“Night Swim”: A Kiddie Pool of Horror

Spoilers for “Night Swim”
“Night Swim”: A Kiddie Pool of Horror

“Night Swim” was not only the first horror release of 2024, but it was also the first movie release overall.  

Released on January 5, 2024, the film brought on horror in the form of something as innocent as a backyard swimming pool. Brought to screen by two well-known horror movie makers, James Wan (“Saw”) and Jason Blum (“M3GAN”), “Night Swim” held a lot of potential for a great movie. Unfortunately, it was a mediocre scare at best. Filled with cliches, unneeded scenes, and a lackluster ending, “Night Swim” is a disappointing start to the year for horror fans.  

Starting off, a family is moving to a new house, a commonly used trope in supernatural horror films. Ray Waller, a former baseball player who had to quit due to an illness, chose said house after hearing that swimming could help him heal. Unknown to him, the pool needs a sacrifice to use the water, so it begins to attack the family starting with the children and the cat. 

More overused tropes: kids knowing something wrong while parents do not believe them or do not know and the killing of a pet. And of course, it would not be a cliche horror film without taking a children’s game and making it scary, in this case, the water game Marco Polo.  

When asked about her opinion on the overuse of cliches, specifically the new house trope, senior Skylar Fields said, “There’s a long history of other people who also had the same tragedy happen to them? Lame.” 

Towards the climax of the movie, Ray’s wife, Eve, returns home after hearing about the horrors of the pool from the previous owner. Here, there are intense scenes, including many scenes of Ray attacking his daughter, Izzy, which come out of nowhere and can be shocking to viewers. The scenes were included to show the possession has taken place, but did we need to see a father beating his kid? Even if he was possessed, the scene is jarring and intense.  

“I don’t think we need to include that in horror movies to prove that the protagonist has been ‘possessed’ or anything.” said senior Nicholas Parker on the intense scenes included.  

The movie ends with Ray regaining his body. Seeing the damage he had done to his family helps him through this. This is yet another thing you commonly see in horror. The parent will often become unpossessed because of their child’s state of being. The actual ending is the most disappointing part of the film. The ending shows Ray sacrificing himself to the pool to save Elliot, his son. That alone is not a bad ending but then the surviving family just decides to stay in that house and fill the pool in. It seems like a lazy ending. To just fill up the pool as if your husband or father did not die in there, it makes no sense. It makes even less sense to stay in the house that caused your family so much pain. 

Something to consider with this film is that it is rated PG-13. The viewer should not go in expecting a blood-filled tale. The jump scares are done with loud sounds and the creature we occasionally see is done with disturbing prosthetics.  

Other than the slight scares, “Night Swim” does not have much to offer. You cannot do much with a pool and a water monster. 

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