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Femme Fatale With Superhuman Powers
Lechuguilla9 December 2007
Warning: Spoilers
We've seen this idea before, in other films like "Fatal Attraction" (1987) and "The Crush" (1993). A woman obsesses about a man, and won't let go. Given the high school age of the main characters in "Swimfan", and given background music that is mostly sophomoric, the film is clearly targeted at people under the age of twenty-five.

Ben Cronin (Jesse Bradford) is annoyingly smug. He's your prototype high school pop jock. He drives around in a macho-looking pickup truck. Madison Bell (lovely Erika Christensen) gets a crush on Ben and, even knowing he already has a girlfriend, stalks him relentlessly; she's his femme fatale. Conveniently unstable and manipulative, Madison makes trouble for Ben with one plot contrivance after another.

The script has a setup that is too long. And the second half of the script has action that is wildly improbable. Madison just seems to appear from out of nowhere in the most unlikely places, and at just the right time. Her efforts are too easy, especially as they relate to hospital security and police procedures. It's as if she has superhuman powers, not an effect you want to impart as a storyteller, unless your story fits in the sci-fi or fantasy genre, which this film does not.

If the script is weak, the acting is generally pretty good, with reasonably effective performances from Jesse Bradford, Erika Christensen, and James DeBello as Dante. The film's color cinematography is fine. And I also liked the editing, with jump cuts that neatly corresponded with Madison's state of mind.

"Swimfan" is not a bad movie. But its premise is unoriginal, and the plot structure is faulty. A script rewrite or two might have rendered a better cinematic outcome. However, other elements of the film are fine. And for the right audience, this film does have some entertainment value, at least for a one-time viewing.
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Fatal Attraction with teenagers. And swimming.
tenten7626 August 2002
This film succeeds because of Jesse Bradford. I remember him from Bring It On (another excellent performance), but it appears he's done lots of things. He's a great lead actor, and I can see him filling Tom Cruise / Ben Affleck style roles in a few years' time.

The film itself is a fairly respectable effort at a Fatal Attraction style relationship, with teen-thriller-genre elements of the misunderstood wierd guy, the new girl in town with a secret past, and so on. I can only think of one vaguely surprising moment (with Josh, in the pool) - otherwise it's fairly predictable, but enjoyable all the same.

Watching it, I couldn't help but wonder why the school's best swimmer and most attractive guy didn't have a bigger circle of friends (Josh the jock, Randy the drip, and a black girl with a chip on her shoulder (what an original character..).

Also, why would he be tempted by a girl who isn't quite as attractive (or as nice) as his girlfriend? - but I know that's often the case in real life, so I can let that go.

Finally, Jesse didn't need the whole 'troubled teen past' - in the places where it was used, it wasn't really necessary - and although I'm no fan of the family values lobby, I am thoroughly sick of the single-parent-family that seems to exist in every single movie these days. It's just a lazy way of adding to teen angst, and avoids the need to write convincing two-parent scenes.

Swimfan is fine, but is only really a stepping-stone movie onto bigger and (hopefully) better things for the lead actors.
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Young People's Fatal Attraction
bkoganbing16 November 2006
Having recently seen Jesse Bradford as Rene Gagnon in Clint Eastwood's Flags Of Our Fathers and been impressed I decided to check out Swimfan. It's a typical teen flick, a version in their age bracket of Fatal Attraction.

Jesse's the object of the obsession of Erika Christiansen, a most disturbed young woman who had a tragedy that most of the cast doesn't know about, but that truly unhinges her.

After Erika seduces Jesse in a steamy seduction scene at the high school pool, she enters his life in all sorts of unwanted ways. Jesse has a criminal past, but got himself into swimming and is set for an athletic scholarship in that sport. When one of Jesse's swimming teammates winds up dead in the selfsame swimming pool, he's looking mighty good for it to the police.

Swimfan is not a badly done teen flick and in Bradford one has a young Tyrone Power so Erika's obsession is understandable.

Hey, I think he looks a bit like Power, maybe Rob Lowe.
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This shouldn't be that good, but it is
Clams6 September 2002
I would like to say that this movie hasn't got many reasons to be as good as it is, because it is a teen/twentysomething play on a formula that's kind of, or for lack of a better phrase truly, been done to death. Fatal Attraction movies, while occasionally pulling at least one different trick out of their hat, are always the same, that's why Michael Douglas is in 95% of them. However, it's extremely well made by director John Polson and well-acted by the young cast, particularly Traffic's Erika Christensen, who shines as Madison Bell, the obsessive swim fan of the title.

