Devilsdorp: Latest true-crime documentary promises to keep South Africans on the edge of their seats
Share this article:
Johannesburg - A true life murder mystery which gripped the nation for years is the subject of a first of its kind, local true-crime documentary which is set to debut on South African screens later this month.
Devilsdorp, a high production value series based on a spate of brutal murders in Krugersdorp over a four year period is the first Showmax Original true crime docu-series, which will be available to binge from July 29.
Details of the horrendous killings which left Johannesburg’s west rand’s salespeople and consultants, terrified to book meetings in case they became the serial killer’s next victims is well documented, but director David Enright insists that this series uncovers much more than is already known.
“People think they know the story of the so-called “Appointment Murders” or “Krugersdorp Killings” from what was reported in the media, but it goes so much deeper,” Enright told The Saturday Star this week.
He believes that the series will evoke powerful emotions from viewers.
“The story of ‘Devilsdorp’ also speaks to several levels of unnerving relatability, which may make these events eerily close to home. South African audiences are in for a thrilling and emotional journey of shock and disbelief, ” Enright said.
Devilsdorp follows the investigation into the murders which leads local detectives to a series of unsolved cold cases seemingly linked to the practice of satanism, and opening the door on a cult ruled by terror, greed and revenge.
The so-called ‘Satanic Murders’ were linked to 11 Krugersdorp killings between 2012 and 2016, and found to be the work of the Electus per Deus (Chosen by God) cult.
Enright explained that to tell the story ethically and with respect and sensitivity, it was important to feature first-hand accounts from those personally involved in the investigation of the killings.
These include the family of victims, church members who knew the perpetrators, the senior investigating officer, the deputy director of Public Prosecutions as well as journalists.
Devils Dorp also features extraordinary footage of exorcisms, church meetings, trial testimonies and judgments.
“It was important for us to look deeper than the sensation surrounding this story and not only were there major misconceptions about these events, but we needed to understand why these horrendous murders took place,” the director, said.
“Just as important, if not more, was giving a dignified voice to the victims and the only way to do this was through first-hand accounts from those directly affected by these events, including the families of victims. We wanted to get as close to the truth as possible.
Enright admitted that it was a challenging process to put the show which required vast amounts of research, together.
“It involved blood, sweat and tears, literally and it was an emotional journey with many obstacles, but our collective passion in the project is what drove us.”
Enright said that the raw nature of the series, and the emotion it invoked from all those involved were the most challenging aspects of putting Devilsdorp together.
“It is not often that a true-crime series is made about events that occurred so recently, and the pain and suffering of these heinous acts are still raw.”
“It is an emotional subject and most people affected by these events are still scared, confused, wary, and some even embarrassed.”
Despite the challenges, Enright said that working on this proudly South African documentary was also a fulfilling journey.
“It was so inspiring to see the courage of those who were willing to share their story and rise above these events to slowly start their long journey of healing, even though it was emotionally taxing,” he said.
“Hearing that some were able to experience some level of catharsis through this process still brings me to tears thinking about it.”
Enright who noted the current rise in popularity of the true-crime documentary genre across the globe, believes that Devilsdorp is as riveting as any international series based on real-life murder mysteries.
“We have an inherent morbid fascination with aberrant behaviour and our own intrusive thoughts,” he said.
“There is a level of empathy for victims, but also our inherent human nature for self-preservation.”
He believes that this genre is increasing in popularity because it allows people to experience an element of danger in the comfort of their surroundings.
“From the safety of our home, true crime allows us to understand and explore why some people ‘cross the line’; a sort of survival study to the dangers present in real life.”
“Along with that also comes a level of catharsis and satisfaction in stories where justice is served, something the true-crime genre can provide.”
These sentiments were shared by Candice Fangueiro, Showmax’s head of content.
“There’s something deeply unsettling about watching a true crime series where the victims - and perpetrators - look and sound like your neighbours, and where you can recognise the locations.”