“Compelling murder-mystery“

The Times

“A thrilling courtroom drama“

Culturmag.de

“Real drama in Shakespearean dimensions“

Saxon Newspaper


“An important movie that should lead to justice“

Munich Merkur

“Gruesome, but utterly gripping“

The Times

“An extraordinary filmic work“

SWR Kunscht


“Absolutely worth seeing "

Stuttgart Newspaper


“Impressive murder-documentary“

Deutschlandradio

“A film like a grenade"

Stern TV

“An exciting movie which shocks with its human tragedy“

tip Berlin

“The Promise“ tells a shocking story of love and betrayal“

taz

“Realistic, informative and clarifying“

Status.de

Film Press & Reviews

'Killing for Love': Film Review

The Hollywood Reporter, December 14, 2017 by Frank Scheck

Featuring compelling real-life figures who practically invite casting guesses for the inevitable Hollywood dramatization, Killing for Love should easily satisfy viewers who can't get enough of this stuff. Full review

Review: ‘Killing for Love’ Revisits a Virginia Murder Case

The New York Times, December 14, 2017 by Ben Kenigsberg

Probably dives into the weeds too quickly and could have used a tighter edit. Still, drawing on a wealth of courtroom video, the film lays out a persuasive argument for reasonable doubt. Full review

'Killing for Love' documents twists and turns of 1985 Virginia murders

The Los Angeles Times, December 14, 2017 by Robert Abele

A gripping murder mystery about the fated coupling of a pair of calculating romantics too smart for their own good, and the limits of the American justice system. Full Review

Documentary Review: ‘Killing For Love’

Red Carpet Crash, December 13, 2017 by Caitlin Zeigler

This documentary is very interesting and shows what’s wrong with the justice system. With voice work from Daniel Brühl reading Jens Söring’s letters and Imogen Poots reading Elizabeth Haysom’s letters, this doc discusses the case that saw two young lovers commit murder to be with each other. There is so much more to the story than what is initially mentioned. Full Review

Film review: Killing for Love

Film Journal International, December 13, 2017 by Chris Barsanti

A bloody 1985 double homicide and the media hysteria that encircled it are revisited in this deeply sourced but frustrating investigation of whether justice was truly served.
Full Review

A Real-Life Lady Macbeth
Who Convinced Him to Kill

The Daily Beast, December 9, 2017 by Nick Schager

Earlier this year, Netflix’s The Confession Tapes recounted, via six real-life cases, the ways in which false confessions might be elicited by law enforcement. But what if an untrue admission wasn’t the byproduct of coercion, or a suspect’s lack of education, or the terrible pressure of a given circumstance, but the result of maniacal love?That’s the argument forwarded by Killing for Love, Karin Steinberger and Marcus Vetter’s riveting new documentary, whose two-hour theatrical version (debuting Friday, Dec. 15 in NY and LA) has been assembled from a larger six-part TV series that aired earlier this year on the BBC.
Full Review

Review: The Promise

Triad City Beat, March 29, 2017 by Eric Ginsburg

Propelled by an eerie rendition of “I Put A Spell On You,” the opening sequence of The Promise bumps down country Virginia roads, coming to a stop at the Haysom home. The bottom falls out as the music disappears, and gruesome images of murdered couple Nancy and Derek Haysom lying on their floor provide a jarring kickstart to the film. The Promise is another engrossing story of how wrong the so-called justice system can go, the kind of documentary that would appeal to anyone who consumed Serial or “Making a Murderer,” or the type of person who reads true-crime thrillers. It’s filled with all sorts of sordid details and captivating characters, and the more it progresses the more it appears that Elizabeth did indeed put a spell on the young Soering, who claims he tried to take a noble fall for his love despite no involvement in the crime.
Full Review

Revisiting a murder mystery that has lasted three decades

The Guardian, March 8, 2017 by Chitra Ramaswamy

A compelling documentary reveals that the story of the 1985 murder of Derek and Nancy Haysom is as perplexing as ever. 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.
Read more

