Comfortable and Furious

Night Swim

In my annual year-in-review piece, I highlighted how many horror movies were released just in 2023 (more than eighty). As if the movie gods were listening, my first screening of 2024 was a horror movie – Night Swim. Marketed as “from the producers of M3GAN,Night Swim follows in M3GAN’s lazy footsteps, provides a couple of jump scare moments, but mostly disappoints. Much of this has to do with Night Swim’s premise – a haunted swimming pool – and that it is based on a four-minute short of the same name, but much more has to do with the setup of a bunch of story elements that never pay off. Watching Night Swim was like finding your honey-do list weeks later and realizing how much of it remains incomplete.

  • Cast the Waller family. Dad – Ray. Mom – Eve. Teenage daughter – Izzy. Ten-year-old son – Elliot.
    • DONE. We got Wyatt Russell and scored Oscar-nominee Kerry Condon from that movie Banshees of Inception, or whatever (I didn’t see it). Amelie Hoeferle and Gavin Warren to play the kids.
  • Start the movie in 1992 (explicitly print 1992 on the screen) with a little girl (Rebecca) vanishing in the pool one night. Do not forget to explicitly print the year when the Wallers are introduced. The look of some of the scenes can definitely confuse the audience as to what year it is for the Wallers.
    • DONE. Did the opening scene and it’s great. That toy boat of her brother’s is the perfect way to get her into the pool at night.
  • Ray is a former major league baseball player who had to retire because he has multiple sclerosis. The pool is going to slowly heal him after he starts swimming at night and regain his baseball prowess. This is also how he becomes addicted to the pool.
    • DONE. We have a scene with his doctor telling him about different therapy options. He finds a baseball floating in the pool. We show him swimming in the pool. We have a scene at his son’s baseball practice where Ray takes a few swings at pitches thrown by the head coach.
  • When the Wallers are cleaning the pool after moving into the house, include a pool technician who talks about the natural spring in the area and its supposed healing properties. He is the source of information about the history of the pool. Do the initial scene, then a second-act scene where he tells Ray the rest of the legend – that a sacrifice is required to make the healing permanent.
    • DONE. Love how the initial scene with the pool tech worked out. He’s a little funny and definitely comes off as knowing more than he is saying.
  • The pool is going to use Rebecca as bait for the Wallers.
    • DONE. We did a scene where Elliot hears Rebecca’s voice coming from the pool filter (that little rectangle on the side of the pool at water level). This scene is very Pennywise.
  • Do scenes where Eve and Izzy dive to the bottom of the pool and end up seeing the pool surface from really far away.
    • DONE. Both scenes turn out visually great.
  • Bring back the boat at least two more times. Use it to signify the little girl and her brother. It would be creepy if any of the Wallers found it.
  • REALLY IMPORTANT!!! – Nothing sinister can happen during the day. The movie is called Night Swim. (The pool party scene should be an evening barbecue.)
  • Make sure the batting practice scene shows how much Ray has benefited from the pool. If he is healing, it would be counterproductive if he badly missed two pitches, then crushed the third pitch into the lights like he’s Roy Hobbs.
  • REALLY IMPORTANT!!! – Nothing sinister can happen outside of the pool or pool deck. The movie is called Night Swim. (Delete the scenes with the drinking glass magically being pushed off the kitchen counter or the television magically turning on. If that can happen, there is no reason the pool can’t just drag victims into it.)
  • Ray needs to become obsessed with the pool. (Haha – my wife thought I said possessed.)
  • My wife just asked me what happens if they don’t sacrifice anything. That’s a really good question.
  • REALLY IMPORTANT!!! – Do not make Rebecca a deus ex machina. It would negate pretty much everything we’ve seen and been told about the pool.
  • REALLY REALLY IMPORTANT!!! – This is a horror movie. If the audience members are laughing, we’ve failed.

Rating: Your to-do list is just one item – ask for eighteen dollars back.







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