Night Swim Review: A Horror Film with a Unique Take on the Classic Scary Story

Among all the spaces/scenarios that can be possessed by an evil entity, particularly domestic ones, the swimming pool belonging to the garden villas of healthy wasp families living in the suburbs offers the best “opportunities” to suck sacrificial victims into its whirlpool , possibly young, who fuel its voracious curse. The bloodless plot also revolves around this basic mechanism Night Swima horror film that bears the direction, the story and the screenplay of Bryce McGuirebut which from a production point of view has the couple’s trademark Jason Blum-James Vantwo of the most influential and prolific personalities on the new American horror scene (Blum has created its own home, the Blumhouse productions with which he created some popular series such as Paranormal Activity, Sinister e Insidiousthe latter conceived by Van as well as that of Saw-the Riddler, Annabelle and related spin-offs). In short, a real one franchising which, rather than focusing on the search for inspiration and uniqueness, immediately imposed a concept of reiteration and emphasis of some conventional mechanisms of the cinema of terror.

Here too the start is a topos of the classics Amityville o Poltergeist, with the family (father, mother, son and daughter) looking for a new home to deal with the rehabilitation problem of her baseball player husband who has just recovered from an injury, where the presence of the swimming pool becomes important, due to a paradoxical principle which will then be clearly overturned , to help man heal himself and get back on his feet, provided he pays a very high price. But what matters is certainly not the pretext that pushes one or the other character to behave in a certain way: as in the best porno genres to which the functional and instrumental aspect brings horror – the finality – in its essence. is diving into the pool and probing a bottom that opens up to a monstrous presence in search of human victims, very young people and children, as if it were a sort of Freddy Krueger of the waters (among other things there was a scene in which he emerged from a swimming pool during a teenager’s party in Nightmare 2-the revenge) which, in an equally suspended and dreamlike dimension, nails down the selfish and vile responsibilities of adults, disposed to the rituality of the sacrifice of others in order to return to their own psychophysical well-being, to their own bubble of superficial and playful perfection – the swimming pool, a place of party, play and summer par excellence are tinged with black foreboding – only to then, in the moralistic and familial finale, bring everything back into the order of a more reassuring sense. Let’s say that straight away Night Swim it is a rather flat film in terms of production, both from a visual point of view and from that of the screenplay (understood precisely in its ability to create elements of suspense or tension).

The jumpscares are announced by a fairly obvious dynamic between depth and surface, which is combined with that between darkness and light given the nocturnal setting and the reference to another, alternative dimension, where the water becomes a sort of liquid passage between the natural and supernatural, and where the mother, who among other things is called Eve, emerges as a unifying and resistant element; a non-random primordiality in a story where the symbolic nature of infant sacrifice would like to have the pretentiousness of a sort of small parable between the biblical and the pagan, but which is flattened into a single key and not developed in the multiple directions and connotations that are they could have undertaken. Even on an evocative and symbolic level we remain in an escalation of action and reaction, where the what, the fact that good must win over evil and the chain of human pawns offered to the cursed divinity to control its greed must be broken infanticide, prevails over the how, over a more risky and disturbing choice of language. Because it is not the first time that a swimming pool hosts the monstrosity of transcendent evil given that in one of the most horrifying scenes of the first Poltergeist Of Tobe Hooper (1983), whose saga in total this Night Swim clearly refers, the skeletal bodies of the ghosts rose from the muddy source of a domestic swimming pool, which announced the disappearance, or rather the swallowing, of the entire house in the other dimension (once the entire recomposed family was safe in the own car traveling to the destination of a possible follow-up).

Kerry Condon

The threat of the family unit, tempted by the viscerality of a world beyond the surface, by a dark zone that affects and acts more on the weaknesses of the male characters therefore returns to become one of the terms of the conflict and, as in the second chapter of Poltergeistit is the father who becomes the gateway to a perversion: if in one case it involved literally vomiting the evil seed cultivated inside one’s body – a bit the same principle as Alien– in the film by McGuire the mutation is more in the somatic and vocal traits of the reassuring and formative figure par excellence, to whom the status of baseball player offers further patina of national hero, and a programmatic disturbing effect when the size of the swimming pool guides his actions in particular towards the teenage daughter, with the consequent incestuous implications that may arise from it. But the problem is the inability to create a sensation of transition from one state to another, remaining on the need to explain, make people understand, justify, with the consequence of making the mystery a game, a redundancy, a joke. The water/space relationship, also at the center of the visual apparatus of the film, where the visual and sound perception of a delimited field like that of the swimming pool widens and narrows almost trying to follow the emotional waves of fear, remains confined to entertainment without praise and perhaps with the infamy, so to speak, of contributing to the progressive disintegration of a fantasy where there is the risk of no longer expecting anything.

Until the next scare around the corner makes us roll our eyes and drool at the mouth like in the recent and much more successful Talk to me – more film of altered dimensions, crossings and ravenous entities; a good example from which horror seriality should start again to break down the logic of a production system and reclaim the irrationality of an emotion that is too submerged.

In theaters from February 22nd

Night Swim   – Regia e film script: Bryce McGuire; photography: Charlie Sarroff; assembly: Jeff McEvoy; musica: Mark Korven ; interpreters: Kerry Condon, Wyatt Russell, Amelie Hoeferle, Gavin Warren, Jodi Long, Nancy Lenehan ; production: Jason Blum and James Van; origin: USA, 2024; duration: 98 minutes; distribution: Universal Pictures.

2024-02-23 09:29:04
#Night #Swim #Bryce #McGuire


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