MURDER TO MERCY: THE CYNTOIA BROWN STORY is a new Netflix documentary. It’s true crime and has a 90-minute runtime which is spent well. However, it does lack a bit of depth with this short runtime. Read our full Murder to Mercy: The Cyntoia Brown Story review here!

Murder to Mercy: The Cyntoia Brown Story is a new Netflix documentary. This time around, we’re dealing with an actual documentary film and not a series.

It almost feels like we’ve grown accustomed to it being the latter. Especially when it comes to the true-crime genre. Of course, these cases often have a lot of facts and last for decades, so I can understand why.

You might like: Our list of the best true-crime documentaries (film and series) on Netflix here >

Continue reading our Murder to Mercy: The Cyntoia Brown Story review below.

Documentary with some extremely important points

With a runtime just around 90 minutes, the time in Murder to Mercy: The Cyntoia Brown Story is utilized very well. Unfortunately, some of it is at the expense of intensity and depth. While watching a documentary like this one, you suddenly become very aware of just how much more in-depth a docu-series really is.

However, the huge bonus of this Netflix documentary being a movie is the fact that the case of Cyntoia Brown is simple enough to be told fairly quickly. Hopefully, this means a lot of people will watch it and it is very much worth watching! Also, you’ll see many familiar faces since her case is being handled by people from The Innocence Project.

Recommended reading: Our review of the Netflix docu-series The Innocence Files about cases won by the Innocence Project >

Murder to Mercy: The Cyntoia Brown Story – Netflix Review

Did Cyntoia Brown even stand a chance?

When you’re introduced to the life and background of Cyntoia Brown, you should be able to recognize why she seemed destined to end up in a horrible situation. Also, I personally loved the fact that the purpose of prison is discussed in various ways; Is it all about punishment or is there an element of rehabilitation as well?

This question becomes particularly relevant in the case of Cyntoia Brown since she’s only 16 years old when committing her crime. Actually, a big part of this case is also the question of whether she even committed a crime or if it was self-defense.

Many questions are posed, but (fortunately) we are also given many answers. Still, you will undoubtedly be left with your own opinions and thought on this case. To me, that’s one of the best things a documentary can do; Make you think for yourself!

Things are rarely as black and white as we’d like.

Watch Murder to Mercy: The Cyntoia Brown Story on Netflix

Documentary filmmaker Daniel H. Birman made Murder to Mercy: The Cyntoia Brown Story. He’s both the director and producer of this documentary which is his eleventh time directing. Most of his previous work has been in short film format, which might explain the very tight way of telling this story.

On one hand, it feels almost liberating to be able to watch this important story in just an hour and a half. On the other, it does lack some depth and while we get a lot of facts, I can’t help but feel we’re also missing a lot.

Still, the key elements of this case seem to be included and this is a complete documentary on all counts. You get the story from beginning to end. Basically, if you’ve enjoyed other true crime movies and series on Netflix, then you definitely need to watch this one as well. Its story is important for many reasons and we should all know these landmark cases.

Murder to Mercy: The Cyntoia Brown Story is out on Netflix from April 29, 2020.


After 16-year-old Cyntoia Brown is sentenced to life in prison, questions about her past, physiology and the law itself call her guilt into question.

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