In late 2007, Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost began filming an online relationship that Nev, Ariel's brother and a New York photographer, was forging with a family in upstate Michigan. After becoming Facebook friends with 8-year-old Abby, an artist prodigy, Nev's relationships expand to include her mother and her attractive older sister. Nev eventually questions the veracity of his new cyber-friends, leading to an unannounced excursion to confront the clan. The film is a stark but obvious look at culture of virtual self-invention. What guts Catfish
is the snarky exploitation the film utilizes. Nev and his elitist buddies feign victimization and then amplify their self-absorption by physically intruding on the lives of their quarry. There is truth swimming around Catfish
. But, like certain species of its aquatic namesake, the film is both bottom-feeding and parasitic.