The Pool (2018) features a blood-thirsty croc! But that's not the only danger . . .
So, the other day I was running around my cave, yelling and screaming at my cat, Ms. Congeniality, for once again coughing up a hairball right onto Ma’s old human-skin rug. Plop down in the center! That is the centerpiece of my living space, you ass! This rug has retained its shine over the years thanks to a thin laminate layer and despite probably hundreds of pounds of hairballs, spilt blood, and accidentally-dropped leftover entrails from dinner.
“It’s all I have left of Ma, you delinquent!”
I gathered the hairball, tossed it into the fireplace, felt a tickle at the back of my throat, and coughed up my own hairball in the exact same spot as that darn cat. Sorry, Ma.
Ms. Congeniality rolled her eyes.
It was around this time that I began reflecting on a movie I watched a few days ago—a movie that features one more useful animal than my own and one that is a bit more of a nuisance.
That movie is The Pool (2018).
I hate summaries and spoilers more than I hate when some stupid kid stumbles upon my cave by accident, and I have to bite off his head! However, I will oblige ever so briefly: This Thai horror story follows the unfortunate luck of our main character Day who gets trapped inside a very deep pool after falling asleep on a raft while the water drains (seriously, HUMANS! Smdh).
His dog is chained next to the pool and keeps Day alive in more ways than one, as dogs are known to do, although I myself am more of a cat-wolfperson. Day’s girlfriend, Koi, falls in and joins him. This turns out to be a good thing because Day needs help not only escaping the pool but also . . . hey, it’s a crocodile!
This is a classic What-Else-Could-POSSIBLY-Go-Wrong tale, but the turns are so good, the characters so compelling, and the cinematography so beautiful, that you really want to see how these two escape the pool. Seems like a simple concept, escaping a pool. But we feel every torturous minute of entrapment along with Day and Koi: Moral decisions abound that require sacrifice, pay off briefly, and are immediately beset with a consequence. Day has to decide between saving his dog from choking to death and answering his phone, which is ringing and about to fall into the water—all while the water drains from the pool, taking him further and further away from the surface, from safety. The dread is enhanced because we have already been introduced to the ultimate physical danger the character will face—the sometimes-real, sometimes-kinda-bad-CGI croc. These challenges test Day’s emotional resources, just as the constant swimming, the struggle to climb the walls to safety, replete his physical strength. As Day grapples with these decisions one after the other, the audience grapples with him. Sometimes we scream, “What are you doing, you idiot?!” which is what you should be screaming at any good horror movie. As he tries and fails, and tries and fails, to escape the pool, the slow-horror dawns on him, and us, that the pool itself is a more formidable antagonist than even that hungry ol’ croc.
Come for the novelty of The Pool’s plot and stay for the excellent acting, dramatic score, and agonizing sequences of GET ME OUTTA HERE. Personally, sitting alone at the bottom of a pool with only a couch, a crocodile, and no humans for miles in any direction seems like the ideal life for a solitary creature like myself! But I’d also want a TV so I could watch this movie a few more times.
Directed by: Ping Lumpraploeng
Written by: Ping Lumpraploeng
Main cast: Theeradej Wongpuapan, Ratnamon Ratchiratham
Run time: 91 minutes
Where can you watch? Although it was released in 2018, many American viewers are seeing it for the first time due to its release on the horror streaming service Shudder.
Full-Moon Rating: 4/5 FULL MOONS