LOST GIRLS is a Netflix mystery thriller that premiered at Sundance Film Festival. The story is about the struggle to bring attention to murdered sex workers. Based on the true story of the Long Island Serial Killer aka the Craigslist Ripper. Read our full Lost Girls review here!

Lost Girls is a Netflix mystery thriller. The movie originally premiered at Sundance Film Festival in January 2020 and now Netflix is releasing it for Friday the 13th. While this is not a horror movie, its plot certainly is damn scary. Especially since it’s based on a true story. More on that later.

The genres of this Netflix movie are mystery, thriller, and drama in the “True Crime” subgenre. We follow one woman’s struggle to find her own disappeared daughter. This leads to discovering many murders. However, since the victims are sex workers, nobody seems to care much about investigating them.

Continue reading our full Lost Girls review below and check it out on Netflix.

A very powerful cast

Amy Ryan is the star of Lost Girls in every single way. She steals every scene she’s in and brings both heart, anger and integrity to this portrayal of a mother fighting for justice. Or at least just some decency and attention to awful crimes committed against sex workers.

And, just as importantly, the lack of care and attention from the police!

You might know Amy Ryan from Gone Baby Gone (2007) because she was brilliant in that movie. The role earned her a much deserved Oscar nomination for Supporting Role. She was also in Clint Eastwood’s Changeling (2008) starring Angelina Jolie. Also, I should mention that she was in Goosebumps (2015).

Acting alongside Amy Ryan in Lost Girls, we have Gabriel Byrne (Hereditary), Thomasin McKenzie (Jojo Rabbit), Lola Kirke (Gone Girl). The entire cast of this movie is amazing and more than enough reason to watch this Netflix movie. The fact that it’s based on true crimes makes it very relevant and important to watch.

Lost Girls (2020) Netflix Review

The story of the Long Island Serial Killer aka the Craigslist Ripper

Lost Girls is based on the true story of the Long Island Serial Killer aka the Craigslist Ripper. Unfortunately, since this is based on a true crime, we also know the outcome. There is no “happy” ending to this movie since the murders are still unsolved. Read more about these murders on the Wikipedia page here >

Also, since Lost Girls is based on a true crime, you will see real-life news footage during this Netflix movie. In the end, we also see the real Mari Gilbert (portrayed by Amy Ryan in this movie).

In far too many ways, watching Lost Girls is truly heartbreaking. Not because it’s overly dramatic and pulling at heartstrings. No, it’s because it feels all too real and familiar. This could easily have been a documentary, but as a feature film, it will probably reach a larger audience.

Lost Girls focuses on the victims and the crimes

With Lost Girls, the focus is a lot more on the victims which is something I am very happy to see. Enough with this need to know more about infamous creeps who’ve killed people to fulfill some sick need. Tell me about the victims (and survivors) of their crimes instead. That’s what Lost Girls manages to do.

Much like it was the case with the Ted Bundy: Falling for a Killer docu-series on Prime Video. Despite its somewhat sensational title, this documentary is extremely focused on the victims and their loved ones. Not the man who committed the crimes.

If you want to watch a mystery thriller that features quite a lot of murders, but manages to focus on the victims more than the one(s) committing murder, then Lost Girls is for you. Actually, it’s for you if you enjoy a good movie because this is a truly solid piece of filmmaking.

Watch Lost Girls on Netflix now!

Liz Garbus is the director of Lost Girls and while this is far from her first time directing, she usually direct documentaries. Maybe this is exactly why the facts are very much in focus. It gives the movie a very somber tone which is both important and necessary to really drive home important details.

I should also mention that she’s had two of her documentaries nominated for Academy Awards in the “Best Documentary, Feature” category. First in 1999 for The Farm: Angola, USA and then in 2016 with What Happened, Miss Simone? which is also a Netflix production.

If you want to watch more by Liz Garbus, then check out Who Killed Garrett Phillips? on HBO. It’s a documentary that should shock and disgust you in terms of how justice is “served”. Having watched Lost Girls, I hope she continues making fiction as well as documentaries in the future.

The screenplay was written by Michael Werwie and based on the book by Robert Kolker. Michael Werwie also wrote the screenplay for Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile which is also out on Netflix. In case you don’t remember what’s behind this long title, it’s the movie where Zac Efron portrays Ted Bundy.

Recommended reading: Our review of the Netflix movie Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile >

In other words, Michael Werwie knows quite a bit about serial killers and murder in general. I mean, if writing a movie about the crimes of Ted Bundy doesn’t get you there, then I don’t know what will. Lost Girls is dark, gritty and scary in many all-too-realistic ways. Well worth watching so do check it out on Netflix now!

Lost Girls is out on Netflix from March 13, 2020.


Director: Liz Garbus
Writers: Robert Kolker (book), Michael Werwie
Stars: Thomasin McKenzie, Amy Ryan, Gabriel Byrne


When 24-year-old Shannan Gilbert mysteriously disappears one night, her mother Mari embarks on a dark journey that finds her face to face with hard truths about her daughter, herself, and police bias. Determined to find her daughter at all costs, Mari Gilbert retraces Shannan’s last known steps, driving her own investigation to an insular gated community near the desolate outer banks of Long Island. Her discoveries force law enforcement and the media to uncover more than a dozen unsolved murders of sex workers, young lives Mari will not let the world forget.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard
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