‘American Nightmare’ doc compared to ‘Gone Girl’ drops trailer

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It’s a real-life “Gone Girl.” 

Netflix’s new documentary “American Nightmare” covers a bizarre kidnap-for-ransom case. 

In March 2015, armed intruders wearing scuba suits allegedly invaded the home of California physical therapist Aaron Quinn, where they terrorized him and his girlfriend, Denise Huskins.

The scuba burglars told the couple that this incident was part of an organized group that collected financial debt. Their plan was to kidnap Huskins, and ransom her to Quinn.

Allegedly, the invaders took Huskins to a remote location, drugged her, raped her, and returned her two days later, to a location near her mother’s home, near Huntington Beach, California. 

During this time, Quinn reported Huskins’ abduction to the police – but they considered him the prime suspect.

Denise Huskins and Aaron Quinn AP

Quinn, who received an e-mail from the kidnappers demanding a ransom of $17,000, was met with hostility from police. The detectives insisted his story was too far-fetched, stripped him naked for police photographs, interrogated him for 18 hours and gave him a lie-detector test.

After Huskins was released, the press dubbed the case the “Gone Girl” kidnapping, referencing the famous Gillian Flynn novel (and movie starring Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck), which is about a woman who fakes her own kidnapping. 

“I always thought police officers were there to protect the general public, but I found out how quickly the justice system can turn on you,” Quinn told The Post in 2021. “The amount of pressure these professionals are trained to put on you is terrifying. They have sheer tunnel vision and absolute certainty that you’re lying.”

Huskins and Quinn were accused of fabricating her kidnapping. San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images
Huskins was suspected of staging her own abduction, like in “Gone Girl.” Netflix

“When my attorney told me they were calling me ‘Gone Girl’ in the headlines, I asked: ‘Is that a good thing?’ ” Huskins, 38, told The Post in 2021, adding that she has never seen the film. “Then I realized what they meant and it was just so insulting.”

The couple’s reputation was publicly destroyed during a police news conference, when a lieutenant stated that detectives believed Quinn and Huskins’ claims were lies.

Huskins and Quinn tied the knot in 2018, and have a 4-year-old daughter, Olivia.

The three-episode docuseries, “American Nightmare,” covers these events, and the fall-out. 

It hails from Bernadette Higgins and Felicity Morris – the same creative team behind the 2022 Netflix documentary “The Tinder Swindler,” about a scammer who used the popular dating app to con women out of money. 

The couple was vindicated three months after the cops called them liars. pete thompson
Matthew Muller was arrested and charged with the crime three months later. AP

The couple, both physical therapists, were vindicated three months after Huskins’ abduction, when police investigated the case of a masked intruder 40 miles away in Alameda County. The authorities found evidence near the scene including Quinn’s laptop, zip ties and a strand of Huskins’ hair stuck to a pair of goggles blacked out with tape.

They all belonged to Matthew Muller, a former Marine and disbarred attorney educated at Harvard. The 44-year-old pleaded guilty in 2016 to one count of federal kidnapping and was sentenced to 40 years. He then faced additional state charges including kidnapping, two counts of rape by force, robbery and burglary.

However, in November 2020, he was found mentally unfit to stand trial. He’s in a secure mental health facility in Solano County, California.

Huskins shares her story in the upcoming Netflix documentary “American Nightmare.” Netflix
Quinn in the new documentary. Netflix

“Those months in between were unsustainable and we weren’t able to go back to work,” Quinn told People, referring to the three months between the incident and Muller getting caught. 

“Partly because of trauma and partly because they wouldn’t let us. Who wants to hire a hoaxer? So that’s a big challenge in the digital age. You can’t move towns and get away from it. Anyone can just search you and then decide ‘I don’t want to work with this person,’ or ‘I don’t want to hire this person.’ “

Police didn’t believe Quinn when he reported Huskins’ abduction. Netflix

Huskins and Quinn ultimately sued the City of Vallejo for defamation, and won a $2.5 million settlement in 2018. 

“American Nightmare” premieres Jan. 17 on Netflix 



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