The Daily Telegraph

“Compelling murder-mystery“

The Times

“A thrilling courtroom drama“


“Real drama in Shakespearean dimensions“

Saxon Newspaper

“An important movie that should lead to justice“

Munich Merkur


The Daily Telegraph

“Gruesome, but utterly gripping“

The Times

“An extraordinary filmic work“

SWR Kunscht

“Absolutely worth seeing "

Stuttgart Newspaper

“Impressive murder-documentary“


“A film like a grenade"

Stern TV


The Times

“An exciting movie which shocks with its human tragedy“

tip Berlin

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


“Realistic, informative and clarifying“


German & International Film Reviews

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. Triad City Beats

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!
Financial Times

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.
The Guardian (English)

The fact that Haysom does not afford Steinberger and Vetter a contemporary interviews hangs in the air first as an ominous, spectral elephant in the room but becomes an itch a viewer simply cannot scratch, desperate as we are to hear her side of events or see what she has become after 25 years behind bars. But in his first-hand account there is a crushing pathos to Söring's gullibility, innocence and antiquated belief in love conquering all and that an altruistic, misguided act, stole his life away.
Cine Vue

"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.
Ruediger Suchsland Telepolis (German)

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 (German)

“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.
culturmag.de (German)

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.
Spielfilm.de (German)

A thrilling documentary, revealing many open questions who could give the case Jens Soering a new turn.
Wolframhannemann.de (German)

„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.

SZ online (German)

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

Moviegeek.de (German)

„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.
Kino-Zeit.de (German)

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

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

„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.

The Jens Soering case

Latest press reviews

Va. sheriff calls on McAuliffe to free Jens Soering

The Washington Post, 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

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

The Washington Post, Mar 31, 2017

Review: The Promise

Triad City Beats, Mar 29, 2017

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

The Washington Post, Mar 9, 2017

Killing for Love review – revisiting a murder mystery that has lasted three decades

The Guardian, Mar 8,2017

Last night's TV: Killing for Love: Storyville (BBC4); Kate Humble: Back to the Land (BBC1)

The Independent.co.uk, Mar 8, 2017

Wrongful Conviction? Former Investigator discusses Jens Soering

Karas on Crime Podcast, March 3, 2017 (Podcast)

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

Huffington Post, Mar 3, 2017

Killing for Love on BBC4

Financial Times, Mar 3, 2017

Film review: The Promise

Cinevue, Jan. 13, 2017

Virginia's placement in crop of movies tests the idea that no publicity is bad publicity

The Virginian-Pilot, Jan. 6, 2016

McAuliffe proposes criminal justice reforms

The Washington Post, Jan. 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

Jens Soering fights for freedom at parole hearing

WSLS10, Dec 2, 2016 (Video)

Parole Hearing Held for Jens Soering in Richmond

NBC29, Dec 2, 2016 (Video)

Jens Soering set for parole hearing for Bedford murders

NBC29, Dec 1, 2016

Jens Soering Parole Hearing Scheduled This Week Will Involve New Advocates

WVTF Radio, Nov 30, 2016

Jens Soering makes 12th bid for parole

NBC12, Nov 30, 2016 (Video)

Jens Soering Speaks at the Virginia Film Festival

WVTF Radion, Nov. 5, 2016

Documentary casts doubt on guilty verdict in 1990 Virginia murder trial

The Guradian, Nov. 5, 2016

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

Richmond Times-Dispatch, Oct 19, 2016

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)

Virginia Film fest announces lineup

C-Ville Sep 29, 2016

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

Daily Progress, Sep 29, 2016

North American Premiere of The Promise

Press release Virfinia Film festival, Sep 29, 2016

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)

Femme fatale: Literary allusions in the Haysom homicides

C-Ville August 31, 2016

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)

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.


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 & Presskit Download

Press contact international  |  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
Entertainment Kombinat GmbH  |  Anika Müller  |  fon +49 30 29 77 29-39  |  a.mueller@entertainmentkombinat.de