The Devil on Trial (2023) Documentary on Netflix: An exorcism, a murder and the explanations of its protagonist. A new true crime

The Devil on Trial is a 2023 Netflix documentary that explores the first and only time “demonic possession” has officially been used as a defense in a U.S. murder trial.

In Connecticut, an 11-year-old boy who was accompanying his sister during a move to a new house ended up being possessed by a demon. Dealing with a possession was unfamiliar territory, and the boy’s parents decided to call upon the Warrens, who gained fame in the country due to the events in Amityville.

Upon their intervention, the Warrens concluded that the child needed an exorcism. They managed to arrange one, although it was challenging, as demonic possessions are not a common occurrence and involve a lot of paperwork.

Tragically, this exorcism in a religious family ended in murder.

About The Devil on Trial

What can I say about the documentary’s plot? It is narrated in a horror movie-like style, presenting the events from the perspective of the protagonist, which will undoubtedly generate significant interest.

The documentary places particular emphasis on the Warrens, who have become extremely famous today thanks to the movies. According to the documentary, they earned over $80,000 from this case, along with the family and others involved.

The case became highly publicized, with the film industry, television, and media playing crucial roles. The public wanted to know more, and the story itself was lucrative, with its protagonists (as depicted in the documentary) taking full advantage of it.

The documentary is a reconstruction that blends real audio recordings of the alleged possession with dramatizations of those days, particularly during the possession itself.

From a cinematic standpoint, it is a well-crafted documentary that perfectly reconstructs the story and the sequences that led to the tragedy.

Another morbid true-crime from the streaming network?

Our opinion

We won’t delve into the truthfulness of the case, but the true-crime genre continues to achieve success and attract viewers. This documentary, in a way, criticizes itself because this morbid curiosity ultimately drives viewership.

And who can resist the allure of a morbid and terrifying story that also guarantees viewership and generates profits?

An exorcism is undoubtedly a story worth telling.

Release Date

October 17, 2023

Where to Watch The Devil on Trial


About the Trial of Arne Cheyenne Johnson

The trial of Arne Cheyenne Johnson, also known as the “Devil Made Me Do It” case, remains one of the most intriguing and controversial legal proceedings in American history. This landmark trial took place in Brookfield, Connecticut in 1981 and became the first known court case in which the defense sought to prove innocence based on the claim of demonic possession. The shocking murder of Alan Bono, Johnson’s landlord, and the subsequent claim of possession captivated the nation and raised profound questions about the existence of evil forces and their influence on human behavior. Read more

The Devil on Trial

The Devil on Trial

Movie title: The Devil on Trial

Movie description: The documentary tells the story of Arne Cheyenne Johnson, a young man who was accused of killing his landlord in 1981. Johnson's defense team argued that he was possessed by a demon at the time of the murder, and they presented evidence of Johnson's alleged possession, including firsthand accounts from his family and friends, as well as home videos of Johnson exhibiting bizarre behavior.

Date published: October 16, 2023

Country: United Kingdom

Duration: 81 mins

Director(s): Chris Holt

Writer(s): Chris Holt

Cinematography: Brendan McGinty

Actor(s): Foster Hamilton, Adam Hunt, Arne Cheyenne Johnson

Genre: Documentary, True Crime

Companies: Dorothy Street Pictures, Netflix

Our Opinion

And who can resist the allure of a morbid and terrifying story that also guarantees viewership and generates profits?


Martin Cid
Martin Cid
Writer, pipe smoker and founder of MCM
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