The story deals with Ben Cronin, a high school senior who's life is going pretty well, as the hero's usually is at the start of these pictures, he has a lot of good friends, he has a girlfriend Amy (Shiri Appleby) who is as sweet as apple pie, and he's on the way to a swimming scholarship to Stanford. However, all of that changes once he encounters Madison Bell, the seductive new girl in town. He only wants to be friends with her, but after they have a one night stand, she becomes more obsessive, stalking him, ruining every aspect of his life, and generally acting like a nuisance. I suppose I don't have to say that because that is pretty much how a Fatal Attraction picture works.

What makes this movie work is that it is well done, and it is as creepy as most FA clones need to be if they expect to work. Plus, the three leads are all very good, albeit this film belongs to Erika Christensen, who does a pretty good job of stealing the movie.
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lowest common denominator thriller
Buddy-5121 September 2002
Warning: Spoilers
If you've seen `Fatal Attraction,' then there really isn't much reason for you to check out `Swimfan,' which carries the psycho stalker scenario to absurd heights. But since the target audience for this film is today's teens, chances are many of its viewers will never even have heard of `Fatal Attraction,' let alone seen it.

`Swimfan' is set in one of those high schools that exist only in the movies – you know, the ones that seem to be populated almost entirely by twenty-something hunks and babes (with the occasional nerd thrown in) and which appear to be utterly devoid of teachers, principals, counselors or any other adult supervisory staff to run the place (in all fairness, we DO get to see one swim coach). None of these students are ever seen attending a class, cracking open a book or doing any homework, but then that would sort of spoil the fun of the high school experience now, wouldn't it?

Ben Cronin (Jesse Bradford) doesn't ask much out of life. All he wants is to be left alone to concentrate on his swimming so that he'll be in tiptop shape to impress the scouts who are coming out from Stanford to have a look at him. That's his plan anyway, until one day, into his life, strolls Madison Belle (Erika Christensen), a pretty young seductress, who, upon her arrival at the school, makes an immediate beeline for Ben, seducing him in the school's swimming pool and making his life thoroughly miserable thereafter. Soon Madison is stalking our hero in true Glenn Close fashion, finding ways to insinuate herself into every aspect of Ben's once seemingly ideal life. Indeed, Ben has every thing going for him: popularity, good looks, athletic prowess, a devoted mother, a girlfriend who loves him – and it all threatens to come crashing down around him after just one night of unbridled passion with this fresh-from-out-of-town psychotic nut case.

About the only interesting aspect of `Swimfan' is how it shows that, in this technologically advanced age, a genuine stalker now has so many more options at his or her disposal – answering machines, cell phones, pagers, voice mail, email, instant messages. The possibilities are endless. It's enough to make one long for the good old days when an obsessed paramour had to at least foot the bill for a phone call or buy a stamp to send a deranged letter, or at least find ever more clever ways of skulking around. Stalking just seems way too easy these days. Technology appears to have taken all the challenge out of it.

Unlike `Fatal Attraction,' which at least managed to achieve a level of credibility before it went off the deep end in the final act, `Swimfan' never establishes a believable tone. Madison's actions always just feel like melodramatic plot points, and Ben's retaliatory measures aren't much better. And the law enforcement in the town – well, the less said about THEM the better! Ultimately, the story becomes more and more preposterous as it churns along, so much so that the film actually ends up generating more laughs than gasps by the time it is over. Jesse Bradford and Erika Christensen may still have solid acting careers ahead of them, but my suspicion is that `Swimfan' will not rank very high on either of their resumes.
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A teen "Fatal Attraction"
preppy-312 September 2002
Ben Cronin (Jesse Bradford) has it all--he's a high schooler with a great mother, a wonderful girlfriend and a great career ahead of him as a swimmer. However he meets beautiful Madison Bell (Erika Christensen) and (stupidly) has sex with her. It turns out she's a psycho and when he rejects her she goes out to turn his life into a living hell...and she's not above murdering someone.

Totally predictable but surprisingly not bad at all. The characters talk and act like teens (although they all look their age--early 20s), the story moves fairly quickly and I was never bored. There are some glaring lapses in logic but, while I was watching the movie, they didn't bother me. For instance, it's impossible for Bell to do all the things she does. Also the sex and violence is very toned down for the PG-13 rating. Good performances really make the film work. Bradford is very good as Cronin. Handsome, muscular and believable. Shiri Appleby does wonders with her sadly underwritten role as his girlfriend. Christensen is excellent as Bell. She's both beautiful and very scary.

No masterpiece bit a good, solid teen thriller. I paid $9.50 and thought it was money well spent! Worth catching.
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Hate me if you must, but I liked it.
Smells_Like_Cheese7 September 2002
True it's not the best movie. And it is another fatal attraction with teens. But believe me it's a good movie. There are some flaws. But you should judge for yourself. It has good suspense, great performance by Erika Christianson. And Shiri is doing good on her carrer. It is another cheesy teen movie, but this is a good one. So over all, I'm not going to say this is the best movie, but it was worth $5.00. Like I said judge for yourself. Don't believe the bad reviews. Just go have fun. You won't regret it.

