The opening narration of the film “You Get Me,” begins with the character Tyler (Taylor John Smith), a California teenager, talking about how “it’s crazy how one person can change your life.” The summer is winding down, and he is on the cusp of starting his senior year of high school. Throughout the summer, Tyler has been working bussing tables at a restaurant on the beach, and taking care of his younger sister Tiffany (Farrah Mackenzie), but the majority of his free time, he has spent with his girlfriend, Alison (Halston Sage). All seems right with the young couple, until they attend a party at their friend Lydia’s (Anna Akana) house. There, Tyler meets Chase, (Rhys Wakefield), who knew Alison when she lived in San Francisco before moving to Los Angeles.
Tyler is distraught, to say the least, when he learns from Chase, that Alison, someone with whom he has forgone physical intimacy, used to be an intoxicated, promiscuous party girl. After getting Alison a soda, he leaves to go to the bathroom, where, while on line, he meets Holly (Bella Thorne). They engage in mild flirtation, but it doesn’t last long. When he returns from the bathroom, Tyler berates Alison for having the audacity, to have slept with Chase, but not him. Not once, does he verify with the girl, whom the viewer is supposed to believe he purportedly loves, that what Chase is saying is the truth. In the ensuing moments, Tyler takes things a step further, when he tries to engage Chase in a confrontation, but Chase merely laughs it off with his friends, and tells Tyler to calm down. Alison, embarrassed by the scene he’s making, lets Tyler know their relationship is over. Dejected, Tyler leaves the party, however, he spots Holly outside the house, sitting in her convertible sports car.
A viewer might wonder if Holly, witnessed the argument between Tyler and Alison, and purposely waited for him outside. After some banter, she tells him to get in, which he does without hesitation. When Holly notices Tyler texting his friend, Gil, (Nash Grier) even though she has only just met him, she takes his cell phone away, which Tyler, for some unknown reason doesn’t see as a red flag. Tyler inquires as to where they’re going, but instead of an answer, Holly merely offers him a coy smile. Their destination winds up being a club. While dancing, Holly moves in on Tyler for what appears to be a kiss, but instead tries to get him to swallow a pill. He’s reluctant, but after she lets him know exactly what she’ll do if he acquiesces, he doesn’t give the matter a second thought. True to her word, Holly goes through with her promise, and a great deal more. The next day Tyler wakes up in Holly’s bed, in an ostentatious home that belonged to her deceased father, but now is owned by her step-mother (Brigid Brannagh).
Tyler stays with Holly throughout all of the next day, but eventually realizes he needs to return home. Before leaving, he thanks her for a great time, stating that it was – stuck on a word to end his sentence – Holly finishes it for him with the response – special. Once home, Tyler charges his drained cell phone, and there are several text messages from Gil, as well as one from Alison. If he would like to talk, he can come over to her house the next day. He does indeed, and when the two see each other, Alison not only confesses to her past transgressions, but promises him that she won’t keep any more secrets. The two, are back together, as if nothing happened. What Tyler doesn’t know, and what the viewer will come to learn, is that Holly can put up an impressive facade to hide her true nature, that of an unhinged individual with a history of obsessive behavior. Furthermore, she needs to take medication, and meet with a psychiatrist on a weekly basis, in order to keep her emotions in check; something, which as of late, she hasn’t been doing.
Tyler begins his senior year of high school, but if he thinks he’s just going to coast, he is in for a rude awakening, when – surprise – Holly has transferred to his school. She doesn’t waste time insinuating herself into Tyler and his friends’ lives, including Alison. For example, she becomes Tyler’s lab partner in science class, and offers free tickets to Alison and Lydia to come join her at the Roxy Theater in Hollywood to see a band. Holly’s plan is working, however, after spending time together, Lydia begins to question why Holly has no social media presence. Holly’s answer is that she deleted her account a year earlier because she wanted to do a cleanse, and that the people who need to reach her, know where to find her. Lydia, who doesn’t believe Holly, and is not dropping the issue, for her efforts, receives a smoothie, which has been tainted with something that causes her to wind up in the hospital after having a violent allergic reaction.
After the incident with Lydia, does Tyler let Alison know what happened between him and Holly? If he doesn’t who will be Holly’s next victim? Will someone else find out the truth Tyler’s been hiding and expose him to Alison? To what lengths will Holly go to win Tyler? Is she capable of murder?
“You Get Me” was directed by Brent Bonacorso (The Narrow World) and written by Ben Epstein (Happyland). The film, which is currently streaming on Netflix, was released on June 23, 2017. If you haven’t seen it, there is no rush. The soundtrack, for the most part, lines up with what is transpiring on screen, and the cinematography by Magdalena Gorka (An Ordinary Man), is excellent, but beyond that, there is not much to recommend it. As a whole, the cast, especially Bella Thorne, did their best with a screenplay that was rife with clichéd dialogue, and a predictable, tensionless plot. If executed better, the movie, perhaps, could’ve been categorized as guilty pleasure viewing, but there is simply nothing enticing about it, that would make me want to give it another watch.