10 Must-See Documentaries Like Dancing for the Devil The 7M TikTok Cult

The Netflix documentary ‘Dancing for the Devil: The 7M TikTok Cult’ chronicles a real-life conspiracy involving an organization that allegedly made attempts to exploit TikTok influencers for spreading its message to millions of their followers. The series concerns sisters Miranda Wilking (now Miranda Derrick) and Melanie Wilking, successful social media influencers with numerous viral dance clips. It showcases how Miranda vanishes from their feed in 2021, only for Melanie and their parents to post a video the following year claiming Miranda has been brainwashed by Robert Shinn, the self-described leader of a talent management company called 7M, which they allege is actually a cult.

Director Derek Doneen investigates Shinn’s past, revealing how he founded Shekinah Church to control practices in 1994 after leaving his medical career. Through interviews with Lee Sisters — Melanie and Priscylla — who also attended Shekinah as teenagers and experienced massive control over their movements and interactions, the documentary claims to shed light on Shinn’s background, including a proposition to have the sisters as his mistresses. For viewers seeking more exposés on such alleged cult-like operations, here are 10 documentaries similar to ‘Dancing for the Devil: The 7M TikTok Cult.’

10. The Program: Cons, Cults, and Kidnapping (2024)

This distressing true crime dives deeper into the accusations of sinister operations of Ivy Ridge and its sister schools under the World Wide Association of Specialty Programs and Schools. Directed by Katherine Kubler, a survivor of Ivy Ridge, it starts with her journey of seeking understanding and healing. The three-part series documents how this institution, disguised as a rehabilitation center for troubled teens, misguided parents into spending vast sums of money, unintentionally subjecting their children to excessive living under suppression and control.

Kubler revisits Ivy Ridge—now an abandoned site—with fellow survivors, shedding light on their collective trauma originating from fraudulent practices. The survivors’ revelations expose the control, exploitation, and cult-like mentality fostered by Ivy Ridge and possibly several other institutions affiliated with WWASP, unmasking their disguises as seemingly charitable rehabs.

9. Raël: The Alien Prophet (2018)

Based on the life of Claude “Raël” Vorilhon, who founded Raëlism in the 1970s, this Simon Klose directorial explores Raël’s claim of encountering extraterrestrial beings who appointed him as their messenger. The series studies the Frenchman’s religious propaganda, a belief system centered on human cloning, sexual liberation, and the promise of eternal life through advanced alien technology. The docuseries covers Raël’s rise, his influence over his followers, and the controversies surrounding his teachings and practices.

The series, like ‘Dancing for the Devil: The 7M TikTok Cult,’ investigates the crowd’s obsession with self-proclaimed charismatic leaders who allegedly mesmerize—and later manipulate—their followers, bringing nothing but fatal consequences to their existence. Like social media reach in Robert Shinn’s case, Raël’s acts, too, are revealed to have grown due to some people’s overbeliefs in various conspiracy theories.

8. Blessed Child (2019)

This Prime Video project traces director Cara Jones’ personal journey of leaving Reverend Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church, commonly known as the Moonies. The film begins with Jones recounting her childhood within the church before delving into her experiences of brainwashing. Jones interviews other former members, including her own family, to understand the effects of their upbringing in the church. Claims of activities such as forced mass weddings where members, including Jones, were married to strangers form the focus of most of the film.

‘Blessed Child’ draws parallels with ‘Dancing for the Devil,’ as both films explore themes of manipulation, control, and everlasting trauma. Jones’ presentation similarly sheds light on the cult-like practices of another church, which faced accusations of strict control over members’ lives and financial exploitation. Additionally, both documentaries feature personal stories of escape and recovery from the survivors’ point-of-view.

7. The Secret Swami (2004)

A special segment of BBC’s ‘This World,’ and later CBC’s ‘News World’ series, this 2004 TV special discusses the controversial life of Sathya Sai Baba, a spiritual Hindu guru with millions of followers. Director Tanya Datta’s report discloses allegations of sexual abuse, financial fraud, and the indoctrination of devotees. The hour-long documentary follows the experiences of Swami’s former followers who bring his alleged exploitative practices to the front of the world.

Showing disturbing patterns of control and deceit within Sai’s community, Datta highlights the disillusionment and trauma faced by those who once admired the guru through detailed investigations. The documentary shares significant parallels with ‘Dancing for the Devil,’ as both explore the powerful hold cult-like religious organizations have over their followers. They also delve into the personal stories of survivors and the emotional and psychological abuse they claim to have faced, as well as the courage to come forward to expose the truth despite backlash from masses who remain unaltered due to blind faith.

