The Pool (2001) Movie Review

“The Pool” joins the recent spate of German-made Teen Slasher movies to go international. Although the film is made by Germans and set in Prague, and most of the actors are German, the film’s American pedigree makes its classification as a German film somewhat irrelevant. You have to respect the people behind “The Pool” because they’ve covered all their bases when it comes to pleasing fans of the genre, as well as strengthening their ability to market the film outside of their native land. Consider the international cast, with American Kristen Miller (“Cherry Falls”) playing our Fair Hair Lead; there’s also a Scotsman, a Brit, and an Argentinean. How’s that for international appeal?

In “The Pool”, a group of 20-something actors (and unless I’m mistaken, one of the actors looks to be in her ’30s!) play teens that have just graduated from high school. Our fake teens are determined to go out in style, and plans to throw a bitchin’ party at a public pool place that has rides, booze, and other enjoyments. The plan is to spend the night drinking, swimming, and sexing each other up. The horny toads easily break into the place, but when a masked maniac with a machete shows up to put a hitch in their plans, the swimming pool starts to turn red.

A Teen Slasher movie, regardless of country of origin, is still a Teen Slasher movie. As a result, any fans of the genre will have a ball with “The Pool”, which takes every single genre convention and runs with it. Insane killer with insane reason for going on a rampage — check. Fair Hair Lead with a traumatized past — check. Useless dumb cops — check. Characters that split up when they should stick together — check. A killer with the Superninja ability to be everywhere and anywhere the movie calls for — check. Red herrings galore — double check.

If it’s not obvious by now, “The Pool” is definitely nothing special. Even by “Scream” standards, the film is probably too straightforward and by-the-numbers for its own good. Then again, it’s also an acceptable piece of entertainment that will appeal to absolutely no one other than fans of the genre. There are plenty of inspirational kills to be had, including one that involves a machete and a waterslide. All I can say is, Ouch. The bodycount is quite large in this one, although there were a couple of victims-to-be that turned out not to be victims after all, leaving me a bit perplexed. A really good Teen Slasher movie knows better than to leave two perfectly good victims just standing around breathing at the end of the movie. What’s the point?

As the lead, Kristen Miller is less resourceful than I would have liked, although she does show some spunk toward the end by going mano-a-mano with the masked killer. Thorsten Grasshoff, as Kristen’s seemingly perfect boyfriend, is even more untrustworthy than usual for a boyfriend in these movies. James McAvoy (“Deathwatch”), who is probably the only actor that has a chance in hell of passing himself off as a teen (although he’s not), manages to stand out not because of acting ability or great characterization, but because the actor is white as a sheet. And standing next to the tanned hardbodies of his co-stars, poor McAvoy looks like Casper the Friendly Ghost.

As to the identity of the maniac killer, I will confess that I had no clue. Director Boris von Sychowski and crew throws so many red herrings at us that after a while I just stopped trying to outguess them, and simply waited for the Big Revelation. Needless to say, I was neither very impressed nor very disappointed by the maniac’s identity. It was, for all intents and purposes, irrelevant who the killer was. Are we suppose to care about his motives? I certainly didn’t, and no one else will either.

There’s a lot to like about “The Pool”. It’s one of those Teen Slasher movies that is keenly aware of its status as a Teen Slasher, and instead of trying to resist the mold, just goes with the flow. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that because, as it’s been proven over and over again, there’s nothing worst than a Teen Slasher that tries to deny its heritage.

Boris von Sychowski (director)
CAST: Kristen Miller …. Sarah
Elena Uhlig …. Carmen
Thorsten Grasshoff …. Greg
John Hopkins …. Frank
Isla Fisher …. Kim
Jason Liggett …. Martin

Buy The Pool on DVD