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film reel image

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Night Swim 2024 * * 1/2 Stars


Mostly known for shorts, Bryce McGuire directs the pseudo Hitchcockian Night Swim. With "Swim", McGuire initially uses every camera angled frame to signal a little danger coming right around the corner. The pool (and you knew there was gonna be a pool) is the unequivocal star. "Marco, Polo". Uh-oh, you know what that means. 

Night Swim, well let's put it into perspective. It's like watching '82's Poltergeist but the lido and only the lido is the source of all the creepiness and chaos. Every scene has a wet n' wild, systematic jump scare to it. Every overhead shot of the deep and shallow end is neatly placed. Every dewy-eyed persona just has to go in the water (of course, otherwise there'd be no movie). Every pool drain (and human) seems to cough up a lot of black guck. Yuck!

"Swim", yeah it's kind of effective in its first and second act. We're talking a rinse, repeat cycle of all the antagonistic duppies constantly messing with the characters as opposed to just getting it over with and ending them. Very modus operandi if I do say so myself. 

And as mentioned in the first paragraph, Night Swim does have a little Hitchcockian flavor to it. Case in point: there is a cinematic twist near the end, a sort of mumbo jumbo take on possession, wishing wells, and all out, soul sacrifice. The problem is that it mostly seems far-fetched and almost contrived. I mean by the last half hour, "Swim's" plot about a roving family who buys a house with a cursed pool literally turns all wet (pun intended). A miscast Wyatt Russell as an aging, MLB player dad (really?), clips that are supposed to freak you out but turn funny, and a 70s, TV look doesn't make things any more palatable. Mixed "night vision". 

Written by Jesse Burleson

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