‘Waco: American Apocalypse’ Trailer: Netflix Documentary Revisits Cult Shootout

One of the bloodiest sieges in American history gets the Netflix limited series documentary treatment, premiering March 22.
Waco: American Apocalypse. David Koresh in Waco: American Apocalyspe. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2023
"Waco: American Apocalypse"
Courtesy of Netflix

The official trailer for “Waco: American Apocalypse,” a new documentary series about one of the bloodiest shootouts in American history, was released by Netflix on Wednesday.

The three-part docuseries tells the story of David Koresh, a cult leader who took control of the Branch Davidians religious sect in the late ’80s, claiming to be its final prophet. Allegations about polygamy and child sexual abuse on Koresh’s part surfaced in the years that followed, prompting the federal government to raid Koresh’s Mount Carmel Center compound near Waco, Texas on February 28, 1993, in a bloody siege that lasted for 51 days. The standoff was breathlessly captured on live television and ended in the deaths of 86 people — 4 FBI agents and 82 members of the cult including Koresh — and the destruction of the compound in a fire.

Released to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the siege, “American Apocalypse” is described by Netflix as “immersive” and featuring “cutting-edge visual technology.” It’s unclear from the trailer what the streamer means by that, but the documentary features unseen raw news footage from the event that was never broadcast and access to videotapes and recording from FBI Crisis Negotiation Unit during the standoff. Several people from both sides of the conflict were interviewed, including one of Koresh’s “spiritual wives,” a child survivor of the event, journalists covering the story, the FBI Crisis Negotiation Unit Chief, and FBI agents who were on the scene and witnessed their fellow agents die.

“Do you put your trust in the lord?” a recorded voice asks Koresh in the trailer. “I am the lord,” the cult leader responds.

“American Apocalypse” is directed by Tiller Russell, whose prior credits include the 2016 Netflix documentary “Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer,” “Silk Road,” “Operation Odessa,” and “The Last Narc.” Russell executive produces for his Tillerman Films banner with Greg Tillman, and additional executive producers include Jeff Hasler and Brian Lovett for Original Productions, William Green and Aaron L. Ginsburg for The Cut, and Dane Reiley and Edwin Zane for Looseworld.

All three episodes of “American Apocalypse” run for 50 minutes, and will premiere on Netflix March 22. Watch the full trailer for the docuseries below.

Daily Headlines
Daily Headlines covering Film, TV and more.

By subscribing, I agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

PMC Logo
IndieWire is a part of Penske Media Corporation. © 2023 IndieWire Media, LLC. All Rights Reserved.