Star Rating:

Night Swim

Director: Bryce McGuire

Actors: Kerry Condon, Wyatt Russell

Release Date: Friday 5th January 2024

Genre(s): Horror

Running time: 98 minutes

Ray Waller (Wyatt Russell), his wife Eve (Kerry Condon) and their two children Izzy and Elliott (Amélie Hoeferle and Gavin Warren) move into a sleepy suburban town after Ray's career as a baseball player comes to an end following an illness. The home they purchase comes with a swimming pool in the backyard, which hides within strange powers that begin to heal Ray's illness, but also a dark and mysterious entity...

There's something entirely misguided about the tone and tenor of 'Night Swim'. A haunted swimming pool is a daft concept. Sure, it may tap into some kind of primal fears about water and drowning and, most likely, the filmmakers themselves probably experienced a traumatic event at a young age that inspired this. Yet, so much of 'Night Swim' feels completely at odds with itself. For one, the core idea is entirely underdeveloped, relying on its talented cast - Oscar nominee Kerry Condon, no less! - to make it seem real and carry the thing towards something.

The presence of the aforementioned Kerry Condon and Wyatt Russell would have you believe there's something going on here. For Wyatt Russell, there's an element of Craig T. Nelson in 'Poltergeist', a sort of all-American dad with picket fences and ball games. Kerry Condon, an incredibly skilled performer, is clearly picking up a cheque here in between waiting for the next thing to come along. Both of them are entirely squandered by writer-director Bryce McGuire. The movie rarely gets beyond tepid scares, and the lack of energy just soaks through from the cast.

If that isn't enough, there's plot holes in 'Night Swim' so large that you could probably make a swimming pool out of them. Without giving too much away, one of them involves a search engine, while the other begs the question as to why nobody's investigating a mysterious disappearance. Poor storytelling aside, 'Night Swim' misses a trick by taking itself far, far too seriously. A swimming pool that devours its occupants could have been a perfect choice for a campy, delirious January horror. Last year's 'M3GAN' and the previous year's 'Orphan: First Kill' understood what audiences look for in a January horror. It needs to be dumb, fun, scary enough, and over with inside of ninety minutes. 'Night Swim' is dumb, it's not terribly enjoyable, it's rarely scary, and it runs over by eight minutes of the ideal runtime.

In short, it's a floating turd.