• FTC

Don’t F**K with Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer

Updated: Nov 23

(available on Netflix)

Extreme Warning: Graphic description of the murder and footage/descriptions/images of animal cruelty

FTC Rating: not available


There is a recent movement in the True Crime genre for creators to tell these horrific stories without glamourizing the perpetrator or their actions. Instead, the focus is on solid reporting, credible interviews, and the respectful depiction and discussion of difficult subject matters. I felt it was necessary to review Netflix’s controversial three-part docuseries through this lens. Deviating from the FTC standard format, I will highlight Don’t F**K with Cats’ strengths along with its problematic aspects to ultimately determine if it has merit or just voyeuristic shock value.


The series follows a group of amateur internet sleuths and their quest to track down the maker of animal cruelty videos posted online. Unsurprisingly, the same man was later identified by police and charged with the murder of international Concordia University student, Jun Lin in 2012. The horrific crime sent shockwaves throughout Montreal and the world when the snuff video surfaced online and packages containing body parts were located after being mailed to political parties and schools. Did the sleuths contribute to the killer’s escalation or simply predict a human target would be next?

Problematic:

-Although the videos are inextricably part of this case, the filmmakers chose to include an excessive amount of the disturbing footage. A description of the scenes or stills would be equally impactful. Moreover, clips are often replayed even if there is no additional probative value. As presented, it does lead one to conclude this was done solely for shock value.

- Using the cat videos as the main storytelling device detracts from the impact of Jun Lin’s tragic death.

- The episode 3 scenes related to Luka Magnotta’s purported puppet master, “Manny”. Although this is a bizarre aspect of the case, the information could have been presented without overly glamorizing Magnotta’s behaviour.

- This may be controversial but the interview with Magnotta’s mother was completely unnecessary. She seems to suffer from mental illness, making it uncomfortable to watch.

Strengths:

- In depth coverage of the amateur sleuths’ investigation

- Analyzes and reveals Luka Magnotta’s online presence and his various attempts to gain attention.

- Includes surprisingly long and candid interviews with Montreal Police Detective Sargent Claudette Hamlin and Detective Sargent Antonio Paradiso

- Follows the international manhunt and how Magnotta ultimately got caught

- Touching interview with Jun Lin’s friend


Weaknesses:

- Ends abruptly with a weird, borderline insulting statement to the audience by one of the main amateur sleuths

- Does not cover the trial and sentencing


Final Thoughts:

- Honestly, I cannot recommend this docuseries, nor could I fault anyone for watching it.

- If anyone is curious about the Montreal high school teacher who was fired for showing his 10th grade class the video depicting Jun Lin’s murder, here is a link to the article: https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/teacher-who-showed-alleged-magnotta-murder-video-to-montreal-class-fired

Picture source: https://www.rottentomatoes.com/tv/dont_f_k_with_cats_hunting_an_internet_killer#&gid=1&pid=1


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