2 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
obsession betrayal revenge Call this film Fatal Attraction in High School and you pretty much know everything about it. While there's an attractive cast and a certain amount of creepy tension, it's a by-the-books drama about a psychotic obsession. Ben (Bradford) is the star swimmer in school, with a great girlfriend (Appleby), a loyal best friend (Crawford) and a bright future. Then a new girl, Madison (Christensen), arrives on campus and Ben can't keep himself from going after her. He knows he's made a terrible mistake, but he doesn't realize he's playing with fire. As Ben tries to extricate himself from the mess, he only makes Madison more and more angry. And she will not be ignored!

While the film is quite well-made by Australian actor-director Polson, and the young cast is very good, there is nothing remotely original about this film. Right from the beginning we can tell exactly where it's headed--all we have to do is run down the thriller checklist. We can spot the references that will come back later with new and "amazing" significance. We know the fates of every character. We know exactly when things will twist and get even more grisly. And all of this is frustrating, because there's potential here for a terrific little thriller. But aside from the casting and a bit of cinematic style, there's nothing fresh or original at all. If only the filmmakers had resisted the urge to go down the well-worn Hollywood thriller path.

cert 12 adult themes and situations, violence, language 22.Aug.02

dir John Polson
scr Charles Bohl, Phillip Schneider
with Jesse Bradford, Erika Christensen, Shiri Appleby, Clayne Crawford, Kate Burton, Dan Hedaya, James DeBello, Jason Ritter, Kia Joy Goodwin, Michael Higgins, Nick Sandow, Pamela Isaacs
release US 6.Sep.02; UK 20.Sep.02
02/US 1h29

Troubled waters. Best pals Ben and Josh have an argument beside the pool (Bradford and Crawford)...

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
send your review to Shadows... some girls have all the fun Jesse, England: "Totally awesome. You get to see Jesse in his speedos. What's better than watching that?" (9.Oct.02)

Michael, NYC: 1.5/5 "Someone certainly got the axe for greenlighting this film. If its predictability does not rankle you at every plot twist fronted by an organ sound, the ho-hum performances from approximately everyone in the cast will. Concerned coach, insipid mother, goody goody girlfriend, tarty new girl with creepo brother, and most of all the one-dimensional, 'why is this happening to me' acting of Jesse Bradford." (21.Aug.04)

2002 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall