Netflix on Friday debuted the trailer for its upcoming true crime documentary Into the Deep, which will be released by the streamer next week, nearly three years after a work-in-progress cut was premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. The project began as a chronicle of eccentric Danish inventor Peter Madsen‘s life and work, but evolved into something more sinister when Madsen was suspected of, convicted, and subsequently imprisoned for murdering a Swedish journalist.
Incriminating footage shot by director Emma Sullivan for her documentary was studied and used by the prosecution in its case against Madsen, who was sentenced to life in prison in 2018. Madsen was something of a celebrity in Denmark, well known for building three submarines. He was planning on constructing a space rocket next. The film was originally supposed to document the larger-than-life Madsen’s latest endeavor, which he worked on with science students captivated by his personality.
Into the Deep will also explore the betrayal that the students felt after Madsen was revealed to have systematically planned and carried out the killing of the journalist, Kim Wall. Sullivan actually shot footage of Madsen leading Wall onto one of his submarines, which turned out to be the last time she was seen alive. Sullivan 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.”
Some clips teased in the trailer are quite striking; Sullivan essentially documented Madsen’s student collaborators realizing in real time that their mentor might be involved in a murder. “The Peter that I knew for 10 years, and the Peter that went on the submarine on August 10 and came up are two different people,” one man says.
The case was previously dramatized in the six-part Danish series The Investigation, directed by Tobias Lindholm, who is perhaps best known for his collaborations with director Thomas Vinterberg. Fans of the true crime genre might also be reminded of the seminal HBO series The Jinx, in which the subject — real estate heir Robert Durst — seemingly confessed to killing a woman while being filmed. Like Into the Deep, The Jinx also contributed to the indictment of its subject.
Into the Deep arrives on Netflix on September 30. You can watch the trailer here, and read the film’s official synopsis down below:
Filmmaker Emma Sullivan was looking to profile eccentric inventor Peter Madsen and his homemade rocket for a documentary. Instead, she captures incriminating footage that helped convict him of the murder of journalist Kim Wall.