The Pool (2018)

Rating: C+

Dir: Ping Lumpraploeng
Star: Theeradej Wongpuapan, Ratnamon Ratchiratham

I can’t help feeling the makers of this missed a trick, by not calling it Death Pool. They could also have used the tagline, “So you thought your Day was bad…” Because Day (Wongpuapan) happens to be the name of the hero here. He finds himself stuck at the bottom of an empty, 20-foot deep, diving pool at an abandoned facility, through what can only be described as A Series of Unfortunate Events. As if that wasn’t enough, things get exponentially worse from there. His phone falls into the water when he’s saving his dog, the unfortunately-named Lucky. Day is diabetic, and the syringe of insulin he needs is on the pool deck. His girlfriend, Koi (Wongpuapan), literally drops in to see him, cracking her head open in the process – and she is carrying a pregnancy test…

Oh, yeah: and a large crocodile, escaped from a nearby petting zoo (or something), also plummets into the dry pool, and is looking hungrily at the only food sources to hand, which would be Day and Koi. There is a potential way out through the drain, except it’s unclear where the pipe might lead, and the croc is being quite territorial. As the days go past, the misfortunes pile up, with all of Day’s efforts to get out, either failing or actively making things worse. It helps that the CGI used (presumably) for most if not all of the beast, is generally good enough to pass muster. Less so when Day is dragging it away from Koi’s unconscious form by its tail, but overall, it’s decent.

The film has the usual disclaimer about “No animals were hurt in the making of this feature,” but that fact it opens with this, rather than dropping it off near the back of the end credits, should be warning of what to expect here. To be honest, by the end, I was quietly rooting for the reptile. She has to suffer an unpleasant set of indignities, not least watching her unborn children – for she lays eggs in a pool nest – get cooked and eaten by the human duo. Her subsequent anger seems positively righteous: no jury in the land would convict. Meanwhile, the movie seems to suggest Day is being guilt-punished for wanting Koi to have an abortion.

However, even the croc seems to get off lightly in comparison to… Well, I’m not going to say more, but you will not believe the means by which Day eventually tries to climb out of the pool. If you aren’t explicitly saying, “You have got be fucking kidding me,” then I’m going to be sending your name to PETA’s paramilitary wing. From the start, it’s completely implausible, and frequently stupid as all get out. But I cannot deny it: we were entertained, since there’s never a dull moment here. Plenty of ludicrous ones though, such as Day snatching a roll of duct-tape from the crocodile’s conveniently-open mouth (top). Why is is there to begin with? Like so much else here, best not to ask.