Back to School Part II #51: Killer Coach (dir by Lee Friedlander)

For the past three weeks, Lisa Marie has been in the process of reviewing 56 back to school films!  She’s promised the rest of the TSL staff that this project will finally wrap up by the end of today, so that she can devote her time to helping to prepare the site for its annual October horrorthon!  Will she make it or will she fail, lose her administrator privileges, and end up writing listicles for Buzzfeed?  Keep reading the site to find out!)


The 2016 film Killer Coach premiered on Lifetime on July 30th.  At the time, I suspected that it was probably being released specifically to capitalize on all of the attention that was being paid to the Summer Olympics in general and Michael Phelps in specific.  After all, Killer Coach is a film about a swimmer in trouble and, as you might guess from the title, a lot of that trouble has to do with her coach.

Now, I have to admit that I kinda ignored the Olympics this year.  I’m as shocked as anyone by that but, quite frankly, I just wasn’t feeling it.  2016 has sapped the enjoyment out of a lot of events that you could previously depend upon.  Hopefully, I’ll regain my excitement in 2018 because I’d hate to miss the curling.  Along with not being into the Olympics this year, I also have an intense fear of drowning and movies that feature people trapped underwater tend to give me nightmares.  With all that in mind, I was worried that Killer Coach might not be for me.  However, I still watched it because it was on Lifetime.  You know how that goes.

Well, I shouldn’t have worried.  Killer Coach was pure Lifetime goodness, even if it never quite reached the wonderful heights of The Perfect Teacher or Babysitter’s Black Book.  Though the film may have been advertised to exploit all the attention being given to the Olympics, it was not necessary to be a swim fan to appreciate it.  As for the drowning scenes — well, there were a few but they didn’t traumatize me.  In the best Lifetime tradition, Killer Coach is pure entertainment.  No need to worry about trauma.

As for the film, it’s about Samantha (Javicia Leslie).  Sam is a smart and popular high school student.  She also has the potential to be one of the best swimmers in the country and is looking forward to going to college on a swim scholarship.  Who knows?  Olympics medals may be in her future!  As for Sam, she’s mostly just looking forward to a future with her boyfriend (Cameron Jebo).

Sam’s coach, Gina (Keesha Sharp), puts her under constant pressure.  Nothing is ever good enough for Gina.  That’s what a coach is supposed to do, right?  The only problem is that Gina is also Sam’s mother and it’s obvious that she’s reliving her own past as a championship swimmer through her daughter.  Gina is so intense that Sam is happy that the new assistant coach appears to be so laid back.  Even better, Bryce (Tom Maden) is hot!

Of course, he’s also kind of crazy.  After a one night stand, he grows obsessed with Sam and starts stalking her.  It’s actually kind of a nice reverse on the typical Lifetime storyline.  Usually, it’s a student stalking a teacher.

Anyway, there’s more to the story than just that.  Bryce is fueled by more than just obsession and Gina has secrets in her own past.  I didn’t really care about any of that and I could have done without it.  The film is far more interesting when it just focuses on Bryce as a crazed authority figure.

Killer Coach is well-filmed by veteran Lifetime director Lee Friedlander and he keeps the story moving along quickly.  Leslie is sympathetic as Samantha and Maden is memorably unhinged as her stalker.  Killer Coach is an above average Lifetime film and definitely an entertaining way to spend two hours.

One response to “Back to School Part II #51: Killer Coach (dir by Lee Friedlander)

  1. Pingback: Film Review: High School Lover (dir by Jerell Rosales) | Through the Shattered Lens

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