UNBELIEVABLE is a new true crime Netflix series about the hunt for a serial rapist. Toni Collette and Merritt Wever portray the detectives in charge. Alongside this, there’s Marie’s story. She has her own struggle just getting people to believe her. Read our Unbelievable review here!
Unbelievable is a new true crime series on Netflix. It’s a limited series in just 8 episodes, so it’s a relatively quick bingewatch and you probably won’t be able to stop watching once you begin. I know I certainly couldn’t.
Also read: Other reviews of movies and series in the true crime genre here >
The story begins with Marie, a rape victim who is also the product of a very bad childhood. She’s 18 years old and trying to get her adulthood off to a good start. Most of her story is told in episode one, however, we do keep going back to her throughout all eight episodes.
Kaitlyn Dever (of the Summer megahit comedy Booksmart) portays Marie with the perfect blend of vulnerability and true grit fighting. She is used to going into survival-mode and by doing this, people around her begin to assume she’s lying. As a viewer, you know for a fact that she’s not lying since we see the crime play out in flashbacks when she gives her statement.
From her story, we move into the actual crime-solving mode to catch a serial rapist. But we’re no longer in the same year (or even place) as Marie. Read more in our full Unbelievable review below.
The hunt for evidence begins!
From episode 2 of Unbelievable, we begin in another state and a few years later. Here, we meet detective Karen Duvall (Merritt Wever), who is a lead detective called out to the crime scene of a rape. She interviews the rape victim and we immediately feel the extreme difference between how she deals with the victim.
Never probing or invading, but rather supporting the victim to get as many facts as possible. And this victim has a lot of facts. The serial rapist in this Netflix series is the kind of perpetrator who ties up his victims and rapes them again and again over the course of 3-4 hours!
You’ll have to wait a bit longer for Toni Collette’s character, Grace Rasmussen, to show up. But not much. And once Grace Rasmussen (Toni Collette) and Karen Duvall (Merritt Wever) join forces, things start to really move towards finally finding the serial rapist.
However, it’s not easy since he’s extremly good at covering his tracks. He even forces his victims to bathe for 10-20 minutes before finally leaving the crime scene. It’s an intense and aggrevating investigation where the one thing the two detectives always focus on, is never to hurt the victims any further.
Toni Collette and Merritt Wever in Unbelievable
While Merritt Wever is very soft-spoken, but clearly also commands respect and has a lot of authority, Toni Collette is a lot more brazen. She’s delicate and calm with the victims, but has no patience for bullshit or errors from her co-workers. Yes, I do adore them both equally for different reasons.
Toni Collette has been a horror favorite since The Sixth Sense became a global phenomen and forever cemented M. Night Shyamalan’s career. Along with making it impossible to live up to that movie with his sequels – though we’re huge fans of Split and Glass here at Heaven of Horror.
Also, Toni Collette was (quite frankly) robbed of an Oscar nomination for Hereditary. Yes, I will be bitter forever about that fact because the woman was a force of supernatural intensity in that movie. She was also in the Netflix mystery thriller Velvet Buzzsaw earlier this year. Up next is Knives Out which is already getting rave reviews at film festival screenings.
You might like: Our review of the Netflix movie Velvet Buzzsaw here >
Merritt Wever was in the Netflix series Godless in 2017. Also, she actually also took part in an M. Night Shyamalan movie as well. She played Tracey Abernathy in Signs. Finally, many horror fans will probably recognize her as “Doctor Denise” from The Walking Dead (season 9 is out on Netflix now). A brilliant character we never got to see enough of!
The men are not portrayed as bad guys!
There is no doubt that many people will assume Unbelievable will feature a lot a male-bashing. But this is far from the case. Sure, we do come across some very disturbing facts about how many male police officers are also domestice violence perpetrators. This just seems like an important fact that also highlights the overall problem with police brutality.
It’s very clear that the male police officers also want to help the rape victims. They just aren’t going the extra mile that the female police detectives are. However, many of them do seem to learn from this experience. And yes, of course, there are exceptions and I can certainly think of one male police detective that shouldn’t work with rape victims.
Still, time and time again, while the female detectives (played by Toni Collette and Merritt Wever) meet with male detectives that have worked on rape cases, they’re looking into finding connections. Every single time, the male detectives do seem to be sincerely interested in finding the perpetrator. And they tend to believe the women.
However, and this is the actual problem, the second they get “an out” they tend to take it. If something in the story told by the victim doesn’t add up, they’re ready to walk away. Rather than accepting they’re dealing with a traumatized victim, they give up and accept the case must just be closed and go cold.
Watch Unbelievable on Netflix!
We were able to watch all 8 episodes of Unbelievable for the purpose of this review and once we started watching, we could not stop. This limited Netflix series is a very tough watch, but it’s also fascinating and full of very impressive acting performances.
The series is based on a true crime story and was created by Susannah Grant, Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman.
Susannah Grant previously wrote the script for movies like Erin Brockovich which was also based on a true story. Michael Chabon wrote the novel Wonder Boys which was made into a movie in 2000. Also, he’s one of the writers behind the pilot episode of the upcoming Star Trek: Picard series.
Finally, Ayelet Waldman is also the author of two books that where made into movies. She even wrote the TV movie adaptation for her book Applebaum. Overall, it does seems very appropriate to have two women and a man onboard as creators.
I cannot recommend Unbelievable enough. Due to the topic of a serial rapist, it obviously isn’t light and relaxing entertainment, but it is important. Also, this Netflix series is very well made and full of brilliant actors!
All 8 episodes of Unbelievable are out on Netflix worldwide from September 13, 2019.
Creators: Susannah Grant, Michael Chabon, Ayelet Waldman
Directors: Lisa Cholodenko, Michael Dinner, Susannah Grant
Stars: Toni Collette, Merritt Wever, Kaitlyn Dever, Dale Dickey, Omar Maskati, Scott Lawrence, Elizabeth Marvel
When teenager Marie Adler (Kaitlyn Dever) files a police report claiming she’s been sexually assaulted by an intruder in her home, the investigating detectives, as well as the people closest to her, come to doubt the truth of her story. Meanwhile, hundreds of miles away, detectives Grace Rasmussen and Karen Duvall (Emmy winners Toni Collette and Merritt Wever) meet while investigating an eerily similar pair of intruder rapes and partner to catch a potential serial rapist.
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