Six Best Cult Documentaries To Watch On Netflix

Chilling but fascinating.
A teaser image from cult documentary 'keep sweet pray and obey' featuring a classic husband and wife wedding cake topper atop a cake, surreounded by more models of the wife doll.
Image: Netflix

Whether you’re a history buff or a casual watcher, there are no two ways about it: cult documentaries are fascinating.

In laying out the facts, cult documentaries tend to peel back the layers of human behaviour. They look at both sides: exploring what makes and shapes the nefarious leaders at the helm of these infamous groups, as well as how people get sucked into and stuck inside their worlds.

While there are myriad reasons for the rise of the true crime niche, a recent New York Times article pointed out that the most prevalent is perhaps the most simple—despite being harrowing, “on a purely craven level, these stories are juicy as hell.”

Accordingly, it’s unsurprising that the genre has gained popularity in recent years. Streaming services have been tapping into the appeal, commissioning investigations into both famous and little-know cults for us to binge. From cults tied to social media, religion and even yoga, when it comes to exposés, Netflix has plenty of variety on offer. Ahead, we round up the most fascinating cult documentaries to watch on the platform.

Dancing For The Devil: The 7M TikTok Cult

Upon its release in May 2024, Dancing For The Devil: The 7M TikTok Cult went viral—and for good reason.

The docuseries tells the intertwining stories of influencer management company, 7M Films and its associated church, Shekinah. After a group of TikTok dancers join, disturbing details about the community and its founder come to light. Former members of the church and management firm speak out in the three-part docuseries, as well as the sister of one famous influencer who is still tied up in it.

Given 7M and Shekinah still exist, and the TikTokers concerned still post online, the story has continued off-screen with lawsuits, social media beef and more. Read more about it here.

Wild Wild Country

Wild Wild Country is a captivating documentary about a utopia gone awry.

The series concerns Indian guru, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, following him across six episodes as he moves his ashram from India to the United States. When Rajneesh and his followers settle in the Oregon desert, with the aim of building a utopian city, tension with local residents escalates into a national scandal. 

Don’t just take our word for it— the show won an Emmy for Best Outstanding Documentary Series in 2018.

The Cult Of The Family

Originally premiering on ABC before heading over to Netflix, The Cult Of The Family chronicles the rise and fall of Australia’s most notorious cult.

Known as ‘The Family’, the group’s female leader, Anne Hamilton-Byrne believed in raising “superior children” who would be capable of saving and rebuilding the world after Armageddon. When six of these children were rescued by the police from a remote lakeside compound, an investigation begins, which ends with a media circus and the arrest of Hamilton-Byrne and her husband.

Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey

Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey focuses on Warren Jeffs, the elusive leader of polygamist Mormon offshoot, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS).

As well as charting Jeffs’ rise and eventual downfall as FLDS’s leader and self-proclaimed prophet, the gripping miniseries unpacks the institutionalised child abuse, sexual assault and arranged marriages that occurred under his rule.

The four-part series features interviews with survivors, including several of Jeffs’ own children, as well as videos from inside the church.

Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator

While technically not a cult documentary, per se, this true crime series examines the rise and fall of Bikram Choudhury, who built an empire of hot yoga studios and amassed a dedicated following for Yogi devotees.

The film charts the rapid rise of Bikram’s practice—as well as the disturbing sexual assault and harassment allegations that brought his organisation crashing down.

How To Become A Cult Leader

Rather than focusing on one specific group, this fascinating series looks at how exactly cult leaders recruit and inevitably control their followers.

Narrated by Game Of Thrones’ Peter Dinklage, each of its six episodes focuses on a different cult, including those led by Charles Manson, Jim Jones and more.

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