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A Provocative Journey: Unearthing the Controversies Surrounding Chronic Illnesses

The Quiet Epidemic


Genre: Documentary
Year Released: 2023
Runtime: 1h 42m
Director(s): Lindsay Keys, Winslow Crane-Murdoch
Where To Watch: available to stream May 16 and on DVD May 30, 2023. To learn more, visit

RAVING REVIEW: Before I get into the meat of this review, let me say that I firmly believe in the medical community at large. I put my faith and trust in those who have studied their entire lives, I don’t know about Lyme disease, but I also believe that people shouldn’t be shunned because a doctor can’t find the cause immediately. We have a long history of ailments that went undiagnosed for years, only to be shown later down the road as being authentic. THE QUIET EPIDEMIC is more than a mere documentary; it's a finely crafted cinematic story, weaving together an intricate narrative that centers on vector-borne diseases (Disease that results from an infection transmitted to humans and other animals by blood-feeding arthropods, such as mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas), particularly chronic Lyme disease. It introduces us to real-life people, including a dedicated father; Dr. Neil Spector, a tenacious researcher; and Mary Beth Pfieffer, a relentless journalist. While they might not be your conventional 'talking heads,' their first-hand experiences and insights provide engaging and enlightening authenticity.

The film is a dual narrative that follows a young girl from Brooklyn and a scientist from Duke University struggling with chronic Lyme disease. It takes us back in time, tracing the history of Lyme disease from its initial identification in 1975, and unearths underrepresented scientific research in this field. This story uncovers why ticks, the disease's primary vector, have spread globally without garnering attention.

THE QUIET EPIDEMIC will move you and make you ask questions you had never thought of. Growing up, I had heard of Lyme disease, but I had no clue about the toll it takes, nor did I understand how, in reality, it's somewhat of a black sheep of the medical study community. It takes the audience on an emotional rollercoaster, from despair and confusion to the heights of joy and vindication. 

Many sufferers believe their condition is frequently misdiagnosed or dismissed. Critics, on the other hand, argue that there isn't enough physical evidence to support the existence of chronic Lyme. This controversy creates a multi-layered narrative filled with tension, conflicting viewpoints, and raw emotions. Sadly this is far too common; I know a few people with chronic illnesses and can’t tell you how often doctors have brushed them off.

The film's relevance is underscored by a recent NBC report stating that 14% of the world's population has been affected by Lyme disease. Add in the development of a new vaccine, and you've got a topical and balanced expose. Co-directors Winslow Crane-Murdoch and Lindsay Keys deserve applause for their journalistic finesse, offering a balanced portrayal of perspectives on chronic Lyme disease, including skeptics and believers.

THE QUIET EPIDEMIC presents a convincing argument for chronic Lyme disease. Our shared experiences with the Covid-19 pandemic allow us to empathize with those wrestling with the challenges of chronic Lyme disease. It challenges our ingrained beliefs about medical expertise and the foundation of evidence-based medicine, leaving viewers with much to contemplate.

THE QUIET EPIDEMIC  strikes an impressive balance between informative and entertaining. Its riveting narrative, compelling characters, and thought-provoking revelations draw you in. This film is more than just an exploration of a disease; it’s a call to action, a prompt to think and engage with the critical dialogue it sparks.

In its final act, it leaves us with more questions than answers. It explores the ambiguity of what constitutes 'evidence,' serving as a wake-up call to reassess the foundations of evidence-based medicine. This narrative thread stays with the viewers, inciting introspection long after the screen has gone black. This film goes beyond the screen, igniting conversations and sparking debates long after the final credits roll. A true testament to the transformative power of cinema!

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[photo courtesy of FIRST RUN FEATURES]

Chris Jones
Entertainment Editor

Chris Jones is the Mail Entertainment Editor covering Movies and Television topics. He is from Washington, Illinois, and is the owner, writer, and editor of Overly Honest Reviews.