A family discovers that the pool at their new house is haunted by an evil spirit in Night Swim. Ray Waller (Wyatt Russell) is a baseball player, whose career is cut short by a diagnosis of secondary progressive MS. Ray convinces his wife Eve (Kerry Condon) to move in with their children Izzy (Amélie Hoeferle) and Elliot (Gavin Warren) to an old home with a spring-fed pool in the back, which would assist with Ray's rehabilitation. However, as the health of Ray begins to improve, Eve and the children begin seeing and hearing strange things around the pool, especially at night.
Night Swim Synopsis
Night Swim is a supernatural horror film written and directed by Bryce McGuire and produced by James Wan (M3GAN), based on the 2014 short film of the same name directed by McGuire and Rod Blackhurst. The film stars Wyatt Russell (The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Overlord) and Kerry Condon (The Banshees of Inisherin) as Ray Waller and his wife Eve, who move into a new house with their teenage daughter Izzy, played by Amélie Hoeferle (The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes), and 9-year-old son Elliot, played by Gavin Warren (Fear the Walking Dead).
Suffering from the early onset of Multiple sclerosis, Ray's career as a Major League Baseball player was cut short and he has been struggling to adapt to a domestic life at home. However, Ray becomes enamoured by the pool at the family's new house and shows signs of improvement. However, the rest of the family begin to have paranormal experiences around the pool and Eve seeks out the house's former owner Kay (Jodi Long, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings) to try and get answers about what is happening around the pool.
My Thoughts on Night Swim
Night Swim is a film that comes off as more cheesy than scary, which would mark its failure as a horror film to some. Part of the cheesiness comes from Wyatt Russell's line delivery of phrases such as “We have a pool” and “It's so cool in the deep.” However, despite the cheesiness, Night Swim remains an entertaining film that gets a pass in my book.
Arguably the best sequence of the film, heavily featured in the film's trailer, is Ray and Eve's teenage daughter Izzy playing a nighttime game of Marco Polo with her new boyfriend Duncan (Elijah Roberts), which ends with a monstrous jump scare. This combined with a climax that seems taken out of either The Shining or The Amityville Horror more that makes up for the flaws present within the rest of the plot. That said, the original 2014 short film, which is only 4 minutes long, is ultimately way superior to the feature-length expansion.
Similarly to Lights Out, another James Wan-produced film expanded from a short film, a premise that works in a short running time might not come off as well when expanded to feature-length. In the case of Night Swim, the entire arc of Wyatt Russell's character of Ray Waller was created for the feature film and, as I previously mentioned, Russell's line delivery often comes off as quite cheesy. Kerry Condon fares much better as Eve, the main protagonist of the short, who becomes the one trying to decipher the reason why there's paranormal happening in the pool.
Taking the same first weekend of the year slot, Night Swim will probably not end up having the same level of appeal that M3GAN did last year. However, the film still has a certain charm in parts and there are worse ways to waste away an afternoon.