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Fodder that seems to work better than it should
Quinoa19848 May 2003
Ben Cronin (Bradford) is one of those high schoolers that almost had it all: plenty of good friends, a sweet girlfriend (Appleby), and the swimming skills of a champion. His life and success track are scrambled, however, with the introduction to Madison Bell (Christensen), a vixen who becomes smitten with him. Madison seduces Ben in the pool one night, and while he feels guilty after a session of horizontal watersports, Masison goes Glen Close in Fatal Attraction crazy when he turns her down, and the movie starts to turn.

From the previews, Swimfan looked like a bad movie, an "Attraction" set in high school suburbia with Michael Douglas' role as a swim fanatic instead of a businessman. While the last third of the picture veers off heavily into the land of the un-yielding female revenge cliche, the first two-thirds of the film are actually a pretty provocative, tight character study with issues of infidelity and confidence. Christensen, who made a startling breakout role as a judge's intoxicated daughter in 2000's Traffic, plays it rather straight and sensual, which gives the film a boost, until her over-the-top climax, and shows that, in a B-movie sort of showcase, she can hold her own. B-
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Young version fatal attraction
jillyeung15 October 2004
The character Madison is interesting but when the story comes to the end, everything turned so quick and seems to get more and more nonsense. The power of Madison is overwhelming. She knows everything, she can go anywhere. At last, she, a young girl, killed 2 police officers! Going back to the swimming pool with Amy seems to be too dramatic and comedic. The acting skills of Erika Christensen is impressive. She shows inner anger but lack of psychic complications. When facing the "truth" that she was not loved by Ben, she did not show much "lost" by her eyes contacts and facial expression, instead, the editing did. And this is what the mood is built up by editing throughout the film.
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On par with Urban Legend and the other teen flix
jsoko16 September 2002
Have to admit that I enjoy watching the infamous teen horror films. Don't get me wrong, they probably won't be nominated for any Academy Awards, but they're not a waste of a movie ticket either.

Both Jesse Bradford and Erika Christensen carry the film well. Although much of the plot remains predictable, with a lot of help from the trailers, there are still a few plot twists that will keep viewers interested. Madison Bell (Christensen) is the new student who gets what she wants, at any cost. Obession can be a very interesting and intriguing game as she sets her sights on Ben Cronin (Bradford). However, Ben already has the perfect life as a high school student (a chance at Stanford, the perfect girl and a solid swimming career. Throw a monkey wrench into the equation, and Ben's world spins out of control.

A good movie to see on a date, or if City by the Sea isn't appealing. Leave the youngsters at home on this one.
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Although Being Predictable, This Teen Version of `Fatal Attraction' is not so Bad
claudio_carvalho11 February 2004
Ben Cronin (Jesse Bradford) is an ex-addicted in drugs athlete. He is disputing a participation in the Olympic games and joining Stanford University through swimming. He is in love with his girlfriend Amy Miller (Shiri Appleby) and is a good son, working with his mother in a hospital. When the young woman Madison Bell (Erika Christensen) joins his high-school, he is seduced by her and has an intercourse with her in the swimming pool. Madison chases him, but he turns her down. She becomes obsessed by him and turns his life in hell. This teen version of `Fatal Attraction' is very predicable, but is not a bad movie. The young cast has a good performance and this film is a good entertainment. My vote is six.

Title (Brazil): `Fixação' (`Fixation')
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A watch-once "Fatal Attraction" clone
MrGKB10 November 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This is one of those films that proves once again that there are limits to how much decent production values can redeem a bad script. Lenny Bruce had a great line that covers the situation: "You can't get snot off a suede jacket." Directed by the guy who helmed "Hide and Seek," which I haven't seen yet, but eventually will once I find it for free at the library like I did this one (thank goodness!), "Swimfan" (an inept title if ever I've seen one) has some nice camera-work and decent acting going for it, but not much else. It's one of those films that has you progressing from "Huh?" to "What the...?" to "Now hold on a second!" to "Oh, for God's sake!" to "Alright, now that's just ridiculous!" over the course of its beguiling but vacuous running time. The leads are attractive enough and do their best with the slim material, but simply cannot overcome the forced storyline. I know I finally gave up on it completely when bad girl Madison shot her way out of the back seat of a police cruiser. Handcuffs in front? A conveniently left-handed cop in the back seat who leaves his weapon conveniently unsecured? Please. Dan Hedaya has an uncharacteristic turn as a relatively sane swimming coach, but was obviously just taking a paycheck. Eminently skippable unless you're an Erica Christensen groupie (I found Shiri Appleby much more attractive), "Swimfan" sinks rapidly in the deep waters of its own stupidity and lack of believability.
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A Time capsule of the early 2000s
laurasomia20 October 2019
Watched this movie recently with my roommates and we honestly had a good time. The nostalgia factor definitely helped as the storyline really doesn't hold up that much but I'd still recommend it for a chill night in we friends. Also whatever happened to that guy? It seems he was everywhere for a hot second and then completely vanished!
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A fun-filled ride
mattymatt4ever18 September 2002
Sure, this premise has been used before. Blah, blah, blah. Who the hell cares??? It's not completely original, but it's put to good use. I saw this movie the day after seeing "One Hour Photo," which I regard as a cinematic masterpiece and one of the best thrillers I've ever seen. So I thought my mindset when entering "Swimfan" would be pretty darn negative. But I was able to enjoy it for what it is. It's an often predictable thriller with some goofy elements, but all in all it's very entertaining and a hell of a lot better than some of the crap that comes out nowadays.

