The Blumhouse Productions phenomenon will likely be studied for many years to come. After all, this studio has managed to take the irrational horror genre and put it on the slats of a gritty Hollywood production in which there is no room for delays and hesitations. Does this affect the quality of the final films? Yes, which is confirmed in many ways by modest reviews from critics. Only the box office is not particularly affected, so we definitely won’t get rid of Blumhouse Productions’ horror films anytime soon. “Night Swim” is another horror film from the studio. We’ll tell you in our review how it turned out.
decent technical implementation; if you are a very big fan of swimming pools, then the film deserves your attention
the almost critical idiocy of the central threat; the formulaic nature of the narrative is so enormous that you want to howl; unnecessary elements of family melodrama; the film loses to its original short film in every way
“Night Swim” / Night Swim
Director Bryce McGuire
Starring: Wyatt Russell, Kerry Condon, Nancy Lenehan, Ben Sinclair, Jodie Long
Release year 2024
The film tells the story of the Waller family, which, due to problems with the baseball career of the head of the family, Ray (Wyatt Russell), is forced to look for a new home. Ray needs recovery from injury. In the house they found together there is an abandoned swimming pool that can have a positive effect on a man’s physical and moral condition. Only a series of strange events begins to show that everything with the pool is not as simple as it seemed at first glance.
The story behind Night Swim is quite banal and reminiscent of dozens of other horror films. The local script is based on a 2014 short film of the same name. The short film was intended to show the viability of the “killer pool” idea. But here the authors stumbled on the most obvious point. After all, what works in a four-minute story format can only cause boredom when transferred to an almost hundred-minute film.
Night Swim is boring. It’s a banal phrase, but it fits perfectly for such a banal film.
One gets the impression that there was just enough good in the movie for four minutes of the original source. Everything else had to be filled with typical Blumhouse Productions storylines about family, moments from the past and pretentious conversations about nothing.
The viewer doesn’t even need to think twice to understand the maximum pattern of the development of absolutely everything in history. Again a family with problems, again a mysterious house, again attempts to find out the truth about what is happening through the previous inhabitants and again a mysterious entity that will emerge at the end of the film and completely kill all attempts to scare the audience, at the same time seizing control over one of the characters.
This is not even a spoiler, because a similar structure is actively exploited in many other horror films. It feels like the movie industry has some kind of automated horror movie script generator where you just change variables like character names and the key threat, but the essence doesn’t change.
And even this approach can work if the key threat is implemented adequately. Think, for example, of Sinister, which fits the structure above perfectly but still turned out to be a worthy movie.
The problem is that the threat in Night Swim is the pool. Yes, it sounds absurd. It looks even more absurd.
Here we can try to justify the authors, because at its core the film is trying to put pressure on our fear of death from drowning, which combines the fear of water, depth and suffocation in general. In addition, swimming pools in the backyard are one of the important features of American culture, a kind of manifestation of the “American Dream”, the image of which has been considerably corrected by capitalist society. Like many other horror films, Night Swim did not appear out of thin air; it still has a clear foundation.
Only this foundation is as unreliable as the water in the pool. Discarding connections with the American way of life, we get only a very strange object at the center of the plot. Which is also strongly associated with mysticism and the traditions of our ancestors. Let me point out that this is a movie about a swimming pool. Scary? Not good? I understand, nothing surprising.
The pool adventures are diluted with quarrels between the main characters and scenes from their family life. These conflicts are so boring and, excuse me, lifeless that watching other unfortunate spectators who went to the cinema with you to see “Night Swim” is even more interesting.
This is a typical Blumhouse story where horror is diluted with family drama. Something good rarely comes out – and this is not an exceptional case.
This is not to say that the film is poorly made from a technical point of view. It looks and sounds good (the latter is extremely important for horror). It’s just that the technical implementation is aimed at such a stupid idea that it was not an achievement in itself.
It’s also a completely non-scary film. I admit honestly, I’m already very tired of saying this about almost every horror film. But “Night Swim” is so mired in stereotypes that it only deserves repetition of phrases already spoken.
Want something interesting about drowning? Watch Lake Mungo. And it’s better to interact with pools in person than to watch them through bad films.
Night Swim is not only boring, but also a downright bad movie that takes a stupid idea and tries to make something serious out of it. And it doesn’t work out for him. However, to be downright “bad” and not “boring” is also an achievement in its own way in modern cinema. But you are unlikely to want to spend time and money on it.