Universal Pictures have been soft-pedalling this psychological thriller of the Fatal Attraction/Sleeping With the Enemy mode with the press by holding its only press screening in Skokie, but I’m not sure why they expected us to dislike it. James Foley (After Dark, My Sweet, Glengarry Glen Ross), working as uncredited cowriter with Cameron Crowe, is one of the best current studio directors around, and even if you feel ambivalent about the subgenre he adopts here, as I do, you can’t deny he knows how to deliver the goods. A 16-year-old girl in Seattle (Reese Witherspoon) falls for a young man (Mark Wahlberg) with a troubled background who eventually becomes obsessed with her; complicating the issue at least momentarily is the ambivalent feelings of her own father (William Petersen) about her budding sexuality. If all you’re looking for here is brutal jolts, you’ll probably feel impatient; this has at least as gradual a buildup as Hitchcock’s The Birds, and Foley’s sense of fine shading in depicting a slightly troubled family from the outset is largely what kept me interested. The problem with this subgenre is the way it has to demonize and dehumanize its villain or villains in order to produce the desired effects, which brutalizes the spectator along with the story and characters, but if you can accept this limitation, this is a very efficient piece of machinery. With Alyssa Milano and Amy Brenneman.