Movies Like 'Swimfan' to Watch Next

Looking for thrillers about obsession? Discover these 10 films (and yes, they're all more highly critically acclaimed than 'Swimfan' was).
by Annie Lyons — 

Erika Christensen in 'Swimfan'

20th Century Fox

Twenty years ago, movie audiences dove into Swimfan for the first time. Pun intended. 

Directed by John Polson, the teen psychological thriller follows Ben Cronin (Jesse Bradford), a high school swim team star with a great girlfriend and seemingly bright future. But his life goes sideways after he meets new girl Madison Bell (Erika Christensen), who seduces him despite claiming she has a boyfriend back home. The pair agree their affair was a one-night stand — only it soon becomes clear the obsessive Madison has other plans as she begins stalking Ben and meddling in his life. What follows includes mayhem, murder, a creepy shrine, and a climatic sequence that takes place at, of course, a swimming pool.

Swimfan overwhelmingly received negative reviews from critics and only has a Metascore of 29. But as some fans can attest, the movie's sometimes campy, sometimes trashy nature is all part of the fun. With its 2002 release, Swimfan also came right at the end of the erotic thriller's heyday. The movie followed in the footsteps of other teen takes on the genre, including Poison Ivy, The Crush, and The Babysitter, plus a few more featured in the list below. Swimfan fits the sleazy mold, thanks to its sexually provocative themes, delectably heightened tone, and misogynistic trope of a "crazy," scorned woman. As a bonus, genre stalwart Michael Douglas' production company co-produced the film. 

If you're thirsting for more Swimfan, Metacritic has rounded up a list of similar films. This list will appeal to those looking for more teen psychological thrillers, erotic thrillers, and films about obsession or stalkers, but they are all more highly critically acclaimed.

Here, Metacritic highlights 10 movies like Swimfan to watch next. 


'Play Misty for Me'

Universal Pictures

Play Misty for Me

Metascore: 78
Best for: Fans of psychological thrillers and movies about obsessive fans
Where to watch:

, Google Play, , Vudu
Runtime: 102 minutes

Much like Swimfan, Clint Eastwood's 1971 directorial debut is another psychological thriller about a deadly flirtation. Eastwood stars as Dave Garber, a popular radio DJ who meets a stranger named Evelyn (Jessica Walter) at a bar one night and hooks up with her. But he soon discovers that their meeting was no accident and that Evelyn's a dedicated fan of his show who frequently calls in to request the song "Misty." When Evelyn begins stalking him, Dave tries to disengage, only for her to grow more threatening after he rekindles things with a former girlfriend. Walter received a Golden Globe nomination for her performance. 

"Eastwood wrings every ounce of tension from a scenario in which a casual affair turns into a life-threatening mistake, and the film executes a potentially trashy scenario with respect for its audience." — Keith Phipps, The Dissolve


From left to right: Elizabeth Olsen and Aubrey Plaza in 'Ingrid Goes West'


Ingrid Goes West

Metascore: 71
Best for: Fans of satires about social media and movies about stalkers
Where to watch:

, , Google Play, , Vudu
Runtime: 98 minutes

More overtly humorous than Swimfan, this 2017 dark comedy examines how social media can fuel unhealthy obsessions and desires. Ingrid Thorburn (Aubrey Plaza) is a mentally unstable young woman who struggles to differentiate between social media and reality. After experiencing rock bottom, she decides to move to Los Angeles in hopes of befriending a famous Instagram influencer, Taylor Sloane (Elizabeth Olsen), who has become her new fixation. Ingrid manages to embed herself in Taylor's life, though not without attracting suspicion as she endeavors to maintain her place in Taylor's inner circle. 

