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Film Review: NIGHT SWIM (2024): Last Year’s Oscar Nominee Kerry Condon Stars in a Flat Horror Movie About a Haunted Swimming Pool

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Amélie Hoeferle Night Swim

Night Swim Review

Night Swim (2024) Film Review, a movie directed by Bryce McGuire, written by Rod Blackhurst and Bryce McGuire and starring Kerry Condon, Wyatt Russell, Amélie Hoeferle, Gavin Warren, Jodi Long, Eddie Martinez, Elijah J. Roberts, Rahnuma Panthaky, Ben Sinclair, Ellie Araiza, Ayazhan Dalabayeva, Joziah Lagonoy, Alvan Uttapa, Liz Parkinson and Eleanor T. Threatt.

Bryce McGuire’s high-concept horror movie about a haunted swimming pool, Night Swim, is the new film starring last year’s Oscar nominee for The Banshees of Inisherin, Kerry Condon. Unfortunately, despite the talented actress’s solid performance in McGuire’s fright fest, the new horror picture suffers from the lack of an efficient plot. The story line feels like it has been done many times before, even if previous movies did not necessarily center their characters around a swimming pool per se. Condon is probably the only above-average thing about the new scare fest.

This film opens with a young Asian girl named Rebecca (Ayazhan Dalabayeva) being sucked into a pool in which she drowns. Years pass, and a happy family moves into the house that has the aforementioned pool in its backyard. All hell breaks loose in true Blumhouse movie tradition. As far as Blumhouse movies go, this one ranks towards the bottom of their recent releases.

Condon is featured as Eve who works as an administrative assistant at the local school. The real estate agent who sells Eve and her husband, Ray (Wyatt Russell) the house passes off snide remarks about Eve suggesting she’s too old to be going back to school. Eve is working and going to school because Ray, a former baseball player, has become injured. The swimming pool in the backyard of the home Ray and Eve select to live in is haunted by the spirits of those who died when they inhabited the pool years ago. Early in the picture, Ray falls into the pool and his family, including his children Izzy and Elliot (played by Amelie Hoeferle and Gavin Warren) fail to recognize this fact until Ray climbs out of the pool on his own despite his physical limitations.

Ray needs physical therapy and the doctor recommends swimming. Soon, Ray is recovering and doing really well but that’s because the pool has a dire nature about it which gives its primary swimmer what they want in exchange for their soul. Or something like that. Eventually, Eve contacts the old owner of the house, Kay (Jodi Long) and we learn that there are deep, dark secrets surrounding the aforementioned pool.

There are scenes of terror such as when Ray holds down a young kid at a pool party thanks to becoming possessed. But, the scenes of horror don’t add up to much in terms of an interesting plot. One wonders what “possessed” the brilliant Condon to take on the role here. She doesn’t add much personality to the role of Eve but still keeps the audience rooting for her thanks to her earnest on-screen presence. When she faces off with her possessed husband late in the movie, one wishes the project had employed more imagination to have fun with the material at hand.

The stand-out scene in the picture is when Izzy plays Marco Polo in the pool with her boyfriend, Ronin (Elijah J. Roberts). Ronin disappears and Izzy continues to play, being pulled into the pool by a demonic force. It’s a scary scene that ignites some tension for a few minutes within the film at least.

Night Swim is a typical haunted house movie. OK, the pool is more haunted than the house, but still. There is a great scene where black liquid runs down Kay’s face and this is one of the truly terrifying sequences to be found here. Eve meets with Kay to learn more about the history of the house but gets more than she bargained for. It’s a WTF moment in a movie that is otherwise pretty standard and feels like it has a by-the-numbers style to it.

Wyatt Russell is probably the movie’s central star but he isn’t as scary as he could have been towards the picture’s conclusion. Hoeferle fares better than Warren although both child actors are decent. They can’t help that they’re in a PG-13 horror movie which limits the picture’s ability to make audiences jump out of their seats too much during the course of the film.

There’s something safe about watching a horror movie like Night Swim. You know what you’re getting with a movie like this. The cast is reliable, if not outstanding. When Condon appeared in the film’s cast list, I jumped for joy because she truly deserved to win Best Supporting Actress last year and it was great to see her starring in another project so soon after her nomination. She doesn’t hurt her career with this performance but it won’t get her another ticket to an Oscars ceremony anytime soon.

While Night Swim is very predictable, offers few surprises and thus feels familiar, it is also not too boring thankfully. Horror movie fans will probably make it all the way through this picture even though they’ve definitely seen this one before. Only done better.

Rating: 5.5/10

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