The Devil Next Door (2019)

(Last Updated On: November 9, 2019)

The Devil Next Door

Title: The Devil Next Door

Year: 2019

Genre: Crime | Documentary |

Season: 1|

Runtime: 44 min/episode

Directors:  Yossi Bloch, Daniel Sivan

Starring: Eli Rosenbaum, John Demjanjuk, Yoram Sheftel


A Cleveland grandfather is brought to trial in Israel, accused of being the infamous Nazi death camp guard known as Ivan the Terrible.


Broken and scarred is a way to express to put it, in the form of how this series has researched and brought an immensely for a documentary-series of this scale. There’s a significant expectation for a documentary to be correct in terms of respect and integrity of the million’s victims sacrificed by the Nazi tyranny.

With that said, this short mini-series – The Devil Next Door, showcases the power of archive-footage and contradicted purposes in a trial of a man sentenced to death for his supposed involving as a guard named John Demjanjuk in a Nazi Extermination Camp. As this is a documentary based on a trial, it would be suggestive of exclaiming that this is official footage, combined with interviews with the involved and relatives to the guard, Ivan the Terrible. The executioner that shuffled the prisoners in the gas chambers in a horrifying way. Indescribable at least.

Its selectively shifts between the truth and desire all the time, throughout the five episodes. It’s hard to see the truth as it’s still undecided to the very end. The interviews give a deeper meaning to it combined with experts that gives them a voice for the narrative. With black-white photographic footage from the Second World-War, it’s difficult to not be capable of the strong, matured content. It has ferocity, a power-grip from the grave beyond in a way that strikes you down. The essence of Hitler is still present in this series. The SS-order as well.

The editing works and feels intimate keeps the flow exciting and engaging, as it’s easy to invest in this story that took place in the 1980s. But as there ain’t much of new content besides the archive footage from the war, the trial and the interviews, this series is abstracting to be informative. It’s attaching a set of value and gives it’s a chilling approach.

As the narrative goes, it becomes informal and repetitive as much of the crucial information is recurrent. As it goes back and forth between the defender and prosecutor in the trial. Unlike with Making a Murderer (2015-), it doesn’t go to great length to give someone to follow. As suppose this is, this is a victim portrayal of the man in focus just as well someone that is at the end convicted.

This Netflix-produced series is compelling for sure and has an image that never leaves your cornea, it’s compelling, brutal and gut-wrenching at the best moments. But it shouldn’t be five episodes. It didn’t need to have that expansion, it’s just for dramatic effect for sure. It could have just narrowed it down to two or three episodes, giving a more straightforward narrative.

Problem with this series is that it gives you only the speculation. Nothing confirmed or dignifying in the best regards of the story of itself. It loses itself with a retelling of the story, zero implication to a deeper told documentation.

It’s worth a watch for sure, Netflix has gained public attention with their controversial and popular true crime documentaries. But this one fails all too well in terms of giving the story a grander purpose. It lands in a bland, obstructed execution. It tells the story, but nothing more. It’s speculation all the way filled with facts to the acute case.


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