Night Swim: Blumhouse’s Subaquatic Terror Unleashed

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Review of the new horror film from Blumhouse and Atomic Monster titled La piscina (Night Swim), starring Wyatt Russell and Kerry Condon. Released on February 9th, 2024.

After the release of Vive dentro and Vermin, it’s the turn of the new horror film from Blumhouse in collaboration with Atomic Monster. This means that it is produced by the genre’s totem James Wan. Big words!

The direction is in the hands of Bryce McGuire, creator of the short film of the same title from 2014, who now has the opportunity to develop it in a feature format with Rod Blackhurst (Blood for Dust) as co-writer.

We are faced with a 98-minute film that follows the classic scheme of so many films seen before: a conflict is posed through an introductory sequence, we have the cat and mouse game during a development in which the scares are sought and we reach a conclusion, in this case, quite unsatisfactory, being unable to deepen its mythology.

If the house is a bargain, there’s a catch

It is almost a cliché of horror movies that a new family moves into a house that has some kind of charm, spell, curse or supernatural threat that disrupts their peace. In La piscina we do not find an exception: the Wallers move to a new neighborhood in search of a place where the family’s father, Ray, diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, can recover.

His wife Eve and his two children, Izzy and Elliot, agree to move, as the property has a fabulous pool of natural thermal waters that do, in fact, begin to work wonders in the treatment of Ray.

However, each of them will experience various terrible experiences within the water, feeling harassed by a presence that seems demand a sacrifice from them.

Ray, who had become a baseball star and has been forced to retire indefinitely, begins to harbor the secret hope of being able to return to the world of professional sports.

When La piscina wants to be suggestive, it succeeds: so it is especially during the first third of the film when it has us trapped. It awakens our curiosity about what is happening, what is the origin of the phenomena that are happening in that place and there is even an explanation that is outlined but not clearly exposed which is very attractive.

It goes without saying that the water itself, as an element, has always been related to the supernatural, as a gateway to a magical dimension, but also as a source of health and wellness that, when altered, can become just the opposite. There was some really cool stuff to draw from there.

A good part of the footage is underwater, or puts us in unusual perspectives (good composition of shots), so it exploits what has traditionally given us bad vibes about swimming pools: drains, drains, the altered perception of reality within the water with distorted sounds and shapes, and, in sum, the lack of control in an attractive but hostile environment.

However, it loses momentum as it has to resolve the moves. The performances are solid, especially that of Kerry Condon, but the plot ends up leading to absurd situations and a very sloppy visual finish that contrasts with the generally well-crafted staging.

The editing also takes its toll on the pace and sense of the film, with certain moments that are more than confusing.

Not even the fact of being a cheap production exempts the film from the inescapable fact that it does not explain in conditions what is happening. And the more obvious it is, when it has to take the risk of showing the threats, it pinches in the form of a narrative burst. The entire construction of the crescendo evaporates instantly.

La piscina, although it turns out to be silly, has a certain attractiveness that may be interesting for the faithful public of the genre and, in fact, the idea of a sequel is being considered… There is no post-credits scene that leaves it sown, but it doesn’t need it either.

What is essential is that, if it develops in the future, it is much clearer, more original and more logical than this film. And, since we are facing a horror movie, that the screenwriters lose their fear of stepping out of the hackneyed formulas.

VALORACIÓN:

There is a great horror movie inside La piscina, but it would have required a much more solid script that made it clear what it wants to tell and some special effects more adjusted to the expectations. Despite its poor resolution, it has inspired sequences, it’s a pity that it doesn’t manage to finish!

LO MEJOR:

The beginning of the film, full of ideas to exploit the bad vibes that a pool has always given off: drains, drains, muffled sounds…

LO PEOR:

At the moment when it has to develop the background story, lack of logic is perceived, it becomes cumbersome and lazy.

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