The Speedway Murders 2023

Directed by Luke Rynderman, Adam Kamien Frames

First-time filmmakers Luke Rynderman and Adam Kamien present a stylistically unique and visually stunning feature that delves into the unsolved 1978 Speedway Burger Chef murders while shifting away from the traditional true crime documentary format.

Aug 13

Hollywood Avondale

102 minutes Colour / DCP
NZ Classification TBC


Bonnie McBride, Anna Vincent, Louise Nathanson, Lisa Scott


Maxx Corkindale


Sean Lahiff

Production Designer

Jonah Booth-Remmers


Antony Partos


Davida McKenzie, Nya Cofie, Essie Randles, Jo Cumpston


On Friday, November 17, 1978, four young employees – Jayne Friedt, 20, Ruth Shelton, 18, Mark Flemmonds, 16, and Daniel Davis, 16 – of long-forgotten Indianapolis fast food chain Burger Chef went missing after closing up shop for the night. Two days later, their bodies were found in rural Johnson County, around 32 kilometres away from the Speedway Burger Chef they were taken from. The case remains unsolved to this day, largely due to the police’s mismanagement of evidence.  

So far, so true crime. Perfect fodder for yet another documentary rife with tacky re-enactments. But The Speedway Murders is far from the kind of true crime documentary we have come to expect. It comes with some unique twists; although it focuses on murders that occurred in the United States, it is Australian directors Luke Rynderman and Adam Kamien’s debut feature, and was produced and mostly filmed at an abandoned Chinese restaurant in South Australia – not that you’d ever be able to tell, the set dressing is that impressive. 

Secondly, unlike other true crime documentaries where re-enactments seem like an afterthought, The Speedway Murders turns them into a virtue. It creatively presents various theories surrounding the crime by having the actors – including young Kiwi Davida McKenzie – discuss them amongst themselves or directly to camera. Thirdly, through interviews with the victims’ families, law enforcement and eyewitnesses, revelatory new evidence emerges – which the filmmakers duly handed over to the authorities. 

Highly engaging and visually stunning, Speedway is remarkable not only for its unusual stylistic choices, but also for the rare accomplishment of having effectively and respectfully honoured victims and their families. Presented with deep care and authenticity, right down to actual 1970s Burger Chef uniforms the directors sourced from a deceased estate, this is an incredibly impressive debut. — Louise Adams