Adapted from the novel of the same name by German author Romy Hausmann, “Dear Child” has been making waves on Netflix the world over since its premiere on September 7, 2023. According to Netflix viewing date aggregator FlixPatrol, the show cracked the streamer’s top 10 consistently during its first week of release, including in the U.S. Reviews are a little difficult to come by, although the handful of U.S. critics that have written about it seem to mostly dig it. Reviewing the series for Decider, Joel Keller wrote:
“Dear Child” presents its audience with a confounding puzzle and fragmented perspectives, but in a way that draws viewers in instead of ticking them off, which happens less often than you might think.
“I read the book in one night and saw the whole story very vividly in my mind,” director/head writer Isabel Kleefeld told Netflix. “The material fascinated me immediately. ‘Dear Child’ is told from the point of view of each of the participants, and the perspective changes again and again. The result is an exciting game with reality, a puzzle that the audience can always add to and reassemble. It is the story of a crime that has many victims, directly or indirectly.”
It’s worth noting that “Dear Child” is not at all based on a true story, as Hausmann has been keen to emphasize in interviews. That also makes it easier to recommend this one as something to help get you in the spooky season spirit. True crime stories are, by their very nature, too rooted in reality and typically exploitive to hit that sweet spot of scary-yet-comforting that makes for ideal Halloween viewing material. But something like “Dear Child” feels just far enough removed from the real-world to do the trick.
“Dear Child” is streaming on Netflix.