‘The Perfect Stalker’ Details A Very Real Problem

by Laura Rosenfeld

Lifetime is of course known for its scandal-filled and thrilling movie offerings all year long. However, the network is taking things to the next level with one of its final movie premieres of the year, The Perfect Stalker, which is scheduled to air on Friday, Dec. 30 at 8 p.m. ET. As I do with most of Lifetime's movies, many of which are rooted in real events, I have to wonder if The Perfect Stalker is a true story, too.

First and foremost, I'm looking to the movie's synopsis provided by Lifetime for some answers:

"After murdering her husband, Grace (Danielle Savre, In the Land of Women) moves to Philadelphia and finds herself in love and obsessed with her neighbor Robert (Jefferson Brown, RED). In order to make him fall for her, Grace invents an imaginary stalker in order to trick him into helping her."

As you can see, the synopsis for The Perfect Stalker doesn't contain any words like "based on a true story" or "inspired by real events" or anything like that. Since movies that are based on true stories tend to make note of that in their summaries, I'm inclined to think that The Perfect Stalker is purely a work of fiction.

There isn't a lot of other information available about The Perfect Stalker just yet. But the movie's page on IMDb does feature a different synopsis that says the character of Grace has been diagnosed with Histrionic Personality Disorder. It's unclear if the character really does suffer from that in the movie, but HPD is an actual personality disorder where someone shows "a pattern of excessive emotion and attention seeking," according to the American Psychiatric Association. A person with HPD "may be uncomfortable when he/she is not the center of attention, consistently use physical appearance to draw attention or show rapidly shifting or exaggerated emotions." It seems that the film may attempt to make a connection between Grace's HPD and her decision to fabricate a stalker in order to win the affection of her neighbor. But of course, it's important to remember that The Perfect Stalker is a movie and it is not necessarily an accurate depiction of how people diagnosed with this disorder act in real life.

When we do hear about real-life stalkers, they're often in relation to some celebrity and usually when said famous individual has pressed charges against a stalker. One of the most recent high-profile cases was Erin Andrews, who pressed charges against a stalker after he secretly recorded her nude in her hotel room and the footage was released online. As reported by the Associated Press, Michael David Barrett pleaded guilty to stalking Andrews and recording the video and was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison. In a civil suit against Barrett and the hotel franchise where it happened, Andrews was also awarded $55 million.

Stalkers also often get the Hollywood treatment. In fact, they seem to be a favorite subject of Lifetime movies. Stalkers, The Maid, and Stalked By My Mother are just a few of the films that have debuted on the network in the past few years.

Stalking also seems to be a staple of major big-screen thrillers, including Play Misty for Me, Fatal Attraction, Obsessed, and The Perfect Guy. Sometimes, a character's obsession with another person can be romanticized in films too, such as Mark (Andrew Lincoln) pining after Juliet (Keira Knightley) for years in Love Actually or Annie (Meg Ryan) trying to learn everything about Sam's (Tom Hanks) life before she even meets him in Sleepless in Seattle.

But I have a feeling that you won't be feeling the love as you watch The Perfect Stalker.