NIGHT SWIM Delivers Scares and Thrills, But Left Me Wanting More

People, particularly those who do not know how to swim, often fear water. Whether it is a fear of drowning within a natural body of water or in a swimming pool, this particular type of death has fueled the fears of people for centuries. This new horror film by Bryce McGuire, in his feature directorial debut, examines this fear but also adds a supernatural element to this phobia. McGuire’s movie mainly works on this simple premise but leaves much more to be desired.

After being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, professional baseball star Ray Waller (Wyatt Russell) tries to give his family a new start in a new home while desiring to plant some roots in a new town. Given the chance to buy a new home and not continue renting, Ray and his loving wife Eve (Kerry Condon) see a golden opportunity to invest in an older, lived-in home with a swimming pool. However, both their son Elliot (Gavin Warren) and their daughter Izzy (Amélie Hoeferle) eventually discover that the pool in their new home has some scary, unexplained problems when they take their first swims.

Meanwhile, Ray uses the pool to aid in his physical therapy and realizes that the pool might have some healing benefits for his medical condition. Unfortunately, these benefits come with a heavy toll, as he begins displaying some bizarre behavior changes, which become rather frightening for his wife and children.

Written and directed by Bryce McGuire, who co-wrote the story with Rod Blackhurst, Night Swim is a solid horror piece but relatively thin regarding its story development. The filmmakers reveal some of the lore they have in mind when depicting the supernatural aspects of their story but ultimately leave the audiences wanting further elaboration. This discrepancy could be developed in more exciting ways in a sequel, but as a stand-alone feature, Night Swim only partially satisfies.

The cast performs adequately but never transcends the limitations of the writing. McGuire does a fine job of creating the setting, and he and his crew manage to give the audience adequate fright and tension. This movie is undercooked and plays out like a slightly strained extension of the short that inspired it.

Night Swim is now playing in theaters, but it is a movie I wouldn’t recommend spending top dollar to see. People will enjoy Night Swim best when it is available via a streaming service at home.

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