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  • Writer's pictureAdam Williams

A Hooked On Horror Review - Night Swim

After a few lacklustre and mediocre horror films from Blumhouse, I’ll be honest my expectations weren’t high going into this. But Night Swim is of course the first film in a new partnership between James Wan’s Atomic Monster and Jason Blum’s Blumhouse. So obviously I was interested to see the end product. And whilst this film was nothing spectacular, it was enjoyable enough and feels like a step in the right direction. Here is my Night Swim review

Night Swim
Forced into early retirement by a degenerative illness, former baseball player Ray Waller moves into a new house with his wife and two children. He hopes that the backyard swimming pool will be fun for the kids and provide physical therapy for himself. However, a dark secret from the home's past soon unleashes a malevolent force that drags the family into the depths of inescapable terror.

The storyline is rather straight forward and nicely executed whilst moving along at a good pace. It’s nicely executed and (without giving spoilers away) there’s one very dark twist I honestly didn’t see coming. Whilst we get some sort of a back story regarding the swimming pool and those who lurk within it, it’s left pretty vague. I may be overthinking things here, but there’s a few questions I have that I doubt will ever be addressed short of me asking Rod Blackhurst and Bryce McGuire.

 

The evil (I have no idea what else to call it without spoilers) in the pool certainly doesn’t get the screentime they deserve. You get glimpses and that’s about it. I think they might have made the same mistake they did with Exorcist: Believer here- designed/created some kick-ass creature and then gave them bugger all screen time. I’m interested to check out some of the behind-the-scenes stuff.

Cast of Night Swim

The cast were solid, I’ll admit I was impressed by the character development behind Wyatt Russell’s character Ray. Equally impressed by Russell’s acting ability. Not to discredit his acting in previous roles, but I’m more used to seeing him in more action heavy roles. It was nice to see him be able to flex his skills acting instead of relying on his physicality to accompany it. Kerry Condon was fantastic as always. Amélie Hoeferle and Gavin Warren were great, will definitely be seeing more of them in the next several years no doubt.

 

I thought it was very well shot with some great cinematography, a lot of vibes from the likes of Candyman, Jaws and Poltergeist regarding some of the shots and styles. The angling and use of space within just one swimming pool is expertly done. And although you have the odd scare or thrill here and there, unfortunately it doesn’t feel like they fully leant into the horror aspect of the story.


Just from the trailers alone I was expecting at least a few more scares in there. As I said above, whatever is in that pool did not get the screen time it truly deserved. I will say the "Marco-Polo" scene is the creepiest and one of the best of the film. It was fantastic seeing a somewhat new concept within the genre as well. I mean can you really list that many horror films that have revolved or heavily involved a swimming pool?

Amélie Hoeferle in Night Swim

The ending was a bit of a let-down. It felt like they had run out of steam and just wanted to tie things up to finish the film off neatly. I do long for the days a studio or film maker has the backbone to give us another gut-wrenching ending like The Mist, but we’re living in the days where classic Disney films come with warnings so I don’t have much hope. I can’t see it leading to a sequel, but it would be incredibly easy to make one. I would probably say this would be one that’s good enough to stand on its own merit.

 

Overall, it’s not a bad film, it’s just a solid, bog-standard, and somewhat generic horror about a family moving into a house and things go horribly wrong. But I do think this marks the start of bigger and better things for the horror genre.  This film marks the first of many collaborative efforts yet to come from Atomic Monster & Blumhouse, and it shows a lot of promise. It feels more character and story driven with focus being brought back to old school horror themes and tropes as opposed to jump scares, nudity and gratuitous violence and gore. Additionally, it doesn’t feel like this was toned down to secure a lower certificate like Five Night’s at Freddy’s did. After the last few near misses Blumhouse have had in recent years, this is a welcomed breath of fresh air. I think this could be the start of something great.

 

Night Swim is in cinemas now.


You can also check out the original short that inspired the film below.



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