Review of Don’t F**K WIth Cats written and directed by Mark Lewis
I was first drawn to this docuseries by the premise: a group of individuals forms a Facebook group to track down and identify the perpetrator of an animal cruelty video. What transpires over three episodes is a compelling story full of twists and turns that I did not see coming.
I’ve read or heard about other stories involving people using the Internet to help solve crimes and locate missing people. I have used the Internet myself to track down people I wanted to interview. In one case, I had the help of a Facebook pro who helped me locate someone who had no digital footprint. This person found who I was looking for by tracking down the man’s son. In another case, I was the subject of some Internet sleuths. It turns out that I had a close connection to an individual arrested for murder.
So, I had a keen interest in hearing how these people went about their digital detective work. The internet sleuths first dissect the video looking for clues. Despite the perpetrator’s efforts to conceal his identity, the videos he uploads contain clues: a wall socket, a vacuum cleaner, posters, a blanket. Each piece of evidence leads them closer to their target. They are a determined bunch. Just when you think the story is going one way, there is a revelation that takes the story in a whole other direction.
The filmmakers tell their story through a combination of interviews, computer graphics, Google map images, surveillance videos, and, eventually, videos of the subject in question. It’s fast-paced, suspenseful, and as compelling as it gets.
There is one part of this story, though, that I felt could have used a little more investigating. It has to do with Manny. The filmmakers cover this topic and conclude that he is a fabrication. I have some doubts about that conclusion. There are three clues concerning Manny that I believe are unresolved. One, the first video clearly shows that a second person was present during the filming. The surveillance video of Luka walking out of his apartment shows him holding what looks like a video cartridge. And lastly, there is the episode involving Luka being beaten and left naked on the beach. Is it plausible that he spent a year-and-a-half setting up this fictional Manny so he could bring him out at some future date?
Don’t miss this one.