Bryce McGuire’s Night Swim revolves around an ominous pool that takes on those who dare to swim in it. It is funny to think of a pool turning monstrous and hunting the ones taking a relaxing dip, but the humor gets diluted as it takes a serious turn, and we get an explanation behind the pool madness.
From the very beginning of Night Swim, it is established that the pool lures its victims. A young tween becomes its target in the year 1992 when she spots her brother’s missing toy in the pool. As the young girl tries to grab hold of the toy, she falls into the pool, and the situation soon escalates for the worse. She starts to see things and hears the word “Temagami” all around her. All of a sudden, she experienced a strong pull, and it became impossible for her to stay afloat. The tween disappears within seconds, and we are left wondering about her fate.
How did the pool affect the Wallers?
A former major league baseball player, Ray Waller, was forced to retire after he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Ray’s doctor had advised him to swim to improve his condition, and when he saw the old-fashioned pool, he could not resist his temptation to buy the property. Eve had spent most of her life traveling from one place to another because of Ray, and she felt hopeful about their future when he decided to settle down and make up for the lost time. Their daughter Izzy had gotten used to the constant school transfer, and starting over again did not scare her as much as it did her little brother, Elliot. Izzy soon took an interest in the school swimming club head, Ronin.
The family decided to clean the main attraction of their new house, the pool. After seeing dirty water seep into the pool, the family decided to call an expert to find out the reason behind it. They were told that it was a rare spring-fed pool, and the water from the spring was believed to have healing qualities. The Wallers started to enjoy their time together in the pool, but soon, things started to get scary.
When Eve dove into the pool to take a dip at night, she felt an eerie presence. She imagined Ray standing by the pool when, in reality, he was fast asleep in his room. The lights in the pool started to blink, and it freaked her out. From that night on, Eve could not help but wonder if the pool was haunted. The very next day, they lost their cat in the pool, and quite surprisingly, Ray’s wound healed completely. His health improved drastically within a few days. His doctor was shocked to see his reports and advised him to keep up with the swimming. Ray was left wondering if the spring water had magically healed him.
What made everyone suspicious of Ray Waller?
It was not just Eve who felt an eerie presence in the pool, but also Elliot. He was in the pool one morning, and he assumed his father was dropping coins into the pool for him to chase. But he soon realized that Ray was nowhere around, and a little girl named Rebecca Summers tried to communicate with him. She had his toy, and when Elliot tried to grab hold of it, he noticed the hairy hand of what seemed to be a monster. Elliot cried for help, and by the time Eve stepped out, there was no one around. Ray believed Elliot was making up stories because he lacked a social circle, but Eve was not ready to give up on their son. It was then that they decided to host a pool party for everyone in the neighborhood. The gory monster also targeted Izzy; one evening, while playing Marco-Polo with her boyfriend, the monster made an appearance. It tried to grab hold of Izzy, but she somehow managed to escape from it. Izzy stuck to the story that her leg got caught in the pool cleaner, but Elliot knew that his sister was lying. When Elliot tried to confront her, she threatened him to remain silent because she was afraid of losing her almost perfect life because of something supernatural.
Elliot decided to record the pool party to make sure he had evidence of the strange occurrence. Izzy stayed out of the water to avoid any risks. After his recovery, Ray felt more confident than ever before, and he decided to participate in a pool chicken fight. All of a sudden, Ray seemed to have gotten possessed, and he refused to let go of Ty. Elliot noticed it and informed his mother, and Ty was eventually rescued. Ty’s family chose not to press charges but decided to cut all ties with the Wallers.
At the party, Eve learned about the death of Rebecca Summers, and she realized that her son had not lied to her before. After the incident, she was confident that there was something ominous about their pool, but Ray seemed to be unaffected by it. Eve proposed they leave the house, but the moment she tried to drive away, Ray suffered from a strange attack. They had no choice but to stay back. Eve found Ray’s repeated request to head back to the pool quite strange, and she decided to investigate the history of the pool.
What Was The History Of The Pool?
Eve soon found out that Rebecca Summers was not the only victim of the pool; there were several more dating far back in history. Eve found the new address of the Summers and decided to give them a visit. The Summers now owned a lavish bungalow, and Mrs. Summers proudly spoke about the many achievements of her son, Thomas. When Eve asked her about the pool, she spoke fondly of it. It was almost as if she had completely forgotten that she had lost her daughter to the pool. Rebecca blatantly asked her about Rebecca and candidly spoke of her experience with the pool. By that point, it was clear that Mrs. Summers, too, was possessed by the spirit of the pool. Black tears trickled down her cheeks as she spoke about the time when there existed no house or pools but simply a spring capable of fulfilling one’s deepest desires. Those who understood its power once worshipped it, calling it Temagami (deep water).
The only problem with the wish-fulfilling water was that it took a life in return. Mrs. Summers believed that to experience joy, one had to sacrifice. Her son was sick, and it was only because of the magical water that he was still alive and prosperous. The spirit residing in Mrs. Summers wanted Eve to believe that losing Rebecca for the well-being of her son was a necessary sacrifice that she had to make as a mother. When Rebecca screamed for help, she chose to remain silent and let her suffer. Mrs. Summer did whatever the spirit asked of her, and her actual self was long lost. Eve learned from her that the water had fulfilled Ray’s desire, but in exchange for his recovery, the family would have to make a sacrifice. Eve ran out of the house as things started to get spooky, and when she returned home, she heard Elliot screaming for help.
How did Ray protect his family?
The monster lured Elliot to the pool by mimicking the cries of his cat. Elliot fell into the water, and he experienced an impossibly strong pull. Before diving into the pool, Eve advised Izzy to get back in the house and call for help. The pool was deeper than it was supposed to be, but Eve did not give up hope of finding her son. The countless spirits trapped on the other side tried to hold back Eve when she found Elliot deep in the water.
During Night Swim‘s ending, Rebbeca Summers makes a reappearance, and she helps the mother-son escape death. Izzy was horrified to discover her father was controlled by a demonic spirit, and despite her best efforts, she was unable to trick him. Eve managed to bring Elliot out of the water, but Ray believed their son must die for them to live a normal life again. Ray grabbed hold of Eve, but to his surprise, his daughter came out of the garage with a baseball bat in hand and repeatedly struck him. Ray finally came to his senses, and Elliot, too, started to breathe. But the dark water spirit refused to let go of the family without a sacrifice. They could either sacrifice Elliot or one of them had to volunteer to give their lives away for the safety of their family. After coming to his senses, Ray realized he had no choice but to sacrifice himself to protect his family. He walked into the dark end of the pool and disappeared all of a sudden. Night Swim ends with the family deciding not to sell the house and closing down the pool to end the evil cycle.
The mysterious entity in Night Swim is the spring water that fulfills the desires of humans only to make them suffer even more. The spring water that once existed in the woods has now found a way to wreak havoc in the pool. The pool almost becomes a never-ending water body, and the lives it takes go onto the other side, where there is no escape. Night Swim ends on a hopeful note, with the family sticking together and choosing to do what Ray would have wanted.