Lifetime's new movie, Who Killed JonBenét?, attempts to make sense of a heinous crime — but just ends up making its audience wildly uncomfortable.
The 1996 murder of 6-year-old JonBenét Ramsey has gripped the nation for two decades. With the 20-year anniversary of the case approaching this December, it makes sense for the still-unsolved crime to be reexamined. JonBenét was found dead in the basement of her family's Boulder, CO, home after her parents, John and Patsy Ramsey, alleged that they found a ransom note alluding to JonBenét's kidnapping. The odd circumstances of the case led to the police (and amateur sleuths) to come up with their own theories as to who killed JonBenét — yet, no one was ever charged with the crime.
Who Killed JonBenét? asks the same question many people have pondered over the last 20 years, framing the Ramsey case through the eyes of Steve Thomas, a detective on the case who resigned from the force in 1998. The movie is chilling, as any movie about the murder of a child should be, yet there are certain elements of Lifetime's new true-crime story that might make viewers uncomfortable for a different reason.
Thomas penned a book that alleged Patsy (who was cleared of the crime along with John and their son, Burke, in 2008) killed her own daughter accidentally and cover it up with John's help. Through Thomas' eyes, the Ramseys are killers — a point of view the film seems to take, as well.
Is that brave storytelling or wrongful condemnation of a family already cleared of their daughter's murder? No matter what you believe, it's just one of the disturbing parts of Lifetime's take on the Ramsey case.