Jesse Bradford is a handsome, charming actor and proves that he is leading man material. I'd even go as far as saying he could be the next Tom Cruise. He has the looks, he has the charisma, he has the skills. I enjoyed him in "Bring It On" and here he gives another fine performance. Erika Christiansen makes a perfect b**ch. She's a beautiful actress with a smile to die for, but she becomes terrifying as the movie progresses that I became terrified whenever her face would pop up on screen--which is a lot.

The film is well-directed and the premise, though it's been used before, is quite intriguing. I had a real good time with this movie. Sure, it has its standard Hollywood contrivances, like the creepy guy who knows all the answers, but I was able to shake those off. But there was one flaw that really irked me: A high school swimming pool wouldn't be so poorly guarded. I would expect there'd either be a lifeguard on duty or surveillance cameras watching, or they'd close down the pool.

My score: 7 (out of 10)
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A bit of a mixed bag
davidwarner_za1 April 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Well, after watching this movie (knowing that it was similar to the classic 'Fatal Attraction') - I smiled and shook my head because even though the movie is so predictable, there could have been so much done to change the characters from predictably stupid to vaguely normal.

Having said that, given what they had, the acting was actually quite good. I said good. Not wonderful, not great. Just good. Casting was excellent. Madison (Erika Christensen) is perfectly cast. She looks so seductive, innocent and devilish at the same time. Amy (Shiri Appleby) is fantastically cast as the somewhat quiet girlfriend of Ben (Jesse Bradford). Both girls are very beautiful, which adds to the sex appeal of the movie as well as the plot. We aren't told so, but it's more than obvious that although Ben and Amy are in love, they don't get intimate too often, leading to Ben's weakness (and he didn't try to stop Madison's advances too hard) and his ultimate mistake.

The direction is quite good. Camera angles are suspenseful, lighting is excellent, with an obvious emphasis on blue (which, through the whole movie, exudes a rather powerful 'chilling' feeling) The pacing of the movie in general is okay, although something tells me that a lot of key scenes are lying on the cutting-room floor ... and this brings me to the negatives.

The story is terrible. Apart from the 'Fatal Attraction' clone (which isn't a problem in itself) - the characters are insanely stupid and naive. As a viewer, you are dragged straight into the story with absolutely no room to begin to understand the characters. There is absolutely no character development, no character arcs and no plot twists whatsoever. We are not given any motivation as to why Madison is the way she is, what her motivations are, why she's attracted to Ben (or other athletes), how she really got to know about Ben so soon, and we're also rushed through major scenes in the movie (the urine-switch etc.) It all culminates to an overly-dramatic climax which is frankly quite disappointing but predictable. I would like to have seen a 'stalker wins' kind of ending, just adding another victim to her tally.

If the point of the movie was to be a dramatic thriller, then they failed miserably. Too dramatic, not thrilling. Mildly comedic, and quite irritating at times. You just want to shake Ben and say to him (when the coach tells him that his urine tested positive for steroids) "Dude! Demand a re-analysis! MAKE A FUSS for crying out loud!!" - But he stupidly walks off after a weak attempt at convincing the coach of his innocence, only to open his locker and find a baseball bat (as a viewer, I thought "Huh? Where did this come from??") Anyway, a passable movie...entertaining but not good enough to make me want to watch it again in a hurry. Major plot holes, stupid characters and key elements that were glanced over or cut out (or not written in the first place) changes this from a 8/10 to a 5/10.

Surprising though, I thought that Polson did a fantastic job with Hide & Seek. Lets hope he keeps improving!
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Madison by name, mad by nature.
BA_Harrison29 September 2012
High-school swimmer Ben Cronin (Jesse Bradford) is good looking, popular, has a pretty devoted girlfriend, Amy (Shiri Appleby), and a promising future—kinda makes you sick doesn't it? But after new-girl Madison (Erika Christensen) sets him in her sights, seducing him in the school pool, his perfect life gradually turns into a living hell.