"Killing for Love - Storyville´First Online Serial Examines Real Murder Case of Derek and Nancy Haysom

Huffington Post, March 3, 2017 by Sean O´Grady

At the end of it all – and watching it and the old trial footage was like being a juror at some kind of retrial – the best conclusion was the pragmatic one reached by the Governor of Virginia Tim Kaine in 2010, which was that Soering had already served a conventionally long sentence and was no danger to the public and could be safely packed off to Germany. That said, miscarriages of justice sometimes turn out to be no such thing, even if they have distinguished journalists and “new evidence” coming forward that appears compelling. At all events, it made for morbidly fascinating viewing, even at an extraordinary length for modern telly.
Full Review

Killing for love, BBC4

Financial Times, March 3, 2017 by Martin Hoyle

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! Full Review


Film Review: The Promise

Cinevue, January 13, 2017

An absorbing true crime documentary.
Full review

A true crime Film Festival in NYC – Sort of

Brooklyn Magazine, November 9, 2016

Familiar and satisfying...continues in the "New True Crime" tradition.
Full review

Documentary casts doubt on guilty verdict in 1990 Virginia murder trial

The Guardian, November 5, 2016 by Kate Connolly

A new documentary makes its US premiere at the Virginia film festival on Saturday at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville – where Söring and Haysom first met in 1984. Considerable resentment has been expressed locally that it is being shown at all. The Promise is also due to be serialised in six parts in the UK on the BBC in March.
Full Review

New documentary about 30-year-old murder case among the highlights at Virginia Film Festival

Richmond Times-Dispatch, October 19, 2016 by Markus Schmidt

One of the on-screen highlights is the North America premiere of the film documentary “The Promise,” directed by German journalist Karin Steinberger, that re-examines the murder of Nancy and Derek Haysom in Bedford County and the subsequent trials of their daughter, Elizabeth Haysom, and Jens Soering, her German boyfriend, three decades ago. “Our goal is to tell the story of a miserable, destroyed life that started with a big love between two young people,” Steinberger said in a phone interview from Munich. The journalist, who has written about the case since 2006 and has interviewed Soering several times, is planning to attend the screening.
Full Review

Virginia Film fest announces lineup

C-Ville, September 29, 2016 by Lisa Provence

The centerpiece film will be the North American premiere of The Promise, the German-made documentary of the 1985 murders of the Haysoms, which riveted Central Virginia and put UVA students Elizabeth Haysom, their daughter, and Jens Soering, her besotted boyfriend, behind bars. Soering, who has maintained his innocence, recently filed a petition for absolute pardon. Read more

This year’s Centerpiece Film is the North American premiere of “The Promise”

Daily Progress, September 29, 2016 by Shirley MacLaine

This year’s Centerpiece Film is the North American premiere of “The Promise,” a documentary by German filmmakers Karin Steinberger and Marcus Vetter about the 1985 murders of Nancy and Derek Haysom and the arrests and convictions of UVa honors students Jens Soering and Elizabeth Haysom. Read more

Femme fatale: Literary allusions in the Haysom homicides

C-Ville, August 31, 2016 by Lisa Provence

The real-life film noir, screened for reporters August 24, opens with lonely highways and dark country roads to Loose Chippings, the genteel Bedford home of Derek and Nancy Haysom, and then slams the viewers with gruesome murder scene photos that one investigator described as “like stepping in a slaughterhouse.” Full Review

German Reviews

Justitia is blind

Telepolis, November 1, 2017 by Rüdiger Suchsland

"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.
Read more

Doc Premiere: The Promise

Dokumentarfilm.info, by Kay Hoffmann

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

Two films about true crime

Culturmag, October 15, 2017 bySonja Hartl

“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
. Read more

Review: The Promise – First love life sentence

Spielfilm.de by Bianka Piringer

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. Read more

Film premiere in Stuttgard: The Promise

by Wolfram Hannemann

A thrilling documentary, revealing many open questions who could give the case Jens Soering a new turn.
Read more

