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2002 - PG-13 - 85 Mins.
Director: John Polson
Producer: John Penotti, Joseph, Caracciolo Jr.
Written By: Phillip Schneider, Charles Bohl,
Starring: Erika Christensen, Jessie Bradford, Jason Ritter, Shiri Appleby, Kate Burton
Review by: Joe Rickey

A high school swimming phenom soon discovers that his fling with an obsessive fan could ruin his life as she turns out to be a psycho. Uh oh! Swimfan stars Jesse Bradford as the swimming star Ben Cronin and Erika Christensen as the obsessive girl in his life. Shiri Appleby also stars as Cronin’s girlfriend who knows nothing of the fling. Relative newcomer John Polson (Siam Sunset) directs the film.

After her acclaimed (and rightly so) performance in Traffic a few years back many wondered what film would be Erika Christensen’s follow-up. The answer to that question is Swimfan, which actually started production before Traffic was released. Is the film any good and also, is Erika Christensen any good in it? Yes, she is good in what is a slightly above average teen thriller plagued by the fact that is very predictable except for a couple unseen twists near the end. Jesse Bradford is also successful in his role as the object of Christensen’s psychotic affection but does occasionally suffer from some lines that are unintentionally humorous. Appleby comes off as a very nice girlfriend who genuinely cares about her boyfriend. Why Ben Cronin would cheat on such a nice person is never really explained except for the fact that Christensen is better looking but obviously displays some erratic behavior that should have registered in Ben Cronin before it finally does once he’s in too deep with the crazy seductress. As Cronin’s swimming coach, veteran actor Dan Hedaya has limited screen time but still manages to leave an impression.

The film is ably lensed by director Polson who goes for an intense sense of foreboding throughout the film and succeeds. The film also benefits from cinematography done by Giles Nuttgens (The Deep End) that sets the mood and world of swimming prevalent all throughout the film. The cinematography sets up a world full of every shade of blue because of the importance water has in the film. Production design by Kalina Ivanov takes full advantage of the picturesque locales of Upper New York State that surround the characters throughout and come into play during the finale of the film. The film contains a musical score that fits the mood of the film perfectly and mixes some contemporary hits into the mix at times. The ominous piano theme stays with you.

Overall, Swimfan is a proficient thriller with some unexpected twists at the conclusion of what was a fairly predictable first two thirds. The acting and technical credits are also well done in what was a low budget production at a cost of only five million. While it obviously does borrow multiple elements from such films as Fatal Attraction among others, it changes the setting to a teen-centered world (or the cinematic equivalent, at least). This change of setting and the less vulgar and violent nature make it seem appealing to the teen demographic. Teens have been known to eat up lesser material so it is no surprise that Swimfan was a decent size hit during its run at the box office.
Movie Guru Rating
Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not. Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not. Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not.
  3 out of 5 stars

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