Into The Deep is Netflix’s shocking new documentary – but do you know the chilling true story?
Netflix’s Into The Deep is being released on the platform tomorrow – but do you know the true story behind this chilling documentary?
We all know that Netflix can do a documentary very well, and when it comes to true crime, it’s often the wilder the story, the better. But oftentimes, the streaming platform decides to highlight some truly tragic stories that leave us totally shocked but informed about cases many of us wouldn’t otherwise know of.
One upcoming film that has certainly gotten our attention is Into The Deep, the new film from Australian filmmaker, Emma Sullivan, who began documenting the life and work of Danish inventor Peter Madsen. Madsen quickly became famous in Denmark for his homemade, crowd-funded submarine, and he went on to become the world’s first amateur astronaut and constructed his own space rocket.
If you’re wondering where the true crime twist comes into things, you may want to prepare yourself.
A year into her project, Sullivan filmed Madsen on 10 August 2017 as he prepared to take a Swedish journalist, Kim Wall, on a trip in his submarine.On that voyage, Madsen brutally murdered Wall and disposed of her remains overboard. Planned and premeditated, this was a crime that rocked Denmark and made headlines globally.
What is the true story that Into The Deep explores?
Madsen was a semi-celebrity in Denmark, and so, established freelance journalist Kim Wall had been chasing an interview with Madsen for several months, after staying in Copenhagen with her boyfriend and becoming interested in Madsen’s projects.
So when he invited her to his homemade submarine outside of Copenhagen, she accepted the offer and boarded the vessel on 10 August 2017. Wall boarded UC3 Nautilus at 7pm and in the final photos that were taken of her from a passing ship just 90 minutes later, she was smiling in the submarine’s conning tower.
She was due to move to Beijing with her partner Ole and this story on Madsen would be her final one before leaving. The straight-forward piece she planned to write about Madsen was exciting enough to Wall that she missed her and her partner’s own going-away party. Her last text message to Ole read: “I’m still alive btw. But I’m going down now. I love you! He brought coffee and cookies tho.”
He repeatedly texted back and after hearing nothing from Wall, Ole rang the police to report her missing. She was supposed to be on the vessel for two hours.
The submarine never returned to the harbour and authorities were unable to contact Madsen because of the submarine’s lack of satellite tracking. The submarine was eventually spotted the next morning and Madsen was pulled to safety by four people out fishing and taken to the port of Dragor. He was then met by a group of reporters where he described the final moments of the sinking submarine. But there was no sign of Wall and it took almost two weeks for her death to be confirmed.
Wall’s mutilated torso was discovered on a beach by a passing cyclist on 21 August. Her head, legs and clothing were found by police divers on 6 October. Between 21 August and 29 November, parts of Wall’s dismembered body were found in different locations around the area.
Madsen went on to give three different accounts of what had happened to Wall, first stating that he had dropped her off at a restaurant. Then, he stated that there had been a “terrible accident” onboard with Wall accidentally hitting her head on the submarine’s hatch. He explained that he had then dumped her body somewhere in Koge Bay, south of Copenhagen.
Then on 30 October, Madsen changed his story and told police that Wall had died onboard of carbon monoxide poisoning while he was up on deck. He also admitted to dismembering her body, which he had previously denied. Charged with her murder, Madsen was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment on 25 April 2018 by Copenhagen City Court.
What is Netflix’s Into The Deep about?
Speaking about the new Netflix film, director Sullivan has said: “This is a very personal story to me. When I started this project I met a group of people, who wanted to be part of something positive with someone they admired at the helm. But then the unbearable happened.
“When you are suddenly pulled into such a nightmare it changes your life forever. The film is a testimony of the people who were close to Madsen as they slowly grasp the true nature of the man and the terrible crimes he committed.”
Sullivan captured some of the last footage of Wall as she boarded the ship with Madsen in August 2017 and some of Madsen’s preparations had been unwittingly recorded by Sullivan’s camera. It would become the incriminating footage that helped convict him of Wall’s murder.
Using a year’s worth of observational footage, Sullivan’s new film provides an “unprecedented portrait of an apparently charming eccentric who turns into a murderer before our very eyes”, according to the synopsis.
Into The Deep also explores the amateur space mission and the small legion of loyal followers that Madsen had amassed, how the recognition of him as a murderer changed them and how they had to reckon with their own feelings of complicity and shame regarding Wall’s death.
A version of the film was initially shown at the 2020 Sundance film festival, but following that, multiple participants were removed or disguised in the film. It’s been a work in progress but we’re certain it will not only be a chilling watch, but also an important one honouring the legacy of Kim Wall.
Into The Deep premieres on Netflix globally on 30 September.
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