Sommerleigh Pollonais, Horror Head Writer
This October I decided to watch and review some of those great horror movies (31 to be exact) that I missed on their initial release. And for Part 27 of my series of the 31 OF THE BEST HORROR MOVIES YOU (MAY HAVE) MISSED we will be checking out survival horror The Pool. Let’s get to it:
Day 27 of 31: The Pool
Director: Ping Lumprapleong
Starring: Theeradej Wongpuapan, Ratnamon Ratchhiratham
Nation Thailand Trivia: To overcome the flaws of a CG crocodile Ping added backup shots using both a mechanical crocodile and also the real live reptile.
Plot: In an abandoned six-metre deep pool, a couple is stranded there with a deadly predator and the clock on their survival running out.
Review: Regular readers over at Red Mango Reviews will know I covered this before, but there are a lot of incredible horror movies out there and I feel like this one may have been missed by mainstream and hardcore fans alike, so this is for them.
Let me take you back in time for a moment (picture wavy lines as the screen fades out). I was at the zoo and we were at the alligator section (or caiman, I’m not sure which. I live in the Caribbean where we only have caimans but our zoo has reptiles from all over the world).
Anyways, the zookeeper is in the pit with the big lizards and I asked him if it was safe. He told me a story of how he was cleaning the pit once and the gators were hanging out at the pond about six feet away. He turns to pick up a rake and when he turns around one of the gators was now standing about a foot away from him. He didn’t see it move, he didn’t hear it move, like the worst game of Red Light Green Light ever. I asked him what he did and he responded, “I scaled this tree here so fast you would swear I was part monkey”.
This memory came to mind while I watch the Thai horror/thriller The Pool, a film that’s made extra scary when you think of how many true life stories start with this particular predator showing up in the least likely of places. Like Crawl (a similar premise but with more killer crocs) The Pool pits its lead Day (Theeradej Wongpuapan) against a relentless crocodile and traps him in the deepest pool I’ve ever seen. The differences between the two movies comes down to scale though, as The Pool has a more simplistic, grounded way of handling its premise while Crawl (which I thoroughly enjoyed BTW) requires a bit more suspension of belief to get through.
It’s one man vs one crocodile but the tension is creatively amped up by writer/director Lumprapleong as he finds ways to keep the screws tightening by adding layers of anxiety, including Day’s girlfriend being injured and requiring medical help urgently. The clock is ticking, no help is in sight and a lack of food and water ultimately leads to psychological stress added to the physical ones. It’s Murphy’s Law in full effect and you have to wonder if this guy ran over a puppy or slapped a nun in a previous life, as nothing seems to be going his way.
The key ingredient to making stories such as these work is pacing and I think The Pool does a fantastic job of keeping the pacing tight while never sacrificing character development. The more intense the situation becomes, the more we learn who Day is as a person and the more you want to root for him and for his girlfriend to make it out alive. The special effects are also handled very well considering this film’s moderate budget. I honestly had difficulties at time figuring out when/if they used a real croc or not, which made things feel even more intense as we get to a surprisingly emotional finale.
It’s a shame these international films don’t get the coverage they deserve. Then again, with the success of films like Train to Busan and television shows like Squid Game taking the world by storm, it’s only a matter of time before more mainstream audiences go hunting for the superb content that can be found outside of Hollywood. And with that in mind, The Pool is a solid choice if you missed out on its release back in 2018, and a wonderful addition to any fans’ creature feature collection.
Sommer’s Score: 7 out of 10
You can check out Part 26 of my 31 Days List and horror/thriller Revenge together with my Top 5 Man Vs Beast Horror Movies (That Aren’t Jaws):
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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