The Pool
Dir: Boris Von Sychowski
Star: Kristen Miller, Thorsten Grasshoff, Elena Uhlig, Isla Fisher
Cert / Year: 15 - R / 2001
Format: DVD R2

13 friends and generally rich / spoilt brats attending the International High School in Prague celebrate the end of school by breaking into Prague's biggest swimming pool for a highly illegal but cool party. Little do the unsuspecting friends realise that a mysterious masked killer is stalking them as they are now locked in the pool with no means of escape. As one by one they start dying horribly they discover that the killer is one of them ....

Upon reading the back of the cover, this sounds like an interesting watch and a potentially good thriller. But, I have to say that if there were ever a film that wanted to be a Friday the 13th movie then this is it. The film plays out and contains some terrible clichés in a "slasher" by numbers formulaic predictability. For anyone who has seen the any of the Friday the 13th movies, you will find NO surprises here and most likely feel an overwhelming sense of déjà vu at some points during the film. However, The Pool isn't a completely terrible movie and the main problem lies in the lack of originality as it follows the now standard "teen slasher" movie recipe. Obnoxious, over privileged teens at a swanky private school, celebrate the end of their schooling by holding an illegal party in a trendy new swimming pool on the outskirts of town. Add to this, the usual cocktail of promiscuity, , debauchery, drink, drugs, teen angst and sexual tension and you have yet another offering in the same quagmire as Scream and I Know What you did last summer. This truly is cliché after shameless cliché and even the killer looks like a bizarre fusion of The Punisher and Jason Vorhees (even down to the machete), although the impracticality of the tight leather pants to his costume has been overlooked by the filmmakers. But, if you want an even bigger cliché, how about the "Brit" being the bad guy. In fact, the only original aspect to this piece is the swimming pool setting for the slaughter. In fact, no, not even that is original. As it has been used before in other films and to better effect. So much has been derived from other sources, that it is difficult to find redeeming or original features to the film.

An average but occasionally impressive cast of European "unknowns" provide some good performances, nothing especially captivating, but there are a couple of nicely portrayed characters. You even get a short but dull poor performance from former Aussie soap star Isla Fisher, but she is rather ineffectual to the film really and merely seems to be here to have a "known actress" in the credits. That or she is so desperate to get an acting job she will take anything, no matter how small. The cast play your usual brand of inept characters, adequately portrayed for the most part, but you don't really care what happens to them as are your typical stock American slasher movie "killer fodder". Some bad euro-trash accents rear their auditory heads here and are a little cheesy in places. The killer looks like he has spent too much time with Lawrence Llewellyn Bowen, parading round in his leather pants. I mean, come on. What self respecting killer is going to run off and get garbed up in leather pants, tight top and bovver boots just to kill some silly girls who shunned his affections. It would be far more sensible to throw on a set of overralls with a mask and then go killing. Oh, but thats been done already. why not, everything else in this film has been done before! The last thing you would want to get on a pair of leather pants is blood (or cola) and that isn't taking into account the fact that leather pants don't exactly allow a stealthy approach when stalking a victim, due to the fact that leather creaks when it moves. It just seems that the killer has a stylish look, when you ignore the obvious influences but wasn't particuarly thought out at all, and when you first see him you do have a little chuckle. One of the better characters is Carmen, played by Elena Uhlig who despite her cheesy German accent (which is scary, considering she is German) proves to be quite central to the story and by far one of the more watchable amongst them. American actress Kirsten Miller does well as the heroine but she is just the same as every other scream queen heroine. There is just a general lack of freshness to the characters, that and the fact that they all look too old to be a school in the first place.

Basically, The Pool is German horror/thriller trying to be an American Horror/thriller. Really, it just doesn't quite work, but there are a couple of nice set pieces (The water slide is a goody) but they are mainly reworkings of other scenes in other films. The Pool tries hard to be several other films, which leaves it feeling a little messy. For the "Teen scream queen" market, this is bound to delight and will be an entertaining thriller, but realistically there is little to no suspense, a Swiss cheese like plot with plenty of holes and a dreadful predictability which leaves a complete un-shockability to the whole thing. The director has obviously been influenced by Sean S. Cunningham and Wes Craven and it shows, as a lot of the shots and some set pieces are identical to those used by his heroes, not to mention an uncanny Scream-like premise to the film. There is a good idea here but the direction lacks innovation or that creative spark, and as the film meanders along in a "slasher by numbers" fashion, making The Pool a very predictable affair. With the copious amounts of screen time given to certain products, this could just as easily be an advertisement for "Red Bull" and "Heineken" as anything else.

Unoriginal and we've seen this all before. Most of the Friday the 13th movies are a better watch and just as predictable as this, the younger you are the more likely you are to enjoy The Pool but at best this is a poor to very average film.


Underwater, no one can hear you scream...

Rating: 1.5 out of 5

Picture 4.3 Fullscreen Decent transfer
Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 Not bad but needs more depth (no pun intended)
Features Unimpressive menu
Picture Gallery
Production notes
Verdict Unimpressive disc with some lame extras. A half baked picture gallery and some dull production notes.

Rating: 1 out of 5

Reviewed by Logan Back Top Home