THE INVISIBLE PILOT on HBO is a new documentary about a rather crazy life. Well, lives really, since quite a few people are involved. Told over a decade of interviewing the same people. It’s fascinating but a little too messy for my liking. Read our full The Invisible Pilot docu-series review here!

THE INVISIBLE PILOT is a new HBO Max documentary series in three episodes. By the end of episode 1, you’ll know what the big twist is. If you don’t know prior to watching this docu-series that is. And yes, we are in the true-crime niche. However, in a somewhat different way than what we’re used to.

I found it to be pretty messy in its storytelling. Especially since the “twist” towards the end of episode 1 made me feel like the rest of the episode was one big lie. But hey, this is also a pet peeve of mine. Red herrings to throw you off, is just lazy storytelling in most cases. To the extreme degree in this case.

Continue reading our The Invisible Pilot docu-series review below and find it on HBO max now.

Watch people wasting away!

What fascinated me about The Invisible Pilot at first, was the fact that the story is told by interviewing the same people years apart. Every time another year (or five or ten) has gone by, they look decades older. It’s sad to see the impact of this story on these people.

Most dominantly on the children of the person, this documentary is all about. Yes, that would be “the invisible pilot”. At first, he’s described as some sort of superstar almost. However, as we dive into his life and past, he comes across as more of a loser to me.

By the end of The Invisible Pilot episode 1, I was pretty blown away. However, not in an entirely good way. And that is a damn shame because it has more to do with how the story is told, than the actual contents of this story.

The Invisible Pilot – Review | HBO True Crime Documentary

When lazy people make dumb plans

Yes, that headline may be a bit harsh, but watch the first episode of The Invisible Pilot and tell me that isn’t an accurate description. Good Lord, the people featured in this documentary seem to find it far too easy to excuse bad behavior and terrible decisions.

Then, when it comes to paying the price for their truly idiotic decisions, they come up with even worse plans to avoid any responsibility.

Again, I realize this might all sound very strange, but we don’t do spoilers here at Heaven of Horror. And I can’t really get into any of the specifics without giving away major spoilers.

I will say this; The adults that were kids when all this began in 1977, definitely seem to have paid the price. The sins of the father (and mother) and all that. Just check it out and you’ll be able to understand all of the things I’ve touched vaguely on so far.

Watch The Invisible Pilot on HBO Max

Obviously, the true crimes covered in The Invisible Pilot are extremely fascinating, so my main issue is with how the story is told from the very beginning. I mean, it covers drugs, money, hypnosis, and double lives. There are plenty of wildly interesting facts in this documentary. This is enough reason to check it out, but possibly not enough common sense in the storytelling to keep you hooked.

The three-episode documentary series is directed by Phil Lott and Ari Mark. Phil Lott has worked on various documentaries but also quite a lot of reality productions such as Undercover Boss. Maybe it’s the need for “shock and awe” from the reality genre that spills into this documentary. Something is certainly off!

Ari Mark was previously a producer on Talking Dead which is a follow-up talk show to episodes of The Walking Dead. Again, a bit more focused on keeping people watching longer than actually focusing on good storytelling. The focus of various press releases (and the cover art) is that Adam McKay (HBO’s Winning Time, Succession, and Q: Into The Storm) is a producer.

However, name-dropping his previous hit productions doesn’t do much in comparison to this docu-series. While the “labyrinthine story that begins in Hazen, Arkansas, and ends up as part of one of the biggest political scandals of our time” is certainly interesting.  That’s exactly what makes it a damn shame that it isn’t told better here!

THE INVISIBLE PILOT premiered with the first episode on HBO and HBO Max on April 4, 2022.

Plot

The Invisible Pilot, a three-part documentary series by Emmy-winning filmmakers Phil Lott and Ari Mark, is a tale of a charismatic, daredevil husband and father who unexpectedly jumped off a bridge in 1977, despite a seemingly happy home life and a lucrative career as a pilot. His small-town Arkansas community searches for his body in vain while family and friends seek answers. Years later, a mysterious story emerges involving hypnosis, secret identities and a double life of dangerous missions and law-breaking. And that’s just the beginning.

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