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Blu-Ray : Worth a Look
Ranking:
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Release Date: April 9th, 2024 Movie Release Year: 2024

Night Swim: Collector's Edition

Overview -

Blu-ray Review By: Matthew Hartman
There’s something of a truism when it comes to horror, a great concept does not a great horror film make. You can have one hell of a hook, but if it doesn’t go anywhere new or exciting, you don’t have much. Night Swim has a great hook but treads too much tepid water losing its fear factor with each familiar plot reveal. On Blu-ray from Universal, the film scores an excellent A/V package with some decent extras to watch after the show. Not a complete waste of time, but not all hoped for. At the very least Worth A Look

OVERALL:
Worth a Look
Rating Breakdown
STORY
VIDEO
AUDIO
SPECIAL FEATURES
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
Blu-Ray + DVD + Digital
Video Resolution/Codec:
1080p AVC/MPEG-4
Length:
120
Aspect Ratio(s):
2.39:1
Audio Formats:
English (DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 for Feature, Dolby Digital 2.0 for bonus content), French Canadian (DTS Digital Surround 5.1), and Latin American Spanish (DTS-HD High Resolution Audio 7.1)
Subtitles/Captions:
English, French, Spanish
Release Date:
April 9th, 2024

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take

Ranking:

Haunted/possessed things movies are a tough sell. It’s harder when the thing in question is a large stationary object that’s easily avoidable like a backyard pool. It gives the audience’s instinctual lizard brain time to kick in and say “Well, don’t go there. Problem solved.” For a haunted, cursed, or possessed object film to work there needs to be a reason basic avoidance tactics wouldn’t work. Bryce McGuire’s Night Swim almost makes it work, great performances abound, but the haunting horrors rest on too many telegraphed jump scares to let real terror rise to the surface. 

Our little film opens with the Waller family trying to find a new home. Ray (Wyatt Russell) used to be a rising MLB legend and a hell of a hitter, but illness has taken him out of the game. Now he’s trying to find the right place with his wife Eve (Kerry Condon) and their kids Izzy (Amelie Hoeferle) and Elliot (Gavin Warren). They need enough room for their growing kids but also the space for Ray to get treatment and hopefully get back into the game. And they find the perfect house, complete with a spring-fed pool at a price they can afford. As the pool seemingly restores Ray’s health setting his illness into remission, it comes at a cost that threatens the lives of his family. 

Now Night Swim had modest origins. Writer/Director Bryce McGuire and Rod Blackhurst originally dipped a toe into the creepy pool as a short film in 2014. It was popular enough to get packed into a collection of horror shorts and caught enough attention to get the feature-length expansion. Conceptually, this film has a lot going for it. Haunted or possessed objects or locations have any number of tropes associated with them, but they’re tropes because more often than not they work. An evil Force threatening those who enter its domain is the makings for any number of classics. But how that force exacts its deadly tole is the key. While the personal angle of Ray and his family has some merit, the film, unfortunately, banks on more jump scares rather than real terror.

All kudos for the opening and setup. The film’s opening moments is some delicious creepy stuff. You may be ahead of it and know what will befall our first victim, but how it happens and the timing is pitch-perfect. Likewise when Ray takes his first plunge into the pool, genuinely creepy good stuff. After that, the horrors just slowly become more routine. There are some stylish bits and some interesting character beats, but nothing we didn’t see with Jack Torrance at the Overlook Hotel or George Lutz and his modest little house in Amityville albeit those films were notably dryer.

Night Swim may be a pretty thin feature overall, but the cast saves a lot of the effort. Wyatt Russell keeps showing up and giving it all he’s got proving he’s more than the talented genes that spawned him. Kerry Condon delivers another great turn as our emotional anchor. The feature is well-shot and does manage a creepy atmosphere, I just wish there was more to it. The premise is there, it just doesn’t visit new ground or reach to new depths to be a truly standout entry. 2.5/5



Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray 
Night Swim
surfaces for a two-disc Blu-ray + DVD + digital release from Universal. Pressed on a BD-50 the discs are housed in a two-disc case with identical slipcover artwork. The disc loads to a basic main menu with standard navigation options.

Video Review

Ranking:

With a 4K disc hitting UK markets in May, fans may want to hang back for a purchase. That said, those satisfied with just 1080p won’t be disappointed. Sharp and well-detailed, this is an excellent-looking disc. Shot by Charlie Sarroff, the film is loaded with creepy shadowy imagery and visual atmosphere. Through all of the low lights and scary black spaces, the transfer never falters. Bright daylight scenes yield the best details but even at its blackest, the image holds strong. Facial features, clothing textures, and the set design features are all on display. Colors are well-saturated, healthy skin tones, and plenty of primary pop. 4.5/5

Audio Review

Ranking:

We might not get 4K here in the States, but Universal didn’t skimp on the audio. This disc comes packed with a damned spooky and effective DTS-HD MA 7.1 track. Dialog is well-appointed, but what works best about this film is when and how it uses silence. While a lot of the scares may turn out to be simple jumps, it’s the tension build that sells it. The lapping of water in the pool, splashing, wooshing of swimming activity is a sonic delight. The score by Mark Korven is a nice ominous suspenseful piece of work. The soundscape is fully active, even in quiet places for an immersive experience.5/5

Special Features

Ranking:

On the bonus features front, we have a nice little package. The writer/director commentary with Bryce McGuire is the bigger extra. He offers up a nice discussion about the film, he’s very enthusiastic to discuss the project and often pauses to marvel at the opportunity he had to get to make this film. Flying solo he doesn’t let the material linger, only pauses to highlight an upcoming scene. After that, we have a few featurettes, all pretty basic but they do have some background about the making of the film. 

  • Audio Commentary featuring Bryce McGuire 
  • Masters of Fear (HD 6:45)
  • Demons from the Depths (HD 7:16)
  • Into the Deep (HD 5:50)
  • Marco Polo (HD 4:04)

Night Swim is the kind of horror film I really wanted to like. It starts out strong, the opening is ice-cold and creepy. The concept is there and the setup is strong, it just doesn’t crack through for new or exciting scares. Playing to a number of possessed or haunted object movie tropes, the film at least offers up a new object with the backyard pool, but it plays so close to genre convention there are few surprises. Seasoned horror hounds will likely be well ahead of the scares and plot beats. While I didn’t love the film, it is a visual and sonic delight and this Blu-ray’s A/V package stands strong. Fans may want to hold out for that UK 4K in May (or if one comes here), but if you’re a 1080p fan this disc does the trick. Worth A Look