Night Swim might as well already be on the list of the worst horror movies of 2024. Last year, we got M3GAN in January, and it was absolutely delightful, delivering exactly what we were expecting from a horror film about a robot and a child. This got us all excited for Night Swim, which was marketed as a film by the “makers” of M3GAN. The disappointment going into this film is no joke, though. Not only does it feel like a film written by AI, but it’s also got scenes replicated from all the big franchises, such as Amityville, IT, and more. There’s no trope that it doesn’t miss, and it’s simply not worth watching if you ask me. I mean, sure, it’s an exciting concept, and I like where it comes from, but after a certain point, all logic is forgotten, and there’s more holes than the actual plot! Anyway, before this turns into a full-on rant, let’s recap the film and talk about that ending.
What Happens In The Film?
In 1992, a family lived in a house with a swimming pool. One night, the young daughter of the house found a missing toy floating in the pool and decided to head out and fetch it for her sick brother alone. She was pulled into the pool by some evil forces and ended up screaming for her mother and ultimately drowning. 15 years later, the Waller family is looking for a new home. Ray Waller has been forced into early retirement from baseball due to illness, and the family is looking for a nice place for him to rejuvenate and get better. In usual fashion, the family finds the house with the cursed pool and thinks it’s perfect for them. However, they’ve not been on the lookout to buy a house but rather to rent. When Ray gets looked at in the hospital, he’s told that some physical activities like swimming would help him get better (how convenient).
The family decides it’s time to set up base rather than moving around all the time and chooses to go with the house with the pool. Miraculously, the pool actually seems to make Ray better. However, on the other hand, the wife and kids start to see strange occurrences. The cat disappears first (at least we don’t get to see it dead somewhere), and the wife, Eve, sees someone when she’s on her Night Swim, and the little boy Elliot has a girl call out to him in the pool before a massive (almost gorilla-looking) hand grabs him from inside the vent. When Izzy, the daughter, decides to call her new crush over for a game of late-night Marco Polo with no parents around, she ends up getting pulled inside and almost disappears somewhere far into the pool. Is this a pool or the TARDIS, because why is it bigger on the inside?
What Happens At The Pool Party?
The Wallers decide to have a pool party to celebrate their new home and because their daughter made iton the team. Elliot thinks it’s a good idea to set up the video camera to figure out if something really is in the pool. At that time, Ray asks one of the kids on Elliot’s baseball team, Ty to join him in a game of chicken in the pool. They win the game, but for some reason, Ray doesn’t let go of Ty’s legs. Ty screams for him to let go of his legs, but Ray’s grip tightens as he gets lower into the pool. Elliot notices and rushes for his mom, but before they can do anything, Ty’s father notices what’s happened and pulls him out. The hand marks on Ty’s legs are so red they could be mistaken for sunburn. It’s not really possession, but whatever was in the water all this while has finally taken over Ray at this time and won’t let him go away from the house. Ray doesn’t even care that he almost drowned; he immediately wants to go back in the pool.
What Is The History Of The Pool?
Eve decides to research the house and finds that it wasn’t just Rebecca, the one girl who drowned in that pool, but many people before that went missing after living there. Rebecca’s family is still around in the town, and Eve decides to make a visit. She had heard that they hadn’t used the pool for 15 years before they moved out of the house. When Eve meets Rebecca’s mother, at first, the woman acts as if she never had a daughter. There’s a strange fountain in the house, and the place is pretty lavish, as it appears they’re quite a rich duo, her and her son. Eve learns that there used to be a spring before there was a house and swimming pool in the area. The woman says it must’ve been like one of those wishing wells where people made wishes and the water would make them come true. We can pretend that there’s some depth in this film because the family plays a game where the parents throw coins in the pool and the kids find them, so it’s almost like they’ve accidentally made their biggest wish (for Ray to be well) without realizing it. There was also a coin that Ray drew a smiley face on when Elliot was playing in the pool alone. Keep this coin in mind for the end of the film.
At this point in Night Swim, the woman starts acting strange, and black water starts leaking from her eyes. Eve realizes that the water in the fountain is the water from the spring. The woman tells Eve that love requires sacrifice, and the water demands death for a miracle. Rebecca died so her brother could become healthy and he and their mother could live a perfect life. It was the mom’s wish, and she is still possessed by the water.
Why Does Ray Sacrifice Himself?
At the end of Night Swim, all logic goes away, and we’re left with a bunch of horror tropes grouped together. With Eve out of the house, the kids are alone with their dad. Elliot notices the missing cat floating in the pool. He tries to get it by hanging onto the diving board, but there’s no cat, and he falls into the pool. The pool cover starts rolling out on its own with Elliot stuck underneath, and Izzy tries to stop it. Eve arrives just in time, but Elliot’s already disappeared inside the pool when they get the sheet off. Eve tells Izzy to call for help and dives into the pool herself, using a pipe as a guide, because she knows it’s bigger on the inside. At some point, the pipe isn’t long enough, and she has to let go of it. She finds Elliot, but then she’s grabbed by a bunch of ghosts who won’t let her get out. She somehow manages to push them away and starts to swim, but it’s Rebecca who shows her that she’s swimming the wrong way, using the smiley-faced coin to guide her. On the other hand, in the house, a glass of water has fallen to the floor on its own, like there was a ghost, and Izzy trips and falls, getting a piece of glass in her hand (I don’t understand why this happened?!).
Then Ray shows up, and he’s completely acting like a possessed man now. I didn’t know spring water could turn you into the devil, but here we are. He frightens his daughter, and she obviously can’t call for help. Then he leaves her in the garage with the door shut and goes after the mom, who’s just brought the son out of the water. Elliot doesn’t wake up until Ray shows up outside and chokes Eve. Ray claims that the water “chose” Elliot, so he must die. By this time, Izzy has managed to pick up her dad’s baseball bat (aww, a full circle moment) and hit him in the knee with it. Somehow, that’s enough for some of the black water to come out of him. Then she hits him a couple of times, and suddenly he’s not possessed anymore because it was enough for the water to leave his body and for him to remember that he loves his family (I don’t even know).
Eve and Izzy try to rush Elliot to the hospital and get him away from the pool, but it causes him to get sicker. This is when Ray realizes that his miracle would be saving his son (this was not a wish from before, so again, they tossed the logic in the spring too), so he goes into the water himself, making the big sacrifice. Somehow, the family is just fine with this. Night Swim ends with the family deciding to fill in the pool for good, so no other family has to go through this cycle again.