Saturday 10 February 2024

Night Swim (2024)

Not sure how to rate this really. It’s a bit more shallow than the family’s pool but it’s certainly watchable and kinda fun in the process. It’s largely the creation of director/writer Bryce McGuire, apparently elongated from a short (which I have not seen) to make it 98 minutes of film.

It’s about a family who have bought a house where a little girl, some decades earlier, has died/drowned/disappeared whilst swimming in the house’s pool. We get a flashback of that incident right at the start.

Jump forward to the present and our bright-eyed and bushy-tailed family are dead excited about the first house they have owned, not rented, and are straight into making use of the pool. Dad is an ex-baseball player who is injured and had to all-but retire as an athlete but as he starts swimming in the pool, he starts to get better, disproportionately quickly. He also cuts himself and after swimming, his hand shows no sign.

When the family swim at night, there are strange going-ons like images of people standing by the pool, voices, sounds, cries and all sorts of spooky stuff that brings us into the spirited, supernatural part of the tale. Yes, there’s some sort of underground lake or pool or something that the house was built on and some sort of water force clearly isn’t happy about it, and seems to need to be ‘paid back’ for the nice stuff it does, like dad’s recovery, with human sacrifice (or snatchings).

It’s all a bit daft and not really a horror, as such - more of a shot at a thriller. There are a couple of jump-scare moments and abrupt sightings of some ugly evil spirit creature that the water has conjured up, but otherwise it’s quite tame really and relies on suspense and imagination.

It’s quite an interesting idea and the cast, headed up by Kerry Condon (Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul) and the (spookily enough) former sportsman Wyatt Russell do a decent enough job with the material. The two kids of the family tag along and actually the girl, played by Amélie Hoeferle, earns some acting brownie points.

The film does drag on a bit, especially when we eventually get to the supernatural bits. There are also plot holes, daft decisions made by the characters and decidedly unlikely behaviours here and there, but then it’s kinda supernatural so they can be forgiven I guess once the spooky spirit starts to get ahold of ‘em!

I think it’s worth a watch, but don’t expect OSCAR-winning anything here. It’s just a run-of-the-mill terror/thriller/spook which at times does well with the suspense for the audience especially when the family members are swimming in the pool after dark and the lights go out! All good fun.

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