The Pool (2001)
By: Craig Villinger  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Imagine Entertainment (Australia). Region 4, PAL. 1.85:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 5.1. 91 minutes
The Movie
Director: Boris Sychowski
Starring: Kristen Miller, Elena Uhlig, Thorsten Grasshoff, John Hopkins, Isla Fisher, Jason Liggett, Bryan Carney, Mamimilian Grill, Jonah Lotan
Screenplay: Lorenz Stassen, Boris Sychowski
Music: Johannes Kobilke
AKA: The Swimming Pool
I had heard absolutely nothing about this film before slipping it into my DVD player and thus expected it to be a dead set load of shit, so I was quite surprised to discover that The Pool is in fact a fairly decent addition to the often dubious "Slasher Film" genre and might just be worth recommending.

The story centers on a bunch of students from the "International High School of Prague", which lives up to its moniker by having a broad cross section of students from just about every country in the world (even the Aussie's are represented in the form of ex Home and Away starlet Isla Fischer). With final exams over, everyone is looking to party, and this years location is the local aquatic centre. To cut a long story short, the students break in, strip off, drink up, party, puke, snog and swim until a masked slasher brings the entertainment to a halt by killing them off one by one. Naturally all the doors are locked and they have nowhere to run, and paranoia quickly sets in with a lot of finger pointing and speculation as to exactly who the murderer is.

Ok, so the story is no great shakes, but then again, how many of the classic slashers of the 80's earned their status on the basis of their plotlines? Director Boris Sychowski has obviously watched his fair share of Hollywood movies, and manages to give the film a very slick look throughout with a lot of fancy camera shots and dark lighting effects to create just the right atmosphere. The cast of relatively unknown actors (Star Kristen Miller was seen briefly in Cherry Falls) does a decent enough job with what they have to play with, and there is plenty of eye candy on display with the actors parading around in various states of undress for almost the entire film. One of the real high points of the movie is it's location. Calling this place "The Pool" is selling it short, as it is a massive indoor complex which features water slides, gymnasiums, restaurants, dark boiler rooms, a fully stocked bar, large dressing rooms, and plenty of other places for unsuspecting youngsters to wander into and fall victim to the slashers blade. The Czechoslovakian exteriors also make for a refreshing change to the usual suburban American settings that we have become familiar with.

Unfortunately the film loses some of its momentum towards the very end, and the final revelation of the motivations behind the killers actions is actually quite silly (and very misogynistic) but in these sorts of films we don't really care why the killer is doing what he does, we only care how he does it, and it is the "how" that sets this film apart from many other recent slasher offerings. Director Sychowski splashes the sauce around liberally, and those who have been disappointed with the sanitised violence being served up by Hollywood of late will relish the bloody killings that we are treated to here. The film seems to revel in some of its excesses, and features a very nasty water slide slaying which is definitely one of the most impressive on screen kills that I have witnessed for quite some time. If you aren't already a fan of slasher films then there isn't much on offer here to change your way of thinking, but if like me you have a weakness for movies that feature people in silly looking masks hacking up attractive young victims, then The Pool might just be the film for you, if your expectations are low enough of course.

The quality of the movie itself was quite a surprise, and the same can be said for the video transfer. The film is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio and comes complete with 16x9 enhancement. The image is very sharp, with rich colours, solid black levels and no noticeable artefacts. Bonza Stuff!
The surprises just keep on coming. The 5.1 channel sound mix ismuch better then I was expecting and helps to create an enjoyable atmosphere throughout. Dialogue is easy to understand at all times, even with some of the thick accents being used, and fans will be squirming in their seats as a result of the extremely loud (an I mean LOUD!) flesh tearing and stabbing sounds, which help add great impact the numerous on screen killings.
Extra Features
Unfortunately there are no surprises here, with a theatrical trailer being the only extra on offer.
The Verdict
If you don't expect too much from your movies then you and this disc may get along just fine. A decent amount of entertainment value and better than average sound and picture quality should make The Pool a worthwhile addition to any slasher enthusiasts collection.
Movie Score
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