Why everyone is obsessed with Girl in the Picture right now
A week after the release of the creepy new Netflix doc, the reviews are definitively in — and everybody sounds traumatised.
Image courtesy of Netflix
Based on the work of investigative journalist Matt Birkbeck, Girl in the Picture is the latest in a line of creepy Netflix documentary sensations. His bestselling book, A Beautiful Child, and its follow-up, Finding Sharon, form the basis of the true-crime story that has rocketed up to the top of the streamer’s most-watched following its release last week, a mystery spanning thirty years that — according to the movie’s synopsis — “unfolds like a nightmare,” something that has been attested to online by a multitude of viewers.
Like Matt Birkbeck’s books, the film explores the life of a teenager “caught in the twisted web of the monster she called her father”. Though she was known as Sharon Marshall, her real name was known only to him. Her tragic death as a young mother and her son’s subsequent kidnapping eventually reveal “the woman’s true identity, and the murderous federal fugitive at the center of it all.” A week after the Girl in the Picture’s release, the reviews are definitively in — and everybody sounds traumatised.
“Girl in the Picture on Netflix is absolutely one of the most horrific, sickening, frightening things I’ve watched. I’m at a loss for words”, wrote one Twitter user. Another viewer, shocked by the extent of the abuse portrayed in the film, called it “living proof that while all children deserve parents, not all parents deserve children.” Others commented (with a degree of suspicion) on the documentary’s timely themes, particularly its exploration of restrictions on abortion following the overturning of Roe v. Wade last month.
“I think with crime there’s a lot that you have to balance. There’s the sensitivity that you have to balance but there’s a lot of ethics to balance,” Skye Borgman, the movie’s director, told HorrorBuzz in January. “All of the different genres have unique challenges [but] within the crime space that sensitivity exists from the very beginning.”
You can check out the documentary for yourself on Netflix now, or watch the official trailer linked below if you’d (understandably) prefer to dip your toe in the water before fully plunging into the murky depths of this mystery.