The harrowing true story behind ‘The Program: Cons, Cults and Kidnapping’
(Credit: Netflix)


The harrowing true story behind ‘The Program: Cons, Cults and Kidnapping’

We live in a world where the horrors of reality regularly eclipses and often inspires fictional terror. Netflix’s latest true crime documentary series, The Program: Cons, Cults, and Kidnapping, highlights this universally known fact by shining a harsh light on the dark underbelly of the troubled teen industry. 

Directed by Katherine Kubler, a survivor of Ivy Ridge, the three-part series uncovers the harrowing experiences of those who endured life at the Academy at Ivy Ridge, a behaviour modification facility that masqueraded as a boarding school.

The series delves deep into the memories of Kubler and her former classmates as they recount the abuse and trauma they suffered within the confines of the institution. This three-episode exposé pulls no punches in its exploration of the abuses perpetrated at Ivy Ridge.

The premise of The Program is simple yet chilling: Kubler and her peers reflect on their time at Ivy Ridge, speaking about the abusive conditions and cult-like practices that were rampant within its walls. From psychological manipulation to physical coercion, the series leaves no stone unturned in its examination of the horrors endured by its subjects, who were abandoned by their guardians in the hands of the wardens of this institute.

Ivy Ridge’s legal status as a school

Despite marketing itself as an accredited institution, Ivy Ridge was exposed as a sham, leading to lawsuits and investigations that ultimately led to its closure. The true crime documentary, The Program, pulls back the curtain on the tactics used by such facilities to lure in vulnerable teens and their families, highlighting the need for greater regulation and oversight in the troubled teen industry.

But The Program is more than just a catalogue of abuses; it’s also a testament to the resilience of its survivors. Kubler’s journey from victim to advocate is a central theme of the series, as she confronts her past and seeks justice for herself and others who suffered at the hands of Ivy Ridge.

Through Kubler’s eyes, viewers are given a firsthand glimpse into the lasting impact of institutional abuse. From fractured family relationships to lifelong trauma, the series paints a vivid picture of the toll taken on those who were unlucky enough to cross paths with Ivy Ridge.

You can stream The Program: Cons, Cults, and Kidnapping on Netflix and catch the trailer here: