Directed by: John Polson
Written by: Charles F. Bohl and Richard Schneider
Featuring: Jesse Bradford, Erika Christensen and Shiri Appleby
Twentieth Century Fox
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before – A hot stud with a worshipping girlfriend betrays her in one night of lost passion with another girl. Once he realizes his mistake, he tries to dump the other woman only to realize she’s not giving up that easy. A few dead bodies later, he has to go toe to toe with the bitch from hell and only one will come out the winner. If you can’t name at least three movies this synopsis reminds you of, than you are obviously not spending enough of your time watching bad movies.
If Lifetime ever made a big screen movie, Swimfan would likely have been the film they would have produced. Salacious and featuring a good mix of nice and nasty female characters, this teenage Fatal Attraction is a not bad thriller. Not terribly good either, but certainly not worthy of some of the bashing it received upon its initial release in 2002. I mean, am I the only one who enjoys watching pretty people being stalked, tortured and/or killed?!? OK, maybe I am the only one, but if you were of any age in the early 90s, it was impossible to miss the onslaught of sexy stalker pics such as the unforgivably ludicrous Whispers in the Dark to the wonderfully over the top The Crush (in which a pretty girl got socked in the jaw. Go Cary!). Like all the other blueprint stalker films that came before Swimfan, this one plays it by the book but not without a bit of trashy fun. The problem here is that it isn’t trashy enough. Our resident female scorned character, Madison Bell (Erika Christensen), is played with a Drew Barrymore circa Poison Ivy-like charm. She’s Jessica Rabbit on acid and dips herself into the role with enough menacing abandoned that she’s brings the picture up a notch. The rest of the cast can act, but none of them come out more than cardboard (except for Max Rosmarin as the Music Nerd who is so cardboard it’s actually fun!).
Although it’s obvious that the screenwriters were out to lunch when they wrote Swimfan, at least they gave it an original title and didn’t take the remake road that so many Hollywood suits have been relying on as of late. It might not be great, but at least it doesn’t smear the memory of the good films it’s attempting to rip-off. Sadly, that makes it something of note.
This review originally appeared on Pretty Scary.