“Killer Sally” (2022) / Z-View
Killer Sally (2022)
Director: Nanette Burstein
Stars: Sally McNeil, John McNeil
Sally Dempsey was a talented high school athlete. After graduation she became a marine. While in the service Sally took up competitive bodybuilding. That’s when she met Ray McNeil, Ray was already a bodybuilder on his way to the top. Sally and Ray were married after dating just a couple of months.
At first they had a great marriage. Ray made it to the Mr. Olympia competition. Sally was becoming a well-known bodybuilder. Somewhere along the way, the marriage turned sour. Then on Valentine’s Day, 1995, Sally called 911 to say she had just killed her husband.
Killer Sally provides background on the case over the course of three episodes. Was Sally a victim of spousal abuse or a cold-blooded killer?
Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…
Killer Sally is an interesting docuseries that could have been told in two episodes. By stretching it out to three, some of the impact is lost. The first episode provides background. Even after marriage Ray was a player and abusive. He’s the bad guy.
In the second episode we learn that Sally was also abusive. Even worse she had a criminal record for violence! She had beat up her mailman, attacked a female bodybuilder at a competition and got into a drunken confrontation with a bouncer (she wouldn’t stop dancing on a table) that led to police intervention.
Making Ray as the total villain in the first episode while holding back all the bad stuff on Sally until the second probably felt like a shocking reveal to the filmmakers. It just felt a bit cheap to me.
There’s no question that Sally killed Ray. She claims he was beating her up and she killed him in self-defense. The facts show Ray was shot twice with a shotgun. I won’t spoil the verdict, but will say I agreed with the outcome.
Killer Sally earns 3 of 5 stars.