The Netflix documentary starts with a MySpace chat screen, with a woman named Angel chatting to a man called Jokes. She asks, “Do you love me?”, he replies “Ha you know I do.” Then the big question: “Then why did you kill me?”
On February 24 2006 Crystal Theobald drove through her neighbourhood in Riverside, California with her brother and boyfriend. Pulling up to a street corner, a man drew a gun and shot Crystal in the back of the head. She died instantly. The whole time her mother was watching from the car below.
The interesting twist of the documentary is the attitude of Crystal’s mother, Belinda, who remained uncooperative throghout the investigation. She identified the wrong suspect and then admitted to using meth as a way to work two jobs and raise five kids. For me, I was convinced something fishy was happening. Numerous members of the Theobald family had run ins with the law in the past. But Belinda’s emotional journey throughout the documentary left me feeling even more confused.
Crystal’s cousin came up with the ingenious idea to catfish people related to the 5150 gang, who were suspected to be responsible for Crystal’s death. Soon, Crystal’s mother took over and worked on a few leads… But you’ll have to watch to find out how the documentary grows even darker and more twisted.
The director, Fredrick Munk, uses handcrafted miniature cars and text bubbles to build up the tension. The combination of police footage intertwined with Munk’s own interviews creates an unsettling tone. I felt like I was watching a chilling teen movie, but without the happy ending.
This documentary is amazing. It is so moving seeing the interaction between her brother, Justin, and her dead body. Throughout the whole film, Crystal is portrayed as loving and kind. I wondered if she had a dark past or a hidden secret. But, Crystal’s persona remains perfect and in tact, making this true murder story all the more heart-wrenching.
It is enlightening, emotional and gripping. Everyone in the documentary, even the suspects, are humanised, making the whole case even more mind-boggling. The well-constructed twisted documentary is definitely worth a watch.