If you can’t get enough true crime, Hulu has a new movie for you: Boston Strangler. The film tells the story of a series of notorious murder cases hitting the Boston area back in the 1960s.

This Hulu film takes a unique approach to retelling this crime story, as we see everything unfold through the eyes of two journalists covering the case. Two-time Oscar nominee Keira Knightley leads the cast as Loretta McLaughlin, a reporter for the Record-American newspaper. Loretta becomes the first journalist to connect the Boston Strangler murders. 

As the mysterious killer claims more and more victims, Loretta attempts to continue her investigation alongside colleague and confidante Jean Cole (Carrie Coon). Yet the duo finds themselves stymied by the rampant sexism of the era. Nevertheless, they bravely pursue the story at great personal risk, putting their own lives on the line in their quest to uncover the truth.   

You can’t go wrong with Knightley and Coon

First things first, Boston Strangler is wonderfully cast. Knightley and Coon make for a great team. They’re both strong actors, and their abilities add a lot of depth to their characters. They bring Loretta and Jean to life in a way that feels real and relatable. 

Plus, it was interesting to see how these women struggled personally and professionally while reporting on this case. While I did know about the Boston Strangler murders themselves prior to this film, I didn’t know two female journalists were spearheading the media coverage of the crimes at the time. Between confronting sexism in the workplace and dealing with becoming public figures and the target of scrutiny and threats from the public because of their reporting, these women went through a lot. I’m glad Boston Strangler was able to tell their untold stories.

‘Boston Strangler’ offers a unique perspective on crime

I liked that Boston Strangler examined these crimes from the perspective of the journalists covering the case. It’s a different point of view than we normally get from the true crime genre; usually we follow a case from the perspective of the detectives investigating, or sometimes from the POV of the killer or the victims. You don’t often get to approach a case from the perspective of the media, which gave Boston Strangler an appealing in for viewers.

Carrie Coon as Jean Cole in 20th Century Studios' BOSTON STRANGLER, exclusively on Hulu. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

It also opened the door to see how the social and political climate of the time affected the investigation of the Strangler murders. We see moments of how the police force could be negligent, dismissive, or outright trying to cover up the reality of the case. And since the journalists themselves are women, we see how they are often dismissed or disregarded by men in power; it’s an upsetting (but realistic) look at how these women’s deaths could be swept under the rug.

That said, beyond the interesting angle this film presents, Boston Strangler feels like it falls a little flat overall. It lacks a lot of the edge and depth of other similar true-crime tales. I think some of that comes from the journalism angle being a bit of a double-edged sword; yes, the alternate perspective provides a new angle to view the case from, but ultimately, the movie didn’t want to necessarily say that the journalists “solved” the crimes. When one of the suspects just flat out tells Loretta in the end the murders could have been committed by more than one person, it doesn’t feel like a triumphant solve on her part. It feels like she needed a man to connect the dots for her – which really goes against the whole feminist angle of the rest of the film.

Put simply, I just never found Boston Strangler as gripping or compelling as I wanted to overall. It’s not a bad true crime story, but it’s not a particularly memorable one, either.

Boston Strangler premieres on Hulu March 17. In addition to the film itself, you can also check out the three-part companion podcast to learn more about the case.