Linda Cook - Quad City
Times - 4 Stars
ever a documentary was worth waiting 10 years to see, then "Villisca: Living with a
Mystery," is it...Now, you have a chance to see it - and you should, because it's a
fascinating tale well-told...Politics, infidelity, small-town strife, suspicion and fear
all play a part of the events lead up to the tragedy and continue to haunt the town
Jeff Bruner -
Des Moines Register - 3 1/2 Stars
"A respectful approach to
Iowas most notorious crime, Villisca: Living with a Mystery discusses what
many have refused to speak about for many years."
Douglas Burns -
Daily Times Herald - 3 1/2 Stars
in the making, Villisca is full of old photos, fascinating interviews,
re-enactments and even a C.S.I-like computer-generated model of the crime
scene, the latter of which is used to offer a new theory in the long-running debates about
the identity of the culprit."
Mike Schulz -
River Cities Reader
over a year ago, I was sent a DVD screener from area filmmakers Kelly and Tammy Rundle (of
the Moline-based Fourth Wall Films) for their feature-length documentary Villisca:
Living with a Mystery. I found it to be a beautifully researched and
effectively unsettling true-crime thriller..."
Evan Jacobs -
MovieWeb.com - Buy it!
"...a strongly crafted
documentary...there is an eery quality that builds throughout this movie that, like most
cases involving killers, never goes away..."
Laura James -
Clews True Crime Blog - A+
"...The greatest unsolved
murder in the history of America took place in 1912, and the film Villisca: Living
With a Mystery is an excellent introduction to a case that will leave all students of
true crime saying, 'Lizzie who?'...Villisca: Living With a Mystery is the single
best true crime documentary I have ever seen...The comparison to legendary
documentary filmmaker Ken Burns is certainly appropriate, for this film is in his
league...Grade A+...The best movie ever made in the true crime genre."
Steve Huff - HuffCrimeBlog.com - Recommended!
"The style of
Villisca: Living with a Mystery is familiar to anyone who has ever seen one of Ken
Burns's well-made and often intellectually satisfying productions on PBS, but the Rundles
have placed their own unique stamp...they weave a story that combines the feel of family
talks taking place at twilight on the front porch with a slowly intensifying true crime
story...underpinning all of it is a pitch-perfect soundtrack, incorporating original music
as well as traditional American music...for the true crime afficionado as well as anyone
with an interest in that particular period of American history, Villisca: Living with a
Mystery is a dark treat...I can't give a stronger recommendation to a
true crime documentary than the one I give Villisca: Living with a Mystery. Held
together by the sure-footed storytelling on the parts of Kelly and Tammy Rundle as well as
the affable and informed voice of historian Dr. Edgar V. Epperly, this movie sets a high
bar for full-length documentary treatments of crime stories. I'm a little spoiled now."
T. Brysen - Amazon.com
- Five Stars
"What a wonderful piece of
work! A documentary that is at once informative, intriguing and terrifying - a
"horror flick" not due to gruesome special effects and jolting surprises, but
rather to the grisly reality that demented acts do occur, and they shape us profoundly
from our personal psychologies to our communal attitudes."
Steven Cox - Amazon.com
- Five Stars
"Keep the lights on while
watching this one...What a great story! Told with just the right amount of Midwestern
flavor of the era and with intriguing images and interviews, this will leave you on the
edge of your seat. Bravo!"
Mary Beth - Amazon.com
- Five Stars
"After viewing the film
again on DVD exactly one year after seeing it in the theatre, my opinion of it hasn't
changed. If anything, I think it's better the second time around. Anyone who has the
slightest interest in unresolved cases such as this should purchase the DVD. I promise you
will not be disappointed. A very well done documentary and I highly recommend it!"
Beth H. Klingensmith -
Amazon.com - Five Stars
"An enjoyable movie for
crime buffs and historians - very well presented...The DVD is chock full of goodies,
including two sets of commentaries, one by Dr. Ed Epperly, Villisca crime expert, who has
been researching the case for 50 years, and another by the filmmakers themselves. Great
InTheWest - Imdb.com
"Absolutely engaging! I
wanted to know more and more as the filmmakers went through the story. The pacing of the
movie...interviews of residents who remember the murders...footage of the town as it is
today were blended to tell the unfolding story in just the right amounts...Like Ken Burns,
the Rundle's use of old photos and extensive interviews gave me more access to the people
who lived in the town at the time. The attention to detail, accuracy, use of animation to
take the viewer into the home and town all make this film credible and engaging."
Imdb.com - 10/10
"I just saw this film for
the first time and was captivated from beginning to end. I had never heard about the
Villisca ax murders, and this documentary hooked me on the subject. If you like true crime
stories or mysteries, this story will knock your socks off...I am a huge fan of Robert
Ressler, and was pleasantly surprised to hear his comments about the case. If you haven't
seen it, see it!"
DEllingson - IMDB.com
"True-life ax slaughter
makes for seemingly horrifying film fare, but Villisca: Living With a Mystery chronicles
the aftermath of the murders in a small western Iowa farming town rather than the gore and
ghost stories that might have tempted more lurid producers than the Rundles...A riveting
film. Historians Ed Epperly and Bruce Stillian provide commentary as engaging as Shelby
Foote's in the PBS Civil War magnum opus...Two hours well spent."
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