Most of us have had at least one ex who leaves us locking our doors. You tried giving them the benefit of the doubt, but then they start lurking outside your apartment, or –– as with the less discrete ones –– spreading their desire to kill you across the internet. Fortunately, there are several films that can help you through such a stressful experience, and even give you a few pointers.
It sounds counterintuitive, doesn't it? Why watch a stalker movie if your crazy ex is coming for you? You could throw on a romcom, but a recent University of Michigan study says that could actually put you at risk. They found that women were more likely to tolerate obsessive behavior from their partners after watching romcoms featuring men using stalker-like behavior. This was not the case with participants who watched films that depicted frightening male aggression.
Male or female, gay or straight, when crazy comes knocking, all bets are off. Whether you are celebrating how you survived that woefully unhinged ex, or preparing yourself for the one lurking outside, do yourself a favor and watch these nine films featuring some of the craziest exes ever:
When the rebellious Nicole (Reese Witherspoon) meets the handsome and mysterious David (Mark Wahlberg), he become everything to her. Within a few weeks, the two become a couple, but Nicole quickly discovers her new beau has a darker side. As his adoration turns to obsession, David becomes aggressively possessive of her.
One day, he assaults her friend Gary and, when Nicole tries to intervene, he shoves her to the ground, giving her a black eye. Naturally, she breaks up with him. Unable to let her go, David goes into full crazy mode. He tattoos Nicole's name on his chest, kills someone, and defaces her father's car. Soon, he and his friends come after her and her family in a home invasion with nasty consequences.
It has been said that when a heart breaks, it doesn't break even, and Unforgettable's Tessa can certainly attest to that. Barely coping with her divorce, Tessa (Katherine Heigl), gets some salt in the wound when she learns her ex-husband, David (Geoff Stults), has gotten engaged. When she meets Julia (Rosario Dawson), David's new fiancee, things appear amicable (naturally), but that doesn't last long.
Tessa begins feeling like her life is being taken from her, and it sends her over the edge. Her behavior starts to escalate from snide remarks to violent and manipulative behavior. She even goes so far as try to frame Julia for murder. Hell-bent on turning Julia's paradise into a nightmare while reclaiming her family, Tessa takes us on one insane trip to Crazy Town.
3. Gone Girl
One of the most notable films on the list, Gone Girl pulls out all the stops in a thrilling mystery that will definitely put your critical thinking skills to use. After five years of seemingly happy marriage, Amy (Rosamund Pike) suddenly vanishes. After her disappearance, Nick (Ben Affleck), her closed-off husband, finds himself as the prime suspect in her murder investigation.
Were things ever really all that wonderful in their marriage? What led to Amy's disappearance? Is Nick being honest with the homicide detectives investigating the disappearance? Can we trust what Amy shares with us from her diary? Who is lying? Full of twists and turns, this tale of a marriage gone wrong shows how far a motivated psycho can go when they are hell-bent on ruining their partner’s life.
4.The Perfect Guy
Leah (Sanaa Lathan) just wants to marry her boyfriend, David (Morris Chestnut), but when it becomes clear he is not ready for marriage, she leaves him. Soon, she meets the handsome Carter (Michael Ealy), who quickly charms his way into her life. Before long, everyone in Leah's life is enamored with him, even her parents. However, you know what they say: If it's too good to be true, it probably is.
One night, Carter goes off the rails, beating up a man in front of Leah for little reason. Understandably, she gets uneasy and ends the relationship. The paranoid, violent and possessive Carter is soon breaking into Leah’s house, hiding under beds and filming her having sex. He also sabotages a car, throws an old lady down the stairs and abducts Leah's cat. All she wanted was to marry a quality guy!
Love can certainly make you crazy, but some people, like Obsessed's Lisa (Ali Larter), already come that way. The sultry temp worker instantly eyes Derek (Idris Elba) and decides they are meant to be together, come hell or high water. Despite Lisa's repeated attempts at seduction, Derek refuses to give in. Why would he? He is perfectly happy in both his career and his marriage to Sharon (Beyonce). Most people would have given up, but not Lisa –– she only saw a challenge.