Yup, it's a teen version of Fatal Attraction, with middle-aged Michael Douglas replaced by hunk Bradford and scary Glenn Close substituted for curvaceous but clearly cuckoo Christensen. Formulaic, predictable and undemanding, there's very little here to surprise the viewer, and the ease with which Madison goes about her business requires suspension of disbelief on a massive scale; despite this, Swimfan still manages to be a fun little thriller, helped immensely by surprisingly solid performances from the young eye-candy cast and effective direction from John Polson, who at least executes his well-worn clichés with a degree of style.
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Better than I expected...
ajaws4ever25 September 2006
Swimfan is a drama/romance/thriller directed by John Polson, also the director for Hide and Seek, that stars Jesse Bradford (Cherry Falls, Clockstoppers), Erika Christensen (Flightplan, The Perfect Score), and Shiri Appleby (Darklight, Undertow).

This movie made me cry at the end. Something happens to the bad girl (I'm not giving anything away, sorry) at the end, and it actually makes you sad. You'd think you'd actually want something to happen to the bad girl at the end, but you feel so bad for her and you'd wish you could've been back there to save her. But it's only a movie. Otherwise I'd be so sad.

Anyway, the whole plot is, Ben Cronin (Bradford) has it all: the friends, the perfect girlfriend named Amy (Appleby), and good grades, and a great chance at a swimming scholarship. But when a chance encounter with a sexy student named Madison Bell (Christensen) turns into a living nightmare when she starts showing up everywhere he is, calling him, paging him. Basically stalking him. Ben doesn't want her, and that's what gets Madison mad (she's basically psycho in the movie, and hides it very well, by the way). The break-up turns Erika psycho, and drives her into obsession, madness, and ultimately, murder.

Swimfan is very emotional and as I said before, might make you feel sad at the ending. It's somewhat scary and suspenseful, too. Not a very psychological film, though, as you might think. Well, there might be some psychological stuff added at the somewhat sad ending, but not too much. It's not enough to mess with your mind, but it's pretty damn close.

The acting was very good in this movie. I loved it.

**1/2 out of ****


Original MPAA rating: PG-13: Mature Thematic Material, Sexual Content, Disturbing Images, and Language

My MPAA rating: PG-13: Mature/Sinister Thematic Material, Sexual Content, Language, and A Disturbing Image

My Canadian Rating: 14A: Mature Theme, Violence, Disturbing Content, Coarse Language
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Sexy performance by E. Christensen makes this a worth watch.
insomniac_rod15 October 2006
As a fellow reviewer wrote, this is a "Teen Fatal Attraction". Don't fool yourself. "Swimfan" used the same concept but with teens. Wise movie. FA was a rated R movie that had an excellent box-office reception and it's one of the most popular movies in the past 15 years. "Swimfan" was also very popular and successful mainly because the concept was well accepted by teens.

This is an entertaining flick that sincerely, many young men would like to experience. I mean, who would reject such a beauty like Erika Christensen? I mean, even having Shiri A. as a girlfriend makes you consider an adventure.

There are some sexy steamy scenes like the one in the pool where Christensen's character, with sexy moans and everything seduces Ben. Also, when she says "panties" is a major turn on.

Seriously this is an enjoyable B-flick that you should watch if it airs on T.V.
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Sort of a teenage "Fatal Attraction", works okay
Sandcooler2 August 2011
The strength of this movie lies mostly in basic stuff, for instance the acting. Jesse Bradford's character is (just) sympathetic enough to side with, Erika Christensen is a very believable and delightfully sardonic femme fatale, and the rest of the cast seem to be remembering their lines and stuff, which is more than good enough for this sort of B-movie. The pace is also quite good, but I suppose that's kind of a given when your movie clocks in at less than 90 minutes. Still, this plot really knows how to move forward when it needs to, this movie isn't boring for a second. Furthermore, there are some actual surprises in this film, which is the last thing you expect from a (relatively) low-budget Hollywood thriller. It's not like there are any Shyamalan-like twists or something, and the movie does get increasingly (and annoyingly) formulaic as the end gets nearer, but there's still some unexpected stuff thrown it for good measure. "Swimfan" is better than you may be giving it credit for, worth a look I guess.
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A successful drama film with all of the requirements a thrilling romance needs
chrishewittpiano14 January 2003
This very serious and dramatic movie puts fourth the clue that it is about obsession, betrayal, and revenge. In the movie, Madison Bell played by very talented Erika Christensen, is the new girl that has a sudden likeness for Ben Cronin, played by Jesse Bradford. What Ben doesn't know is that this new girl will stop at nothing to get what she wants. Even if it requires some dirty work.

