Monsters Inside: The 24 Faces of Billy Milligan is a documentary TV miniseries directed by Olivier Megaton and is about William Stanley Milligan, an American rapist who was charged for armed robbery and raping three women on the Ohio State University campus. It was a highly publicised case in the 1970s since, during the course of his defence, psychologists diagnosed him with multiple personality disorder (or, dissociative identity disorder now).
Monsters Inside: The 24 Faces of Billy Milligan has four episodes, each around an hour long.
Netflix describes it as:
In the late 1970s, an accused serial rapist claims multiple personalities control his behaviour, setting off a legal odyssey that captivates America.
– Monsters Inside: The 24 Faces of Billy Milligan review does not contain spoilers –
The 24 Faces of Billy Milligan feels weirdly exploitative. It starts normally, you know, how true crime documentaries start. Lots of people talk about the incident and the people involved, many people close to the case discuss Billy Milligan and how he terrorised the Ohio State University campus at a time when the campus and the students were going through several changes.
Now, coming back to the exploitative part, the limited series immediately feels exploitative because of the way the re-enactments are made. It’s just odd to watch this because of how oddly flashy it is. Every scene moves and glows and statics and the case itself is so weird that these added touches feel like overkill. I mean, there’s just so many flashing lights that they should’ve given seizure warning. I felt uneasy after a while, to be honest.
We also get lots of news footage of the time and lots of highlighted documents talking about Billy Milligan. Listen, this case is absolutely wild; just talking about it in the order itself would be something. However, the theatrics take a lot away from the experience. I couldn’t concentrate for too long on The 24 Faces of Billy Milligan because of the constant flashing lights and shaky camera.
Whether or not you believe that Billy Milligan suffered from dissociative personality disorder is completely up to you. There are lots of people for and against the claim. However, you can’t say that you are not intrigued by it. Experts give you reasons as to why they thought what they thought and how everyone came to a certain conclusion. It’s fascinating to hear.
If you’re unfamiliar with Dissociative Identity Disorder, then people talk about the disorder in depth from various perspectives in The 24 Faces of Billy Milligan. The experts, obviously, give a very scientific background to the illness while others, such as prosecutors, talk about how it is difficult to fully accept and understand something like this. And really, you get their point. It’s difficult for us to fathom how our minds work, and something like this seems out of the realm of possibilities.
Understanding multiple personalities is not an easy feat. The 24 Faces of Billy Milligan makes a lot of references to popular media to make more sense to people who are not familiar with the diagnoses. However, that being said, 4 hour-long episodes can seem like a chore if you’re not someone who likes medical talk.
Nevertheless, as the doctors talk about the different personalities in-depth, it’ll give you goosebumps. It’s chilling to think about how this can be something many people suffer from. It is also scary to think that you can go to sleep and then wake up hours later somewhere completely different without any idea of how you got there. It’s scary to watch the footage of Billy, or one of his personalities, talking to psychiatrists and explaining how they put “Billy” to sleep to do something.
The 24 Faces of Billy Milligan focuses on various factors that contributed to Milligan’s personality disorder. We also get a look into the trial which presents something unusual in front of the judge and jury. Although we all know how the story ends, it’s still fascinating to watch it. Unfortunately, if the cinematography and the editing weren’t as dramatic, I would’ve enjoyed it more.
Another confusing thing that I’d add is how the interviewees were seated in the oddest of locations. I mean, it might look edgy, but does it have any bearings on the story being told or the characters in it? I don’t know.
Summing up: Monsters Inside: The 24 Faces of Billy Milligan
Monsters Inside: The 24 Faces of Billy Milligan would’ve been more thrilling and wilder had it not been for the extremely dramatic editing style. The storytelling might get a bit slow sometimes as well. However, it’s still a story that will give you chills and is short enough to be enjoyed, so tread carefully!
Monsters Inside: The 24 Faces of Billy Milligan is streaming on Netflix.Instagram & Facebook to keep yourself updated with the latest news and reviews.