Opening this weekend from Blumhouse Productions and Atomic Monster is the horror film “Night Swim,” directed by Bryce McGuire and starring Kerry Condon and Wyatt Russell. Early critical reviews have been mediocre, potentially impacting opening weekend box office projections.
“Night Swim” tells the story of a fragile family who travel to a relative’s home for a summer vacation, only to encounter sinister supernatural forces emanating from the house’s backyard swimming pool. The film blends horror and family drama, with themes of grief, loss, and the dark secrets that can tear relationships apart.
Director Bryce McGuire and stars Kerry Condon and Wyatt Russell walked the red carpet in Los Angeles earlier this week for the film’s premiere. However, early critical reviews have been somewhat lackluster, with the film earning just a 42% rating on Rotten Tomatoes currently. This could dampen enthusiasm for the film among general audiences.
Critical Consensus Emerging
Critics have praised some elements of “Night Swim,” including Kerry Condon’s lead performance and the film’s ominous atmosphere. However, many reviews highlight issues with character development and an overly familiar plot that fails to deliver sufficient scares or originality.
Sample Critical Quotes:
“Kerry Condon…does the most she can with an underdeveloped role.” – Ben Kenigsberg, The New York Times
“I kept waiting to be dazzled, but nothing remotely dazzling ever came.” – Ty Burr, The Boston Globe
“If you lowered your expectations for ‘Night Swim,’ then I suppose it delivers on being a generic horror trifle.” – Chris Bumbray, JoBlo
Opening Weekend Projections Lowered
Early box office tracking suggested “Night Swim” could open to $18-20 million based on metrics like online sentiment and appeal to horror fans. However, with lackluster reviews emerging, industry analysts have tempered expectations.
Deadline Hollywood now forecasts a $14 million debut. Gold Derby also lowered their prediction to $15 million. While still profitable given the film’s modest $5 million budget, it’s a significant reduction from earlier estimates.
Other box office factors could provide obstacles as well:
- Strong holdovers like “Babylon” and “Avatar: The Way of Water” dominate screens
- Market may be reaching saturation after a flood of horror releases
- R rating limits teenage audience segment
If poor word-of-mouth spreads this weekend, the film’s overall domestic gross could land closer to $30 million instead of the initially expected $50+ million.
What Critics Did Like
Despite generally mediocre reviews overall, some critical analysis contains praise for specific elements of “Night Swim”:
Kerry Condon’s Performance
The stark raving review published on ScreenRant applauds Kerry Condon’s starring role:
“As the emotionally troubled Alice, Kerry Condon commands the screen with a powerhouse performance laying bare her character’s inner demons.”
While Bloody Disgusting’s review pans the writing and scares, it does highlight excellently crafted practical effects:
“The film’s craftsmanship shines through with chilling creature effects seamlessly blended on-set instead of muddied CGI.”
Homages to Classic Horror
Some genre fans may still find appeal in the many references layered throughout the film as highlighted in this excerpt from Forbes:
“Horror buffs will delight in catching the numerous homages to classics like ‘The Shining’ and ‘Night of the Living Dead’ sprinkled throughout ‘Night Swim.'”
Without a major financial success to buoy Atomic Monster’s slate, parent company Warner Bros. Discovery could re-evaluate greenlighting similar modestly budgeted original horror films. Producer Jason Blum of Blumhouse Productions however seems unfazed, with a robust pipeline of future horror releases planned for 2025 and beyond.
While box office disappointment looms for “Night Swim,” fortunately reviews indicate it should at least provide fans of the genre some redeeming factors like high production values and captivating lead performances to appreciate. Mainstream moviegoers though may find it mostly lacks the scares or originality to make a deep dive into theaters worthwhile.
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