Abducted in Plain Sight has taken the internet by storm, and it’s no surprise. True crime is fascinating enough in itself, but this new Netflix documentary, tackling the story of Jan Broberg’s horrifying childhood, is frankly something else.
It can be difficult to fully identify with true crime cases; often, the nature of the stories can make them difficult to relate to. However, despite it being particularly outlandish, the horror of the case is emulated perfectly. The opening scene, a series of photographs of Broberg with her abductor, blissfully unaware of the events to come, accompanied by readings of love letters from her predator, sends chills down the spine and unnerves the viewer before the detail of the case is even touched upon. Jan attempts to hold back tears as she recalls her experiences in the predator’s caravan, reminding the audience of the reality and horror of the situation. Surprisingly, she recalls the intense love she had for her kidnapper, rather than anger. In a way, this makes the viewer more emotional; it shows the devastating reality that the predator manipulated his victim to his advantage, tearing her away from the childhood and innocence that every child deserves. With this in mind, the feature may be upsetting for some viewers and should be approached with caution.
But it is the outrageous details of the ordeal that has sparked the most reaction. It is safe to say that this is one of the most intense timelines of a true crime case many of the audience will have ever seen. It is a completely bizarre case intertwining adultery, pedophilia, manipulation and even aliens. The plethora of themes, although horrific, combine to create a fascinating story which has left many surprised at the lack of publicity surrounding the case prior to the release of the documentary.
It also means that it is not an easy watch; this is not kind of the Netflix film that you can passively listen to in the background, but rather one requiring a lot more concentration. Therefore, it may not be to the taste of every viewer. In terms of the genre, however, this is a positive thing; the producers have refrained from glossing over details, treating the audience to a raw and detailed account of Broberg’s story.
By far the most shocking aspect of the case is the actions of the parents; in order to get closer to Jan, her predator engages ins affair with both her mother, even after the abduction of her child, and her father. The pair also make the mind-blowing decision to allow the predator, a self-confessed pedophile, to sleep next to their daughter. The parents are key narrators in the documentary, however whether a result of the parent’s oblivion to the severity of the situation, or that of the direction of the editing, the feelings and remorse of the parents remain unclear, which leaves gaps in the viewers knowledge, and if anything raises more questions and confusion.
This definitely isn’t a watch for the faint-hearted and raises some extremely difficult themes. However, the twists and turns definitely make this fascinating documentary one to watch.