The Beach House (2020) | SHUDDER
“WHY?” was a question that audibly came up often while watching Ping Lumpraploeng’s The Pool. A thriller/survival movie set in the most innocuous setting, I didn’t think I was in for the ride that I was. After cringing at the gruesome moments, yelling at the mistakes characters made, and complete stress, I can say I’m ready to talk about it.
By the numbers, this is your standard, “everything goes wrong” sort of survival movie. It doesn’t really do anything to break the mold aside from maybe giving a different type of setting. It’s so middle of the road that it doesn’t really touch the echelon of other movies like 2019’s Crawl, but it does do its thing to make itself entertaining for the 90 minutes it keeps you around.
The Pool follows movie set artist Day (Theeradej Wongpuapan) and his girlfriend Koy (Ratnamon Ratchiratham) as they get trapped inside of a deep pool without a way to get out. As I mentioned, the theme of this movie is Murphy’s Law. So many things go wrong that it almost turns into a dark comedy at points. You can’t help but wonder why. Day’s dog gets chained up near the pool and becomes a point of concern. A rampant crocodile finds its way into the pool. Characters find themselves seconds from freedom. It’s wildly exhausting. However, that’s sort of the point of thrillers. I say this with the caveat that there’s definitely a lot of plot holes once you think about the movie for more than five minutes once it’s done. So while I won’t say it did it as elegantly as it could’ve, I think it still passed as serviceable if you’re into these movies.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
Unfortunately, while this movie puts its focus on survival, there’s very little time put towards the characters, and when it is given to them, it’s the most on the surface depth that you can have. There’s slight trouble in paradise for the couple, and that sums it up perfectly fine. I wasn’t invested in either character as much as I was invested into just getting out of the pool, which is unfortunate because I felt like there was more to do with both of them. The acting was fine and nothing was overtly wrong with it, but I definitely didn’t feel much for it either way.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
Go Watch 'Crawl', It Needs More Views
The Pool keeps it simple aside from the crocodile, which has its bad moments, specifically in the beginning. Other than that there’s injuries and blood, and even the most gruesome moments kind of got held back a little when you can tell that they didn’t invest into too much for the make up. The intensity could’ve, and should’ve, been amplified by gore, but it wasn’t. It was rather well hidden, and that made for a less uneasy feeling, which counters the whole movie.
The Pool (2020) | SHUDDER
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
In line with the rest of this movie, the score felt fine. There were moments of victory that had the higher at-peace cues come in, and there were moments of direness that the ominous keys. I had to go back and remind myself of the music, which can either mean one of two things: it was forgettable or it blended in perfectly. That’s a fine line to me, and I don’t think the blending did it all that amazingly. It was just there.
The Pool turned into the most “that was a survival movie” thing I’ve seen in a long time. The stakes were high, but they didn’t feel as high as they should have been. The choices and “oh no” moments were so blatant that it felt like an old school horror movie at times. The investment was very low, even in moments where I know I should’ve felt more than I did. Overall, this is an inoffensive movie. If you want a thriller, watch it, but if you want a great one, there are others out there. Go watch Crawl; it needs more views.