"A wickedly on-target cautionary tale about whom we let 'influence' us and just how little is to be gained by looking 'West,' much less going there." — Roger Moore, Movie Nation 


Glenn Close in 'Fatal Attraction'

Paramount Pictures

Fatal Attraction

Metascore: 67
Best for: Fans of classic erotic thrillers
Where to watch:

, Google Play, HBO Max, , Vudu
Runtime: 119 minutes

It's easy to think of Swimfan as a teen version of Adrian Lyne's 1987 erotic thriller, Fatal Attraction. Douglas stars as Dan Gallagher, a successful New York lawyer who shares a blissful life with his wife and daughter. One weekend, he has what he believes is a casual affair with book editor Alex (Glenn Close) — only she thinks otherwise. Alex begins to aggressively pursue Dan, calling him nonstop and showing up at his apartment. The situation escalates as she grows increasingly unstable, soon endangering Dan's family. The film received six Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director. 

"Fatal Attraction becomes as seductive as the seduction it depicts. In the always stylish, sometimes careless hands of director Adrian Lyne, the film lures us in with an artful blend of stately pacing and caressing close-ups and brooding silences." — Rick Groen, The Globe and Mail


Bridget Fonda and Jennifer Jason Leigh in 'Single White Female'

Columbia Pictures

Single White Female

Metascore: 63
Best for: Fans of psychological thrillers exploring dangerous obsessions
Where to watch:

, Google Play, , , Vudu
Runtime: 107 minutes

In Single White Female, Allie (Bridget Fonda) gets more than she bargained for when Hedy (Jennifer Jason Leigh) answers her ad for a new roommate. The pair seem like total opposites, but Allie is reeling from a recent breakup and bonds with timid Hedy, who reveals details of a traumatic past. But Hedy's initially overprotective behavior turns sinister as she starts to imitate Allie, copying her hair and clothes. As Hedy tries to take over her life, Allie must fight for control. Directed by Barbet Schroeder, the 1992 thriller is based on John Lutz's novel SWF Seeks Same

"Even though Single White Female is more second-rate, knife-stabbing psycho drivel, it's no pain to sit through. It looks great, for one thing. It has two fabulous faces — Bridget Fonda and Jennifer Jason Leigh. It's also funny, sexy, suspenseful and, yes, utterly stupid." — Desson Thomson, Washington Post


Shia LaBeouf in 'Disturbia'

Paramount Pictures


Metascore: 62
Best for: Fans of teen thrillers and movies about voyeurism
Where to watch:

, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 105 minutes

Directed by D.J. Caruso, this 2007 teen thriller pays homage to Alfred Hitchcock's classic tale of voyeurism, Rear Window. Following the traumatic death of his father, social outcast Kale Brecht (Shia LaBeouf) attacks one of his teachers, resulting in three months of house arrest. Bored and isolated, Kale spies on his suburban community with binoculars to pass the time, including new girl Ashley (Sarah Roemer) and his mysterious next-door neighbor Robert (David Morse), a single man living alone. After hearing reports of a serial killer in the area, Kale begins to suspect Robert of murder. 

"The battery of startling shock cuts can get repetitive and the plot has a few potholes, but the palpable atmosphere of vulnerability keeps the drama knotted in tension and the audience rooted to the teens in peril." — Sean Axmaker, Seattle Post-Intelligencer


Ryan Phillippe and Reese Witherspoon in 'Cruel Intentions'

Sony Pictures

Cruel Intentions

Metascore: 56
Best for: Fans of erotic thrillers and teen movies based on classic literature 
Where to watch:

, Google Play, , Vudu
Runtime: 97 minutes

Cruel Intentions adapts the classic French novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses, relocating its examination of ruthless and shallow social dynamics to a Manhattan prep school full of wealthy teens. Directed by Roger Kumble, the 1999 film follows the exploits of vengeful Kathryn (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and womanizer Sebastian (Ryan Phillippe), two step-siblings who relish in emotional manipulation. The pair make a wager over whether Sebastian can seduce the new headmaster's chaste daughter Annette (Reese Witherspoon), but Sebastian soon finds himself falling for his target. Since its release, the film has become a cult classic and inspired two sequels. 

