Night Swim, a horror flick that promised to bring a chilling tale of a supernatural presence in a backyard swimming pool, unfortunately, fails to deliver the spine-tingling experience that the filmmakers have teased. Directed by Bryce McGuire and produced by renowned horror filmmakers like James Wan and Jason Blum, the film harbors a strong cast including Wyatt Russell and Kerry Condon. Yet, it sinks under the weight of unexplored potential and cliché storytelling.
The film’s premise, based on the 2014 short film by Rod Blackhurst and Bryce McGuire, centers around Ray Waller (Russell), a former major league baseball player, and his family, who move into a new home only to encounter a malevolent force residing in their swimming pool. This setup held the promise of an intriguing exploration of a unique horror lore but, unfortunately, the film merely skims the surface of its concept.
The storyline of Night Swim had all the ingredients to diverge from the beaten path of horror films. Yet, it chose to tread along a very predictable and clichéd route. The potential to delve into the more captivating aspects of the lore was there, but the film opts for a safer, less inventive approach. The end result feels like a missed opportunity to offer something fresh and engaging to the horror genre.
There are also certain creative choices made in the film that don’t make any sense. Some of the plot developments often feel forced and unnecessary, lacking the depth or logic to make them compelling or meaningful. There’s an evident underestimation of the audience’s intelligence, with the film often spoon-feeding information and relying on overused horror tropes.
The third act of Night Swim is where the narrative really unravels. The pacing, which is already uneven throughout, collapses entirely, leading to a finale that feels both rushed and unfulfilling. It’s a disappointing conclusion to a storyline that had the potential to be much more.
Character development, or the lack thereof, is another glaring issue. Most characters in the film are not smart and they make the worst decisions. This is a common frustration that I have with horror films. This lack of sensible judgment not only makes it hard to empathize with the characters but also pulls me out of the story that is trying to be told and I find my self laughing at the situation instead of being engrossed in it.
Night Swim is a horror film that had the potential to be a unique and exciting addition to the horror genre but ends up being a classic case of unmet potential. The short film that inspired the movie is much better than the feature film that was released.