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Web of Make Believe review: This Netflix docu-series could give you nightmares as it is all too real

When you see crimes committed against ordinary people using an all-too-easy tool, you tend to fear that it could happen to you, and this is what drives the Web of Make Believe: Death, Lies, and the Internet.

  • Akshay Krishna

Last Updated: 03.40 AM, Jun 18, 2022

Web of Make Believe review: This Netflix docu-series could give you nightmares as it is all too real

Story: The docu-series is an anthology with five standalone stories in six episodes. They deal with crimes that are committed by people on the internet that often end up being deadly. 

Review: Remember when Netflix dropped docu-series such as Don’t F*ck With Cats and The Social Dilemma, which gave you a hard time trying to sleep at night because you were constantly trying to process what was happening in the world around us? Well, Web of Make Believe: Death, Lies, and the Internet is another such docu-series from the streaming platform that could have the same effect on you. 

The show is an anthology of stories from the world of the internet, where normal people take it too far. The first episode is about a term called "swatting," where people use prank calls to alert and call in SWAT teams to houses for the fun of it. Swatting became a thing within the gaming community, who also used it to send a message to rival gamers or even for a dare. When we realise that swatting has even led to a life being taken, the harrowing reality of the series hits us for the first time. And it is safe to say the rest of the episodes do not slow down, but rather pick up the pace.

Other episodes in the series deal with issues such as a political conspiracy coming to light, a woman becoming the face of white nationalist hate speech, which leads to breakouts of violence, and one that deals with ‘Sextortion’, where women come out and talk about how their lives were attacked by a hacker who forced them to send him sexually sensitive content. 

While each episode could affect an individual differently, the episode about sextortion, in particular, is a tough watch, as it feels all too real. While we hear stories related to this even in this country, the stories that are uncovered in the episode are too sensitive and scary to give a pass. And this is exactly the biggest positive of the documentary, as it brings to light stories that hit the right spots, but not in a good way. While you may have to sit through them like the first time you watched The Exorcist, you stay seated for the entire series, for this very thrill. 

While different stories are laid out in episodes that last around 60 minutes, the bigger story to learn here is just how easily the internet is accessible to the average individual and what the dire consequences of this could be in the wrong hands. While we read stories such as this regularly, the docu-series takes us right into the lives of the survivors and incidents with reenactments, all of which take your tummy for a roll. If you are easily spooked by such content or if it even throws you into a passable phase of paranoia, you should sit this one out. On the other hand, if you are easily interested in content such as this, then the Web of Make Believe could be an "enjoyable" watch. 

The technical quality of other Netflix docu-series such as Don’t F*ck With Cats is also shown here, which only adds to the effect that it can have on the audience. A show that could drive you into realising the perils of the fast-moving world of today’s internet, Web of Make Believe works like a pill. You take it fully knowing that it could have a few side effects. 

Verdict: Web of Make Believe: Death, Lies, and the Internet is yet another hard-hitting docu-series from Netflix that could give you a few sleepless nights if you are completely occupied by it. The stories from the world of the internet might not be unknown to the viewer, but the show makes them all too real, making them hit right in your face. Watch it if you are into documentaries that explore the dark underbelly of the internet.