Night Swim goes down as one of the first horror movies of the year but has Blumhouse‘s latest title gave the year a boring start paddling in the shallow end, or dived straight into the deep end with a high-scoring finesse?
Night Swim Follows a Tenuous Story
Compelled to retire early due to a degenerative illness, ex-baseball player, Ray Waller (Wyatt Russel) relocated with his wife and children out of town so he can make the most of his recovery. Ray’s excitement about the move surrounds the backyard pool that comes with the house. Seeing the pool as a source of enjoyment for his kids and as a means of some much-needed therapeutic exercise for himself, Ray can’t wait to move in and enjoy the many benefits of an outdoor pool.
However, unbeknownst to the Waller family, the dwelling conceals a sinister secret from its history, and this concealed malevolent force is awakened by the family’s unwanted arrival. Swiftly, the family finds themselves ensnared in the clutches of unrelenting terror, plunging into the abyss of an inescapable nightmare.
As Ray strives for physical well-being, the tranquil veneer of their new abode shatters, revealing an ominous reality that threatens to consume them. The once-hopeful haven transforms into a battleground against an unseen adversary, and the Wallers must confront the haunting shadows of their residence, now transformed into a living nightmare where fear and desperation take center stage.
Night Swim tries Too Hard to Mimic The Shining
— SPOILER ALERT —
As the movie began to draw to its hurried conclusion, I knew there was something familiar about Night Swim. However, it took me a while to realize what it actually reminded me of – and then it dawned on me. The final part of the movie shows how Ray, the father of the family, had slowly become obsessed with the swimming pool. First describing it as “the best thing to happen to me” and later showing far more sinister signs of infatuation, to the point of becoming a crazed homicidal maniac.
It’s clear that Night Swim here drew some inspiration from the 1980 classic horror movie, The Shining and I’m not too sure how exactly I feel about that. I mean, with so many horror movies coming out, there are bound to be a few instances where it looks like one move copies another but the way in which Night Swim does so is blatant and almost feels like an insult to the King of Horror himself, Stephen King. The writing, for one, is far inferior to the likes seen in the iconic trip to the Overlook Hotel we were blessed with all those years ago.
While it’s unavoidable for movies to avoid skirting the lines of other plotlines, it’s inexcusable when you get to a point where you’re expecting the main character to brandish an axe, hack through a door and say those timeless words “Here’s Johnny”.
Night Swim – A Shallow Dive into a Year of Horror
Night Swim is a bargain bucket horror movie, badly masquerading as a blockbusting title. With a story surrounding a haunted pool and some of the worst acting I’ve seen in a long time, I’m struggling to find anything good to say about Night Swim, besides its relatively short runtime. The few “scares” featured in the movie are more often than not badly orchestrated jump scares which are as predictable as they are pitiful and the handful of times the movie moves on from these potentially chilling scenes it falls flat due to such brief exposure.
If you’re looking for something to help you sleep, laugh or fidget with boredom, look no further than this lacklustre production.