These Scary Docs Will Keep You Awake

by Allie Gemmill

Sometimes, even when you're in the mood for a documentary, you just want to get a little bit unnerved. There may be a need to see the darker side of life, to understand the motivations and psychology behind why people do the dastardly things that they do. That's where the following list of truly unnerving, sleep-depriving Netflix documentaries comes in.

Do you want to watch a documentary that will keep you awake at night? Do you want to ensure that rather than slipping off into dreamland, cozy and comfortable in your own reality, you actually just find yourself pondering what the heck you just watched? Well then, have I got a heck of a documentary round-up for you.

The following docs are scary because they are rooted in real things. Murder, abduction, deception, betrayal, and even good intentions gone very wrong. There's always been a darker side to humanity and this thing called life; what if those darker things are closer to us than we previously thought? It's all possible and if this list of documentaries makes one thing clear, it's that you may be entertained, thrilled, and chilled by what you see, but you will definitely not be getting any sleep tonight.

1. Beware The Slenderman

Beware The Slenderman is scary as hell, both in its recounting of the attempted murder trial at the hands of two 12-year-old girls but also in its use of fan-made Slenderman videos. Don't watch this doc with the lights off.

2. Captive

Captive will leave you feeling nervous to travel and suspicious of others. Heck, it may even make you double-check the locks on your doors. Comprising of a collection of true stories about people held captive, it'll be hard to sleep soundly after watching.

3. The Jinx

The Jinx came out during America's revived obsession with true crime. Fitting in nicely alongside the podcast Serial and Making A Murderer on Netflix, The Jinx told the unsettling true story of the life of Robert Durst and the murders he allegedly committed.

4. We Are Legion: The Story Of The Hacktivists

If watching Mr. Robot leaves you feeling paranoid but it an adrenaline-filled, exciting way, then you should check out We Are Legion. All the conspiracy and computer-based hacking but in real life? Sign me up.

5. The Nightmare

The Nightmare is extremely unsettling as it combs through the testimonies of people who experience sleep paralysis and waking nightmares. You made be nervous to get some shut-eye, but the nerves are well worth it.

6. Theo Who Lived

Hate tight spaces? Can you fathom the psychological distress of being a prisoner? Push your limits, postpone sleep, and see the documentary Theo Who Lived on Netflix.

7. Hostage To The Devil

Exorcisms are rarely the stuff of sweet dreams. Want to see what they look like up close? Then head over to Netflix and pop on Hostage To The Devil.

8. Holy Hell

Holy Hell follows the rise and fall of a commune leader and those who followed him, all told through the eyes of one ex-member. It's an unsettling story about the susceptibility of people towards radical thinking and the dangers of following those who pretend to know all the answers.

9. Who Took Johnny?

The abduction of Johnny Gosch has remained a haunting cold case and is now the subject of Who Took Johnny?. It's true crime at its scariest because of the head-spinning facts of the case. You'll lose sleep simply poring over the "what if"s around Gosch's case.

10. The Witness

Don't expect to get a peaceful night's sleep after watching The Witness. Taking a look at the 1964 murder of Kitty Genovese, whose murder has become an anecdotal psychological study in complicity and silence, this documentary will have you rethinking how we report crime and whether or not your fellow man would help you when you're in trouble.

11. Inside The American Mob

The mob in America has always been fodder for films but how scary is it in real life? National Geographic took a deeper look at the shadowy criminal underworld and all episodes of the series are available to stream now on Netflix.

12. Welcome To Leith

This Netflix doc is so important to watch because the monsters lurking in the frames are real people. Tackling the existence of white supremacy attempting to take root in a rural American town, this documentary will leave you more alert to the actions of others.

13. Blackfish

Blackfish will do the opposite of put you into a cozy slumber; it will haunt you. Taking a deep dive, no pun intended, into the insidious practices on how Seaworld obtains and trains its animals, Blackfish made major waves upon its release.