Netflix’s new true crime documentary series from the producers of Three Identical Strangers explores what happens after a group of internet sleuths attempt to take down a cat killer. It quickly turns into one of the internet age’s most twisted crime story yet.
The three-part documentary series Don’t F**k With Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer is told through the perspective of three avid internet users who one day stumble upon a disturbing video of a then-unknown man named Luka Magnotta killing two kittens. In response, they vow to find the anonymous man in the video to stop him from harming any other animals — or persons.
Using the smallest details found in the footage, the group is able to put together clues to the Magnotta’s identity. Then, something the group fears would happen next did: The man who killed the two cats went on to kill Concordia University student Jun Lin, and even posted it online for everyone to see.
"The internet is boundless," one sleuth explains in the video. "There are the happy places. And then there's another part of the internet. The seedy underbelly."
In 2011, Magnotta was identified by animal rights activists as the man behind the cat videos, one year before he would kill Lin. After he dismembered Lin's body and mailed parts to various locations, he fled to Germany to evade law enforcement. In 2014, Magnotta was arrested by police when a person found him reading articles about himself online at a coffee shop in Berlin.
In December of 2014, Magnotta — whose lawyers tried and failed to argue an insanity plea — was convicted of first degree murder, as well as four other charges. He was sentenced to life in prison, with no chance of parole for 25 years.
The story is as twisted as they come, but also offers a different perspective on society’s collective interest in true crime. While some criticize people who lurk on pages of Reddit, obsessing over true crime stories from afar, in this case, people of the internet banned together in an attempt to solve a crime in real time.
The documentary series also dives into how connecting with the world at large via the internet can be a good and bad thing. Magnotta was fueled by the attention he received online from his acts of violence, but the internet was also the place where a group of people came together to attempt to stop him from creating further harm.
Don’t F***k With Cats premieres on Netflix December 16, 2019. You can watch the trailer below. (Warning: The trailer features disturbing video footage, and caution is strongly advised.)