Rapid Insights: Demons and Saviors Docuseries Explores the Case of the “Poltergeist Girl”

We’re taking a look back at a gritty true crime docuseries. The Hulu three-part limited series explores the life of Christina Boyer, a woman dubbed the “poltergeist girl” as a child who was later imprisoned for murdering her three-year-old daughter.

Here’s what you need to know about Demons and Saviors:

Vault uses index scores to describe the impact a given story/theme/element will have on specific KPIs: 
≤79 Disappointing  80-89 Challenging  90-109 Average  110-119 Promising  120+ Outstanding

Who’s been streaming this docuseries?
We’re seeing an audience that’s mostly female (64%) and mostly older (68% aged 30+). This viewership profile is more heavily skewed than many other murder-based streaming true crime documentaries; shows like Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel, Tiger King, Catching Killers, The Devil Next Door, and The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez are all either gender-balanced or lean male.

Why have viewers been tuning in?
To learn the sad truth about her childhood. When she was 14, Christina made national headlines for her purported telekinetic abilities as strange, unnerving events–lights flashing, an unplugged TV turning on, a telephone flying through the air–began occurring around her home. However, as the series reveals, the abilities were a hoax, the result of a tragically abusive Foster Family (125) piled atop Childhood Trauma (145). It’s the devastating reality of her situation that’s pulling in sympathetic viewers and driving both ratings and bingeability–much more so than the supposed Supernatural Forces (107) she was allegedly channeling.

Where does the true crime come in?
It’s a secondary driver. The bulk of the show focuses on the Murder (124) of three-year-old Amber Boyer and the conviction of her mother Christina (Murder Suspect, 125), laying out the circumstances of the horrible crime. The filmmakers’ approach is one of Searching for the Truth (118); they interview Christina herself as well as a host of individuals on the periphery who offer varying interpretations of her story. Viewers appreciate the chance to weigh the evidence and decide for themselves about Christina’s guilt–the main desire driving tune-in is Curiosity (125).

What type of experience are audiences looking for?
Surprisingly, an Optimistic (125) one. Though the series focuses on a number of sad and tragic events, the top-ranked emotions driving its ratings are all positive: Awe (125), Amazement (125), Joy (125), Trust (125). As the series delves into questions around Christina’s guilt–she has always maintained her innocence, though she’s been in jail for thirty years–viewers are seemingly looking toward hope for her future.


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