Night Swim (2024)

Night of the living pool

I’m sure you have a lot of questions about Night Swim, so let’s get right to it.

Q: What is Night Swim about?

A: It is about a haunted pool.

Q: Sorry, a what? I must have misheard you.

A: A haunted pool. Like, a swimming pool.

Q: Wha…? What is the pool haunted by?

A: Evil water.

Q: Seriously? What is evil about the water?

A: It kills you.

Q: How?

A: By drowning you.

Q: Can’t any water do that?

A: Yes.

Q: So what makes this water different?

A: Well, it also heals you. For example, retired baseball player Ray Waller (Wyatt Russell) is cured of his career-ending multiple sclerosis.

Q: Wyatt Russell playing a baseball player? Where does that sound familiar?

A: You must be thinking of Everybody Wants Some!! in which he plays a stoner pitcher.

Q: Does his character in Everybody Wants Some!! have any similarities with his character in the haunted pool movie?

A: Sadly, no, not really. As much as I wish the haunted pool movie had a scene where the character takes a huge bong hit and tries reading other people’s minds, it’s nowhere to be found.

Q: Back to the matter at hand: evil water. I’m still confused. You say the water is evil, yet it magically heals you. What’s going on there?

A: Well, it’s complicated. First it heals you. Then it needs to kill somebody else as a sacrifice.

Q: So this water has cognition?

A: I guess so. They say it’s a “spring pool,” and thus sourced from a well of natural water (municipal water would scrub out the evil, presumably), and this natural water just happens to come from a mystical healing spring. They call it “Temagami,” but I googled this and this is just the name of a town in Canada.

Q: Why do they keep going to the pool if it is haunted?

A: It’s in their backyard. They bought the house without knowing the pool was haunted. There is a scene in which the realtor apologizes for not telling them that the pool is haunted. “Good luck tho,” she says.

Q: But just because you have a pool in your backyard doesn’t mean you need to swim in it. So why do they keep swimming in it?

A: A combination of idiocy and contrivance.

Q: Couldn’t they just fill in the pool if it’s haunted?

A: You’ll never guess what the last scene of the movie is.

Q: Besides the guy from Everybody Wants Some!!, who else swims in the haunted pool?

A: His wife, Eve (Kerry Condon), his daughter Izzy (Amelie Hoeferle), and his son (Gavin Warren). In addition, they host a pool party. There are also a bunch of ghosts of people who previously drowned in the haunted pool hanging out in there.

Q: Wait, there are ghosts there? So which is it? Haunted by evil water, or by spirits of dead people?

A: *shrug*

Q: Is there a scene of someone playing Marco Polo, except the haunted pool replies “Polo,” which confuses the person who says “Marco” and leads them to danger?

A: Yes, but that was a gimme for a haunted pool movie.

Q: So the pool can talk?

A: Huh, I hadn’t really thought this even as it happened, but apparently so.

Q: Does the climax include Wyatt Russell shouting “THE WATER CHOSE HIM!”

A: Yes.

Q: Okay, it sounds like the act of swimming in a pool is pretty important for this movie. So how is that actually shot?

A: Good question, imaginary conversation partner. The filming of the swimming is actually the best and most interesting part of Night Swim, unless you find the inherent idea of “haunted pool” to be good or interesting. (I don’t.) I have not seen any of James Wan’s films, but I suspect his experience filming the Aquaman movies helped these scenes: The shape and dimensions and orientation of the pool shifts in surreal ways, giving it a vast, artificial, floaty quality that’s very cool to watch.

Q: Hold up. James Wan directed this?

A: Oh, no. I wish. He just co-produced it with Blumhouse, like M3GAN. Night Swim is directed by a fellow named Bryce McGuire, and it’s his debut. Apparently this is what he looks like, which is not too far off from what I’d expect of someone who makes a movie about a haunted pool.

Q: Is Night Swim scary?

A: No. Well, a little. There are a couple decent jump scares, but there’s not much in the way of tension or creepiness. It’s hard to be scared when you are constantly thinking to yourself “I can’t believe I’m watching a movie about a haunted pool.”

Q: Did you spend about ten minutes workshopping a review title that replaced a lyric from “Jolene” with the word “chlorine”?

A: Yes. Unfortunately, “Chlorine, chlorine, chlorine, chlorine — please don’t take him just because you can” doesn’t quite capture the film’s spirit.

Q: Is it good?

A: No, but it’s tough for me to gauge just how broken it is. It’s short and it movies quickly. It never loses sight of being the haunted pool movie, and I admire that singular focus. But also, and I don’t think I’ve mentioned this, it’s a movie about a haunted pool. This is a problem because it is stupid. The goofiness of the premise amused me well enough, but it puts an obvious cap on Night Swim being actually good. I guess the nicest thing I’d say about it is that it’s just on the right side of “winking” to avoid being cheesy and intentionally bad.

Q: Come on, man, that’s not an answer. You know the drill. You need to give the haunted pool movie a score out of eight. So I’ll ask again:

Is It Good?

Not Very Good (3/8)

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4 replies on “Night Swim (2024)”

My dear A, you either chose the wrong Q for this session or exactly the right one: my only questions would have been “Is this the movie about the haunted pool?” and “Is this exactly the sort of film you expect from a horror movie with a haunted swimming pool?” (and assuming the answer to both was ‘Yes’ that would be enough for me, but probably not quite enough to give a semi-detailed picture of what may well be the latest edition to the immortal ranks of “This film is so stupid and I love it” classics.

I like to call them the ‘No Biscuit!’ movies, because they are as stupidly loveable as a certain sort of dog (and what could be more brainless, yet loveable than Man’s Best Friend at his most “Durrr?”).

“No Biscuit” movies, haha. I like that term. But, the answer to both of your questions is indeed “yes.”

I feel like there’s some kind of fountain of youth-based horror movie that could do this. I guess that’s just The Fountain, though.

It’s got a little bit of that in there with the healing aspect, but it’s more interested in a curdled summer nostalgia and Americana theme, what with the deadly swimming pool and crippled baseball player.

I haven’t seen The Fountain!

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