WTF ASIA 203: The Pool (2018)

The next time your friend tells you to get out of the pool, get out of the pool.

The Pool (2018) - IMDb

Available in AustraliaCanadaFrancethe United Kingdomthe United States, and perhaps a few other countries. Approximately 90 minutes.






*Record Scratch*

Yep. That’s Day. You are probably wondering how he got into this situation. Well, it all started six days ago.




There was an evening video shoot being done underwater…for…uh…I don’t know.

Anyways, the pool lights come on, which the director did not know about. He stops the shoot and calls for the art team, who I guess is Day. The director tells Day to check on the lights and make sure that they do not mess up the shoot, as the pool will be closed up tomorrow.

Day is…doing something about the lights, when his girlfriend, Koy, comes over with their dog Lucky. She asks if she can dive into the pool and, Day, who is still busy, says no. Why would it be up to him anyways? He is low in the hierarchy of this video shoot.

Well, I guess that he fixed the lights because he is elsewhere now, injecting himself with…uh…insulin. Koy arrives and hugs him from behind. He apologizes for having not taken her anywhere. She says she is fine and…is she about to…okay, nevermind. She pulls out a toy egg thingamee and says happy birthday. Day says that it is a waste of money, but Koy opens it to reveal a…baby? Oh…so she’s pregnant! No, no, she’s just kidding. Oh, phew, I guess. (She is pregnant)

There is a noise behind them. Is it Lucky? No. It’s Day’s friend Mayom, being a little Peeping Tom. Aaaanyways, he sheepishly walks over and says that the director is looking for Lucky. Apparently, Day managed to convince the director to use Lucky in the shoot for some extra money.

Day gives Lucky some instructions before the shoot. Someone asks if he needs time to train, but Day claims that the whistle around his neck should be enough. And then he starts play woofing with Lucky, which gets everyone else staring at him. The director tells everyone to wait until he is done playing around. Perhaps sensing sarcasm, Day says that he is ready. So, through waving his arms and blowing his whistle, Day is able to get Lucky to jump over some…well, whatever, he was able to get Lucky to do it on camera and the shoot is complete.



Day One

Day and Lucky are hanging around at the pool. Some of the stuff put into the pool is still there, but the crew has all left. So, it is just Day swimming or lying down on a float while Lucky walks around the edge.

Day throws a ball for Lucky to catch. Oops, it goes out of the pool grounds. So Lucky runs after it past a newspaper about…an escaped crocodile?

Mayom turns the switch to drain the pool and takes Lucky back poolside. He also moves Day’s bag, unknowingly knocking his pack of insulin down a drain. He tells Day that he just released the water and that he should get out. Day, though, seems to be too relaxed on the float to really pay attention. He does notice that Mayom has chained Lucky up to the diving platform. Mayom explains that he could have run around and fallen into the water.

Eventually, Day does swim towards the edge of the pool, but only to put his ringing phone on silent. Mayom, who is leaving the country for three months in Nepal, tells Day to clean up everything and leave what he doesn’t need, as the pool is now closed. Day asks him to order pizza and…yeah, Mayom is gone.

So, what does Day do? The fool goes back on the float and falls asleep. As the water continues to drain. By the time that Lucky’s barking wakes him up, the water is halfway drained. And there is no ladder leading up to the top.

Day tries to climb his way up the side even without a ladder. But all he gets for his efforts he gets a…well, one of his fingernails breaks almost all the way off. Ouch. Okay, so second attempt to do something.  He breaks off some of his bathrobe (why was he wearing a bathrobe in the pool in the first place?) to wrap around his finger. He ties his glasses to the bathrobe’s rope to try to get his cell phone that is resting on the edge. It doesn’t work. But Koy calls, which gets the phone vibrating closer and closer to the edge. Day, waits to grab it…

And that is when Lucky takes the opportunity to slip over the edge of the pool and almost fall in. Since he is still tied to the diving platform, he won’t fall into the water, but…well, that thing is around his neck. So, Day has to swim to the other side of the pool and use the float to push Lucky back out of the pool.

Just in time for Day to turn around to see the phone fall off the edge, BUT it is still hanging from its charger cable. Day is able to swim over there and try to grab it. Unfortunately, it falls into the water and, I guess, hits the bottom. By the time Day retrieves it, it is no longer functional. And I suppose that he is not in the position to get it working again, what with being stuck in a half-full pool.

Okay…maybe putting the bathrobe over the drain will…slow the draining? I don’t know; Day is getting desperate. Anyways, he swims to the bottom of the pool…just as the Pizza Hut guy shows up.  The guy announces his presence, but Day cannot hear him. And the guy doesn’t notice Day in the pool, so he calls his boss, who tells him to just leave the pizza by the dog and leave.

Day sees the guy, but has gotten his keychain stuck on the drain. By the time Day gets back up, the delivery guy has returned to his motorcycle, and the engine sound overwhelms Day’s calls for help. Jeez, this movie. So, the guy drives off and an exhausted Day can do nothing buy swim over to the float and lie down so that he can pass out.

