Night Swim is the latest supernatural horror film to be brought to our screens by Blumhouse Productions. Based on a short film of the same name from 2014 by director Bryce McGuire, this swimming pool horror is as silly and tedious as it sounds.
The film opens in 1992 on a young girl, who goes out to the family pool at night to retrieve a toy boat for her ill brother. She attempts to retrieve it using a pole net but gets pulled into the water instead. After seeing someone on the edge of the pool who isn’t there, the girl is then dragged underwater by something unseen.
In the present day, the Waller family are searching for a new home due to father Ray (Wyatt Russell) having to retire from professional baseball after the onset of multiple sclerosis. Supported by wife Eve (Kerry Condon) and children Izzy (Amélie Hoeferle) and Elliott (Gavin Warren), Ray is struggling with his diagnosis and desperately hoping for a miracle cure to help him get back into playing baseball.
They find the perfect house with a pool Ray can use for water therapy, and the family work together to tidy up the run-down exterior. On clearing out the old pool, Ray cuts his hand on a drain and when maintenance attends to fix the problem, they advise the family that the pool is self-sustaining, taking its water from an underground spring.
Initially, the pool is a place of enjoyment and therapy for the family, and Ray too has reasons to rejoice as his illness goes into remission, which he puts down to some strange healing powers held by the pool. However, Eve becomes concerned about the pool and the changes in Ray, which is exacerbated by their family cat going missing and both children being attacked while swimming in the pool. Soon Eve learns there is something very sinister going on with their pool and must fight to protect her family from drowning.
I have to be honest, my first thought when seeing the trailer for this film was that there was no way they could make an entire horror film about a swimming pool and if they did, it wouldn’t be good. I was wrong about the former, but sadly not about the latter. The premise of a haunted swimming pool powered by a magical underground spa with healing powers is flimsy and ridiculous at best, it’d take something very special to make this into a truly horrifying, gripping film and sadly Night Swim just doesn’t have it.
The cast is great, but sadly even compelling performances from Wyatt Russell and Kerry Condon can’t make this into something it’s not. The jump scares are predictable, the CGI spooks are laughably bad and this makes the whole film ridiculous and actually quite dull and boring as it isn’t scary in the slightest. This is the kind of story that feels like in the right hands it could’ve turned out to be something much darker and scarier, like a Stephen King short story, but instead, the end result is something that feels more like a family drama than a horror. Its only saving grace is the short run time, but even then it still seems to drag and spends more time focusing on the family drama rather than the spooky pool. I actually think this may have been more successful had they made it a family drama with a magical pool than a full-on supernatural horror.
I’ll admit I did go into Night Swim with some preconceptions, but sadly these proved to be justified and I didn’t enjoy it in the slightest. One of the worst and least scary horror films I’ve seen in quite some time.
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A contract manager moonlighting as a rather discerning film and book critic, with an almost fangirl appreciation for anything made by Christopher Nolan. When I’m not catching up on my latest read or watch, you can usually find me trying out my amateur baking skills – Bake Off here I come!