The Pool (2020) Review
The Pool takes a dive off the deep end of zemblanity.
Left alone to finish cleaning out an abandoned 6-metre-deep outdoor swimming pool, Day (Theeradej Wongpuapan) goofs around and falls asleep on an inflatable raft. When he wakes, the water level has dropped so low that he can’t climb out. Stuck in the pool without his phone, the situation goes from bad to worse when localised flooding releases one of the inhabitants of the nearby crocodile farm.
Despite stringing together a series of events so unfortunate and coincidental that it would embarrass the first act of an episode of “Casualty” written by Lemony Snickett, this ludicrously convoluted but nevertheless entertaining survival horror manages to keep your attention even as it strains your credulity.
It might not know when to stop throwing obstacles at its hero, but it certainly keeps things tense for its 90-minute runtime. The performances are good and the ups and downs of Day’s attempts to resolve his situation are as engaging as they are frustrating. The CGI crocodile, while obviously CGI, is still pretty good CGI and to the film’s credit what it may lack in photorealistic accuracy it makes up for in behavioural authenticity. This is a much more natural crocodile than cinema would have us expect and acts accordingly, not some kind of preternatural relentless killing machine. There’s even enough room for the croc to develop a personality of sorts.
Provided you can tolerate the piling on of misfortune after misfortune, and keep your eyes from rolling enough to keep up with the subtitles, there’s a lot to enjoy and even think about in this elemental survival horror. It’s worth mentioning that this Thai survival horror doesn’t share western cinema’s sentimentality when it comes to pets and anyone watching it should be prepared for that at least.