The Good: Surprisingly good performances from the young cast, Moments of character, Good direction and pacing
The Bad: Very predictable plot and character arcs, Mostly unlikable characters
The Basics: You Get Me does a good job of creating a thriller for teenagers that utilizes a young cast surprisingly well for a Netflix-remake of Fatal Attraction.
Netflix seems to have two general tiers of films it releases: the movies it cares about (promotes and wants its subscribers to know about) and the movies it produces and quietly slips into rotation. As Netflix works to provide a legitimate stay-in alternative to Summer Blockbuster Season, one of its second-tier releases is You Get Me.
You Get Me is the Netflix-produced, twentysomething-cast rendition of Fatal Attraction. For those who do not want to go out to the movie theaters for a big-screen, special effects-driven blockbusters, Netflix offers a much smaller film packed with amazing locations and young people who help perpetrate the Hollywood notion of beauty. It features dumb teenage characters who are willing to succumb to peer pressure to do drugs with the promise of sex that follows and who leap into stupid sexual situations, much like supposedly mature adults.
The last week of summer, Tyler is dating Ali and he is expanding his horizons with her. Tyler, Ali, and Tyler's friend Gil head to a party. There, Tyler sees Ali getting hugged by Chase and when Tyler confronts Alison, she claims she knew Chase from her time in San Francisco. Tyler meets Chase while getting a drink for Alison and Chase claims that Ali used to be known for giving blowjobs and in a fit of jealousy, Tyler and Ali break up. Leaving the party, Tyler runs into Holly, who was dumped at the party and they drive off to a one-night stand. Tyler and Holly spend a romantic day together in a house that Holly claims to have simply broken into.
Tyler returns home that night and the next morning, he and Ali reconcile. Tyler and Ali begin their Senior year of high school and Tyler is alarmed when Holly enrolls in their high school. When Tyler rejects Holly, Holly becomes upset and tells Tyler that he will be sorry. Holly befriends Alison, Lydia, and Gil so she can be proximate to Tyler and mess with his head. When Lydia becomes suspicious of Holly, Holly poisons her drink, nearly killing her. Holly then claims to be pregnant and becomes increasingly aggressive toward Tyler. As Holly spirals out of control, Tyler works to uncover the truth about her past and keep Ali and his family safe.
You Get Me is one of those films with a painfully-contrived conflict that is enough to make any adult viewer groan and slap their forehead in disgust. The moment Tyler and Ali reconcile, but Tyler lies through omission about hooking up with Holly, the film has a ticking time bomb and a very predictable trajectory. Holly is the archetype of the crazy ex-girlfriend or haunting one-night stand.
It is easy to belittle You Get Me for its young characters and predictable plot set-up, but the truth is that Bella Thorne is pretty amazing as Holly. Thorne is great at leaping in a single blink from sickly sweet to crazy eyes. Her performance might be the embodiment of a modern archetype, but Thorne plays the erratic and obsessive character with a chilling level of greatness. Thorne slowly ratchet's up the crazy in Holly's body language and deliveries, making her somewhat generic lines land with an unsettling quality.
Similarly, Halston Sage has the cute, innocent young woman thing down pat and she consistently delivers her lines with a naive sweetness that is the stuff of teenage fantasies. Taylor John Smith plays an immature young man and he manages to shift between guarded and nervous and appropriately angered by Holly's headgames well. Smith manages to make Tyler seem momentarily empathetic when he tries to backtrack from his lie. In fact, for as unlikable as Tyler's original lie is, writer Ben Epstein does a decent job of balancing the character with an adult-level of responsibility pertaining to his kid sister. Smith rises to the occasion of actually seeming decent when his character is supposed to seem like something other than an idiotic teenager.
The thing is, despite the somewhat predictable plot, You Get Me does what it sets out to do very well. The performances are all good, the direction is wonderful and builds tension surprisingly well and the suspension of disbelief issues are pretty easy to overcome. You Get Me stands as an unsettling thriller that creates a messed up antagonist in a truly disturbing teen drama that keeps just to the right side of realism over melodrama.
For other Netflix exclusive films, please check out my reviews of:
Take The 10
True Memoirs Of An International Assassin
I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House
The Fundamentals Of Caring
The Ridiculous 6
For other movie reviews, please check out my Film Review Index Page for an organized listing!
© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.