Does this dramatic suspense have a psycho? Of course. Is she anywhere in the above image? No! Jamie must be too sinister to show up in pictures. :) The blown-up image of the man is actually the main teen girl's (Lisa) swim coach, played by Michael Madsen of Thelma & Louise. He comes in handy as her motivator, keeping her mind straight amidst her parents separation and her dad's new off-kilter neighbor. But the psycho, Jamie, is another story altogether, and it is her role that makes Lisa and everyone else in this movie stay constantly alert.
Character Development/Writing Quality: Good. . .until the final moment, which made no sense at all. The next to last scene is well done, but the wrapping up if it is not handled properly as we jump to an impossible next scene.
Values: The broken marriage is not abandoned as Lisa's parents commit to therapy and doing what they can to keep their family unit together. The husband is heavily seduced by Jamie, but outside of a small kiss, does not allow her to use him, insisting he "cannot do this".
Content (sex, language & violence): No sex. Minimal mild language. Violence: a surprising scene when someone is suddenly hit by a car, someone's throat is slashed, someone is choked. We don't get enough of Lisa and Tim's perspectives on these as the director keeps us with Jamie during these intense moments instead.
Scare Factor/Suspense: Jamie is the kind of psycho that makes herself obvious. Within minutes of anybody meeting her, her instability is easy to detect. She's upfront, in your face, no holding back crazy. So, not so much suspense as watching her fly off the handle at Lisa's friends, at Lisa's mother, at anyone who dares speak to Lisa, outside of her dad, of course, whom Jamie is bent on making her own.
So, the psycho role is a bit different here because we can tell that Jamie is off her rocker from the start, and so can Lisa, even if it takes her a little bit. Tim, the father, takes a bit longer to detect the wack job because she is on her best behavior for him, hoping to win him over and take him away from his estranged wife. So the new kind of psycho is refreshing--she's loud, over-imaginative about what's really happening, and relentless.
The film gives us a lot of smart characters too. Lisa is quite intuitive and does a good job at staying afloat, even when things get hard. Penny, Lisa's best friend, upon meeting Jamie, instantly voices, out loud, in front of Jamie, how off she is. This was a good move as the writer gave us some smart characters throughout. Lisa's mom is another character who refuses to take any baloney from her.
It would have been nice to see a build up of Jamie, why she is this way, for instance, for how long. There's a brief mention about her parents, but not enough to help us understand what happened, or why.
Another strong aspect of the film lies within Cristine Prosperi (Lisa), who is phenomenal at playing a teen, portraying her hurt over her parents slip and her remorse over isolating herself from her friends in a natural convincing way. She's the kind of pal you'd want, or the kind of daughter that you'd love to have. It's refreshing to see how maturely she handles all of the strangeness with Jamie.
Overall, a pretty good movie with a likeable MC and a dangerous villain played by Ahslynn Yennie in a memorable way, though solidly insane and obviously so.
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