By Rowan Malyon.
If you think you can guess how this story will unfold just from its description, then you are in for a series of surprises. From the premise, you might think you know exactly how The Pool will play out, but there are shocks at every turn and unpredictable moves that will leave you wondering who, if any, will survive this film.
Day (Theeradej Wongpuapan), an art director for a production company, is left to clear up a 6 meter swimming pool after shooting is finished. Exhausted from working hard to support himself and his girlfriend, Day takes a nap on an inflatable lilo, looking for just a few minutes of peace. However, he wakes to find that the pool has been drained and the water level is too low for him to climb out. Eventually, Day and his girlfriend Koi (Ratnamon Ratchiratham) are trapped with only their dog, Lucky, and a hungry crocodile for company.
Directed by Ping Lumpraploeng, the film seems, at first, to be your typical horror movie. All the usual ingredients for a story of triumph are there: the pregnant girlfriend, the impossible odds, the happy ending on the horizon. But by the middle of the film, you really are left wondering if and how Day will make it out of this in one piece.
The story throws a lot of original ideas into the mix. At first glances, the plot is simple and the staging just as stark, but the filmmakers create an engaging plot from very little. Day needing his insulin shot is an added twist, and Koi turning out to be real and not just a figment of Day’s imagination, and then being injured, really tugged at the gut.
The actors are what takes this film from good to great. Wongpuapan switches from steely determination to desperate heartbreak so well. Each new development is a chance for him to explore every corner of human emotion and he hits every note perfectly. Ratchiratham is the emotional heart of the film but also shines in the action sequences. Koi is such a likeable character. Rather than becoming a prop and another burden for Day, she remains vital to the plot despite her serious head injury.
This film has everything: humour, romance, a huge crocodile. Though a little cheesy in some parts and almost unwatchably painful in others, you cannot claim that The Pool is predictable. This is the first thriller that has actually left me worrying if the characters will make it out alive, and though I had to watch some of it through my fingers, I found I still couldn’t look away.
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