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  • Rev Horror

Night Swim

Dir. Bryce McGuire (2024)

A medically-retired baseball player and his family move into a house with a haunted swimming pool.

I was going to put as much effort into this review as the filmmakers did making it, but I'm more of a professional than that. I generally don't like to bash movies. It's not really what I do. I believe that any film, at any level, takes effort, art, craft, and will to make, and I believe that any expression of this art deserves to be celebrated. In that regard, I can't take anything away from it: Night Swim is, in fact, one of the movies ever made. Beyond that? Not a whole lot more to say.

Retired baseball player Ray Waller (Wyatt Russell) has decided to move his family to a new school district, and they decide to buy a house with a shitty pool in the backyard. His wife Eve (Kerry Condon) is starting a new teaching job while pursuing her master's degree, while daughter Izzy (Amélie Hoeferle) joins the swim team and undersized son Elliot (Gavin Warren) struggles to follow in his father's footsteps as a baseball player. When it turns out that the pool in their backyard is fed from a natural underground spring and has medical healing properties, Ray begins to feel better and better and even dreams of returning to the sport he loves. Unfortunately, the water demands a sacrifice, one that it has received through the ages, and Waller's family could be the ones to pay the price.

Night Swim had all the makings of a good idea. In fact, the short upon which it was based is quite good. Unfortunately, it should have stayed a short, because the long-form product simply doesn't deliver. Light on scares, plot, and overall effort, it's a stereotypical teen horror that fails to live up to even that. It feels like a cash grab, and while it fails at nearly every level, it does succeed in that, making $54 million on its original $15 budget. It's the curse of horror, really: horror is profitable, and it leads to studios making a ton of movies in the genre that we love. However, if films like this make the money that they do, it only further incentivizes studios to put forward the type of low-energy films that they already choose to make.

There's really not a lot to say about this film, so I will choose to be charitable where I can. The acting is decent, and all of the performers do an adequate job in their roles. The direction is fine, if formulaic, creating some scenes that perhaps in another film, with a different plot, could have been quite effective. That's really where the favorable discussion ends, however. The creatures in the pool, which are varied and discombobulated, most often resemble a bizarre mishmash of the Creature from the Black Lagoon, Swamp Thing, and the Michelin Man. It's certainly... a choice. In a world in which even the shittiest films often have good-looking antagonists, Night Swim fails in even that, delivering a scary movie that is not, in any metric, scary in the slightest.

At the end of the day, horror is horror, and it's always worth it. Even shitty horror movies are worth watching if you love the genre, and rest assured, this one is certainly shitty. The few creepy scenes are decent, however, and the actors and cinematographers do an otherwise passable job. Unfortunately, it's just not a good film on pretty much every level. This movie is literally so forgettable that I forgot I watched it. I knew there was another movie I wanted to write about, but I couldn't for the life of me remember what it was. Perhaps it's best I didn't.

Who this movie is for: Teen horror fanatics, Non-scary horror fans, People with rabies

Bottom line: Night Swim is not a good film. But, it's free to watch, so it has that going for it, which isn't nothing. It's poorly written, the direction is shoddy, and it would've been best left as a short. I hate to rip into movies, but this one is not particularly worth your time. The actors are decent, though, and if you have some kind of preternatural fear of water, maybe it'll be scary to you. Otherwise, this one is a swing and a miss, and it's not even that decent of a swing.

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