“An exciting movie which shocks with its human tragedy“
“The Promise“ tells a shocking story of love and betrayal“
German & International Film Reviews
There are moments in the totally riveting Killing for Love when a fictional thriller suggests itself, complete with casting. The two young people (they met when he was 18, she a couple of years older) on trial for murdering her parents suggest the sort of British actors we are so rich in. She softly spoken, almost inaudible, hinting at unspeakable attentions from her mother, the educated voice evoking her Canadian-European background; he, round-faced and bespectacled, looking far younger, quick wit enunciated in perfect English, is from a German diplomatic family. The letters produced smoulder with passion. What a drama! Financial Times It begins in the way all true crime must begin. Slow zoom shots of a house encircled by police tape. A blood-spattered shoe. Creepy interiors. Bodies. More blood. Here is the crime scene: the heart of a murder mystery we know will be fraught with more inconsistencies and outlandish twists than an episode of Sherlock. These images will now haunt me for days. Anyone who has binged on Making a Murderer, Serial or even Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood (the original true-crime “non-fiction novel”) will know the cocktail of emotions this increasingly popular and morally dubious genre induces: obsessive fascination, horror, cynicism and loss of faith in the justice system. I, for one, am getting sick of the bitter aftertaste. The Guardian (English)The fact that Haysom does not afford Steinberger and Vetter a contemporary interviews hangs in the air first as an ominous, spectral elephant in the room but becomes an itch a viewer simply cannot scratch, desperate as we are to hear her side of events or see what she has become after 25 years behind bars. But in his first-hand account there is a crushing pathos to Söring's gullibility, innocence and antiquated belief in love conquering all and that an altruistic, misguided act, stole his life away. Cine Vue "The Promise", a extraordinary, dramatic, highly thrilling, oppressive and disturbing documentary made by the directors Marcus Vetter and Karin Steinberger, deals with an intense, maybe crazy, maybe rare big love. It tells about obsession and - possibly - perversion. It tells of pitfalls and deeps of the family, which as you know is not just a place for safety, but also for terror. At the same time it is a social drama, which at least lets you anticipate what happens behind the curtains of the "rich ten thousands", not only in America. And "The Promise" is a film about the pitfalls and deeps of the US justice system, about injustice which is done in the name of justice. Ruediger Suchsland Telepolis (German)
This is material for a thriller and you can easily imagine the pictures, if Hollywood had made a movie out of it and not the German documentary filmmaker Marcus Vetter, who produced with "The Promise" a documental thriller, which is not obliged to tension, but to the search for the truth. But this search is highly thrilling, electrifying and also devastating. Dokumentarfilm.info (German)
“The Promise – first love life sentence“ has everything you can expect of a thrilling courtroom drama: disputable evidence, a self-confident investigator, theatrical prosecutors, a maybe biased judge, revealed family-secrets and a private detective, who wants to prove Soering`s innocence. Additionally there are the former lovers, rational thinking and acting Jens Soering and emotional, charismatic Elizabeth Haysom. All this makes the movie, despite its subtitles, a very thrilling documentary, not hiding its positioning for Soering. culturmag.de (German)
A gruesome double killing with unanswered questions until today, a court proceeding full of mistakes and the story of a fatal juvenile love: this documentary can easily be compared with a fictional thriller. Spielfilm.de (German)
„The Promise“ is thrilling. It satisfies a voyeurism, which is to be seen in all television channels: the documentation and workup true crimes, the virtual ‚co-investigating‘ not on the ‚Tatort‘, but on a true murder case. SZ online (German)
„The Promise“ is one of those documentaries about a crime, which linger in the viewer’s memory long after watching it. Moviegeek.de (German)
„The Promise“ starts like a movie about court proceeding: a gruesome crime, pictures of the scene, the process and all seems to be clear. Skilfully Karin Steinberger and Marcus Vetter integrate small breaches in the supposedly clear case. Hints which become indications. Kino-Zeit.de (German)
This fascinating documentary made by Marcus Vetter and Karin Steinberger reconstructs the scandalous court process and gives the portrait of a disastrous romance. Cinema.de
The dramatic art behind this true story was reviewed excellently and directed enthralling. Filmspleen.com
„The Promise“ is edited like a thriller. In the original court scenes you listen to the beautiful Elizabeth, who obviously seems to know very well how to impress other people. Watching the strictly arguing Soering you become speechless. „The Promise“ has one explicit goal: Soering has to be transferred to a German prison or the case has to be reopened.The documentary is not only highly thrilling, but also very distressing with this human tragedy. Zitty.de
The Jens Soering case
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In 1985, a gruesome double murder rocked Virginia. Was the wrong man convicted?
You can study and follow the developments in the case over thirty years through our exclusive and extensive archive which contains newspaper articles and TV materials.
Exclusive newspaper articles and news videos from 1985 to today
The double murder of Nancy and Derek Haysom in 1985 was a media spectacle. The Haysoms were well-respected community members in their hometown, Lynchburg, Virginia, then they were brutally murdered, almost executed, in their home. The court trials, in which their daughter Elizabeth Haysom and her German boyfriend Jens Soering were tried for the murders, were broadcasted live on US television - something unheard of previous to the case. You can study and follow the developments in the case over thirty years through our exclusive and extensive archive which contains newspaper articles and TV materials. The archive is unique in that it holds the most complete collection of American and German articles and TV materials from 1985 until today. The material was made available by the Virginia Press Service News Clipping Bureau, by different newspapers, journalists and the WSET 13 Daily News Channel.