YMMV: Cyberbully


The 2011 film contains examples of:
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Were Samantha's actions a well-intentioned attempt to protect her best friend that went too far, jealousy because she was in love with the guy paying Taylor interest, or is she a self-hating closeted lesbian who uses the internet to fantasize about dating her best friend and acting on her hatred of jocks?
  • Cliché Storm: Hits all the cliches prevalent in this genre.
  • Critical Research Failure: It's blatantly clear that the writer knows nothing about the Internet.
  • Designated Hero: Taylor. She has quite a few moments where she's kinda bitchy to girls who are supposedly her best friends, and when a homosexual boy in her class tries to sympathize with her about the cyber-bullying, he tells her that people post on his page calling him homophobic names a lot. Taylor's response is basically "Yeah but you really are gay so it's totally not the same as what I'm going through."
    • To be fair, she does apologize to the guy when they end up in a self-help group together. Still doesn't explain her other cases of bitchiness.
    • Samantha, whose cyberbullying tactic is much more realistic and harmful than Lindsay's over-the-top method and much more reminiscent of the prank that prompted the news story around which the movie is based. But Sam gets a free pass because she was "trying to help."
    • Downplayed and justified: before being bullied, she doesn't understand the depth of the injuries one can cause with the internet, or even with words. She doesn't even really mind being called "Lardo" or "Dogface". The fact that she gets better proves that she understood the point and she gets Character Development in the end.
      • It's still counterintuitive to the movie's aim. The way the plot is played, Taylor is your every day teenage girl whom the audience is supposed to sympathize with. By portraying her as annoying and bitchy, her ultimate breakdown comes off less like the hero at their lowest point and more like an annoying bitch getting her comeuppance.
  • Designated Villain: Lindsay and her father are ridiculously played as if they are utterly devoid of any redeeming qualities.
  • Epic Fail: I CAN'T GET THE CAP OFF!
    • You would think that overdosing on pills would be relatively easy. Just open the bottle and OH WAIT.
    • They didn't notice the big 'X's next to the comments?
  • Esoteric Happy Ending: Yeah, do you really think things are going to be better for these girls after all that happens between them?
  • Glurge: Again, the aforementioned Big Brother Is Watching aspect.
  • Idiot Plot: Nobody thinks of blocking the people harassing Taylor until the last ten minutes of the film.
    • Seriously, just ignore the bullies or walk away from your computer. The plot just solved itself.
  • Intended Audience Reaction: The realization that anyone can be a bully, even a victim of bullying.
  • Les Yay: Sam states near the end that she created the fake Internet guy profile and used it to flirt with Taylor in order to "protect her from a guy". Sounds a bit like Clingy Jealous Girl behavior...
  • Life Imitates Art: Emily Osment, who plays Taylor Hillridge, was bullied on her twitter account. The story went a different road because she is a teenage popstar, and has better repartee than her character (who already wasn't stupid). Just read this : [1].
  • Love It or Hate It: People who didn't take it seriously: "I hate that movie! It's like one of those Lifetime things about how rich WASPs can angst for hours over nothing, and you're supposed to sympathize because the girl is Emily Osment.". People who took the movie seriously: "This movie is awesome! It's like somehow some people refuse making fun of how I am depressed because my bullies make fun of me, and no one tells me I'm wangsting. I stopped being an Acceptable Target!".
  • Memetic Mutation: I CAN'T GET THE CAP OFF!
    • "ur a liar lindsay"
    • "Too gay to live" and "The Gay Boy Show" have been accepted as a hilariously ineffective homophobic slur.
  • Narm: The whole movie in its entirety. Seriously, this thing rivals High School Musical in the narm department.
    • This exchange.
    Senator Evans: "I don't know know much computers, but I believe they have delete buttons."
    Kris Hillridge: "That's what I thought until I almost lost my daughter."
  • Moral Dissonance: The apparent happy ending is to monitor every computer at all times so that even good-natured ribbing of others is considered illegal. Does this remind you of anything?
    • It likely could have worked like harassment cases in real life: if a minor reports being harassed maliciously and repeatedly, then they would have some legal standing to stop it, even if it was "just" online. That wouldn't require monitoring at all.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Lindsay's father appears in one scene, but he is played as over-the-top nasty as his daughter.
  • Snark Bait: Already, it's gaining a reputation for this, Especially among actual Cyberbullying victims.
  • We Could Have Avoided All This: If Taylor had just shut down her Cliqsters profile like her mother told her to, multiple times. Or, if she had just not "friended" Lindsay on the website, who already disliked Taylor in the first place, so, why Taylor would friend anyone who disliked her is anyone's guess.
  • What an Idiot: The protagonist yells "I can't get the cap off!" to her friend when she's trying to open a pill bottle, and can't get it open. Does she expect her friend to open it and let her attempt suicide?
  • The Woobie: Taylor Hillridge.

The 2015 film contains examples of:

  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Casey's grief over Jennifer Li's suicide is clearly genuine, but before that (when she thinks the hacker might be Jennifer herself,) she at first gives a somewhat Glurgey apology for trolling her, and when the apology is rejected she spitefully engages in Victim Blaming and accuses Jennifer of making it so easy to bully her. Given that Casey has a vested interest in appeasing the hacker, but is also under a lot of stress herself at the time (and is on antidepressants so might be prone to mood swings anyway,) it's difficult to tell whether she meant the apology or would have regretted her outburst once she'd calmed down.
  • Anvilicious / Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: The film is anything but subtle in its message about the potential consequences of trolling or the best response to it. Whether this is necessary or not is a matter of personal opinion.
  • Crowning Moment of Heartwarming: Casey getting the message that Megan (who has just seen topless pictures of herself appear from Casey's profile, with all the long-term consequences that might ensue,) knows that Casey would never do that to her and just wants to talk is what arrests Casey's downward spiral.
  • Just Here For Arya Stark: A significant proportion of the film's viewership is made up of people who are curious about seeing Maisie Williams in a different role.
  • Moral Event Horizon: It's a matter of opinion when exactly the hacker crosses it, but by the time he forces Casey to take a dangerous overdose he certainly has, and if Casey's theory that he has deliberately trolled many other people to suicide is correct he would have crossed it a long time ago.
  • Narm / Narm Charm: While most agree that the acting is excellent, such heavy-handed storytelling inevitably results in this.
  • Paranoia Fuel: The film shows just how much a skilled hacker can invade your privacy and ruin your life.
  • Tearjerker: Both Jennifer Li and Casey have some heartbreaking reactions to everything they go through. Jennifer's written plea for the hate to stop while "Mad World" plays in the background is a standout.
  • We Could Have Avoided All This: Casey is fully aware that all she has to do is close the computer and stop talking to the hacker, but his blackmail prevents her from doing so until she decides to do it anyway whatever the consequences.
  • The Woobie: Jennifer Li certainly, and Casey herself by the end.