Night Swim (2024): Fresh Meat #20

I hate being behind. I love watching movies as they come out so I can stay up on the pulse of the horror community. Plus, Jason Blum and James Wan co-produced this one, the first under the shared Blumhouse/Atomic Monster banner since their merger earlier this year. I really need to watch this one now! But COVID really killed the theater going experience for everyone. Now no one goes and streaming is bigger than ever. Alas, I am way behind on watching the latest and greatest Blumhouse Productions movie. Wait. You’re saying it got bad reviews? What? A film about a haunted pool is not amaze-balls? Ok. I’ll be the judge of this! 


A family moves into a new home, unaware that a dark secret from the house’s past will unleash a malevolent force in the backyard pool. 

IMDb: 5.0 

Rotten Tomatoes: 22% 

Tagline: Everything you fear is under the surface. 

Bryce McGuire (writer of the upcoming film Imaginary) makes his directorial debut here, with Kurt Russell’s son, Wyatt Russell (Overlord, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier) and Kerry Condon (Better Call Saul, and the voice of F.R.I.D.A.Y. in The Avengers franchise) starring. This would be an expansion of McGuire’s original 2014 5-minute short that he filmed in musician Michelle Branch’s backyard. It’s on YouTube, but I didn’t watch it to avoid any spoilers. 

I have a feeling that I am going to have a similar feeling towards this movie that I have towards Jaws, which is, “Just stay out of the fucking water! Problem solved!” I hope to be surprised, though, since it seems that all I have been watching recently is piles of shit.  

I like the idea that our main character is an injured MLB player (unfortunately a Brewer, so boo!), but assuming he’s spent any amount of time in the big leagues, he would be worth millions. With that in mind, that house isn’t the lavish mansion that I would expect from a big-time rich family. 

Kurt Jr. does play the MS stricken ex-big leaguer very well, though. He’s sad, perhaps in denial, and trying to rehab so he can possibly get back to the show. We have heard so many athletes struggling with life post-retirement, and with him being relatively young and sick, you can feel his pain and longing to get better. He does a good job here. And he likes 80s hair metal, so I automatically love him. 

The guy who composed the music for The VVitch and The Black Phone, Mark Korven, did the music here, but color me unimpressed. It’s a little ambient and boring. There’s a plodding bass line that’s a little Jon Carpenter-ish, but it doesn’t go anywhere or evolve into anything memorable. A wispy whistling theme keeps recurring, but it’s a little on the annoying side. I don’t feel like it’s heightening the tension at all. 

The underwater photography is great, as are the blues of the water and the associated lighting that’s coming down from the surface, that are seemingly present in every scene of the film. There are so many scenes of water, I swear my fingers have become prunes. 

There are jump scares that don’t make you jump, and a pool demon that isn’t particularly scary. After the first time you see the damned thing, just drain the ding dang pool or stay out of it. There’s no real building of tension either, and I’m not the least bit worried that any of our main characters are in any real danger of dying. And outside of our baseball player, none of the other people have any traits that I can remember. Therefore, if they do die, I wouldn’t mourn them.  

The film is exceptionally average. It has beautiful photography, and a pretty nice ambience created in their backyard, but overall, it’s a little tame. Some people might be frightened by a few of the scares, but I feel that the director just doesn’t know how to create tension and dread that is necessary to frighten the broader audience. He goes for the jump too often, and when they fall flat, and that’s the majority of your scares, then the movie fails. Plus, I feel like the explanation of the haunted pool comes up a little short. 

McGuire has potential, and I will gladly watch whatever he puts out. A valiant first effort, but it’s not something I will ever watch again. And it’s definitely not worthy of the Blumhouse name. 

5.0/10 Stab Wounds 

About RetRo(n) 61 Articles
I like the 80s, slasher films, Italian directors, Evil Ed, Trash and Nancy, Ripley and Private First Class Hudson, retro crap but not SyFy crap, old school skin, Freddy and Savini, Spinell and Coscarelli, Andre Toulon, and last, but not least, Linda Blair.