The Keepers (2018) English Documentary Short Review

Ryan White’s docu-series on Netflix, ‘The Keepers’ is nothing short of explosive stuff. It follows two determined women, Gemma Hoskins and Abbie Fitzgerald Schaub – former students of a nun named Catherine Cesnik at Baltimore’s Archbishop Keough High School, who strive hard to find out what actually happened on the night of November 7, 1969, when the nun disappeared, only to be found murdered a couple of months later on January 3, 1970, near a garbage dump in the Baltimore suburb of Lansdowne.

This is a wardrobe of skeletons that White throws open through his film, and it brings to the forefront nasty tales of alleged sexual abuse at the Keough High School by Joseph Maskell, a priest who was the chaplain at the school. The docu series offers opportunities for the survivors to come forward and vocalize their traumatic childhoods, and leading the pack are women as Jean Hargadon Wehner and Teresa Lancaster, who had fought a legal battle against Maskell and had lost.

It gets increasingly horrifying with each episode, and White’s series does incredibly well in lending a voice to the survivors of abuse. There aren’t precise results and conclusions that ‘The Keepers’ put forward, and it does leave several questions in its wake. But that doesn’t make it any less impactful, and that it holds on to hope and perseverance amidst the worst of times, makes it a one of a kind documentary.


Verdict: Good


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