Some time passes and who should show up but Koy? She looks out at Day and, not noticing his injuries or the fact that that the pool is only half-full of water, simply assumes that he is calmly resting on the float. So, she gets on what looks to be an all-concrete diving platform to dive in and surprise Day. Lucky notices this and starts barking, which wakes Day up. He sees Koy and yells at her to stop just as she is getting a running start. She tries to stop, but only ends up slipping, hitting the back of her head on the concrete, losing consciousness, and falling into the pool. Good going all around.

Day gets Koy to the float and, seeing that she is bleeding out of her head, swims down to get the bathrobe. Presumably to block the bleeding. Or…not. Okay, nevermind. And now the pool is back to draining.

Darkness comes and the pool lights turn on. By now, Day can walk on the bottom of the pool. Day looks at a still unconscious Koy and says that things cannot get any worse.

It is at that time that there is a thump. Lucky turns in that direction and starts barking. What made that noise?

Oh, that crocodile.

Lucky’s barking gets Day to turn around and see the crocodile. He tries to get Lucky to stop barking, but Lucky keeps barking. And the crocodile keeps inching closer to Lucky. But then the crocodile slips on some loose pipes and falls into the pool.

There is still just enough water for the crocodile to fall in unharmed and swim to the bottom. Meanwhile, Day tries to get as far away as possible. Fortunately, the crocodile seems to be content to rest for the night.

As the last of the water drains from the pool. The sun rises and we arrive at:

Day Two





This goddamn movie.

If the in media res opening and the bit about the finger nail did not clue you in, this is a fairly gruesome movie. Both the big injuries and the little ones that you can sort of feel yourself through involuntary empathy. So, take that under consideration. There were definitely times when I openly sucked in breath or yelped.

This movie is ostensibly a survival horror/thriller. And it is quite effective in that. However, there is a bit of a mean streak in this which lends a darkly comedic feel to it. Like, sure, Day was foolish to stay in the pool by himself after being told that it was getting drained. And, yes, Koy was probably foolish not to notice that the pool was half empty before trying to dive in. But the stuff with the pizza delivery scene? Or even Koy hitting her head on the diving platform. I could not help but laugh at the sheer cosmic cruelty. It is just the horrible luck of being slightly too late, slightly too far, or rendered undoable by something happening at that time. There is one sequence where a reveal comes off like a punchline. The movie knows what it is doing.

I have seen theories that this is supposed to be punishment for Day wanting Koy to have an abortion. I am not sure that I would go that far. Sure, the movie has him consider the possibility of abortion and Koy immediately turning it down (Seriously, I think that there was only one Asian movie that I have seen where a woman chooses to get an abortion and it is some obscure Chinese movie about a teacher and that is the only thing remember about it aside from the international-style alphabet song). But, let me set aside that he is considering it because he does not feel like he is presently in a financial position to properly take care of a child. Let me, instead, focus on the fact that Koy got her head bashed in and is bleeding out. She, who is set to give birth and raise the child, is trapped in the pool along with Day and is in just as much danger as he is of getting attacked by the crocodile.

And then, there is the reason for seeing this movie in the first place: the crocodile. It certainly looks better than those Asylum Syfy monsters, I will give it that. Does it act like a realistic crocodile? I don’t know, just as I don’t know the realism of Thailand allowing such a deep pool have no built-in ladder. I do like that the crocodile seems like a genuine character and not just a malevolent force. There is a sense of mysterious ambiguity. At one point, the crocodile approaches a still-unconscious Koy while Day is elsewhere, and it is unclear if this is out of an intent to eat her or if it is just benign curiosity.

There are times when the crocodile is just staying still, mouth wide open, not even looking at Day and Koy. Viewers may occasionally be tempted to yell at the characters to just leave the crocodile alone and focus on escaping the pool. Or…in a twisted sense of irony (that may be intentional on the part of the movie as far as I know), sometimes consider Day to be the antagonist for the crocodile. Really, the real villain is Man…well, at least whoever designed this pool.

Day and Koy are no experts on crocodiles. What would you do in their situation? Foolish as they may have been to end up in a half-full pool to begin with, I cannot really fault their actions after that. It is a stressful situation even before the crocodile. And then there is the crocodile. For being under that much stress and terror, I feel like Day is pretty resourceful given the few resources that he has at any given time. His efforts fail not because they were silly, but because he was too tired, too injured, too distracted by something else going on, or just rejected by the cosmic cruelty of the movie itself. And, at some point, he really has to come to terms with what his true priorities are.

This movie is very intense. And it can seem mean-spirited and upsetting. But my goodness it is a ridiculously fun time.





WTF ASIA 204: Youth of the Beast (Japan: 1963, approx. 92 minutes)


Available in Canadathe United States, and perhaps a few other countries.


WTF ASIA 205: A Lifetime Treasure (Hong Kong: 2019, approx. 95 minutes)

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Available in Canadathe United States, and perhaps a few other countries.