For all their stage-managed professionalism, the videos of killings released by the Islamic State have often left viewers confused about the exact circumstances of what was being shown in the video. Their videos of beheadings, for instance, do not show the act itself, which initially led some to speculate that they may have been faked.
More unnervingly, there was also the calm with which many hostages spoke to the camera. Why would hostages comply with Islamic State propaganda, if they knew that it would result in their death? Some even suggested that perhaps the hostages had struck a deal with their captors for a more humane death.