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Night Swim Movie Cast & Crew

by UrgentRCM

Bryce McGuire’s film delivers some neat moments, but they are drowned out by lore dumps and melodramatic subplots. Despite the presence of top-notch actors (including the ever-reliable Nancy Lenehan), this movie never rises above schlock.

Night Swim tells the story of the Wallers, a family whose nomadic lifestyle is disrupted by dad Ray’s diagnosis with multiple sclerosis.

Wyatt Russell

The movie’s surprisingly stacked cast (Wyatt Russell as a former baseball star with MS, Oscar nominee Kerry Condon as his worried wife) tries to elevate Night Swim above the horror schlock its setting suggests. But a few neat moments drown in a production that’s never quite sure where to take its promising premise.

McGuire and Sarroff evocative cinematography — using older, wider lenses to make the pool seem like a bottomless pit – adds a much-needed layer of verisimilitude. And a few moments of real insight into the family dynamics make it possible to care about these characters and their struggle to overcome their demons, both figurative and literal.

Unfortunately, the script is too scattershot to hold together. It lurches from a ghost story to a monster movie, with aspects of possession and cosmic horror tossed in for good measure. Russell and Condon have chemistry, but the sibling pairing of Izzy and Elliot lacks depth and their bond is too often undermined by boilerplate dialogue about their ill-fated swim team association. Also, the movie’s final showdown doesn’t live up to its build-up, resulting in an unsatisfying payoff that’s about as fun as a dunk in the hot tub.

Kerry Condon

With a spooky prologue that involves the mysterious drowning of a young girl, Night Swim is a movie of unease. But once the family learns what’s going on, the movie loses its grip on suspense. It doesn’t take long for the film to plod to its predictable conclusion.

Despite competent performances from Wyatt Russell (Monarch: Legacy of Monsters) and Kerry Condon (The Banshees of Inisheer), the film never achieves its potential. The film’s shuffle of horror elements (ghosts, monsters, possession movies, and more) fails to create any kind of solid grounding for its plot or characters.

The filmmakers seem to forget that a story about a haunted pool needs to be both scary and relatable. And while the film features one terrific creepy sequence and a genuinely fascinating family tale, it’s weighed down by too many exposition dumps and by a narrative that doesn’t fully know what it wants to be when it grows up. With a more firm grasp of the genre’s artistic ambitions, Night Swim could have been something special. But it’s too afraid to let its images and moments breathe, and the result is a film that never rises above mediocrity.

Amelie Hoeferle

A haunted swimming pool sounds like a pretty silly concept for a movie, but it’s a credit to director Bryce McGuire that his film’s moments of tongue-in-cheek ribbing and self-aware riffing never dilute its sense of danger. It’s just too bad that the same can’t be said for the film’s reality-bending climax, which falls far short of its ludicrous potential.

Expanding a 2014 short by McGuire and co-writer Rod Blackhurst, Night Swim is a spooky suburban horror flick that seems stuck between its campier impulses and its Stephen King-sized aspirations. Unfortunately, the film’s thinly-drawn characters – including Russell, Condon, Hoeferle, and Gavin Warren – aren’t quite developed enough to warrant the amount of emotional investment the third act demands.

Despite this, the performances are strong enough to hold the film together. Wyatt Russell is buyable as the family’s troubled patriarch, and Kerry Condon sells her character’s panicked realization that a demon is loose in their backyard. Night Swim also benefits from some inspired technical flourishes, particularly the way McGuire uses water to create a sense of dread through POV shots and underwater gill-like ripples.

Gavin Warren

Bryce McGuire’s original short film, which this movie is based on, had the potential for some fun campiness. Unfortunately, the writer-director’s decision to turn it into a “serious family drama” neutralizes most of the fun. It doesn’t help that a PG-13 rating eliminates the possibility of using creative violence or gore to create scares.

The cast, led by Wyatt Russell and Kerry Condon, tries to hold Night Swim together with some fine performances. But the plot is too confusing for them to succeed. Besides, it’s hard to care about a family attacked by an evil pool when the characters themselves don’t even believe that something’s wrong.

As an aside, it’s interesting that the filmmakers chose to use older, wider lenses when filming the Waller family swimming in their pool. This adds to the sense of dread when the family dives into it. It’s too bad they couldn’t bring the same level of creativity to other scenes in the ibomma film. Sadly, Night Swim drowns in its own mediocrity. It’s a sad way for Blumhouse to start the year.

Nancy Lenehan

Producers James Wan (Saw, Insidious, The Conjuring) and Jason Blum are behind this horror film about a family that moves into a new home with an evil pool in the backyard. Wyatt Russell, Kerry Condon, Amelie Hoeferle and Gavin Warren star.

McGuire juggles his ideas well, but the movie stumbles into several common horror mistakes. The mystery around the possessed pool becomes murky, and explanations for what’s going on fall flat. Worse, the film tries to get cute with its scares, and they’re about as effective as a Marco Polo game in a darkened swimming pool.

Condon and Russell are convincing as parents trying to protect their children, and they keep the movie afloat. But it’s a struggle to stay interested in a story that takes itself too seriously. It also doesn’t help that the cast includes such an uneven collection of performers. Ben Sinclair is hilarious as the Wallers’ real estate agent, and consummate That Guy Nancy Lenehan wrings some fun out of a one-scene part as the house’s former owner. She’s known for her recurring roles in TV shows such as Veep, My Name Is Earl and Old Christine.

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