"It is maliciously entertaining, up to a point." — Bob Graham, San Francisco Chronicle


Sydney Sweeney and Justice Smith in 'The Voyeurs'

Amazon Studios

The Voyeurs

Metascore: 54
Best for: Fans of erotic thrillers with unexpected twists and turns
Where to watch:

Runtime: 116 minutes

Released in 2021, The Voyeurs offers a modern take on the erotic thriller. When Pippa (Sydney Sweeney) and Thomas (Justice Smith) move into a downtown loft, the young couple discovers they have the perfect view into an apartment across the street. One night, the pair begin spying on their new neighbors, intrigued by their exciting sex life. What starts as a playful curiosity soon intensifies as Pippa and Thomas figure out a way to eavesdrop on the neighbors' conversations. As Pippa's obsession grows more unhealthy, so does her desire to intervene in the neighbors' lives, setting off a disastrous chain of events.

"From the stiff leading performances to the clunky, pretentious dialogue, The Voyeurs often feels like an amateur outing, but there's also genuine wit in the film's visual storytelling (particularly a number of clever match cuts), and an unpredictable enough payoff in the third act that it makes for a fresh, memorable viewing experience." — Lauren J. Coates, The Playlist


Jennifer Love Hewitt and Freddie Prinze Jr. in 'I Know What You Did Last Summer'

Columbia Pictures

I Know What You Did Last Summer

Metascore: 52
Best for: Fans of slashers and classic '90s teen movies
Where to watch:

, Google Play, HBO Max, , Vudu
Runtime: 100 minutes

For those interested in a stalking story with a greater horror feel, I Know What You Did Last Summer is another quintessential late '90s/early aughts teen thriller. Loosely based on Lois Duncan's novel of the same name, the film revolves on a group of four young friends who kill a man when covering up a car accident. One year later, they receive a menacing message referencing their past crime and are stalked by a hook-wielding killer. The film features a cast of young '90s stars, including Gellar, Phillippe, Freddie Prinze Jr., and Jennifer Love Hewitt

"Though it flies in the face of credibility and becomes downright silly by its end, I Know What You Did Last Summer knows its way around the rules of the popular horror-film genre." — Lawrence Van Gelder, The New York Times


Denise Richards in 'Wild Things'

Columbia Pictures

Wild Things

Metascore: 52 
Best for: Fans of Florida noir and erotic thrillers
Where to watch:

, , Google Play, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 108 minutes

Taking place in a hot and humid Florida locale, Wild Things is a sexually provocative neo-noir full of soapy twists and turns. The 1998 film revolves around Sam (Matt Dillon), a high school guidance counselor accused of rape by two students, upper-crust debutante Kelly (Denise Richards) and poor outcast Suzie (Neve Campbell). During the subsequent trial, Suzie admits the girls made up their story, and Sam receives a hefty defamation settlement from Kelly's wealthy mother. But police detective Ray (Kevin Bacon) suspects there's more to the story and decides to continue his investigation, leading to jaw-dropping reveals. 

"A sleazy, seamy, flashy, steamy, vulgar exploitation thriller that revels in every minute of its own trashiness and delivers some pretty solid — if prurient — entertainment before strangling in a one-twist-too-many ending." — Maitland McDonagh, TV Guide Magazine


Mark Wahlberg in 'Fear'

Fear (1996)

Metascore: 51 
Best for: Fans of psychological thrillers and movies about stalkers
Where to watch:

, , , , Vudu
Runtime: 97 minutes

While Swimfan and many of the other thrillers on this list share the trope of an unstable and dangerous scorned woman, Fear offers a different perspective by applying this idea to a rejected boyfriend. Mark Wahlberg stars as David McCall, a charming 20-something who sweeps 16-year-old Nicole Walker (Witherspoon) off her feet. Her father Steven (William Petersen) doesn't trust the much older and rebellious David. After Nicole breaks up with David over his possessive and violent behavior, Steven's worst fears become true as David tries to forcefully bring Nicole back to his side by invading the family's home. 

"A nasty little thriller that starts out on a somewhat higher plane but eventually trades in its level head for conventional scare tactics and violence." — Stephen Holden, The New York Times