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YOU Review: Netflix’s New Stalker Drama will Scare You In No Time

Set in New York City, the series uses first person narrative on behalf of Joe who strongly believes that everyone around him is hiding their real self behind counterfeited social media cutouts.

Devasheesh Pandey | News18.com

Updated:January 15, 2019, 6:42 PM IST
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YOU Review: Netflix’s New Stalker Drama will Scare You In No Time
A still from YOU.
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YOU
Cast: Penn Badgley, Elizabeth Lail
Developed by: Greg Berlanti, Sera Gamble


Netflix’s latest original YOU, an American psychological thriller, based on an eponymous book by Caroline Kepnes, ticks all the right boxes.

Developed by Gregory Berlanti (Arrow, Riverdale, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina) and Sera Gamble (Supernatural), YOU keeps the audience intrigued throughout the ten episodes of its first season. The dark yet delectable storyline grabs you by the neck and makes you uneasy with its borderline terrorising theme that has an introvert book store manager, Joe Goldberg, played effortlessly by Penn Badgley who falls in love with one of his customers, Guinevere Beck (Elizabeth Lail).

Set in New York City, the series uses first person narrative on behalf of Joe who strongly believes that everyone around him is hiding their real self behind counterfeited social media cutouts. He takes it upon himself to show them what’s best, of course, apart from his own self. Ironically, his weapon of choice is social media.

Charmingly manipulative, secretive and dangerous in equal measures, Joe’s narcissism makes it impossible for him to look beyond his own faults and shortcomings, as he continues, undeterred, on a selfish journey to find his true love, before finally falling prey to his own contraptions.

One the other hand, Beck, an aspiring writer, is hiding her own secrets. Although they are not as fatal as Joe’s, but are equally loathsome. Her monsters are stuffed inside her closet, carefully layered behind an intimate group of wealthy friends and an extremely extrovert and fun loving nature. Throughout the series, professionally, she suffers from the writer’s block, and personally, from a deep, hidden desire to betray those who are close to her.

Turns out, she is perfect recipe for disaster, and hence a good match for Joe. Together, they weave a story that hints at serious issues emerging from compulsive lying, deceit, lack of digital privacy and impulsive social media culture.

The show also features strong supporting performances by Shay Mitchell as Peach Salinger, Luca Padovan as Paco and Victoria Cartagena as Claudia, Paco's mother. They are given their separate themes to deal with and they all lend perspective in the broader scheme of things. In fact, Padovan’s on- screen chemistry with Badgley is one of the highlights of the series.

Cinematographer David Lanzenberg has shot in an aesthetically pleasing tone in the city, suburbs, inside houses, glass chambers, bookstore, restaurants, pubs and everywhere else, and in the process, brings us closer to the characters through their environment. He never lets us see the characters up close and personal till it’s the only option.

He uses foreground and long shots to separate us from the characters before we intimately associate with them and then reverses the cycle. Despite contrasting themes, crisp editing and a fitting sound design make it a beautiful experience.

It may sound simple but the strategy of using a colloquial language makes YOU highly effective as its talks directly to the viewers at crucial junctures. It may creep you out at times but trust me, you’re not going to move away from the screen.

YOU has been renewed for a second season based on Kepnes' follow-up novel Hidden Bodies and preparations are underway in Los Angeles, and that’s a good news, right?

Rating: 3/5

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