swift speaks of the year she didn’t go out and the shelf life of women in the industry, 

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Rating: 92%