When Derek learns that Lisa quit her job, he thinks she will no longer be a problem. But, before you know it, Lisa is stalking him at a corporate event, breaking into his hotel room, and trying to kill herself. This brings her existence to light for a less-than-pleased Sharon, who now suspects Derek of an affair. Since Lisa still won't stop trying to get "her" man, Sharon decided to step up, and she is ready for a fight.
6. The Boy Next Door
If you keep ending up with sexy, yet emotionally disturbed men, you are not alone; Jennifer Lopez made this list twice! J-Lo seems drawn to unhealthy relationships –– at least in film. In The Boy Next Door she portrays Claire, a high school teacher recovering from a nasty divorce. Unshackled from her toxic relationship, she decided to boost her spirits with a rebound. Unfortunately, her choice in men proves flawed.
After a few encounters with Noah (Ryan Guzman), her new 19-year-old neighbor, Claire is eventually seduced by him. During a post-hookup moment of clarity, she feels instant guilt for robbing the cradle and ends it. This doesn't go over well with Noah, whose rage and emotional instability quickly surface. He begins stalking her, first by craftily enrolling in her class after hacking her computer. Things soon escalate, with Noah relentlessly terrorizing Claire and the people she loves. It is enough to make anyone second-guess becoming a cougar.
Ben (Jesse Bradford) is a former juvenile delinquent with a past full of criminal behavior and drug use. With the help of his girlfriend Amy (Shiri Appleby), he turns over a new leaf, getting a job and becoming the star of his high school swim team. Having caught the eye of scouts from Stanford University, he undoubtedly has a bright future. Unfortunately, he also caught the eye of the new girl at school, Madison (Erika Christensen), who instantly becomes his No. 1 fan.
When Madison begins pursuing Ben, he makes it clear he is happily committed to Amy. Not one to be deterred, she keeps after him and he eventually succumbs to her subduction. Afterword, they agree it would be a one-time thing, but Ben quickly realizes Madison is far from willing to let him go. Soon, she is appearing at his home, sabotaging his job, and killing. Hell hath no fury like a scorned, crazed, would-be lover.
Ever find yourself with someone who goes from saying "I love you" to assaulting you? You aren't alone. Slim's (Jennifer Lopez) life becomes a living hell after she discovers her perfect husband Mitch (Billy Campell) is cheating. She confronts him about it and threatens to take their daughter and leave. This results in Mitch pulling a Jekyll and Hyde, shedding his loving persona while punching Slim. After that incident, he continues beating and mentally abusing her. Eventually, though, she decides she's had enough.
No longer willing stomach the abuse, Slim packs her stuff, gets her kid, and runs. Mitch, however, is relentless (they always are). He tracks her down and beats her again. Eventually, his "if I can’t have you, nobody can" mentality leads Slim to realize Mitch just wants to kill her now. Continuing to barley escape with her life, she gives up on the idea that anyone else can help her. The only path left is to learn to fight back and kill him before he kills her.
9. Fatal Attraction
Fatal Attraction not only set the bar for all crazy ex stalker films, but it inspired many of the ones on this list. The 1987 thriller received six Academy Award nominations and was the highest-grossing film of the year worldwide. The famous story starts when Dan (Michael Douglas) sleeps with his co-worker, Alex (Glenn Close), while his family is away. For Dan, it was simply a one-night stand, but for the unbalanced Alex, it was just the beginning.
When Dan tires to disengage, Alex forgoes subtlety and slits her wrists. When he tries to move on, Alex becomes more unhinged. She begins stalking him, waiting outside his office, calling at all hours, and approaching his wife. Eventually, Dan moves his family to another town, but even that doesn't stop Alex. In her pursuit, her obsession turns to hatred, a shift that proves horrific for Dan and his family — "bunny boiler" anyone? From claiming she is pregnant to pouring acid on his car, Alex will do anything to get her way. She won't be ignored, Dan!
What is your favorite movie featuring a crazy ex?