Watch the chilling first trailer for Netflix's Casting JonBenét Ramsey documentary

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Kayleigh Dray
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Netflix have released the first trailer for Casting JonBenét, a brand-new documentary film which vows to examine both the unsolved case of JonBenét Ramsey and the nation’s endless fascination with it.

The clip is under a minute long – but, in just 49 seconds, it manages to be both compelling and disturbing.

It shows a group of blonde girls, all dressed in JonBenét’s now iconic stars-and-stripes cowgirl costume. Giggling and chatting to one another, it quickly becomes apparent that they know very little about the role they are auditioning for or the grisly circumstances in which she was found.

What they do understand, however, is that JonBenét’s fate remains a mystery – even now.

“Do you know who killed JonBenét?” asks one little girl, as she holds up a test card.

She receives no answer.

Watch the trailer for yourself below:

Just last year, two documentaries about the unsolved murder of six-year-old pageant star JonBenét Ramsey were released: Lifetime’s Who Killed JonBenét? and CBS’ The Case of JonBenét Ramsey.

However, as is so often the case with real-life cold cases, the documentaries gave the public more questions than they did answers – and the world’s grisly fascination with the late JonBenét simply increased.

Now Netflix is set to explore the case further with its own documentary, Casting JonBenét, released later this year.


JonBenét does not intend to go over the sordid details of the 1996 murder again – nor will it attempt to ‘unmask’ the murderer (one of the programmes famously came under fire for pinning the blame on JonBenét’s brother, Burke, who was just nine years old at the time of her death).

Instead, it intends to recreate the success of the streaming service’s Amanda Knox and Making a Murderer documentaries by focusing on the aftermath of JonBenét’s death, including the media’s endless conspiracy theories, probing how it affected the family and the local community.

Variety explains: “Over 15 months, the filmmakers travelled to the Ramsey family’s Colorado hometown to elicit responses and reflections from the local community.

“The film examines how this crime and the resulting mythologies have shaped the attitudes and behaviour of successive generations of parents and children.”

Directed by Kitty Green, the documentary comes to Netflix in spring. It’s already sparked a great deal of excitement as it will offer a new perspective on a case that has been pored over for 20 years.

“Netflix is the ideal home for showcasing Kitty’s sharply rendered vision of a mythic American tragedy to a global audience, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the crime,” said Netflix VP of original documentary programming Lisa Nishimura.

JonBenét was reported missing on the morning of 26 December 1996 by her mother, Patsy – who revealed to 911 operators that she had found a ransom note demanding a large sum of money for her daughter’s safe return.

But, just hours later, her husband John reported finding his daughter beaten and strangled to death in the family’s own basement.

As the ransom note demanded $118,000 (£89, 903) – the exact amount made by the Ramseys in bonuses that year – investigators suspected JonBenét’s murderer was someone very close to home. For several years, JonBenét’s mother and father were lead suspects in the case, but in 2008 they were cleared via a DNA sample taken from their daughter’s clothing. Patsy had died of cancer two years earlier, in 2006.

Prosecutors said they were "deeply sorry" for putting the family under a cloud of suspicion for more than a decade.

Images: Sundance Film Festival


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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.