Sherlock Holmes in the cinema chair

Süddeutsche Zeitung,  October 16, 2017 by Christina Wittich

„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. Read more


The Promise

Moviegeek, September 10, 2017 by Christoph N. Kellerbach

„The Promise“ is one of those documentaries about a crime, which linger in the viewer’s memory long after watching it. Read more

The Promise

Kino Zeit, Juni 25, 2017 by Harald Mühlbeyer

„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.
Read more

 

The Promise – First love life sentence

Cinema.de

This fascinating documentary made by Marcus Vetter and Karin Steinberger reconstructs the scandalous court process and gives the portrait of a disastrous romance. Read more

Love is blind

Filmspleen

The dramatic art behind this true story was reviewed excellently and directed enthralling. Read more

 

Dedicated documentary rolls up a 30-year-old murder

Zitty, October 25, 2016 by Leonie Brovot

„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.
Read more

Latest developments

in the Jens Soering case

McAuliffe won't act on Soering pardon before leaving office

The Washington Post, December 15, 2017

Governor McAuliffe reflects on his term- will he run for President next?

ABC13WSET, December 14, 2017

Experts advocate for Jens Soering's innocence in 1985 Haysom murders

ABC13WSET, October 31, 2017

Interrogation expert: Soering confession ‘unreliable’

The Daily Progress, October 27, 2017

Institute for Actual Innocence Believes Soering Not Guilty of Haysom Murders

NBC29, October 27, 2017

For German diplomat’s son jailed in 1985 double murder, a powerful new advocate

The Washington Post, October 27, 2017

Letter to Governor McAuliffe by Deputy Attorney General Gail Marshall

October 23, 2017

Letter to Governor McAuliffe byDetective Superintendent Dr. Andrew Griffiths

October 20, 2017

Letter to Governor McAuliffe by Senior Investigator Chuck Reid

October 19, 2017

Letter to Governor McAuliffe by Prof. Mary Tate, University of Richmond's Institute of Actual Innocence

October 17, 2017

Could 13 Be Lucky for Jens Soering?

WVTF Radio, October 13, 2017

German ambassador, former president seek release of convicted killer Jens Soering

ABC8News, October 10, 2017

German diplomats testify at Soering parole hearing

CBS19, October 10, 2017

After 27 years in prison, officials say new evidence shows Jens Soering is innocent

Circa, September 29, 2017

Pressure to pardon: New experts weight in on Soering case

Cville, September 28, 2017

Science and other evidence shows Jens Soering is innocent

WSET13, September 28, 2017

Central Va. Investigators Urging Gov. to Pardon Soering After DNA Evidence, Hold Presser

NBC29, September 28, 2017

Bedford County deputy responds to new calls for Soering case reexamination

WDBJ7, September 28, 2017

Ex-detective, DNA expert join Soering’s bid for freedom

The Daily Progress, September 28, 2017

Central Va. Investigators Urging Gov. to Pardon Soering After DNA Evidence, Hold Presser

