Who Is The Real Villain In You Get Me?

Photo: Courtesy of Netflix
Let's be honest, folks: we didn't need another stalker movie. In the years since 1987's Fatal Attraction — perhaps the most iconic stalker flick, and the reason the term "bunny boiler" even exists — we've been treated to a seemingly endless supply of movies about unhinged jilted lovers, from Swimfan to Unforgettable. Enter 2017's addition: You Get Me, a Netflix movie with Famous In Love star Bella Thorne earning top billing. This movie could have subverted the genre at least slightly. Instead, it drives home plenty of tired stereotypes about crazy, oversexualized women who are here to ruin the misguided (but ultimately good) men around them.
That's why You Get Me doesn't really sell me on Bella Thorne's Holly as the villain. The really nefarious part of the movie is the way in which women are painted so black and white — the good girl and the bad girl.
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Like many stalker flicks (Obsessed, Swimfan, The Crush...) the movie starts out with our hero effing up. Taylor John Smith plays Tyler, a California dude who professes that he's head-over-heels in love with his girlfriend Ali (Halston Sage) in exactly the sort of way that foreshadows that the couple is headed for a rough patch. The two get into a big fight at a party, and approximately two seconds after being "dumped," Tyler makes the unfortunate decision to hook up with Holly, a sexy free-spirit who becomes so fixated on Tyler she'll destroy anyone who stands in the way of their "love." Chaos — like Holly poisoning suspicious pal Lydia (Anna Akana) — ensues, before Tyler takes down his stalker, winning back his girl's love in the process.
If you feel like you've already watched this movie, it's because you basically have: You Get Me so closely resembles 2002's Swimfan that I was half-waiting for Erika Christensen's Madison to show up as Thorne's stalker-du-jour's big sister. Holly is vengeful, obsessed, and downright murder-y, and you'd be insane to root for her. However, I sure as hell can't root for Tyler to earn back Ali's love or trust, even if he's super sorry about being the catalyst for Holly's rage. Tyler is a selfish garbage person who has a really hard time treating the women in his life like people.
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix
Tyler's bizarre attitude is evident during his blowup with Ali. At a back-to-school party, the couple runs into Chase (Rhys Wakefield), an acquaintance of Ali's from her old school in San Francisco. Ali is instantly uncomfortable and shakes Chase off, but later, he catches Tyler's ear and starts gossiping about how good Ali was in bed. Chase is clearly baiting Tyler, and while anyone with half a brain cell could see that, Tyler doesn't. The fact that Ali isn't a virgin after all sends alarm bells through Tyler's soul, as he and Ali are waiting to have sex. Tyler loses his mind over the fact that Ali could have possibly wanted to have sex with Chase and not him, and causes a humiliating scene in the middle of the party. Fortunately, Ali swiftly dumps Tyler, and I cheer for Ali's apparent "no scrubs" policy — even if it's obvious it won't be strictly enforced days later.
Ali nipping Tyler's gross, possessive behavior in the bud is A+, but it's not enough in a film that equates female sexuality with villainy. When Tyler goes to Ali's house to apologize, it ends with her apologizing to him for keeping her past a secret.
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What Tyler doesn't tell Ali is that he spent the weekend hooking up with Holly, who drags him from the party to a club, shoves her tongue in his mouth, and then brings him back to her secluded glass mansion for deep conversations and sex. Yet, despite the fact that Holly and Tyler shared intimate details of one another's lives in addition to hooking up, it's obvious that Holly is so not girlfriend material. We know this because Tyler wakes up in the middle of the night — clearly post-coital —  and decides he's heading home to make up with his girlfriend. He thanks Holly, as though having sex with her was some kind of weird service — exactly the kind of thing he needed before he could go back to his "real" girlfriend.
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix
The message is... weird. We, like Tyler, don't yet know that Holly is a crazed stalker who brutally attacked a girl at her last school. In this situation, Holly is just a girl who was both sexually and emotionally available to Tyler — and she was discarded once Tyler was done with her. As much as Tyler wanted to have sex with Ali, he didn't really want a girl who seemed like she did that sort of thing a lot.
Whatever Ali's past reputation was, it's Holly, the psychotic villain who tries to ruin Tyler's life and murder pretty much everybody, whom the movie makes sure we know is also promiscuous. Her overt sexuality is framed as an example of why she's so crazy: While describing her hookup with a summer fling to her new friends, she cozies up to Tyler's best friend Gil (Nash Grier) until they are full-on making out. She even talks flippantly about sex with Ali, who is clearly uncomfortable chatting with her new friend about the details of her sex life. Holly's the bad girl who has sex, and Ali is the reformed "slut" who has seen the error of her ways — everybody got that?
Also problematic is the "false accusation" scene, which I was expecting from pretty much the first minute of the movie. After Holly darkly tells Tyler that he will regret rejecting her, he gets dragged out of class by the principal and informed that he is suspended indefinitely. Holly, apparently, has claimed that Tyler assaulted her. While it's not a sexual assault (at least, as far as we are told), it's still pretty cringe-worthy. In a world where people think false accusations are so much more prevalent than they actually are, do we really need a film affirming that psychotic women sometimes do try to ruin men's lives with lies?
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Unlike many similar movies, Holly survives the whole ordeal — which is supposed to be the scariest part. While in an ambulance heading for the hospital, Holly — who has been stabbed by Ali after shooting Tyler in the shoulder — a male paramedic stays with her, encouraging her to stay awake. It soon becomes clear that he'll be Holly's next object of affection... and she'll likely ruin his life as well.
Look, I'm always here for a female horror villain, but can we please lay off the idea that a woman's sexuality is a symbol — or perhaps even a cause — of her evil nature? It's 2017, and women are more complex than the disturbing dichotomy You Get Me employs.
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