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Review: Night Swim (2024)

Night Swim (2024)

Directed by: Bryce McGuire

Premise: A family moves into a new home with a swimming pool. The father’s muscular dystrophy begins to heal but threatening supernatural phenomena occur around the house.

What Works: Haunted house movies are often about families and the family at the center of Night Swim is convincing. The father was a professional baseball player but he has left the game due to muscular dystrophy. This has put him at home with his family and allowed them to plant permanent roots but the disease has taken away the career that he loves and that is the source of an interesting and underplayed tension. Wyatt Russell and Kerry Condon play the husband and wife and they are convincing as a married couple. The film also plays on the anxiety of being the new family on the block and trying to assimilate into the neighborhood. Night Swim has some effectively creepy sequences. The pool is revealed to be a doorway to the other side and underwater sequences have a phantasmagorical quality.

What Doesn’t: Night Swim is a supernatural horror picture and so it’s credibility is allowed a certain amount of latitude. That said, this movie is frequently unbelievable. The characters spend a lot of time underwater and they hold their breath and swim great distances. It becomes unbelievable and the filmmakers don’t take exploit the fear of drowning. Night Swim borrows a lot from other horror films. There are sequences right out of Jaws and especially The Amityville Horror. It’s beyond homage. Much like the father in the original Amityville Horror, the father in Night Swim is impacted by the supernatural force and eventually becomes a threat to his family. This is not dealt with very well. The father becomes violent very suddenly and he stops being a threat even faster. He attacks his daughter (Amélie Hoeferle) but she gets over it very quickly. The climax of Night Swim doesn’t make much sense nor is it very satisfying. The resolution doesn’t really address the tension in the father’s relationship with his wife and kids, at least not in a way that is meaningful. It’s revealed early on that the pool is tapped into a natural spring and that this is the source of the supernatural evil. That means the ghosts are embedded in the groundwater and so there’s no real solution to the haunting.

Bottom Line: Night Swim has a few scares and the performances by the actors give the family some credibility. However, too much of Night Swim is familiar from other movies and not enough of it makes sense. 

Episode: #983 (February 4, 2024)