Night Swim

Unfortunately, we couldn’t find any streaming offers for Night Swim.

Just when you thought it was safe to return to the water, Blumhouse releases their yearly January horror film, “Night Swim.”

The calendar position of “Night Swim” is the same as that of “M3GAN” from the previous year. And even if nothing could ever match the outrageous heights or cultural significance of that movie, everyone seems to be well aware of the incredibly absurd idea they are accepting here. It concerns a swimming pool that devours humans. Horror industry heavyweights Jason Blum and James Wan, who are also producers, demonstrate once more their ability to frighten audiences while retaining a dark sense of humor.

In the films “Rubber” (about a murderous tire) and “In Fabric” (about a murderous clothing), inanimate objects have already been humanized for shock value. But the thought of a pool turning on the very individuals who seek its calming embrace is such an ingenious twist—it simply looks so luxurious and calming.

Another good touch is how aggressively plain the pool in question is. This is no kidney-shaped oasis from the middle of the century. It’s not a contemporary abomination featuring integrated slides, a swim-up bar, and a cave either.

This is an elongated concrete pool that is embedded in the ground; if you were raised in Southern California during the 1970s, you most likely spent long summer days playing Marco Polo in it.

In turning his short film with Rod Blackhurst into his debut feature, writer-director Bryce McGuire plays with the idea of an ancient and hungry evil lurking beneath the surface of ordinary suburbia. That’s nothing new; it’s classic David Lynch and Stephen King stuff. However, McGuire uses appropriate camera angles and sound design to create a persistent, frightening vibe, as well as building enough tension right from the start.

When a pigtailed, tween girl reaches out at night to fetch an elusive toy boat, she gets devoured by the pool, as seen in a flashback from 1992. In the present, a family is about to move into the same home that has a collapsing pool from years of disuse. Early on, McGuire employs some visually arresting techniques with inverted perspectives and reflections, such as the vivid depiction of blue sky and clouds reflecting off a leaf-strewn pool cover. He seemed to be saying, “This place may seem inviting, but it’s unreliable.” The sound of the diving board groaning implies that there are more risks ahead, and the continual gurgling and belching of the filter creates an unnerving cadence.

The Waller family is hopeful about the stability and healing they believe their home outside the Twin Cities would bring, even if they initially found the prospect of cleaning up overwhelming. Former big league baseball great Ray Waller (played by Walt Russell) was forced to retire from the game that has defined him for a long time due to a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. Eve (“The Banshees of Inisherin,” Kerry Condon’s Oscar nomination), his wife, is eager to settle down after spending so much time relocating the family from city to city. Adolescent daughter Izzy (Amélie Hoeferle) has improved her social skills by adopting a detached, cold demeanor; however, her frail, bashful younger brother Elliot (Gavin Warren) hasn’t fared as well.

With its therapeutic waters, daytime entertainment options, social life, and peaceful moments beneath the sky, the pool seems to hold hope for all of them. The twisted underwater perspective that McGuire frequently employs to frighten us is effective for a short while. In the end, though, he becomes overly dependent on jump scares and a running scene where a person within the pool believes they see someone looking from the edge, but nobody is actually there. But after “Night Swim” delves into the details of what’s actually going on, the vague notion that this pool is simply terrifying takes precedence.

But the revelation of the thing that’s creating all of this fear is so hilarious that I’m going to go with the assumption that McGuire intended that. Nancy Lenehan, who plays a Minnesota charming real estate agent who sells the family the house, and Ben Sinclair, who plays a quirky pool technician, both have funny cameos in short, supporting parts in “Night Swim.” And judging from some of his line deliveries—which are naive and sincere despite increasingly ridiculous circumstances—Russell obviously knows what kind of movie he’s in. It seems as though he is calling us to in, saying, “The water’s fine.”

in theaters right now.

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