Killing for Love

Dec 30, 2017

Confusing and fascinating, lurid and sad.

Killing for Love

Grade: B-

Directors: Karin Steinberger, Marcus Vetter

Screenplay: Steinberger, Vetter

Cast: voices of Imogen Poots, Daniel Bruhl

Runtime: 2 hr 10 min

by John DeSando

"It was like stepping inside a slaughterhouse."

So one observer in the documentary Killing for Love reports about the brutal murders of Nancy and Derek Haysom in 1985. More lurid than the photos is the court conclusion that lovers Elizabeth Haysom and Jens Soring murdered them, she being their daughter.

What makes this an audience pleaser is the archival footage that shows her to be a cunning beauty and him an almost innocent lamb to her romantic slaughter. This, the intrigue is that after confessing to the murder, Jens tries to recant saying he lied to mitigate the sentence of his love. The court wouldn’t accept the confession of the confession.

Directors Karin Steinberger and Marcus Vetter cut between time and testimonials to create a dynamic if confusing, disjointed set of circumstances filled with lies and ambiguity. Both conditions would ordinarily fulfill the needs of soap opera, but here, as truth is the end game, energy for sympathy is sapped by conflicting facts and sentiments.

Yet, the salacious elements endure for audience interest such as the fact that Elizabeth’s mom photographed her nude and allegedly abused her. Additionally, Jens adds a sardonic attitude toward the proceedings that hypnotizes those who would like to think this not a laughing matter.

Filled with striking moments — such as the courtroom revelation that Elizabeth's mother took nude photographs of her and may have abused her sexually, and a tour of the house in which the murders took place, conducted by its current owner who doesn't seem at all fazed by its horrific past

For history buffs, the archival footage is nectar. For those of us who find the DNA evidence now compelling, it looks as if a part II may be in order for Jens Soring’s future.

John DeSando, a Los Angeles Press Club first-place winner for National Entertainment Journalism, hosts WCBE’s It’s Movie Time and co-hosts Cinema Classics. Contact him at