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Night Swim

Updated: Feb 5

Although it never serves up any real scares, NIGHT SWIM strands two great performances in the shallow end of the pool.

Kerry Condon, so brilliant last year in "The Banshees of Inisherin" stars as Eve Waller, the wife of MLB player Ray Waller (Wyatt Russell from "Overlord" and "Monarch: Legacy of Monsters").

Ray has retired early, due to onset of a degenerative disease. Unstable with a cane, Ray is facing uncertain rehab, supported by Eve and his two kids Izzy (Ameile Hoeferle) and Elliot (Gavin Warren).

After many moves due to changing teams through the years, the family settles into a new, idyllic neighborhood and house with a giant pool in the back yard.

Unfortunately, the listing neglects to share that the pool is haunted.

So at this point, you have to admire Bryce McGuire, who sold the concept of this feature film to Blumhouse on the strength of his original 4-minute long short film.

Is there enough on that bone to stretch to 98 minutes?

How scary can you make a swimming pool?

I think Bill Murray reached that zenith with his "It's only a Baby Ruth" bite many years ago.

Alas, here you're limited to some games of Marco Polo that feature water bloated corpses gurgling "Polo" and the voice of a little girl looking for her mom that calls out of the filter for Elliot.

Not so scary.

Ben Sinclair (Thor: Love and Thunder) makes a hilarious cameo length appearance as a pool man who waxes on and on about humans and water. His delivery is so perfect that I laughed out loud. As Ray and Eve look on and he stares into the pool drain he lets loose with:

"It's funny, isn't it, though. I mean, we evolved out of the water, and some part of our reptilian brain knows we're not supposed to be there anymore. But... I guess that's why we try to tame it so hard. It's like trying to conquer death..."

Yeah, okay pool dude, thanks for the philosophy. I kept waiting for him to come back and dish out some more hilarious wisdom! Alas, he only has one scene.

Condon and Russell lift the material immeasurably, thanks to their chemistry and tangible care for each other as Ray sees his past glory torn away from him by the disease. Eve's desire to make the family whole is palpable. She's far better than the script.

When Ray's rehab in the pool starts to have astonishing consequences, the doctors are baffled. Has he found the fountain of youth?

The third act really starts to drain the swamp of retread ideas, including throwbacks to the Poltergeist films and one scene with an elderly former owner of the home that reminded me of last year's far superior January horror flick, "Smile". Unfortunately it also slides too close to that M. Night trash "Lady in the Water" when the pool's secrets get a little too deep.

Speaking of "Poltergeist", the famous scene with JoBeth Williams slipping into the muddy dig for the swimming pool, skeletons surfacing all around her as thunder booms and Jerry Goldsmith's brilliant music score soars, provides 1000 times the fear that anything in this b-movie provides.

Also rated PG-13, NIGHT SWIM kept me interested for 90 minutes, probably a bit more than I expected, thanks wholly to Condon and Russell. Without them, this thing would have spiraled the drain much more quickly than it did.

I'll give it a C+.

Now somebody grab a towel and let's head back to the Freeling's pool for real scares!

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