Horror Movie Review: Swimfan (2002)

Written by Charles Bohl, Phillip Schneider and directed by John Polson, Swimfan is a 2002 psychological horror/thriller that stars Jesse Bradford, Erika Christensen and Shiri Appleby.

Borrowing heavily from the likes of Play Misty for Me and Fatal Attraction, Swimfan sees high school student Ben Cronin (Jesse Bradford) make a mistake that will end up costing him more than he could have ever imagined.

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Ben has the world at his feet. He’s a star swimmer, popular at school and Stanford University scouts are due to come see him and the team swim soon. Alongside that, he has a loving girlfriend called Amy (Shiri Appleby). His life seems pretty perfect, especially as he has turned it around following drugs and a stint in juvenile hall.

Like many teens, he risks it at all for a one-night stand with a new student, Madison Bell (Erika Christensen). Maybe it’s the pressure Ben is feeling, maybe it’s the inordinate interest that Madison has in him, maybe he’s just horny. It doesn’t matter. He sleeps with Madison; they agree to it being just a one-night stand as he has a girlfriend and that’s it.

Or so he hoped. Madison doesn’t quite see it this way and begins to make his life hard. She genuinely thinks they have a thing going on. Frustrating and annoying for Ben but even he has no idea just how far she will go to make it happen.

A movie that hinges on its performances, purely because the story is so familiar and a lot of the time, mediocre. Those performances are solid for the most part but at times, certain characters slip into cringe-territory, inadvertently. This is never more present than in the final third and the ramping up of Madison’s revenge.

The story starts to get silly and quite unbelievable, which is a real shame as some of the early portions at least had some tense moments. However, what is a real shock and a real disappointment is how tame the movie is. Currently rated as a 12 in the UK, there is a lack of shlock and trash which would have benefited the movie. Swimfan, for all it does well, takes itself far too seriously and that is to its detriment.

Too short to really push this idea to darker and deeper limits, but too long for what it has to offer. There are worse teen horror/thrillers out there for sure and Swimfan falls into the forgettable category.




Swimfan (2002)
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