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Into the Abyss

  PG-13 Closed Captioning

Werner Herzog

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Plot Summary

In his fascinating exploration of a triple homicide case in Conroe, Texas, master filmmaker Werner Herzog (Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Grizzly Man) probes the human psyche to explore why people kill—and why a state kills. In intimate conversations with those involved, including 28-year-old death row inmate Michael Perry (scheduled to die within eight days of appearing on-screen), Herzog achieves what he describes as “a gaze into the abyss of the human soul.” Herzog’s inquiries also extend to the families of the victims and perpetrators as well as a state executioner and pastor who’ve been with death row prisoners as they’ve taken their final breaths. As he’s so often done before, Herzog’s investigation unveils layers of humanity, making an enlightening trip out of ominous territory.

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews


  • Reviews Counted: 98
  • Fresh: 89
  • Rotten: 9
  • Average Rating: 7.7/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Fresh: Herzog's investigation may not work as an anti-death-penalty editorial, but its findings are undeniably profound. – Peter Debruge, Variety, Nov 18, 2011

Fresh: A disquieting, heartbreaking look at American crime and punishment. – Sheri Linden, Hollywood Reporter, Nov 18, 2011

Fresh: Any subject Werner Herzog wants to explore is surely worthy of our interest. And his latest documentary is a characteristically insightful study of human nature. – Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News, Nov 10, 2011

Fresh: Werner Herzog looks at the death penalty in "Into the Abyss," and as is almost always the case, to look through his eyes is to marvel. – Kyle Smith, New York Post, Nov 11, 2011

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews

A great capital punishment commentary

Disturbing and wonderful. Herzog is a master.

Intense, brilliant

Disturbing, painful to watch, but Herzog at his inquisitive and revealing best. If you know his work, you'll appreciate this study of the death penalty in the US.

good, not great

i am a pro-death penalty person who has meandering thoughts of moving to a no capital punishment system. this movie didn't really sway me either way….it was more a commentary on how senseless crimes are committed and how uneducated a large segment of the US population is.

Into the Abyss
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  • $19.99
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Released: 2011

Customer Ratings

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