Noob Reviews: The Pool
Please be advised that during the review, I have tried to avoid a lot of spoilers. However, there may still be a few included helping explain specific points.
What is The Pool?
Released in September 2018, The Pool is a Thailand born thriller written and directed by Ping Lumpraploeng, which follows a recent mishap that befalls Day. A film set assistant who falls asleep on an inflatable pool toy in the middle of an enormous outdoor pool his crew had been shooting in the night before. Unfortunately, the pool’s water has been set to drain by the team as they left, as it is no longer in use and Day had been tasked to stay behind to do a final clean up. Instead, he awakes to find himself trapped partway down the six-meter pool and unable to escape.
As the day progresses, and the water level lowers even further, an escaped crocodile, venturing out from the nearby crocodile farm the crocodile once called home, finds itself trapped in the pool with Day. The two must enter a battle of wits as Day fights to stay alive long enough for someone to notice he is missing or help from anywhere… Anyone… To come to his aid.
What type of genre is the film?
The Pool is classed as a survival thriller with elements of horror, drama and action thrown into the mix.
When was The Pool released?
The Pool was released in September 2018.
Do you have a trailer to show us?
- The official trailer linked from Galaxy Cinema’s YouTube channel -
Who are some of the actors and actresses that we might know?
For a full cast listing, please see the official IMDB page here.
What did you think of The Pool?
I think the best way to sum up The Pool would be to say it is the Thailand version of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, in fact, I would go as far as calling the film Day’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, and that is me being kind to the film.
The Pool in many ways and on many levels really bugged me to the point I had to talk myself out of just giving it a single banana rating, I know many people have said the film is brilliant, but personally I found it to be too predictable and excessively irksome. When it comes to the story, there are a series of events which lead up to Day becoming stuck in the pool with the crocodile, many of them easily avoidable and screaming common sense and yet so quickly overlooked. The story portrays Day as incompetent so powerfully, so early on, that it just killed any sort of investment, I might have felt for him. Instead, I just continuously found myself thinking ‘well, you brought this on yourself.’ As the story unfolds throughout the film, things continue to escalate in weird and not so wonderful ways. So out there and far fetched are some of the twists, that they could not be further from the tag line “the event that can happen in real life” which is slapped all over the film’s promotional materials.
When it comes to the characters, I found Day to be rather unlikeable as his insecure tendencies and buffoonish approach to the whole situation were just so plain. He appears to have a very minimal personality for most of the film, and he comes across as someone who drastically underplays the role in some scenes and then tries to make up by overplaying in others. The actor tried so hard to be likeable and relatable that they fail at doing both. Day’s girlfriend Koi is no better as she is portrayed as very bratty, juvenile and (spoilers) only furthers the situation when she does the one thing he asks her not to (dive into the pool), and she cracks her head open after a failed jump. Leaving her to fall unconscious into the pool below. The only way this scene could have been any more dramatic would have been if it was slowed down just a tad bit more and there was a massive spray of blood out of the back of her head, but as it is, is bad enough.
Regarding the special effects, when the crocodile is at a distance, it looks real. It looks menacing. And it can give you chills just thinking about Day’s predicament and yet when it gets close to Day and Koi the crocodile is quite obviously an effect and appears as if it were pinched straight out of Lake Placid 3. Whether it be the crocodile’s general presentation, the fact for one scene it keeps repeatedly attacking in the exact same way on the exact same limb, or it’s often awkward movements - it just doesn’t come across as the apex predator crocodiles are known to be. Apart from that though there are other moments in the film where you can tell the stunts have been ramped up and intentionally dramatised too. Giving them a little umph and tension, but even with the inclusion of these scenes, they are not enough to save the film. I often found myself suffering from a snore factor than engulfed in the awe factor. And we’re not even going to discuss the human dressed as an Old English Sheepdog in one scene, you’ll know the exact scene I mean if you ever watch the film.
Overall having watched a lot of Asian cinema from across the lands, from Indian to Korean titles, I would love to say that The Pool may just not be a style of cinema I am familiar with, but that would be a lie. I just found the film to be a tedious watch and not really enjoyable. A few scenes scattered throughout are a little thought-provoking, and admittedly, there was one perfect jump scare that caught me off guard, but for a ninety-minute film, I really need more than one jump scare to keep it exciting and fresh. On this one, for me, it would have to be a solid pass at ever having to watch it again.
What rating would you give The Pool?
I would rate The Pool as a below-average 1.6 out of 5 bananas.
The Pool’s trailer will essentially show you all of the film’s critical parts and leaves little else to the imagination. With a predictable and very straight forward story based around a lack of common sense and clumsiness, I thought The Pool could have been so much more but as I watched I just realised I was watching it circle the drain right up to its overblown finale. If you are looking for crocodile based creature features, you would be a lot better off going for something like Crawl or even Hatching.
Thank you very much for checking out the review. If you are interested in The Pool and would like to check it out, to form your own opinion, you can find it on Blu-Ray, DVD and select streaming platforms like Amazon’s Prime Video and Shudder.