|09 february 2024
Night Swim stands out as a refreshing addition to contemporary horror cinema, blending elements of supernatural mystery and family drama with a level of finesse that sets it apart. The collaboration between horror heavyweights Jason Blum and James Wan, known for their contributions to such genre-defining films as The Conjuring series and Malignant, bears fruit with this film that successfully captures the essence of classic '80s horror while adding a modern twist.
From the opening of the main story, Night Swim sets a palpable tone of tension, hinting at the malevolence lurking beneath the surface of an unsuspecting suburban swimming pool. The film introduces audiences to the Waller family, embodied by a first-rate cast, with Wyatt Russell and Kerry Condon as the parents, and supported by impressive performances from Amélie Hoeferle and Gavin Warren as the children. The dynamic within the family is not just a backdrop for the horror, but serves as a compelling emotional anchor that reinforces the film's impact.
Wyatt Russell, who plays Ray Waller, a former baseball player facing the challenges of multiple sclerosis, brings depth and authenticity to his character. The family's journey unfolds organically, and the script deftly balances the Wallers' personal struggles with the supernatural elements, ensuring that the two aspects complement rather than compete for attention. Kerry Condon's portrayal of Eve as Ray's supportive wife adds a layer of empathy that resonates throughout.
The film's 98 minutes are used effectively to build tension, establish the rules of its supernatural universe and provide satisfying scares. The revelation of the haunting entity and the dark secrets surrounding the pool are perfectly timed, keeping the audience engaged and invested in the unfolding mystery. Night Swim demonstrates a great mastery of pacing, ensuring that each scene makes a significant contribution to the overall narrative.
One of the film's notable strengths lies in its commitment to atmospheric horror and psychological tension. Rather than relying on gratuitous gore, Night Swim builds its scares by focusing on well-executed jump scares and a pervasive sense of dread. The underwater cinematography is particularly noteworthy, capturing the eerie beauty of the haunted pool and adding to the film's overall visual appeal.
Bryce McGuire's direction, coupled with a screenplay co-written with Rod Blackhurst, demonstrates a keen understanding of horror tropes while injecting new and inventive elements into the narrative. The film pays homage to the classics of the '80s, with subtle nods to films like Poltergeist and The Shining, creating a sense of nostalgia for fans of the genre without feeling derivative. There's also a nod to one of Stephen King's best novels, with a scene reminding us that we're all floating below.
Night Swim is a testament to the prowess of its creators and the innovative potential of the horror genre. With a compelling premise, solid performances and a well-crafted blend of family drama and supernatural horror, the film held our attention. For fans of the genre, Night Swim is a must-see movie that not only pays homage to the classics, but also stands out as a memorable entry in the modern horror canon.
Written and directed by Bryce McGuire
Story by Bryce McGuire, Rod Blackhurst
Based on Night Swim by Bryce McGuire, Rod Blackhurst
Produced by James Wan, Jason Blum
Starring Wyatt Russell, Kerry Condon, Amélie Hoeferle, Gavin Warren
Cinematography : Charlie Sarroff[
Edited by Jeff McEvoy
Music by Mark Korven
Production companies : Atomic Monster, Blumhouse Productions
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release dates : January 26, 2024 (Culver City), January 3, 2024 (France), February 9, 2024 (United States)
Running time : 98 minutes
Seen on January 03, 2024 at Gaumont Disney Village, Room 5 seat A19