The overall performance of this movie ended up quite well in my opinion. The scenes and camera angles were stupendous, and the music puts the entire film into a setting of whatever the music is explaining. The story, although some people say it was a remake of some other movie, was done with suspicion, suspense, and wonder. The trailer for this movie looked good when I saw it advertising on television or in the theaters. So I had to check it out and see if it was any good. I was satisfied with the end result and had a chill down my spine in every other scene. This is probably one of the perfect examples of a dramatic love movie, in the eyes of some. I think that most of the scenes that were included in the final picture were necessary, except for a few long and dragging on parts. I cannot recall remembering any parts that were poorly filmed, poorly acted, poorly edited, and so on. The main characters were what made this movie a success.

First off, Jesse Bradford is a good actor for his age, putting him behind Leonardo DiCaprio, but in front of Macaulay Culkin in terms of their skills in how well they appear to be the character they were assigned to play. I had only heard of Jesse Bradford after seeing the movie "Clockstoppers" about four of five months before that. So I thought that if he puts on a relatively good performance in "Clockstoppers", he must do well in this movie. And so he did. He will most likely come a long way in his career in the future with more dramatic acts and roles. As for Erika Christensen, she has a lot more talent than I would have thought. I first noticed her in the remake of the classic series "Leave it to Beaver". She delivered a good, wholesome attainment in that movie, along with her other big hit in '99, "Can of Worms". But she has come a long way since then. Now she has more of a figure, has more skill in whatever role she is put up to, and will most likely succeed high in her career as well.

The co-stars of this movie include Shiri Appleby, playing "Amy". She reminds me of a younger version of Denise Richards from her character "Carmen" in "Starship Troopers". They somewhat relate on account of their astounding talent to contrive worried expressions whenever needed. Clayne Crawford, playing the jock, "Josh", is also remarkable as his supporting role in this movie. He is probably just as talented as the main actor Jesse Bradford, only in a smaller role. There was also the character of "Christopher", played by James DeBello who is pretty good as his character, as is all the rest of the cast in which I have not listed.

The extensively few cons that I have to this movie is that it really could have been longer. I mean, take "Minority Report" for example. Although the plots have nothing alike, "Minority Report" was nearly twice as long. But what Hollywood seems to be doing is making all of the movies that they think people will see and make them really short, so even though they see it in the theaters, they will pay the same amount of money for a 2 and a half hour movie as they do an 80-minute film. So instead of spending the extra money to make the movie longer, they just shorten it up a bit. I think that there also could have been more scenes with the school and with the development of characters. Since this took place in a high school, it doesn't really make sense how Jesse Bradford, a 23-year old, is playing an 18 year old? That was the same way in the movie "Clockstoppers" as well. He was playing a younger character, even though he may be up to five years older than the person he is portraying. The main concept is that the end result looks real and is successful in the end. I would give this movie a 9 out of 10 stars only because I believe that it could have been longer, with room for more character development and some improvements. But if you are a person who has a measly hour and a half to spare, this movie will send a chill down your spine and something to think about.
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Another Wasted Opportunity
aimless-4615 October 2005
"Swimfan" is such a successful commercial formula that it is surprising the industry has not since jumped on this idea more often. Find an older film(s) that had good box office results (in this case "Play Misty for Me" and "Fatal Attraction"). Change the story to target a young audience not exposed to the originals. Keep the costs modest by using a cast that works cheap and not staging any elaborate action sequences-pour more budget into promotion than into production, then just wait for some nice profits. There is almost no risk because it doesn't have to be a mega-hit, even if the critics hate it the promotional efforts should guarantee more than enough attendance to put this thing into the profitable category. The only thing more money-in-the-bank is Disney's re-release of its classics to a new audience every eight years.

Although portrayed one-dimensionally, the obsessive character in 'Misty" and "Fatal Attraction" was a deep thinker compared to "Swimfan's" Madison. Erika Christensen must play her as a character that comes with zero motivation. The script provides no way for her to communicate what attracts Madison to high-school athletes, what makes her instantly obsessive toward Ben (Jesse Bradford), or even what she finds attractive about him. Seemingly the screenwriter and director were correct in their assessment of the intelligence of "Swimfan's" target audience, reasoning that very few of them would even be interested in knowing why Madison is so psychotic and unbalanced.

They appear to be going somewhere with the revelations about Madison's old boyfriend but these are inserted to advance the action and not as motivational explanations. Fortunately, Christensen is talented enough to subtly convey weirdness even before her hook-up with Ben takes place. Speaking of which, Ben and Madison's sexual tumble in the swimming pool is the movie's one moment of true excellence. This is a case where the constraints of keeping a PG rating inspired rather than hindered, as the director ends up with a far more inventive and erotic scene than would have occurred had he been able to be more graphic.

