Waco: American Apocalypse review: Stirring and reflective account of events

Waco: American Apocalypse is a three-part documentary that explores the 51-day standoff that took place between the US Federal Government and David Koresh’s Branch Davidians at the Mount Carmel compound. The series is streaming on Netflix.


In 1993 in Waco, Texas, the ATF traveled to the Mount Carmel compound to serve a search warrant for illegal weapons and ammunition. This eventually led to a 51-day standoff that ended in a ball of flames and the death of 4 federal agents and 82 Branch Davidians.

This documentary includes archive video footage of the ATF and FBI negotiators as the standoff happened and interviews with survivors and members of law enforcement that were involved in the biggest conflict on American soil since the Civil War.

It traces the rise of David Koresh and how he controlled his followers throughout this fracas and negotiated with the authorities.

There is also the portrayal of the very clear disconnect between the negotiators and the tactical response teams that inadvertently led to the death of several civilians including children.


Tiller Russell really covers this tragedy from all sides and ensures that the severity of the encounter is depicted authentically. The interviews with the individuals involved are genuine and natural.

There’s a proper flow to the series as the key moments in the timeline are highlighted clearly. The decision to include Koresh’s history in between the coverage of the stand-off is ideal as it fits in seamlessly.

The sound mixing is exceptional in the docu-series. The sound of the gunshots ringing out, and the muddled recordings of the Davidians and the agents add a feeling of rawness to the footage.


There’s one specific moment that feels much like propaganda that could have been left out. The footage of the injured and dead soldiers being taken away following the initial skirmishes is played out against the backdrop of a deeply patriotic song that ignores the entire context.

It is evoking sympathy for the agents that have been hurt while avoiding the fact that they attacked a compound knowing full well that there were innocent women and children in it.


Waco: American Apocalypse is an eye-catching depiction of one of the most tragic events in US history and how it was the fanaticism of David Koresh combined with the inadequacy of the federal authorities that led to so many avoidable casualties on live television.

Waco: American Apocalypse
Waco: American Apocalypse review: Stirring and reflective account of events 1

Director: Tiller Russell

Date Created: 2023-03-22 12:31

Editor's Rating:

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