Ping Lumpraploeng (director)
20 July 2020 (released)
22 July 2020
Crocs and alligators are back, sort of. We had the mega-budget blood fest of Crawl last year, the medium budget Black Water Abyss a few weeks back and The Pool (though made in 2018) is very much the shoestring of the three, but could well be the most interesting.
Day (Theeradej Wongpuapan) is an animal trainer whose dog Lucky is featuring in a film that using underwater sequences and the dog. With filming compete Day is left to clear up after filming underwater sequences at a derelict high-board diving pool that is 6 metre deep and no steps or ladders. Day is lounging on a water bed while his colleague leaves telling him that he has started to drain the pool, and that his dog Lucky is chained to the diving platforms. Day dozes off waking up to find that he’s now out of reach of the pool edge. Some frantic action leads to some nail loosening body horror and desperate attempts to get the mobile.
Every idea he has fails leading to some semi-comic situations and he’s then joined by the croc that slips into the pool! This then becomes a battle of wits between Day and the croc, complicated by his badly injured girlfriend Koi (Ratnamon Ratchiratham) who had earlier hit her head on the concrete diving platform while attempting to dive into the draining pool.
Koi slowly recovers and their situation with the crocodile becomes very clear. Though this croc, unlike the reptiles in the aforementioned films, is happy enough to sleep open mouthed and doesn’t display the usual meat-grinding all-out aggression that we have become used to, until later on when it is given a reason too.
There’s a fair amount of tongue in cheek in director Ping Lumpraploeng’s film as he piles on the problems for Day and Koi. The early sequences that mostly revolve around Day trying to get out are good with plenty of high tension; the viewer seeing from his perspective the ever-increasing heat, sweat and blood of the deep-pool cauldron, and the frustration of a dog that falls far short of being his best friend.
After that it sort falls into the trap of the couple trying to get out with lots of effort and everything going wrong. Also (and I suspect to pad out and make things more interesting) developing the Day/Koi relationship with flashbacks and plenty of references to eggs literal and metaphorical. These do become important later on and the dog does redeem himself a couple of times, one in a scene so preposterous that it would be wonderful to watch with an audience for their reaction.
The CGI croc is one or two steps up from Sharknado et al quality but is fine within the context of the budget of the film. The acting is no great shakes with the two leads sympathetic enough for us to care for them, a bit.
The Pool is on Shudder now.