Certified critic on Rotten Tomatoes. Member of the Houston Film Critics Society. Also writes for Bounding Into Comics and God Hates Geeks.
Omelette au Crocodile
The Pool had a ton of buzz when it debuted at Fantastic Fest in 2019. It was one of the films that I missed, but was highly recommended as people only had positive things to say about it. It is technically a 2018 film that made the festival rounds in 2019. It had an unofficial physical release on Amazon for a short time, but only recently debuted in America in 2020 as a streaming option on Shudder. The Pool not only doesn’t live up to its hype, but it utilizes this snowballing dim-witted formula that is kind of insulting to its audience.
Written and directed by Ping Lumpraploeng, The Pool follows Day (Theeradej Wongpuapan) as he scrambles to make a living. Day works on the art team of some sort of production team. Whether this production team specializes in commercials, television, movies, or YouTube videos is never covered. All that we know is that they’re shooting something at a pool underwater with a woman wearing a dress, clown make-up, and a clown nose swimming around a red couch and a house plant at the bottom of a 20-foot pool. The end of this shoot involves Day’s one eyed dog Lucky jumping into the air. Seriously, what in the world is this supposed to be?
Day basically makes no money, but spends all day working. The film makes it seem like he always has to be on set and on call as if he’s a doctor or something. His girlfriend Koi (Ranamon Ratchiratham) seems to know this, but still gives Day a hard time about never spending quality time with her or taking her out. Koi’s big thing is that she wants to go out for pizza. For Day’s birthday, Koi buys Day this egg-shaped music box thing that opens up to reveal a baby inside. But Koi swears that she’s not pregnant; spoilers, she actually is.
The shoot finishes and everyone leaves except for Koi who decides to lounge around in the pool as the water drains out of it. What could possibly go wrong if Day falls asleep on a pool floaty as water drains out of an insanely deep pool that conveniently has no ladders? The main premise of the film is that Day gets trapped in this pool with no way out for nearly a week and has to figure out a way to survive. Also, it starts raining and a crocodile conveniently shows up and falls inside. Day has to share an empty pool with a poorly computer-generated croc.
Ping Lumpraploeng has crafted The Pool around the dumbest decisions and the stupidest concepts imaginable just for the sake of conflict or forced tension or an excuse to wrestle a crocodile. Day decides to cover the drain with this robe-like piece of clothing. This robe thing has a fabric belt that is only around to tie around Day’s finger when he loses one of his fingernails trying to climb out of the pool.
When Koi sees Day sleeping on a floaty in a pool that is mostly drained, she brilliantly decides to try to jump in and surprise him. He wakes up while she’s running in, he yells for her to stop, she slips, hits her head, and falls in the pool. He gets her onto the floaty, retrieves his robe-shirt from the drain to prop up her injured head, and the pool drains. He finds the pregnancy test in her pocket. Why would you dive into a pool like this if you were pregnant?
Ways that would end the film in a matter of moments are introduced at the most convenient times. A pizza guy shows up while Day is underwater. Two guys retrieving a drone from the bottom of the pool climb into it while Day is screwing around in the drains underneath the pool. It’s sad when the best part of your film is something that is noticeably bad CGI. The croc just wants to chew on some humans while it has its babies. But the croc is also used terribly. A roll of duct tape is discovered in its open mouth while it’s “sleeping.” The croc feels like it’s introduced to make the film more exciting, but it only makes The Pool more frustrating.
The Pool is the type of film that gets more and more ludicrous the longer you watch it. Stupid decisions and horror go hand in hand, but The Pool takes it to unbelievable extremes. Theeradej Wongpuapan is passable performance-wise until he starts his accidentally humorous grunting that sounds like Pee Wee Herman. You end up wanting to slap Ranamon Ratchiratham since her expectations are so unrealistic and her actions are more than a little annoying. It’s difficult to enjoy a film when it is purposely illogical from start to finish for the sole intention of making things crazier on screen. The Pool utilizes a one eyed dog in the worst possible way with the most asinine conclusion. You will be left rooting for this crocodile and this poorly designed pool. Ping Lumpraploeng has become the pioneer of dunce cinema.
The Pool is now available to stream on Shudder.
© 2020 Chris Sawin