Saturday, 9 March 2013

The Pool (2001)

Having heard about, but not seen, The Pool for years, I was expecting something awful. Something so bad that it would easily become a movie by which I could judge all others (e.g. "well, it's bad, but it's no The Pool"). So when it turned out to be a decidedly average slasher with one or two half-decent moments I was pretty disappointed. I had to throw away the list of derogatory words I had noted down for the review and start with a completely blank page/screen.

A bunch of bright young things decide to celebrate their freedom from a prestigious European school by partying in a swish swimming pool. The big problem is that they're not alone in the building. There's also a masked killer eager to hack and slash through them before the night is over.

Directed by Boris von Sychowski, The Pool is absolutely generic stuff. If one or two more death scenes had shown some wit and imagination or if some more style was layered over everything then that wouldn't have been so bad. However, style is in short supply and there's really only one death scene that shows both wit and imagination.

The most fun to be had comes from spotting familiar faces among the cast. Isla Fisher and James McAvoy are the most recognisable of the bunch, but UK viewers might also know Cordelia Bugeja and/or John Hopkins while German viewers may have already seen Paul Grasshoff and Elena Uhlig in other projects. Jonah Lotan has done his fair share of TV work, as has Linda Rybova. While many of the faces may be familiar to viewers in different parts of the world, it's a shame that almost everyone is pretty bad. Perhaps it's because they have been thrown into such a strange mix or perhaps they just ARE that bad, it's hard to tell. At least Fisher isn't in it for that long and McAvoy is always dependable (though even he struggles).

The script, by von Sychowski and Lorenz Stassen (with some help from Ryan Carrassi in adapting the dialogue), doesn't help anybody. Exchanges between characters are dull and there are no memorable one-liners that you'll find yourself quoting once the end credits have rolled. In fact, there is nothing here that you will remember, or even want to remember, once the end credits have rolled. It's not eye-searingly awful to endure, but it's just not worth bothering with. Mercifully, it's beginning to fade from my memory already.


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