6. Holy Hell (2016)

The documentary ‘Holy Hell’ studies the spiritual beliefs and practices of Buddhafield, an alleged cult blending New Age ideologies with the teachings of Buddhism and Hinduism. Director Will Allen, a former member of the group for over two decades, intimately portrays the group’s founder, Michel Rostand, born Jaime Gomez, known for his alleged strict control over followers in California throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

Through archival footage and interviews with ex-members, the film reveals the gradual realization of the group’s darker truths and the psychological impact it left on its adherents. Similar to ‘Dancing for the Devil: The 7M TikTok Cult,’ ‘Holy Hell’ exposes the psychological manipulation and emotional entrapment within a closed community under another charismatic leadership. It also underscores the vulnerability of blind devotees who embrace extreme beliefs, such as considering themselves as gods.

5. Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator (2019)

Based on one of the most high-profile cases of sexual abuse by yoga gurus, this documentary investigates the rise and fall of Bikram Choudhury, the founder of the popular Bikram Yoga. Directed by Eva Orner, the film chronicles Choudhury’s journey from a celebrated yoga guru to a fugitive facing multiple allegations of sexual assault and harassment. Through interviews with former students and legal experts, the documentary dives deeper into the claims of exploitative and abusive practices Choudhury employed, masked under the global popularity of his hot yoga empire.

Orner’s film mirrors ‘Dancing for the Devil’ in its investigation of how predatory leaders might take advantage of their followers, forcing them into forming sexual relationships that do not fall under any form of spirituality. The documentaries also attempt to draw viewers’ attention to the reality behind the seemingly positive and health-concerned exterior of these organizations. Moreover, they also comprise long-running court cases and investigations, underscoring the difficulty of bringing powerful figures to legal authorities.

4. Join Us (2007)

In another documentary about a private religious organization, director Ondi Timoner’s ‘Join Us’ warns its viewers never to let their guard down and trust a stranger just because their philosophies happen to align. The film chronicles the lives of four families who escape Mountain Rock Church, a South Carolina-based cult-like society led by Pastor Raimund Melz. It marks the survivors’ journey to freedom and healing as they undergo deprogramming at Wellspring, a rehabilitation center for former members.

Through personal interviews and on-location raw footage, the film highlights the claims of deep psychological control exerted by Melz, who allegedly stripped his followers of any power of their own to maintain his authority. Timoner’s work shares notable parallels with ‘Dancing for the Devil: The 7M TikTok Cult,’ particularly in its focus on isolation tactics, as evidenced by Miranda Wilking’s extensive disappearance.

3. Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey (2022)

This Netflix docuseries examines the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), a sect of Mormon Fundamentalism, and its infamous leader, Warren Jeffs. Director Rachel Dretzin’s series chronicles the Jeffs’ rise to power and the strict, oppressive lifestyle they allegedly enforced upon their followers. The documentary includes interviews with former FLDS members, who share their stories of partaking in disturbing practices within the community, including forced marriages and severe brainwashing.

The four-part series resonates with ‘Dancing for the Devil: The 7M TikTok Cult’ in calling out the authoritarian leadership and manipulating followers under the guise of religious piety. Both documentaries expose the personal stories of those who escaped, shedding light on the challenges of seeking freedom.

2. Let Us Prey: A Ministry of Scandals (2023)

‘Let Us Prey’ highlights the operations within Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB) Churches, a powerful evangelical ministry that has faced numerous controversies. The Investigation Discovery project closely follows journalist Anna Monroe as she analyzes allegations of financial misconduct, abuse, and exploitation within IFB. Through interviews with former congregants, the four-episode series paints a grim picture of a corrupt institution that allegedly preys on its followers’ faith and trust.

Director Sara Colangelo’s series parallels ‘Dancing for the Devil: The 7M TikTok Cult’ by exposing the recklessness of police and government officials in failing to capture the horrific truth that was allegedly taking place not far from their eyes. Along with unmasking righteous organizations that drew potential members with little to no suspicion, both series highlight the courage of individuals who come forward with their stories.

1. Wild Wild Country (2018)

Also a Netflix docuseries, ‘Wild Wild Country’ showcases the rise and fall of Rajneeshpuram commune established by Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh in Oregon. Directed by Maclain and Chapman Way, the series engages with former followers, law enforcement, and residents affected by the commune’s activities, offering a comprehensive look at the impact of the teachings of Rajneesh, commonly known as Osho. The commune’s alleged controversial methods, including the involvement of its convicted members, including Ma Anand Sheela, in the 1984 Rajneeshee bioterror attacks and a plot to assassinate Charles Turner, the District Attorney.

The Way brothers’ documentary shares thematic elements with ‘Dancing for the Devil: The 7M TikTok Cult,’ particularly in pointing out the extremism the allure of devoted leaders could cause. Both series underscore the rapid rate at which such fanatics can spread their movement and even resort to drastic measures such as murder and kidnapping. The extent of their control over their followers, as well as the complex dynamics within cult-like groups and the enduring effects on their members, are further reflected in the two series.

Read More: Best Documentaries About Religion on Netflix