Six Schizophrenic Brothers 2024 / A horrifying story deserves a better, less sensationalist treatment than what this documentary gives


Even in a bloated genre like true crime, Six Schizophrenic Brothers manages to be shocking because of its horrifying premise. It’s about a family that had to deal not just with the titular illness, but with multiple and chronic cases of abuse, rape, incest, and murder. And perhaps the most amazing part of it all is that director Lee Phillips was able to gather many of the siblings and have them tell the story themselves. So it’s a baffling shame that Phillips also had to lean on cheesy visual and sound effects to sensationalize an already appalling story. Whenever someone reveals a hard truth, glass shatters and fans are flamed. Whenever one of the ill siblings is introduced, they’re accompanied by sinister sounds and backgrounds. Then there are the questions he asks them, which are more exploitative than insightful. It’s true that the documentary, like watching a fire, is an engrossing experience that’s difficult to look away from. But in this case, the terror comes both from the story and the awful editing choices.

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