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Film Review: The Pool (2018) - Thailand Version of Crocodile is more sophisticated and astonishing

Updated: Nov 9, 2023

FILE PHOTO: A Poster of THE POOL (2018). © Dark Army Studio
FILE PHOTO: A Poster of THE POOL (2018). © Dark Army Studio

Western Franchise Film Series with Crocodile

We know there are many crocodile B panic horror movies made by the Hollywood in the past decades, especially from 1980s to 2000s as alternative of JAWS franchise. Of course, they formed both Alligator franchise (Dir. Lewis Teague; 1980-1991), Lake Placid franchise (Dir. Steve Miner; 1999- 2018) and Crocodile franchise (Dir. Tobe Hooper; 2000-2002). The feature is that all of them are enormous huge gigantic and mutilated crocodile or alligator fictionally. Even Anaconda films follow this tradition.

This fictional exaggeration is slightly harmful to the fictional reality feeling for audience. Before The Pool (2018), I think Alligator (1980) and Robert Flaherty's Louisiana Story (1948) are better crocodile-related films that successfully brought the horror of creeping eaten machine in river and ground sewer in Chicago.

Bazin overly praised the single shot in which a crocodile is creeping toward a bird, in fact, it's just a part of cross cutting in general. Construction within single shot and construction among shots should be fairly and equally respected in terms of the entire art expression and its construction efforts.

The Pool (Dir. Ping Lumpraploeng; 2018) is a well-made Thailand genre film that dealt with both aesthetically important aspects.

FILE PHOTO: A Poster of ALLIGATOR (1980). ©Group 1 Films
FILE PHOTO: A Poster of ALLIGATOR (1980). ©Group 1 Films

Trapped in the 6 Meter-Deserted Pool with Crocodile

The protagonist Day (Theeradej Wongpuapan)'s survival straggle with his girlfriend Koi (Ratnamon Ratchiratham) is sadly painful due to Final Destination like serial accidents that isolate them from the rest of the world for 6 days with a mysterious ordinary size crocodile suddenly appears after the 6 meter-deserted pool water is cleared. Day is left for clearing up the pool after the shooting of a commercial film taken place by their company as a production staff.

The main plot concern is why the crocodile comes to the pool. On the contrary to other crocodile films and advertisements of this film, the film did not show crocodile farm sequence. It may be cut off for making a surprise. And in reality, abandoned crocodiles appeared in Disney land to attack guests in US in the past. It's unimaginable for the victims. Moreover, a news said that old lady abandoned in deep pool due to broken ladder. Thus, this horror film plot is quite justifiable.

FILE PHOTO: A Still Image of THE POOL (2018). © Dark Army Studio
FILE PHOTO: A Still Image of THE POOL (2018). © Dark Army Studio

The Scale is extremely limited in the 6 meter Pool but it's more intense than Western Crocodile blockbusters

The most commemorative achievement of The Pool (2018) is its limited scale, dramatic intension within the 6 meter pool and its underground sewer. It proved that high limitation in drama stage is not inferior, if its drama is more intense and full of emotional impacts, it gave us sense of non B low budget movie. It still can make us feel as if it's a blockbuster film. Limitation of scale and drama is positive method to deepen its drama and its development possibilities.

In film, the most impressive and insightful moment is that Day's pet Lucky jumps out from above to be an escape rope or ladder for its master Day. Poor Lucky is tied to pool side firmly and fortunately escapes misfortune that eaten alive by the creeping crocodile. The filmmakers let audience think at the first place that the Lucky is stupid to disobey Day's warning and just unintentionally jumps out of pool side however it's not. Lucky is genius and intentionally sacrificed itself to save its master.

Day is not alone with his pet Lucky and his girlfriend Koi. Actually Day can escape earlier if he abandons accidentally injured Koi by ordering her to be his ladder to escape. He actually doesn't. This reaction to the adversary is highly complemental and meaningful to know who he is. Identification issue in cinematic art is not ''where are you from?'', but it is who you are.

Human? or Crocodile?

Day proves himself as a human not a crocodile in this quality genre film from Thailand.

5 Star genre film! Recommended for experience of rising South East Asian genre film quality.


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