Combustible Celluloid Review - Night Swim (2024), Bryce McGuire, based on the short film by Rod Blackhurst and Bryce McGuire, Bryce McGuire, Wyatt Russell, Kerry Condon, Amélie Hoeferle, Gavin Warren, Elijah J. Roberts, Rahnuma Panthaky, Jodi Long, Eddie Martinez, Ben Sinclair
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With: Wyatt Russell, Kerry Condon, Amélie Hoeferle, Gavin Warren, Elijah J. Roberts, Rahnuma Panthaky, Jodi Long, Eddie Martinez, Ben Sinclair
Written by: Bryce McGuire, based on the short film by Rod Blackhurst and Bryce McGuire
Directed by: Bryce McGuire
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for terror, some violent content and language
Running Time: 98
Date: 01/05/2024
IMDB

Night Swim (2024)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Damn Pool

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

It's an idea so ridiculous that it might have been a dizzy, silly camp classic, but this straightforward horror movie is presented seriously, with no real scares, and no awareness of its silliness.

Ray Waller (Wyatt Russell) is a former third baseman for the Milwaukee Brewers, now diagnosed with M.S. Seeking a place to settle down, Ray, his wife Eve (Kerry Condon), their teen daughter Izzy (Amélie Hoeferle) and younger son Elliot (Gavin Warren) discover a beautiful house with a swimming pool in the backyard. As Ray's doctor has recommended water therapy, it seems too good to be true.

And, indeed, it's not long before Ray seems to be getting better. But the kids and Eve have experienced strange events in the water, including being grabbed by monstrous hands and seeing strange, ghostly figures. After a disastrous pool party with the neighbors, it becomes clear that something is wrong. Eve begins hunting for the source of the haunting, while Ray begins acting increasingly strange.

We've had movies about haunted beds and motorcycles, and possessed trucks and tomatoes, and the haunted swimming pool in Night Swim is just as preposterous as any of them. And yet director and co-writer Bryce McGuire — who based the movie on his own four-minute short — crams it all into a generic horror movie formula, complete with dumb jump-scares and an answer-seeking visit to the previous haunting victims.

The movie doesn't even have any consistency in its rules. The water itself is supposedly haunted, and yet, the pool is filled with gory-faced monsters, as well as sweet-faced ghosts of the innocent souls it has claimed, and all are capable of grabbing unsuspecting swimmers. There's also a swirling black goo that seems to be responsible for something.

We get competent acting from Russell and recent Oscar-nominee Condon (The Banshees of Inisherin), and they help conjure some genuine moments of family interaction, but the more absurd things get, the less we care. By the end of this not-scary chiller, Night Swim has gone right down the drain.

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