'The Devil On Trial' Drops Exclusively on Netflix Today

October 17, 2023 1:00 AM ‐ NetflixTelevision
The Devil On Trial
Photo: © Netflix
'The Devil on Trial', streaming today exclusively on Netflix, is a gripping documentary that takes us deep into the first and only instance in which "demonic possession" was utilised as a legal defence in a US murder case. The film interweaves firsthand accounts of purported demonic possession with the grim details of a murder, compelling its audience to confront their anxieties about the inexplicable.

The series pivots around events that transpired in the summer of 1980. Eleven-year-old David Glatzel, assisting his elder sister Debbie and her boyfriend Arne with their house move, starts reporting encounters with a mysterious "ghost man," a figure that instils sheer terror in him. This varies significantly from the cinematic adaptation, which features a female spectral entity instead.

As days pass, this eerie ghost man metamorphoses into something far more malevolent. During the night, he assumes the form of a demonic creature, posing a dire threat to David's soul.

Things escalate when David starts showing unexplained physical injuries—scratches, bruises, and such. His behaviour takes a disturbing turn as he begins to growl and vocalise in a demonic cadence. His family, having witnessed these alarming occurrences, seek the help of a priest and also engage the services of the Warrens, a couple well-versed in paranormal investigations and demonology.

Ed Warren, who died in 2006, was the director of the New England Society For Psychic Research. His childhood experiences in a haunted house—where he observed objects move inexplicably—led him into this unique line of work.

In the ensuing weeks, what unfolds is nothing short of a cosmic struggle between the forces of good and evil. Members of both the family and the Warrens report witnessing David levitate, lose his breath temporarily, and even predict a murder.

Things reach a harrowing climax during the final exorcism ritual. Arne steps forth, boldly challenging the demon to leave David's body and enter his own. Although guided by noble intentions, the outcome is nothing short of tragic. Five months later, in a heated confrontation, Arne fatally stabs his landlord.

Subsequently, Arne claims he has no memory of the incident and leans on the now-infamous defence: "the devil made me do it."

This case quickly seized global attention. Lawyer Martin Minnella, a fervent believer in the supernatural, ventured to establish the existence of the Devil in court. For the first time in U.S. legal history, the Devil was put on trial, captivating the world in a state of nervous anticipation.

Whether you view this as a story of demonic possession or a sad tale of a man grappling with psychological distress, 'The Devil on Trial' offers no straightforward answers. It leaves you questioning the multi-faceted complexities of faith, skepticism, and the intricacies of the human mind.
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