There are a few rules one should be aware of whilst surfing the internet – always use protection, don’t talk to strangers and erase your history weekly. But there’s another rule we learnt about in this horrifying and weirdly hilarious documentary, and it’s that we Don’t Fuck with Cats.
If you do, you’re going to have a whole team of internet investigators tracking you down. You may well be thinking, surely a load of Facebook nerds wouldn’t be able to find me just from my online habits alone? But don’t underestimate these people, they can tell what country you’re in just by zooming in on the plug sockets in a picture of your bedroom. Luckily, they’re not coming after us. They’ve got bigger fish to fry.
Namely, Luka Magnotta. In 2010, Canadian Magnotta anonymously uploaded a video to YouTube titled ‘1 boy 2 kittens’ which showed a man in a hoodie viciously killing two kittens by suffocating them in a vacuum sealed bag. Even though the series doesn’t show the full clip, it’s a pretty horrifying moment, and unsurprisingly the upload sparked huge outrage online. Among the furious viewers were Baudi Moovan (real name Deanna Thompson) and John Green, who then created a Facebook group called ‘‘Find the Kitten Vacuumer…for Great Justice’. Catchy! Soon people from all over the world were joining this group, united by a mutual desire to have this animal abuser locked up. They analyse the video frame by frame, searching for clues on who this man might be. Unfortunately, they were provided with more material too, as the account uploaded more disgusting videos.
Miraculously, the group identify Magnotta, and began warning the authorities that it was only a matter of time before he turned his violence towards human victims. We’ll leave our plot summary there, so as not to take away from the mind-boggling creepiness of this unbelievable story, but we will tell you, it gets weirder, with a cat and mouse chase (sorry) between these internet sleuths and their target, who at times seems like he wants to be caught. And the motivations behind his actions are completely baffling.
The story is in safe hands with Netflix, who love noting more than having us hooked on some disturbing story, and this is no exception. The interviews with Thompson and Green are fascinating and frequently funny, with their eccentric and determined personalities sitting centre spotlight. The editing, too, adds just the right amount of drama to this perplexing tale, and whilst it might be one of the more disturbing series in our library, Don’t Fuck with Cats may also be one of the more entertaining picks.
Stuart Heritage in The Guardian says that despite being a “a violently distressing programme…the story is incredible.” He too comments: “It is beautifully presented…and the final episode ends with a flourish of bow-tying not seen since the climax of The Usual Suspects.” In The Telegraph Eleanor Halls agrees the series is “brilliant yet disturbing,” saying the gruesome elements are “symptomatic of our digital age: with each violation filmed and posted on the internet to be watched and commented on by the hundreds of thousands, his actions became more heinous as his profile ballooned.”
First shown December 2019. You can watch the trailer by pressing play on the show image, or by clicking here.