“The Pool” is terror at its most primal, a simple Thai thriller that’s complex in its simplicity.
The situation? A guy finds himself trapped in a deep, now-drained and abandoned Olympic sized swimming pool. There is no ladder to climb out on. There is no OSHA in Thailand — apparently.
His girlfriend tumbles in after him, knocking herself out as she does.
A Siamese crocodile tumbles in as well.
The pool has a pool float mattress, a divan (used on an underwater commercial the guy was helping film), a roll of duct tape, a tree limb, and whatever jewelry and clothing they have on them. Will any of that help them escape?
I was thinking writer-director Ping Lumpraploeng (“Dreamaholic”) blundered in telling much of this story in flashback. The opening scene, after all, shows production assistant Day (Theeradej Wongpuapan) bloodied, waking up to that croc clamping down on his leg.
But no, there’s plenty to be said about how Day got to this point (“Six days earlier”) and whether or not he’ll free himself and anybody else in the process.
Suspense comes from the near “discoveries” that pile up, the cell phone, dangling over the pool’s edge by its charger cord, just out of reach, the trained sheepdog Lucky, that Day brought to the commercial shoot, the barbed wire, the locked drain opening, the ticking over of days Day goes without his insulin.
Did I mention he’s diabetic? Sorry.
Girlfriend Koi (Ratnamon Ratchiratham) tumbling in after him just complicates matter. The script hangs Day on the horns of one dilemma after another — what to save, who to save, what injuries to avoid, which to accept to climb out of this death trap.
There isn’t a lot to “The Pool,” but that’s another way of saying there’s no more here than is absolutely necessary, and that includes dialogue. It’s an immersive and visceral movie-watching experience, inviting us to share the hopelessness, forcing us to “work the problem” and second guess the hero as he tries to do the same.
Yeah. It’ll leave you drained.
MPAA Rating: unrated, bloody violence
Cast: Theeradej Wongpuapan, Ratnamon Ratchiratham
Credits: Written and directed by Ping Lumpraploeng. A Shudder release.
Running time: 1:31