The unseen predator

The unseen predator

Netflix's latest true crime series exposes the chilling reality of cyberstalking

SOCIAL & LIFESTYLE
The unseen predator
NETFLIX

Netflix's latest docuseries Can I Tell You A Secret? explores the chilling depths of cyberstalking in the social media era. For true crime enthusiasts who were engrossed in the eerie world of Lover, Stalker, Killer, this two-part UK production is a tale of digital intrusion and psychological torment. But will it be as good as the previous documentary?

The series unravels the harrowing ordeal of three young women -- Liz, Zoe and Lia -- whose lives are irrevocably disrupted by a relentless cyberstalker infiltrating their social media. As the narrative unfolds, viewers are confronted with the shocking reality of Matthew Hardy, a notorious cyberstalker whose reign of terror spanned over a decade. He victimised at least 62 women online and his sentencing to a nine-year prison term is a reminder of the profound consequences of online harassment.

Each episode, clocking in at approximately 50 minutes, meticulously dissects the escalating horrors faced by the targets. While the decision to split the series into two parts may raise eyebrows, the narrative remains undiminished. The initial instalment offers an exploration from the victims' perspectives, juxtaposed with the relentless pursuit of justice by investigative authorities.

Visually captivating and imbued with cinematic flair, the series boasts impeccable production values that elevate the storytelling. Yet, amid its aesthetic appeal, there is a tendency to prioritise style over substance -- a choice that detracts from the overall impact. The accounts that we get from the three women are detailed and intriguing, but also freaky considering the stalker's behaviour. It was prolific and affected family members, colleagues, semi-acquaintances and even employers. The level of dedication to deviant behaviour creates a sense of real fear about the stalker going through all that trouble to get close. But despite the compelling accounts provided by the women, the narrative occasionally meanders into redundancy, with prolonged segments that could benefit from tighter editing.

NETFLIX

Furthermore, the graphics and animation, while visually striking, occasionally detract from the narrative. While they looks pretty, they are unnecessary and they don't add to the actual content. As the series progresses, viewers may find themselves navigating a familiar landscape, characterised by repetitive storytelling and superfluous imagery. However, beneath the veneer of stylistic indulgence lies a riveting tale brimming with intrigue and potential. The documentary possesses all the elements of a gripping narrative, yet occasionally succumbs to its own penchant for embellishment. And this is kind of a pity, because I think the actual story itself is intriguing and could be used better.

Overall, Can I Tell You A Secret? employs a rich narrative, beautiful cinematography and interestingly captured interviews, but tends to prefer style over substance. Where the first part is rich with detailed accounts, the second part focuses on investigation, so we expect an in-depth or highly engaging series. However, the repetitive imagery and a lengthy narrative puts the audience to sleep. Though the series falters in its execution, the underlying story is a poignant reminder of the dangers lurking within the digital realm.

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