Stream These True Crime Series on Lionsgate Play For a Spine-Tingling Weekend Binge
PLDT Home customers can watch ‘Seduced: Inside the NXIVM Cult’ and ‘Manhunt: Deadly Games’ on Lionsgate Play for free through a complimentary voucher code that comes with their internet plan.
Amid the many real-life stories we hear on the news and from our social circles every day, every now and then we come across a crime story so gripping, shocking, or just plain absurd that we stop and wonder — why?
Sometimes, we don’t get an explanation at all that the story fades into obsolescence, only to be remembered as meaningless trivia. Other times, someone over-curious will probe such a story a little more, seeking to unravel it with hopes of perhaps understanding humanity a little bit more.
The following true crime series recommendations – Seduced: Inside the NXIVM Cult and Manhunt: Deadly Games – are exactly that.
Both titles attempt to delve into the twisted mind of two real-life criminals involved in separate cases. Both series are available to stream on Lionsgate Play, the premier video-on-demand streaming platform offering Lionsgate hits among other Hollywood blockbuster hits.
To those who missed it, PLDT Home customers can access Lionsgate Play for free until June 1, 2023 by activating a complimentary voucher code that comes with their internet plan.
Of modern-day cult leaders
Cults seem to have stayed on in the present time, and Seduced: Inside the NXIVM Cult proves just that. Instead of these groups dissolving, some of them have just adapted to modern times.
Seduced follows the story of ex-cult member India Oxenberg, the daughter of American actress Catherine Oxenberg and granddaughter of the former Princess of Yugoslavia. In 2011, Oxenberg, also the docuseries’ executive producer, was duped into the personal sex cult of NXIVM (pronounced “nexium”) leader Keith Raniere, who posed as something of a life coach and motivational speaker.
In reality, Raniere was a racketeer and pervert who used NXIVM as a front to recruit personal sex slaves. The four-part docuseries is a harrowing tale of his exploits and victims. It describes how seemingly innocent enterprises such as NXIVM, which pose the idea of positive personal transformations to lure credulous people in, could be something much more insidious. (A recruiter who contacted series executive producer Cecilia Peck wasn’t even aware she was recruiting members into a cult.)
In fact, the most poignant part of the story is how it doesn’t just lay blame on someone like Raniere for being sick and twisted; it also explores why people like Oxenberg end up joining them.
Cults like NXIVM target people who seek a sense of belonging and success where they have very little or none in their lives. At the time, Oxenberg was a jobless 19-year-old who dropped out of college. She believed that NXIVM’s teachings would lead her to achieve success. This exploration of a victim’s psychology is important, not because it provides a spectacle for the viewer to enjoy, but because it can help save someone from a similar situation at any point in time.
The series itself is a rousing watch, comprising four hour-long episodes. It should make you wary the next time a distant friend chats you up and asks you if you’re “open-minded.”
Of real-life Jokers
“Some men just want to watch the world burn,” as goes the late Heath Ledger’s infamous line as Joker in the 2008 classic. A story about an almost personification of Joker is what Manhunt: Deadly Games chooses to tell.
Where Seduced was a docuseries featuring the real-life victims (and perpetrators) of a cult, Manhunt: Deadly Games dramatizes a true-to-life crime story — in this case, the 1996 bombing of a concert at the Centennial Olympic Park during the Atlanta Olympics. Comprising 10 episodes, Manhunt: Deadly Games follows the first season of the crime drama anthology series Manhunt: Unabomber.
Manhunt: Deadly Games focuses on Richard Jewell (Cameron Britton, Mindhunter, The Umbrella Academy), the part-time security officer who found the homemade bomb and saved many lives in the process. Jewell is affectionately and respectfully portrayed as a blue-collar everyman who, despite his unassuming and dorky personality, is smart, hardworking, and humble. The show paints him as a true American good guy who insists he was simply doing his job even as the community hails him as a hero.
The most compelling part of the series is, of course, the hunt for the perpetrator — who we all now know is domestic terrorist Eric Rudolph. However, there’s a second layer of the story: At the time of the investigation, the FBI and the media turned on Jewell, labeling him a prime suspect just from hearsay. It didn’t help to have a pressured Atlanta mayor Bill Campbell (Cornelius Smith, Jr., How to Get Away With Murder, Scandal) naming a suspect just to assure the world that the city was safe during the Olympics.
What follows is not just a search for a bomber, but also a frustratingly complex tale of how the authorities and the media could contribute to a circus of wrongful accusations against an innocent man — and get distracted in the important search for the real criminal. It’s still a lesson that’s relevant today, especially in the age of social media and the internet where misinformation and false accusations spread sickeningly fast. – Romeo Moran
Stream Seduced: Inside the NXIVM Cult and Manhunt: Deadly Games on Lionsgate Play, powered by PLDT Home. PLDT Home customers get free access to Lionsgate Play until June 1, 2023, plus a chance to win a 65” LG OLED smart TV simply by activating their complimentary voucher code. To know more about the promo, visit https://pldthome.com/lionsgateplay-activation-raffle.
For more holiday deals, check out PLDT Home’s Holideals at https://pldthome.com/holideals-mechanics.
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