The problem with making new horror films is that it feels like it has all been done before. From the number of Halloween and Friday the 13th films have been done, being innovative is becoming more and more challenging. However, every once in while we get a Saw or Paranormal Activity that bring a fresh take to the genre to the table without a bunch of useless “jump scares”, but then the problem lies in the number of mediocre sequels that followed. Even with all of this, I went into my latest film to review hoping for that next enjoyable horror film.
Night Swim is the directed by Bryce McGuire (The Whistler) and stars Wyatt Russell, Kerry Condon, Amelie Hoeferle, Gavin Warren, and Eleanor T. Threatt. Ray (Russell) is a former baseball player whose career was ended due to the development of MS and moves into a new house with his wife, Eve (Condon) and his two kids Elliot (Warren) and Izzy (Hoeferle) that features a backyard in-ground pool. As time goes on, they start to feel an eerie presence with the pool, but Ray’s seemingly impossible-to-heal-from condition seems to also be healing the more time he spends in that same pool. As the pool’s mysterious past comes to light, there could be dire consequences for the entire family.
The cast is basically the four actors listed above with a supporting character here and there, but for a horror film, I was pleasantly surprised by the performances. Just like the train in Snowpiercer, this is also a film where a non-human becomes a character in the pool. Visually, Night Swim works very well, even given the limited amount of sets that it works with, and that kept me engaged with the story as it progressed.
I did like this fresh take on the horror film in a story that deals with the supernatural in a way that is not the standard “your yard is possessed” premise, but as the story went on it just didn’t finish well. There are some tense moments that were done right by giving me that uneasy feeling in, but by the end, it all just went south. If you are a fan of horror films, I will still recommend it, because there are good moments and a good premise; however, if you are someone who is a little scared of water, taking swimming lessons, or wanting to learn how to enjoy water sports, this may not be the best film to watch. If you are looking for something new in horror, I will recommend Night Swim as a viewing on a streaming service when it gets there.