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This Drew Barrymore movie was pitched as “teenage Fatal Attraction”

One of the weirdest Drew Barrymore movies was pitched as being a teenage Fatal Attraction, which sounds pretty wild. In actuality, the thriller movie is wilder.

Drew Barrymore as Poison Ivy

Going back to the beginning of Hollywood stars’ careers to say what kind of films they were making before they were sequestered to the mainstream is often a goldmine. And this strange Drew Barrymore movie pitched as the “teenage Fatal Attraction” is no different.

Well, we say goldmine, but hidden gems aren’t always that valuable. As for this Fatal Attraction-inspired thriller, it’s not one of the best movies of Barrymore’s career, but it’s not one of her worst movies either.

It may not have the camp charm of Charlie’s Angels or the endearing legacy of one of the best Steven Spielberg movies, E.T., but Poison Ivy does have a curious production backstory.

As reported by The New York Times, New Line Cinema was taking aim at an exploitation flick with a teen demographic in mind when it hired Katt Shea to helm Poison Ivy, a film about toxic female friendship.

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The story’s bones had been brought to the studio by independent producers Melissa Goddard and Peter Morgan, and Shea was tasked with making a “teenage Fatal Attraction,” according to Sara Risher, the president of production at the time.

Shea delivered something that was very much its own thing, premiering in New York at the Museum of Modern Art and earning divisive audience reactions. The final version of the film follows the decaying relationship between two teenage girls (Sara Gilbert as Sylvie Cooper
and Barrymore as Ivy, and has “a Gothic plot that touches on murder, incest, lesbianism, alcoholism and suicide.” Sounds like they picked up all the themes from one of those anti-feminism propaganda posters from the 90s.

Love it or hate it, and there were lots of folks in both camps, at least it had a vision, right? It has earned reappraisal in recent years from many who have endeavored to write about it.

You can pick up a collection of the Poison Ivy films (there were sequels) from ScreamFactory. If you like storytelling with morally grey female characters, check out the Yellowjackets season 3 release date, why we’re in the era of stranded girls on TV, the best thriller movies, and the best drama movies. Or, see our list of all the new movies still coming in 2023.