Original Sin: My Son The Killer

Original Sin: My Son The Killer. Image Supplied

Must-watch true-crime trailer: ‘Original Sin: My Son The Killer’

‘Original Sin: My Son The Killer’ follows the murder of Andrea Venter by Gerhard Jansen van Vuuren, who ran from South Africa to Brazil.

Original Sin: My Son The Killer

Original Sin: My Son The Killer. Image Supplied

The harrowing trailer for Original Sin: My Son The Killer, a true-crime feature documentary premiering on Showmax on Friday, 22 March 2024, has just been released.


Original Sin follows Thea Pretorius, the mother of Gerhard Jansen van Vuuren, who murdered his 25-year-old girlfriend Andrea Venter in front of her neighbours, security guards and CCTV cameras.

He then escaped authorities in South Africa and Brazil for years, assuming three different identities and starting families with multiple women. After initially helping him escape, Thea slowly had to come to terms with her son being a killer.

“Every 63 seconds a woman becomes a victim of gender-based violence in South Africa,” said director John Gutierrez, whose debut feature, Sons of the Sea, was named Best South African Film at the Durban International Film Festival.

“Before Andrea was murdered, she was hunted by Gerhard. She did everything that could be expected of her, including filing a restraining order and moving cities, but it wasn’t enough.”

Former South African Police Service head profiler Dr Gérard Labuschagne said in Original Sin that this is the case that “stands out the most” in his career.  

The cat and mouse chase across two continents is interwoven with CCTV footage of Andrea’s murder; footage from Gerhard’s trials; and interviews with both their families, as well as the Brazilian Federal Police, Rio de Janeiro Interpol and the South African police and legal teams on the case.


Thea’s perspective is central. “She’s asking herself how her little boy with ‘a gentle spirit’ became a murderer, and what her responsibility is,” says John, who also edited Peter Bogdanovich’s Grammy-winning Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Runnin’ Down a Dream. “Thea is both Gerhard’s mother and a survivor of gender-based violence herself, so she’s deeply conflicted.” 

Original Sin is produced by South African Sarah Laita and Jay Taylor from Electric Shadow Company and Mark Hedgecoe and James Rogan from Rogan Productions, with Jana Marx (Devilsdorp) as editorial producer. 

“As a South African now living in London, this story is close to my heart,” said Sarah. “I was back in South Africa in 2020 during one of the lockdowns when I first heard about this story and was captivated by it. Beyond all its twists and turns, it’s a deeply moving family drama that shows how gender-based violence and femicide continue to be a deep problem not only in South Africa but around the world.”

Mark added, “Original Sin is a story which works at two levels. On the one hand it is the compelling account of a resourceful and clever murderer going on the run, and the authorities’ urgent efforts to track him down. But it also gives powerful insight into the many women who were his victims – most obviously Andrea, who he killed, but also his mother, Thea. It’s this that gives the story real depth.”