By Chic DiCiccio
It’s very tough to recommend that you sit down and spend three hours watching the Netflix documentary, “Don’t F**k With Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer.” It’s also tough to suggest that you skip it. It is so captivating and unbelievable that it would be considered a masterstroke for a horror/thriller novelist to come up with such a story. It’s also one of the most disturbing and conflicting pieces of film ever. This is not hyperbole. It is absolutely unsettling and borderline impossible to watch.
As you can guess from the title, somebody does something to cats. The story begins when a group of internet nerds decide to track down a man who has uploaded a video titled “2 kittens 1 boy” to YouTube. In this video, two kittens are killed in a horrendous way that will definitely not be described here. Thankfully, the documentary spares viewers from seeing the grotesque violent acts. However, there is enough of the video shown to turn your stomach and make you leave the room in fear of what you’ll potentially see.
From there, the story spirals into absolute madness and goes to places that you’d expect when studying an animal killer. It’s “narrated” by a few of the internet sleuths, Deanna Thompson and John Green, who investigated the initial cat videos … and also by homicide Det. Sgt.’s Claudette Hamlin and Antonio Paradiso of the Montreal Police Department. That’s a hint of where this disgusting tale ends up.
The perpetrator’s name isn’t going to appear in this column. Other than being an absolute sicko, his main motivation was attention. That’s part of the problem with this entire project and one of the reasons why it’s deeply irritating. The last thing that should be done for a psychopath seeking clicks and views is a three-hour documentary, yet writer/director Mark Lewis does just that. But by the end of the three-part series, Lewis allows Thompson to essentially scold the viewer for “feeding the monster” by paying attention to it. Lewis took Netflix’s funding and decided to make his cake and eat it too. He created an enthralling, information filled documentary that’s hard to stop watching … then immediately raps your knuckles and guilt trips you, the viewer, for watching it.
It’s safe to say that most viewers are going to find that part of the documentary to be extremely off-putting and borderline insulting. The main reason that true crime material is interesting and worth the public’s time is so we learn about these people and how to identify those similar to them. Most people aren’t watching this stuff to be entertained; they want to be informed and educated in how to spot lunatics among us. Of course, public outrage can quickly become a lynch mob, which unfortunately does happen in this case and ends in tragedy. The documentary does a good job of proposing the pros and cons of amateur detective work and just how it could go too far. There are plenty of topics that Lewis could have pushed, but his pompous ending leaves an extremely sour taste in your mouth.
This feature is a tough one to recommend. It is informative and a shocking look at how far someone can and will go in this day and age to become infamous. It’s a great look at the seedy dark side of the internet, but it cannot be stressed enough: it is incredibly disturbing.
Maybe watch something on Disney+ right afterwards that won’t creep you out for three hours then flat out insult you.