A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
It's a pretty cynical message, and not necessarily true, but the movie's muddled theme could be considered a variation on "there's no such thing as a free lunch"—i.e., a gift might come with strings attached.
Positive Role Models
Parents rush to the rescue of children in trouble, but otherwise there's no extraordinary or admirable behavior.
The main characters, a family of four, are White. While focus is largely on the father, the mother and teen daughter do have agency and personalities. Many smaller roles are filled by characters of color, including a Black love interest, a Latino baseball coach and his son, an Asian family that was previously terrorized by the pool, and a doctor played by a female actor who identifies as South Asian.
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Violence & Scariness
Possessed man smacks a teen girl, rips her hair, throws her across a room. Possessed man grabs a woman by the throat and lifts her in the air. Kids in peril. Many jump scares. Monstrous hands grab innocent victims. Victims are yanked under water. Character whacked with baseball bat. Character sacrifices self; death by suicide. Characters in danger of drowning. Hand sliced open, hand cut on broken glass, bloody wounds. Ghostly figures. Person with icky black stuff running from eyes and nose.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Married couple kisses. Teens flirt and kiss briefly.
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Infrequent uses of "s--t," "dips--t," "damn," "oh my God," "barf bag," "idiot," "poo in the pudding." Character refers to a cat who refuses to join her in the pool as "p---y."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Verbal reference to steroids.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Night Swim is a horror movie about a family that moves into a house with a haunted pool; at first it appears to have healing qualities, but there's a price to be paid. Violence is the biggest issue, with a possessed man smacking a teen girl, sending her flying across a room, and yanking out her hair. He also grabs a woman by the throat and lifts her up in the air. You can also expect many jump scares, some injuries and blood, a character being beaten with a baseball bat, people grabbed by monstrous hands, characters in danger of drowning, ghostly figures, kids in peril, etc. A character dies by suicide. Adults kiss, and teens flirt and kiss briefly. Language includes infrequent use of "s--t," "dips--t," "damn," "oh my God," "barf bag," "idiot," etc. "P---y" is used to refer to a cat. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Its premise is so ridiculous that it might have become a silly camp classic, but this horror movie is presented totally seriously, with no real scares—and no awareness of its silliness. There have been movies about haunted beds and motorcycles, about possessed trucks and tomatoes; the haunted swimming pool in Night Swim is just as preposterous as any of them. And yet director/co-writer Bryce McGuire—who based the movie on his own four-minute short—crams it all into a generic horror formula, complete with dumb jump scares and an answer-seeking visit to the previous haunting victims.
The movie doesn't even have any consistency in its rules. The water itself is supposedly haunted, and yet, the pool is filled with gory-faced monsters, as well as sweet-faced ghosts of the innocent souls it's claimed, and all of them are capable of grabbing unsuspecting swimmers. There's also a swirling black goo that seems to be responsible for something. There's competent acting by Russell and Oscar nominee Condon (The Banshees of Inisherin), and they help conjure some genuine moments of family interaction, but the more absurd things get, the less you're likely to care. By the end of this not-scary chiller, Night Swim has gone right down the drain.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.