Monday, September 7, 2020

The Pool (2018)

Streaming Services: Shudder
Movie Name/Year:  The Pool (2018)
Genre: Action, Drama, Horror
Length:  91 minutes
Rating: NR
Production/Distribution: Dark Army Studio, TMoment, ABS-CBN Film Productions, Cathay Cineplexes, MM2 Entertainment, Sabay MVP, Amazing D.C., Busch Media Group, Busch Media Group, Interfilm
Director: Ping Lumpraploeng
Writer: Ping Lumpraploeng
Actors: Theeradej Wongpuapan, Ratnamon Ratchiratham

Blurb from IMDb: In an abandoned 6-meter deep pool, a couple is stranded there with a deadly predator.

Selina’s Point of View:
I was scrolling through Shudder one day, looking for a good horror film to watch, when I stumbled on this one. Instead of watching it myself, I thought we could use it for the blog. Both of us relatively enjoy creature features, so why not?

I enjoy movies that utilize a cold open. This one drops you right into the story with no exposition at all. You see the production company logos and then, boom, a bleeding guy on the floor. (It’s not a spoiler if it happens within the first 2 minutes of the flick.) That kind of thing immediately hooks me, and I find it particularly useful in horror stories.

Due to the ‘straight-into-it’ opening, you’re faced with both the good and the bad right off the bat. Five minutes in, you know exactly what you’re getting.

In that time, it’s easy to tell that the protagonist is charismatic and facing insurmountable odds. You can also tell that the CGI is going to be a little off. Still, I’ve seen worse graphics. These were acceptable.

While we’re on the main character I have to say one thing: he is the dumbest protagonist I’ve ever seen. I don’t mean that he’s badly created. What I mean is that he makes the worst choices of any character I’ve ever come across in any film. You know what? Add books and TV shows, too. Still the dumbest.

I spent a lot of my time watching The Pool, screaming at the screen as if it wasn’t a horror movie, but a soccer game.

Those issues aside, the majority of the movie wasn’t bad. I wrote off a lot of the main character’s stupidity by saying he was in a panic mode. It helped me give him the benefit of the doubt.

That said, I had some big issues with the ending.

There are not enough words in the English language for me to express how much I hated the conclusion to this story.

You know how the Lord of the Rings (2001-2003) trilogy had 97 endings? At least all of them were complete and made sense. Not so much with The Pool.

It felt like the writer couldn’t decide how he wanted it to end. It was as if he wanted to go bleak, but he didn’t quite have the balls. However, he also didn’t want to give a happy ending, because it didn’t fit the feel of the film. Meanwhile, the music is hitting crescendos and then softening over and over again while several incomplete options play through for about 20 minutes until the writer finally settles on the single most unrealistic one.

I don’t think I’m going to look back on this film fondly. It’s a shame because I do think it had some really good moments. It had the potential to be something truly memorable – it just couldn’t stick the landing. 

Cat’s Point of View:
Let’s dive right in! (Not sorry, I couldn’t resist.)

I’m feeling a little ridiculous at the moment because this movie has left me a bit “shook.” A large part of that stems from a fairly visceral flashback to a moment in my youth where I nearly drowned in a wave pool at the local water park. My bestie absconded away with our inner tube, and I was in the deep end when the waves started. I’d say it’s the second time in my life that my red hair has helped save my skin in a pool.

I was brought back to the memory of scrabbling at the sides, trying to gain purchase on one of the metal bars dotting the wall for this very purpose. The waves kept knocking me under and I couldn’t keep a grip on the bar.

Needless to say, I could relate on some level to the position that the character Day found himself in. To a point. The hopelessness of being “so close, and yet so far” to freedom from this sort of situation can be overwhelming in the moment.

That’s about where my ability to relate with that character ends, however. I sincerely hope that I wouldn’t make the gigantic string of bad decisions he did. Day was certainly not the brightest crayon in the box.

A good creature feature now and again is fairly required viewing for me. I really enjoy them that much. It’s been nice to see “real-world problem” type movies that feature animals you could actually run afoul of; rather than your typical horror haunts, extinct critters, or debatable cryptids. The crocodile is really what drove the tension and dread-factor in the film for me. The effects were pretty decent for the reptilian menace, and they captured the creature’s behaviors fairly well. I generally bought in and forgot that it was CGI.

I am thankful that the writer and production team didn’t decide to go for the obvious danger in this sort of situation – a la one of the early deaths in The Final Destination (2009). If you haven’t seen it and don’t want to be horrified about pool drains, I wouldn’t recommend looking it up.

The Pool lost me at the end, however. I hated the last 10-15 minutes of the movie. It fairly ruined the whole thing. I don’t plan to campaign against the film, but I certainly won’t be volunteering this title as a suggestion – nor, will I be watching it again. I can only offer a warning: watch if you must, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 96%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 68%
Metascore – None
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 5.5/10

Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating – 2/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 2.5/5

Trust the Dice Parental Advisory Rating - R

Movie Trailer:

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