Plot: Ben (Jessie Bradford) fell into some trouble with drugs, but he has turned his life around and now, seems poised to have it all. His devotion to swimming has yielded an impressive level of skill and soon, Stanford will come to scout him and likely offer him a full scholarship. He has a beautiful girlfriend Amy (Shiri Appleby), good friends, and is well liked at school, so he seems to have quite the bright future. But when he meets the alluring Madison (Erika Christensen), things take some unexpected turns and Ben is seduced by her looks and charisma. He tries to resist her, but a late night swim session turns into a sexual liaison, which both agree to keep under wraps. But Madison seems to want more than just a one night stand and continues to pursue Ben, despite his obvious desire for her to take a hike. Will she get the hint and leave him alone, or has he made a huge mistake by falling into Madison’s web?
Entertainment Value: A high school spin on a Lifetime style obsessed stalker thriller, Swimfan offers a competent premise, some high melodrama, and a great psycho lead in Erika Christensen. The narrative is a well worn one, but has good tension and while the drama is ratcheted up, the core concept seems plausible, so it isn’t some wild, overly complex setup. While it doesn’t break new ground with the story elements, it tells a familiar thread in capable fashion and polishes the genre tropes, so it doesn’t feel like a simple retread. This kind of story needs a good villain and Christensen more than delivers in that role. She has the look and charisma to showcase the seductive side of the role, as well as the unstable menace to make her a believable psycho, she really runs with the material here. While she is fantastic, Jessie Bradford is a deer in the headlights and does little whatsoever with his role, so Christensen carries the movie on the villain’s shoulders. The rest of the cast is fine, but honestly, this is the Erika Christensen show and she shines in the spotlight as Madison. I do wish the movie was a little sleazier and more unhinged, but Swimfan is a solid teen spin on the stalker driven thriller and well worth a look for fans of crazy females.
No nakedness. The movie has some sex scenes and Madison weaponizes her sexual allure, but Swimfan keeps it clean. This is a shame, as the movie could benefit from some added sleaze and darker moments, but it is what it is. No blood. There’s some mild violence at times, but it is never graphic. Madison doesn’t mess around and tries to kill people, including dumping her rival into the deep end of a pool, strapped to a chair. I think the movie is held back by the PG-13 limitations, as this could have been epic with some dialed up sleaze and violence. But not everyone likes their thrillers totally cranked up, so it makes sense. Madison is always good for a fun or creepy line, whether she is praising someone’s penis size or going mental after being rejected. Ben’s dumb persona is kind of funny at times, as he is so clueless and oblivious, but Madison gets most of the memorable lines here. As for craziness, Madison is a capable psycho and provides some fun moments, but overall this one stays within the thriller genre guidelines, though it does turn up the melodrama.
Overall Insanity: 2/10