Night Swim Review

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Rating: 2/5

Synopsis:

January horror kicks off with “Night Swim”. Does it have the same stamina as 2022’s M3GAN? Baseball player Ray Waller is forced to retire due to a serious illness. His family purchases a home with a swimming pool, which Ray hopes to use for physical therapy. But when a series of strange events occur, the family uncovers that the pool is inhabited by a demonic force. Once this entity has invaded the Waller’s lives, they start to wonder if they can ever be free from it?

Positives:

“Night Swim” didn’t stimulate my anticipation levels the same way a “Halloween” or “Scream” movie would, but I was hoping the unique premise would win me over. While the film is not successful as a whole, the filmmakers gave it a good effort. This was originally a short film, which fits the subject matter better. But the story tries to add more substance, coming with mixed results. On one hand, the idea of a family being drawn to a home with a pool to use for physical therapy and for the enjoyment of children is a good way to get the plot rolling. On another, the premise quickly divulges into silliness and shows why this story wasn’t meant to be a feature length film. For Bryce McGuire being a first-time filmmaker, I’ll cut him some slack. He really worked with the resources he had to make a competent film.

The movie has some nice-looking shots as well. There are some creepy sequences when there is steam coming off the pool or where a flickering light under the water makes for a visually appealing scare. I believe the premise is a tricky one to fill with proper substance. Crafting a premise where monsters hide within a pool and an explanation that makes sense is a difficult task. So again, credit where credit is due for making a story that is somewhat plausible.

Negatives:

The traditional bad January streak was broken in 2021 and 2022 with “Scream” and “M3GAN”. Unfortunately, “Night Swim” takes us back to the darker times of January horror. This film is a failed attempt to create something new and exciting, but the premise starts off strong, where having a pool makes sense for this family. The opening scene is effective, introducing the cursed pool and making me wondering where the rest of the story would go. But once explanations of the events are revealed, it’s hard to feel satisfied. I almost wonder if this story was a genuine attempt to create a better version of the short story, or if the studio saw this as an attempt at a cash grab. It’s not clear, which leads me to believe the latter. The acting was also weak, but I believe this as partly due to a script that asks a lot…even from the best of actors.

The trailer teased some cool monsters as well, but this part of the storyline felt unfocused and underwhelming. There wasn’t one entity that seemed to have control over the pool, but instead there was a strange reveal about its origins and why it’s haunted. It was a good idea in theory, but the payoff just didn’t create a satisfying result. That’s how I would categorize the film as a whole, a cool idea that is limited by the premise. So naturally the filmmakers had to create something to complete the story and have some scary monsters. By the end, I was unsatisfied and uncurious where the story would go in the future.

Conclusion:

“Night Swim” attempts to do something new with a premise that is limited in substance. This is evident as the reveals and history surrounding the pool fall into silliness and don’t translate to a terrifying experience. The actors are unfortunately asked to buy into a script that doesn’t do them any favors. This is a January horror film that will likely be forgotten in years to come. Go see a movie from the Christmas season instead!