Last night I logged into Netflix, looking for something to have on in the background while I kept up with my important shit-talking responsibilities on Twitter, and a new addition to the streaming giant's ever-expanding line of original content caught my eye. It was the title, more than anything: Don't F**k With Cats.
So I clicked through to watch the trailer.
Turned out, Don't F**k With Cats was a true crime doc (its subtitle is Hunting An Internet Killer), a genre I have become more and more of a sucker for as time's gone on. The trailer indicated that this particular doc, told across three parts, would revolve around an absolutely evil fuck who'd posted videos of himself murdering kittens to the internet, as well as an intrepid pair of internet sleuths who set out to track him down and bring him to justice. I was hooked almost immediately by the premise, but I was also concerned about the amount of animal cruelty (hell, animal murder) I'd be exposed to while watching. I can sit and watch the gnarliest movies you can name all the livelong day without ever batting an eye, but when it comes to depictions of violence against animals, well, that's a level of gnarly I prefer to stay away from. I will straight-up avoid a movie if I hear a dog gets killed in it. I've walked out of movies over it. It's just how I'm built.
I figured I'd give the first installment a shot, and if things got dicey I'd bounce outta there with a quickness.
Things did, in fact, get dicey (they get to the first [of what turns out to be five or six instances of] animal murder very quickly) and though the videos themselves are never shown in full, they are heard, described at length, and glimpsed in bits and pieces. The first one was almost enough to get me to turn the whole goddamn thing off, but I stuck with it. Why? I wanted to see them catch this motherfucker. I wanted to see how he got caught. As truly horrifying as the videos were - and some of them, I shit you not, verge on the home movies seen in Scott Derrickson's Sinister - my intense need to see the person responsible for them brought to justice was enough to pull me through the truly unpleasant experience of even kinda seeing them.
The good news is, the animal stuff more or less runs its course by the end of that first episode. It pops up again here and there over the course of the next two hours, but after that first installment Don't F**k With Cats becomes an entirely different sort of true crime doc, the kind that throws a new twist or turn at you every fifteen minutes or so. I won't spoil the series' surprises or reveal how this story plays out, but trust me when I say this is the wildest true crime doc I've seen since Netflix's Abducted In Plain Sight. I didn't think I'd see a crazier true crime doc this year, but Don't F**k With Cats really gives that one a run for its money.
Anyway, I tweeted out a few reactions to the show as I was watching it, and was inundated with DMs from friends and colleagues in response, all of 'em trying to determine just how "rough" Don't F**k With Cats is. The answer is "Very rough, especially if animal cruelty and/or animal murder is a thing you avoid." Rough enough that I wouldn't feel comfortable recommending the series to everyone. I, and a couple of other people I spoke with today, had trouble sleeping after viewing it. But if you can make it through that first hour (I recommend looking away from the screen when things get real sketchy; you'll generally know it when it's about to happen), you'll be rewarded with one of the more intense, jaw-dropping true crime stories I've seen all year. The twists and turns on this one really can't be overstated.
Any of y'all watched this one yet? Got any non-spoilery thoughts? Sound off below.