What is tragic is that the director really hit a home run in the casting of Christensen. With those big, round, blankly lidded eyes (the only feature that distinguishes her from her lookalike Julia Stiles), she could have brought real depth to her character-she simply glows when on the screen. Superficially Christensen plays the same basic character in "Home Room", "Traffic", "The Upside of Anger", and even "The Perfect Score". But she does something completely different with each of them and really demonstrates amazing talent. The director realized too late how much Christensen was bringing to the screen. There was not enough time to change the story and put in an original twist. There is no way after the swimming pool scene that Ben would have resisted Christensen and gone back to a sexless nothing like Sheri Appleby (insert "Some Kind of Wonderful" here). They tried to fix this issue in post-production by deleting almost all of Appleby's scenes. But the better solution would have been to drop the predictable ending and re-shoot with something quirky.

The technical aspects of the production are excellent. It is nicely lighted and filmed. The supporting cast is competent and Christensen is excellent. But it is not ambitious and the cheapness comes into play by having almost all the action take place off-screen. During the first half one is fooled into thinking this is a high quality effort. At the point of the swim meet and its sabotaged steroid test, the wheels completely fall off. From that point on the viewer is asked to believe a series of absurd plot developments that could only happen if you credited Madison with Bill Murray's "Groundhog Day" ability to relive days. Mostly off-screen and without plausible explanation she switches Ben's test sample, infiltrates the hospital, and breaks out of a police car. The second half of the movie can best be appreciated by viewing the film as weird comedy, like a restrained version of "Scary Movie".
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Plaigirism!!...seen it all before!
SajeevaS1 October 2004
I was unfortunately not impressed at all with this so called 'blockbuster' movie, as i thought it to be a remake of Adrian Lynne's 80's cult classic-"Fatal Attraction".

As i watched it, everything seemed so familiar, the 'bad girl' thrillers have been all seen before, and the only way this differs from all of the others is that this is set in high school. If they trying to make this anither one of those high school classics, it has failed disastrously. For people who thought this movie was great, they should first check out "Fatal attraction"- the concept is the same. Madison- Erika Christensan plays Glen Close's character, Ben - Jesse Bradford plays Micheal Douglas' character, and Amy - shiri Appelby plays Anne Archer's character.

