THE MOTIVE on Netflix is a true-crime documentary in four 30-minute episodes. It should blow your mind in all kinds of ways. Often making you angry in the process. And yet, it sounds familiar. Read our full The Motive docu-series review here!

THE MOTIVE is a new Netflix true-crime documentary about a 13-year old boy, who kills his parents and two older sisters. The crime took place in Jerusalem in 1986 and this production is from Israel. Many people who knew him are interviewed as well as those who worked on the case.

While this Netflix true-crime production should blow your mind, it will probably also irritate and anger. It certainly had that effect on me. Mostly because of the subject but also due to the way it’s told.

Continue reading our The Motive docu-series review below and find all four episodes on Netflix now.

Looking for answers? Good luck!

Immediately after the murder, the 13-year-old boy states that he watched the 1973 movie Papillion starring Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman. And when you watch The Motive, you’ll also see a few scenes from this movie over and over again. Watching this movie is part of his “explanation”.

It just doesn’t really make much sense to anyone.

The murders took place in 1986 and ever since then, people have been wondering about the motive (hence the title). The young boy does try to explain how it happened, but the “why” is a bit iffier.

For the record, I know that sometimes they call him a 14-year old, but from what is stated in this docu-series, he was 13 and a half at the time of the murders.

What was his name again?

One of the more irritating elements of The Motive is the defense attorney for “A”. That’s right, we never hear his name, despite hearing the names of the sisters he murdered. How’s that for justice?!

Anyway, the defense attorney clearly loves being in the spotlight. Constantly hinting, that he knows something. All while also saying that his client never told him anything. Still, the defense attorney literally says “If you understood what I think happened, you’d understand everything” to the documentarist.

I mean, WTF?!

Fortunately, the documentary filmmakers do also follow up on these vague (or not so vague) claims from various sources that “come forward”. Whenever they do, things don’t add up.

The Motive – Review | Netflix Documentary

A documentary as a series

Instead of being a documentary mini-series in 4 parts, this could just as easily have been a documentary film with a 90-minute runtime. There is a lot of repetition in this true-crime Netflix docu-series. In that sense, it reminded me of the Netflix docu-series Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel about Elisa Lam.


Our review of Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel here >

Also, it has way too many “reenactment” elements that are never labeled as such (and they are repeated over and over and over again). You basically have to guess when it’s actual archival footage and when it’s not.

For a documentary, that’s breaking a cardinal rule in my book.

Watch The Motive on Netflix now!

Tali Shemesh and Asaf Sudry are the documentary filmmakers behind this new true-crime docu-series. The same two documentarists also made Death in the Terminal in 2016.

If you enjoy true-crime documentaries, then you should definitely check out this one on Netflix. Sure, I was irritated in many ways, but mostly due to the cold hard facts of this case. In particular the sentencing!

However, if you expect to find any answers, then The Motive isn’t exactly helpful in that sense. Sure, “insiders come forward”, but they mostly have their own theories. And often they won’t really share those theories. Instead, they hint at them, which didn’t do much in terms of sharing facts about this true crime.

All 4 episodes of The Motive are out on Netflix from October 28, 2021.


Creators: Tali Shemesh, Asaf Sudry


Decades after a 14-year-old boy brutally killed his family in Jerusalem in 1986, this documentary revisits the horrifying crime.

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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