The repercussions of a teenage obsession pushes one man to the bring of a dangerous tug-of-war between two women, in Netflix’s ‘You Get Me’. Tyler’s (Taylor John Smith) crazy in love with his perfect girlfriend Ali (Halston Sage), but when a big fight during a rowdy Summer party makes him and Ali break up abruptly, Tyler meets, befriends, and lands in the arms of sexy out-of-towner named Holly (Bella Thorne), a quiet loner from the other side of the tracks who shows him a night of passion that he’s gonna remember for the rest of his life. The next morning, Tyler finds that not only is Ali taking him back, but Holly is a new student at their high school and is dead set on fighting for her new man, even if it means stretching the boundaries of what qualifies for a teenage relationship. ‘You Get Me’ is handled by first time director Brent Bonacorso, and is currently not rated.
Ever since ‘Fatal Attraction’ tore audiences apart in 1987 with its introduction into the subgenre known as stalker love thrillers, there has been no shortage of imitators that have diminished the value of returns in its cloning. Thirty years later comes another one with ‘You Get Me’, the newest minimal budget offering from Netflix in which they are once again trying to strike it big with cheap popcorn thrills by instilling a couple of up-and-coming actors to its ensemble to overcome the watered down saturation of a predictable script that we’re able to choreograph because of its familiarity. Ultimately, this film has zero surprises or notable exceptions that save it from stepping out of the shadows of its bigger, better predecessors, bringing out the underwhelming taste of a straight-to-video finished product that stands on the minority side of forgettable Netflix returns. There’s complacency and then there’s mind-numbingly lazy, and because so much of ‘You Get Me’ flies by without much weight or originality to its events, the film feels like a made-for-television re-run that is trying to capitalize on a film that is far out its league.
With great time and experience comes great results, and with this being Bonacorso’s debut offering behind the lens, there’s plenty to his lacking that ultimately dulls down ‘You Get Me’ to the point of boredom. This is merely a 93 minute film that seems to overstep the necessities of character psychology or appropriate tempo in mood in ever capitalizing on investing the audience into its dilemma. In turn, eating up enough screen time along the way to piecing it together appropriately into making the film run smoothly in the way of competent pacing. It took me three different pauses to get through this film, mainly because anytime the ball of momentum starts to roll in bringing some kind of suspense to this movie, I was yet again reminded of its inept follow-thru by Bonacorso that left much to be desired. From a directing standpoint, Brent feels like he is looking at getting through this mess of a film in the quickest way possible, serving little to the imagination of profitable shots or artistic merit that gives his film the kind of fresh outlook in the way of conventional teenage cinema that lacks the shock or awe as a result of reputable presence to ever value its genre.
For the screenplay, it’s all quite predictable, bringing out the greatest hits of ‘Swimfan’ and ‘Malicious’ to mind for the by-the-book direction that it so endlessly clung to. In the first act of the movie, we meet, review the relationship of, and experience the break-up of our two main characters. This decision alone feels like the weakest measure in terms of capable storytelling because it never feels official or warranted as to why they are separating in the first place. To me, it would’ve added greater impact and more of a character flaw in arc for Tyler if he and Ali just had a bad fight but no break-up ever ensued. But because the film ends their union briefly, the effects of him getting with Holly never feel like the kind of betrayal that the film needed much later when the bombshell drops. On top of this, the tone for the entire first half of the movie feels terribly out of focus, depicting the one night stand of Tyler and Holly with the kind of light-hearted music and fun quick-cut edits to instill to the audience their good time together. This is important in flaw with what I have explained about the brief deposition of the first act because the script wasting more time on Holly instead of Ali does give off that bit of support for their chemistry that we were only shown glimpses of in the previous fifteen minutes.
Beyond this, the major problems that I had with the film rested in its meandering musical score by composer Robert Miller, as well as the overall ending that underwhelmed all the way to the finish line. On the former, let me get it straight that this isn’t a terrible musical score, but rather just one that oversteps the boundaries of performances that never add depth to their characters. The score commits what I deem one of my least favorite problems with music in films, in that it forces the audience what to feel about a certain character because that certain actor or actress isn’t strong enough to convey the feeling of tone that the flawed director is trying to omit from them. The score is often too loud during montage scenes of trance music, and often too encroaching during valued scenes of exposition that this film doesn’t capitalize enough on. As for the ending, the build-up for the final conflict far exceeded that of the finished result that concluded literally nothing about this story or conflict. It takes the easy way out with its final few shots, proving that the script has limited gravity in turning this teenage audience to adults with a resonating final shot. As expected, there’s a brief (and I do mean brief) fight sequence that breaks out, and the shot of impact is depicted as so far back that the production doesn’t have to waste any time or effects on producing an effect for a vital wound.
As for performances, this ensemble completely flubs the opportunity in conjuring up a breakout performance that the trio of fresh faces could’ve used in making their names. Bella Thorne particularly could’ve supplanted a new side to her acting with this role that would’ve gotten her out of the typecast of ditzy characters that she’s been reduced to up to this point, but sadly her work as Holly feels every bit as underdeveloped as it does shallow. I never believed for a minute that Thorne was feeling the events of betrayal and jealousy that enveloped her character, nor did I ever feel that her sinister plan was that devastating of an adverse effect to that of Tyler. The film brings up a surprise for her character midway through and then never mentions it again. Just an example of the incompetence that plagued every aspect of this film. Smith and Sage don’t have the slightest bit of chemistry between them, presenting two characters who couldn’t be any more opposite in approach for a script that needs requires their union to be valuable. Sage would definitely be the best performance if I had to pick one, but she’s constantly reduced to the naive girlfriend character who doesn’t see the obvious signs that are right in front of her for everything that is transpiring.
THE VERDICT – Stalker thrillers come and go like the wind, but ‘You Get Me’ is so hollow inside of its conventional body of outline that it blows away early on and never finds its footing for the remainder. Brent Bonacorso’s stale teenage horror thriller never reaches the elevation of tension or gritty performances that made ‘Fatal Attraction’ the measuring stick for the subgenre, resulting in an undercooked and underdeveloped hybrid that feels restricted to the shadows it follows.