NBC29, September 27, 2017

New support for Jens Soering pardon

CBS19, September 27, 2017

Virginia sheriff is pushing governor to pardon convicted killer

ABC8News, September 27, 2017

Albemarle Sheriff to hold press conference regarding Jens Soering

CBS19, September 26, 2017

Letter to Governor McAuliffe by Detective Sergeant Richard Hudson

September 17, 2017

Letter (2) to to attorney Steve Rosenfield by DNA scientist Dr. Moses Schanfield

September 14, 2017

Letter (2) to Governor McAuliffe by Sheriff Chip Harding

September 13, 2017

Letter to to attorney Steve Rosenfield by DNA scientist Dr. J. Thomas McClintock

September 13, 2017

Soering's attorney says DNA evidence should set him free

WFXR Virginia First, May 17, 2017

Soering supporter: Sheriff Chip Harding says evidence points to his innocence

Cville, May 10, 2017

Albemarle Sheriff: Soering is innocent, two others got away with murder

CBS 19, May 3, 2017

Sheriff explains why he’s seeking pardon for convicted killer Jens Soering

WRIC / ABC8, May 3, 2017

Exclusive interview: Albemarle County Sheriff seeks release of Jens Soering

WSLS10, May 03, 2017

Va. sheriff calls on McAuliffe to free Jens Soering

The Washington Post, May 3, 2017

Sheriff supports freedom bid for Jens Soering convicted of 1985 double murder

Richmond-Times-Dispatch, May 3, 2017

Sheriff Advocates for Jens Soering's Innocence in New Letter

WVTFRadio, May 3, 2017

Albemarle County Sheriff Harding Seeks Release of Jens Soering

NBC29, May 3, 2017

Albemarle sheriff asks McAuliffe to pardon convicted murder Jens Soering

NBC12, May 3, 2017

Albemarle sheriff believes Soering was wrongly convicted

The Daily Progress, May 3, 2017

Exclusive interview: Albemarle County Sheriff seeks release of Jens Soering

WSLS10, May 3, 2017

Albermarle sheriff supports freedom bid for Soering, convicted of 1985 double murder

The Ranoke Times, May 3, 2017

Letter (1) to Governor McAuliffe by Sheriff Chip Harding

May 2, 2017

Letter (1) to to attorney Steve Rosenfield by DNA scientist Dr. Moses Schanfield

May 01, 2017

No parole for Jens Soering, German diplomat’s son convicted in 1985 double murder in Virginia

The Washington Post, Mar 31, 2017

In 1985, a gruesome double murder rocked Virginia. Was the wrong man convicted?

The Washington Post, Mar 9, 2017

Wrongful Conviction? Former Investigator discusses Jens Soering

Karas on Crime Podcast, March 3, 2017

Jens Soering Claims His Innocence After New Blood Analysis

WVTF Radio, Dec. 18, 2016

Soering attorney sends evidence to parole board

CBS19, Dec 12, 2016

New Evidence Presented at Latest Jens Soering Hearing

WVTF Radio, Dec. 2, 2016

Former Lead Investigator Gives Jens Soering Hope for Release

NBC29.com, October 29, 2016 (Video)

Investigator wants Governor to re-investigate Jens Soering murder case

nbc12 Oct 12, 2016 (Video)

Criminal Investigator says Soering is innocent

WVTF Radio Oct 12, 2016 (Radio)

Haysom: Soering killed her parents because mom sexually abused her

The Daily Progress, Sep 10, 2016

Interview with Steven Rosenfield on the Coy Barefoot Programm

ABC16 Aug 28, 2016 (Video)

McAuliffe responds convicted killer´s request for pardon

WSLS10, August 26, 2016

Haysom murders investigator shares doubt about guilt of Jens Soering

WDBJ7 August 25, 2016 (Video)

Jens Soering Petitions Gov. McAuliffe for Pardon Based on New Evidence

NBC29, August 25, 2016 (Video)

Soering cites new DNA evidence in petition for pardon

CBS19 Newsplex, August 25, 2016 (Video)

Jens Soering petitioning Virginia governor for pardon

WDBJ7, August 25, 2016 (Video)

Jens Soering says new blood analysis proves his innocence in 31-year-old case

The Washington Post, August 24, 2016

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.


Archive

News archive

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.

Press contact & downloads


Press contact

Press Contact  |  Lauren Schwartz  | IFC FILMS – 646-273-7214 | Lauren.schwartz@ifcfilms.com

Sales agent USA  |  Louise Rosen  |  fon +1 617.899 66 29  |  louise@louiserosenltd.com
Editotial and press contact Germany  |  Karin Steinberger  | fon +49 (0)89.21 83 86 17  |  karin.steinberger@sueddeutsche.de