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Film / Swimfan

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Swimfan is a 2002 teen thriller film directed by John Polson, starring Jesse Bradford, Erika Christensen, and Shiri Appleby.

New Jersey high school senior Ben Cronin (Bradford) is a former juvenile delinquent, whose past criminal behavior was fueled by and for drug use. He credits the support of his long-time girlfriend Amy Miller (Appleby) and getting into competitive swimming as the primary reasons for turning his life around, which includes working part-time at the hospital where his single mother works. He has become the star swimmer of his high school team, so much so that scouts from Stanford University are coming in a week's time to watch Ben swim.

Ben has a new swim fan in Madison Bell (Christensen) a recent transfer student to Ben's high school. Despite Ben making it clear that he is in a committed relationship, Madison seduces him, the seduction to which he succumbs. They agree afterward that their encounter was a one-time only event, but Ben slowly comes to the realization that despite Madison's assertions to the contrary...

The film includes the following tropes:

  • The Ace: Ben was this until Madison came along: Lovable Jock, hospital volunteer, good boyfriend, good son, overcomer of a Dark and Troubled Past, on track for an elite college.
  • Actor Allusion: Funny enough, Erika Christensen also made love in a pool in The Banger Sisters, also released in September of 2002.
  • Artistic License – Medicine: Hospital volunteers do NOT give medicine, as Ben is seen doing several times.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Madison is dead, Ben and Amy have reconciled, and he's been cleared of all charges, but Madison's damage to his life might be irrevocable—he's still off the swim team, meaning his chances of a scholarship might be gone.
  • Car Fu: Madison runs down Amy which puts her into a wheelchair
  • Chekhov's Skill: An inversion - Madison is a huge fan of Ben, and she can't swim. If you think you've figured out what happens to her in the climax... you're absolutely right.
  • Covers Always Lie: The poster depicts Ben and Amy in the pool together, which never happens in the movie.
  • Finding a Bra in Your Car: At a party, Madison asks Ben if he found the pair of panties that she "left" in his car after their pool encounter. She likely placed them there herself, since they are next seen squarely in the middle of the passenger seat that Amy presumably sat in on the way to the party.
  • Frameup: Madison tampers with Ben's drug test so that he tests positive. His history of drug use doesn't help. Later, she tries to frame him for Josh's murder and for running Amy down
  • I Have Your Girlfriend: In the climax Madison does something like this after she escapes from police custody by threatening to throw in the now wheelchair bound Amy into a pool which she does.
  • Love Hungry: Madison makes Ben say "I love you" in the middle of sex, which he does.
  • Mistaken for Junkie: Ben, thanks to some tampering. It doesn't help that he has a history of drug use.
  • Police Are Useless: Subverted, Madison does eventually gets arrested for her stalking antics before the climax, but the policemen holding her let their guard down and get killed by her which allow her to set up the climax.
  • Recycled In Space: Fatal Attraction with teenagers!
  • The Sociopath: Madison. Unlike Alex Forrest, she has no sympathetic or tragic background. She's just a manipulative and possessive Femme Fatale also willing to kill anyone with no excitation at all just for petty reasons.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Madison. And Josh apparently isn't her first victim.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Ben and Amy's reconciliation is very tentative and he's still off the swim team. It turns out being the victimized protagonist doesn't mean that your life automatically goes back to normal once the villain is defeated.
  • Teens Are Monsters: Well, at least Madison is.
  • Two-Person Pool Party: Ben and Madison.
  • Woman Scorned: After Ben pushes Madison away, she does everything she can to ruin his life, which includes getting him kicked off the swim team and getting him fired from his job.
  • Wrong-Name Outburst: Madison calls Josh "Ben" while they're making out.
  • Yandere: Madison. She develops what seems to be an innocent crush on Ben. After they have sex, she stalks him and starts thinking that they’re a couple. When he tells her that they’re not a couple, she starts meddling with his life. She even tries to kill his girlfriend while proclaiming that she’s the only one who can love Ben.
    “She doesn’t love you like I do, Ben. No one will ever love you like I do!”