June 7, 2017

Movie Review: Death Pool

So, I am confronted with this movie called Death Pool. I have to say, with a title like that, I had imagery of the Dirty Harry movie The Dead Pool, but as I began watching it, it quickly became apparent that I was watching something more along the lines of Death Bed, quality wise. The press release describes it as a cross between American Psycho and Maniac. I guess that is sort of accurate, although it never reaches the level of grit, suspense or interest as those two films. Death Pool is watchable, but not memorable, it just skates by hoping to survive on charm.

Also known as The Valley Drowner, Death Pool was written and directed by prolific indie filmmaker Jared Cohn(Jailbait, Hold Your Breath, Little Dead Rotting Hood). It tells the purportedly true story of a serial killer who goes around the LA party scene drowning pretty young women. Unfortunately the story never escapes the superficial, it never attempts to generate any real suspense or depth.

Randy Wayne (Hold Your Breath, Hellraiser: Judgment) stars as Johnny Taylor, he is an average twenty-something looking for work and spending his time getting high. His one defining characteristic is his fear of water. He refuses to go near the ocean or pools. This stems from a childhood incident where a babysitter play drowns him in the family pool. From that moment it is assumed he has a fear of water. Of course, the only work he is able to get is as a pool cleaner, and so awakens the darkness inside that drives him to kill.

Whenever Johnny sees water and a pretty girl, he is driven to kill. At no point does the movie get any deeper into why the babysitter was the way she was, nor do we get into Johnny’s fear of water. We get the quick flashback and then it is off to the drowning. As Johnny descends further into insanity, his buddy, Brandon (Demetrius Stear), discovers Johnny’s secret. Rather than alert authorities, he encourages him to continue killing. This steers the third act into a bit of hero worship, reminiscent of Natural Born Killers.

For an indie production, Death Pool is slickly shot. It looks good for a budget production. The problem lies in the depth of the story. The setup certainly has the making of solid psychological horror, or at least dive into some gruesome horror or exploitation. I kept watching, waiting for the movie to really take off and do something. It never happened. Johnny gets triggered and proceeds to kill people until the movie ends. Something else the movie didn’t know how to do.

Not Recommended.

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