I was not impressed with this movie, and wouldn't recommend it to anyone who has seen "Fatal Attraction".
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Three Words: Fatal Attraction Clone
duce1227 September 2002
Swimfan (2002) D: John Polson. Jesse Bradford, Erika Christensen, Shiri Appleby, Kate Burton, Clayne Crawford, Jason Ritter. This umpteenth teen movie can be described in 3 words: Fatal Attraction Clone. A high school athlete (Bradford) has a one night stand with a seductive psycho (Christensen), who proceeds to turn his life into a living hell once he rejects her. A very tired formula indeed, but it does have a few tense moments, until an ultimately ridiculous finale. RATING: 6 out of 10. Rated PG-13 for sexual situations and violence.
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teenage stalker film, quite routine
dromasca24 September 2004
There is nothing really bad in 'Swimfan', but not enough good material either to make it worth of even an average B movie. It's a teenage drama, the story is about a new girl in town acted by the attractive Erika Christensen who eyes an average college guy, with some sport ambitions, a girlfriend relationship who should make him happy for the rest of his life, but with some troubled history of himself that makes him a potential stalker victim. He will become one, after a one time stand turns into an obsessive pressure from the newcomer. The problem is that the tension does not really get too hard, the characters are too average to raise interest beyond the physical appearance, and the director although doing a fair cinema job never succeeds to put something challenging enough on the screen to raise the interest of the viewers. The script is quite well paced for the first part, then it falls into routine and becomes predictable as well. No real bad moments, but nothing interesting enough to make anybody remember this film one hour after its end. 5 out of 10 on my personal scale.
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*** out of 5
casey_choas6612 April 2003
If Fear was the illegitimate love child of Cape Fear then Swimfan is its bratty little bastardized cousin. I am having a hard time deciphering whether this is a story of revenge, longing for something missing or downright blatant sadomasochism, either way it was bound to fall flat sooner or later. This is a film that walks the thin line between atmospheric and ludicrous with results that are sometimes creepy and sometimes provide for a good unintentional laugh riot. As if that wasn't enough, just when you thought everything could be going good the film spits on that line and then walks away snickering. This is a film seemingly so bent on destruction and disaster that it almost seems as if filmmakers didn't realize it was going to turn out this morbidly goofy. Ben Cronin, a bad boy gone good, is a top athlete who may just be a scholarship away from achieving his life dreams. But things weren't always this happy. He spent time in a Juvenal detention centre for his drug addictions. Now a clean man and an all around loving guy, Ben is presented with a new drug that could be the end of happiness, as he knows it. This is a drug that may feel good at first but as it invades your privacy during a moment of weakness and becomes a controlling factor over your personality you become addicted. It is at this point where you become not of your own skin and learn to despise what you see in the mirror ever day, enter Madison (Erica Christensen in a role so sexually charged that you almost wish she was given a decent script to emote from). The deviant vixen strikes attraction to Ben and in a moment of weakness his dreams are laid on the line for one night of pleasure with her. He instantly regrets his moral dilemma and tries to avoid Madison's curse. But soon he finds that she had different ideas in mind for the two and begins his decent into human smile. Now I am not trying to argue that this film is void of all intellectual promise, such is not the case. Its major downfall that sets it apart from its senior counterparts is that we have a script that would rather surround itself in the apathy created from the over use of dramatic irony instead of the communication process of human nature. This is a film about character that forgets its characters. The results are a film about character interaction with very little care for cause of the situation. Instead of feeling that our characters are journeying thought a process of harsh self-discovery we are reduced to feel that they all instead, suffer from a case of mental velocitization. What is left is a brilliant account of the brutality that is suffered within an seemingly normal persons stream of thought and how unidentifiable emotions dominate the mind, that becomes nothing more than a stupid teen thriller by means of false delivery and rushed solutions. Then climaxing with a mirrored exaggeration of the results of a choice enacted bye a few thrill seeking teens and not a portrait of the reality of self-paranoia as suggested by the first half of the film. This is not to peg teen films as having less moral code than that of other thrillers. Teen flicks like Joy Ride and the Forsaken are prime examples of good teen horror. Joy Ride was bold in its set-up and the Forsaken was fun in its barely believable execution. This film finds itself swaying in the middle of a crossroad with grounds for action but no means for cause. It is far to atmospheric to be fun and far to cliched to too bold. Since this film is one of character let's talk of character, shall we? Madison is a very sexually charged presence with a state of mind so that she acts out her emotions instead of recognizing them. She is the equivalent to walking out of a store when the alarm goes off and no one tends to the situation. She is an extremely riveting character until she turns into Charles Manson during the final act of the film. Because of this, her methods go without purpose. In Cape Fear, Max Cady was a metaphorical foil character reminiscent of the Archangel Gabriel, who is sent to right the wrongs of mankind though pain and suffering. Madison's wild lapses in sanity are given no treatment as a cause for concern therefore she becomes nothing more than a b-grade stalker with twisted desires that fuel her fire to escape life. Also with her sanity goes her sexual being. This is a very sexy film but director John Polson clearly doesn't recognize that sexy is a state of mind not a state of physical well being. Mystery is sexy, lunacy is not. Just once I wish someone would make a film where the deranged are treated as equal a human being as everyone else and for a moment I thought I was going to receive with this film until it collapses under its own weight. Remember in Cape Fear when Sam Bowden became just as much a villain as Cady did? Well Ben does much of the same in practice. He begins to feel regret over his wrongful actions and starts to drift away into a state of insanity to a point where he can't distinguish between right and wrong anymore. This would have been all right if this were not a character that was first presented as an all around great human specimen. This film gives us no reason to dislike Ben so therefore when his life starts spinning, our emotions becomes terribly confused. This also presents us with no characters to root for. It is like watching a hockey game with no teams playing, if you don't know whom to care for why care at all? This is a film that possessed so much promise it is sad that it became more worried about its age demographic than the quality of its outcome. It also suffers some of the most awkward editing committed to film. This is a technique used cleverly in films such as Out of Sight and the Limey (neither films I would ever recommend) but loses all focus here and makes it far to hard to decipher between reality and the minds ideology. There was a moment in this film when I thought quite the funny little query. After Madison starts seeing one of Ben's friends I thought to myself `I wonder how long it will be until I see that 'She is only with you to get to me' scene.' To my astonishment it never appeared. But after I had taken it upon myself to view the deleted scenes feature of the DVD it was right there clear as day, this was more than enough to produce a giggle from me. Now let's assume that you can stomach the fact that this film turned from a creepy little thriller about the human psychosis into a predicable and over exaggerated teen stalker flick, there is still the climax to bear. This is the point when the director figured that he had a method figured out to show films that suffer from weak endings how to change this problem. His solution, to omit it. The climax of this film is so scarce that when the film as over I had to scratch my head and wonder what had happened. After having time to ponder over this I found some amusement in this blatant exploitation of moviegoers. The acting here is surprisingly strong, especially noteworthy is James DeBello as Dante, Madison's weird cousin, who could have been a great asset to the film if he were treated more as a disgruntled individual than more of a guardian stranger with a quick fix to help. Also Erica Christensen makes a smooth transition from a drug induced teen in Traffic to a sexually induced teen with eerie precision. In the end this is not a bad film; it just isn't all that good of one either. It could have been brilliant and showed signs of success within the first half, but then fell flat on its face. But hey feel free to pick up a copy of this film, kick back and enjoy it, because after all, as a misunderstood teen, you disserve it.
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