Movie Moment

A backstroke for the horror genre


The first horror release of 2024 is here. Hitting theaters Jan. 5, Bryce McGuire’s “Night Swim” rang in the new year with a jump scare. With producers Jason Blum and James Wan, this movie caught my eye and many other horror fanatics.

Forced into his retirement due to an injury, Ray Waller and his family move into a new home, hoping to find a new start. The swimming pool that came with a house looked like a simple opportunity for family fun and therapeutic benefits. But after some abnormal events start happening while they are in the pool, the family soon realizes it isn’t just an average pool.

I know what you are thinking — really, a pool? I was right there with you. What could be so terrifying about a pool? Honestly, I think I am still asking myself that question.

I’m completely convinced that this movie was made with the intention of scaring people that have a fear of deep water — thalassophobia. Even still, I am not sure that’s true, it is a swimming pool after all.

Similar to other oddly niche horror movies, “Night Swim” was never intended for all audiences. It was not intended to be the next Oscar-winning film. It was intended to play against certain people’s fears.

I relate it to “The Nun.” Many people hated having to watch a whole movie dedicated to a nun with black teeth and gray skin. That wasn’t scary to many people and her backstory was even less interesting. But as someone that grew up near an abbey, but never saw a nun, I had millions of ideas of what happened behind those walls. Valak had never seemed more terrifying, therefore making “The Nun,” a genuinely scary movie for me.

So, although “Night Swim” wasn’t my cup of tea, I could help but think throughout watching the movie that my friend, with thalassophobia, would be absolutely mortified. As would anyone with a fear of drowning, unknown creatures and even darkness.

When it comes to a horror movie of this kind, I think there is at least one bottom line — jumpscares. Which, for the most part, this movie had plenty of. Some of which made me jump, but others were completely predictable. Horror movies don’t always need a complex storyline with depths of characters and questionable events. Sometimes all they need is the heart-racing effect on people.

I didn’t hate “Night Swim” and I may watch it again when it comes out on streaming services. Though, I do think that this is a movie that you can skip for now, I would also recommend it to a person with a variation of a water fear.

As for one of my favorite directors and producers, James Wan, I am going to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he was too busy working on the next biggest horror movie — or so I would like to believe.