Swimming Pool (2001)
Director: Boris von Sychowski
Twenty-something catalogue models, pretending to be actors, pretending to be rich and snotty high school graduates decide to hit a gorgeous indoor pool to party hard, parade around half-naked and drink like Mickey Rourke on a downer. Thankfully for us, a masked psychopath crashes the event with its razor sharp machete and a strong desire to create his own pools…of RED!! SLASH! SLASH! SLASH! You go, champ!
"Swimming Pool" is a German teen slasher that does everything it can to look and feel like a hip American slasher. The opening scene is a shameless rip-off of the first frames of “Scream” and the formula that we all know SOOOOO damn well by now, is followed to the letter, right down to the whodunit and the crappy killer “monologue”. So why aren’t I dismissing this whore of a flick faster than you can say “2 for 1 prostitutes special”? Because unlike most recent pussy-whipped U.S. slashers, this one has huge set of balls and it delivers what it should with gusto. It’s about freaking time!
What "Swimming Pool" lacked in solid acting and plot originality, it made up for in luscious locations (now that’s a pool!), stylized directing and more importantly, harsh and bloody kills. Sure, I almost pissed myself laughing when I first saw the killer pop up onscreen with his tight jumpsuit and his “Ghostface” wannabee skeleton hood. But when I witnessed how handy and fucking brutal the killer was with that gleaming machete, I shut my yap, sat up and gave the nut some respect. This killing machine comes from the Voorhees school of slaughter and its no-bull and relentless ambition to KILL-KILL-KILL really appealed to my disturbed self.
You got to hand it to the Germans, not only do they have fine broads in their country, but they also don’t pull any punches when it comes to the violence in their genre films ("Anatomy" was a great example of that). The main reason to see this picture is definitely its awesome mayhem. Does the killer get busy or what? There’s one murder in here that involves a dame and a waterslide, I don’t want to give it away, but let me tell you that it is one hell of a howler! I almost stood up and gave that sequence a standing ovation when it went down (I then realized I was alone in my living room and that I needed a life). Man, was that kill dope and luckily it wasn’t the only ace up this film’s ass.
The flick’s novel locations were also milked for all they were worth. They made way for “unique” circumstances (like swimming through a pool’s water pump) that I totally got into. The slew of exciting stalk sequences (the one in the air vent is freaking classic) also had me going and I can’t believe this flick somehow kept me engaged on a suspenseful level. That’s quite a feat when you take into account that there is no one to root for among the characters or "window dressing" actors playing them. But this murderer is so damn violent that when it went to work, I got scared, even though the victims were paper cutouts. Who knew that could be pulled off? I guess when you have some solid directing to back a tension inclined bit, it doesn’t matter who’s getting chased; you just feel it! This clone also surprisingly kept me engaged with its whodunit. I didn’t guess who the culprit was until the revelation and for a jerk like me, who’s been bread on this crap for years; I didn’t expect that to happen. Thank you my German friends!
On the downside, the dialogue in this shack is pretty weak and so are the actors who are spitting it out. There’s a lot of broken English in the air! The leads also do the occasional stupid ass moves (like running into a flight of stairs and crawling up, instead of getting up and running), there’s a pointless cop on the case subplot that stinks up the joint (with the dude saying “Damn Kids” way too many fucking times) and the killer puts out one of the more piss-poor motives to ever grace this sub-genre. Do you want a tissue, you whiny beeyatch? Poor you…boo-oo-oo! The motive in "Urban Legends" still holds the crown as the most putrid “reason” ever given to slasher celluloid though.
In the end, I got lots of easy splashes out of "Swimming Pool". Sure, it’s painfully unoriginal but the execution almost fully made up for that. The directing is fly, the pace swift, the slaughter very groovy, the settings killer and the female flesh plenty. We even get a sly “I Know What You Did Last Summer” reference near the end! This is a blatantly soulless commercial slasher at its best! Let’s drown some good looking teens! YEAH!
“Let the bodies hit the floor”! We get slit throats, machete stabbings, a machete impaling, cut off feet, a girl split in two and more! The sauce is laid on thick on this T-Bone.
Kristen Miller (Sarah) has a great rack and reads her lines fine. Elenea Uligh (Carmen) has a great ass and plays a slut perfectly. Thorsten Grasshoff (Greg) lets his pretty boy looks and his accent do ALL the acting. James McAvoy (Mike) is pretty much the only actor here who manages to feel like a “real” person. John Hopkins (Frank) does what he has to do…not much. Linda Rybova (Svenja) is such a hottie! Who cares about her acting!
T & A
Everybody gets their desserts here. We dudes get all kinds of hot chicks in miniscule swimsuits, a “free” tit shot and more swimsuits. Kristen Miller and Linda Rybova are the tasty highlights to gawk at. Yum yum! Female gore fiends get all kinds of dudes shirtless, the highlight for them being pretty boy Thorsten Grasshoff showing off. Enjoy ladies!
Sychowski delivers an impressive debut and manages to extract tension out of this thin and "by the numbers" script. We get lots of play with shadows, blue lighting up the wazoo, stylish overhead shots, slow motion and gnarly shot compositions. The flick looks good! Give this man a REAL script! I’m hip to his vibe!
We get some okay Blink 182-like rock songs, some shitty rap/rock tunes and a decent score that sometimes overdoes it in the “booming” department.
"Swimming Pool" has a connect-the-dots script but it’s still a slash above the rest of the teeny bop corpses in “mainstream” detention. It has the taunt directing “Urban Legends” lacked, it has the suspense “Halloween 8” failed to generate, it has the guts to give us the kills “IKWYDLS” didn’t dare think of and it never degenerates into a supernatural mess a la “Cut”. If you dig your teen slashers and don’t mind the played out formula, hit this one and get ready for the same whole thing but with a much needed shot of German Steroids and German chicks.
Kristen Miller (Sarah) had a small part in another slasher, the great “Cherry Falls”.
Alliance is releasing the film stateside under the title “The Pool” on September 24, 2002. Don’t let the shitty box cover turn you off...it’s better than that.