"Pooltergeist" has the feeling of been there, swam that.
Film Yap is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work please consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
It’s a new year and with that comes yet another PG-13 January dumping ground horror movie from the good folks at Blumhouse. We got spoiled with last year’s offering “M3GAN” (my review here). “Night Swim” (now in theaters) doesn’t have nearly as strong of a stroke.
Ray Waller (Wyatt Russell, late of Apple TV+’s “Monarch: Legacy of Monsters”) is a former big league ballplayer suffering from multiple sclerosis. He, his wife Eve (Kerry Condon) and their children Izzy (Amélie Hoeferle, recently seen in “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes”) and Elliot (Gavin Warren) are looking to set down roots in Minneapolis-Saint Paul after having endured a series of moves whenever Ray was traded.
They settle on a big house with a pool as water therapy should help alleviate Ray’s MS symptoms. Little do the Wallers know that this body of water has a tragic past that’s claimed many lives. It also has regenerative powers that shock Dr. Sridhar (Rahnuma Panthaky), Ray’s primary physician. The better Ray feels, the more things go bump in the night as Eve, Izzy and Elliot all see and have dangerous encounters with apparitions.
Director/co-writer Bryce McGuire adapts his short film of the same name (co-directed by Rod Blackhurst) to feature-length with mixed results. The primary performances are generally pretty good, but Condon definitely deserves better after her winning turn in “The Banshees of Inisherin.” There are a handful of tense set pieces that are well-shot (props to “Smile” cinematographer Charlie Sarroff), but they’re also frustratingly tame and have the feeling of been there, swam that.
“Night Swim” is “Pooltergeist” and nothing more. It doesn’t sink nor does it swim. It mostly just treads familiar, well-worn waters. This pedestrian PG-13 piffle won’t be deemed worthy of a dip by most, but it could serve as floaties for younger, genre-curious filmgoers. Better still – just rent these youngsters “M3GAN” if they haven’t already seen it and be done with it.