30th Jun2017

‘Death Pool’ Review

by Philip Rogers

Stars: Sara Malakul Lane, Randy Wayne, Shawn C. Phillips, Afton Jillian, James Cullen Bressack, Demetrius Stear, Karalynn Dunton, Kimberly Rebeca, Kelly Erin Decker, Rhett Wellington, Jessica Louise Long | Written and Directed by Jared Cohn

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Johnny Taylor (Randy Wayne) has spent most of his life in fear of water, after being traumatised as a child where his baby sitter tried to drown him. Now cut off financially by his father and desperate for money, he reluctantly takes the only job he can get, cleaning pools. Obsessed by a woman he saw earlier, Johnny goes back to the pool and is seduced into overcoming his fear of the water. Unfortunately for her, once Johnny gets into the pool his past is no longer submerged. He has an urge to drown beautiful women and a new serial killer is unleashed

Johnny has an irrational fear of water, to the extent that he doesn’t like when it touches his skin or even drink it. Thankfully a safer option to drinking water is beer and spirits, because no one has ever drowned whilst consuming alcohol. However, after years of psychological torment, the lure of a beautiful woman inviting him into the pool was enough to cure his fears in minutes. Not only does Johnny not fear the water any more, but he is able to go into a swimming pool. Overcoming his fears unfortunately comes at a price and after drowning her he now has an insatiable appetite to do it again.

Having completed his first kill it doesn’t take long before he finds his next victim, as he stops off at a swimming pool on the way home. Luckily the swimming pool is left unattended, so it doesn’t take long to get a beautiful female alone before taking her in the pool and drowning her.

Drowning women for Johnny is like opening a box of Pringles. ‘Once you pop, you can’t stop’. And the death toll just keeps on rising rapidly. His preferred kill would be beautiful half naked women in a pool, but in keeping with his MO of drowning, he always willing to adapt. Using the main water tap, a bucket filled with petrol or the not so hygienic toilet to complete his kills. The death toll is high for a serial killer film and I haven’t seen this many people drown in a movie since Titanic.

Death Pool moves at a pace between kills, so we don’t really get much character development outside of Johnny and his close friend Brandon (Demetrius Stear), who is more of a spectator, encouraging Johnny to commit further killings. When Brandon is later identified as an accomplice, he decides he wants to clear his name, only to find himself suffering from the same fate as the other victims.

As expected the film doesn’t take itself too seriously and Johnny even becomes a local celebrity as the ‘Valley Drowner’ following a media frenzy. This includes with fans inviting him to pool parties and even helping him escape when he is being chased by the police. Death Pool does have some serious moments where it deals with the effects of child abuse and necrophilia, but these concepts are barely touched on and are never fully explored throughout the film. Preferring to cater for at a late-night audience, the film concentrates more on having a high body count and creating scenarios to have half naked women on the screen.

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the pool, writer and director Jared Cohn, pulls out an original concept for a serial killer. With a high body count, unrealistic scenarios and limited character development, Death Pool is a fun popcorn movie, which is best enjoyed with your brain switched off.

Death Pool is available (in the US) on DVD VOD now from MTI Home Video.

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