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Death Pool: Movie Review

Swimming pool tech turned Serial Killer…

Does this “Pool Boy Gone Mad” psychological thriller tread water?

When the sight of water fills you with an urge to kill, it only makes sense that you take a job working for a pool service company. That is exactly what Johnny Taylor (Randy Wayne – Escape Room 2018) did in “Death Pool,” directed by Jared Cohn (Atlantic Rim: Resurrection) and co-starring and Sara Malakul Lane (Cowboys vs. Dinosaurs 2015). Death Pool Movie.

“You know what Debbie likes.”

Death Pool Movie
Death Pool Movie

Do we? Molested (at least this is what we think happened) in the family backyard swimming pool as a child by Debbie, the babysitter, Johnny gives up on an acting career that never came to fruition at the suggestion of his bong-wielding friend and finds himself with a skimmer in hand. The story takes place in an implausible world of asshattery, where all you need to maintain swimming pools in the San Fernando Valley is a beat-up old Chester van, a pole, a vacuum hose and… Oh yeah, an empty bucket.

Death Pool Movie

Like treats from a Pez dispenser full of chlorine tablets, Johnny’s parents’ gag At the notion of their son cleaning swimming pools, referring to his mental status in the presence of H2O – some unspoken backstory that we are missing? Despite claims of stability, Johnny has already taken his first victim – who just happened to be his first pool customer of the day. We know that young twenty-somethings are always in a hurry to invite the pool boy in for a swim, but this temptress of troubled technicians quickly learns why breath-holding games are not allowed at the pool.

Feeling an incredible rush as the young pool owner’s lungs fill with water, Johnny, with only the one pool on his route for the day, heads out to the streets, searching for more. Not more pools to clean, but more pools to drown more women. It is not long before he passes a swim school with an unattended entranceway and absolutely no security. Johnny enters, dressed as a janitor, and drowns some more.

“I Can’t help it. When I see a hot chick, and I see water, I want to hold them down.” will ultimately be the catchphrase that comes from a film already Jam-packed with corny dialogue. The most appropriate line in the movie coming from Johnny’s father when he said: “You’re not right in the head,”; which also applies to the creators of this project. Just like a handful of Calhypo thrown into the wind, this trash-bound thriller is painful to the eyes.

Back to the pool route, Johnny and his co-worker arrive to clean a swimming pool, which will be used as the set of a low-budget seedy movie (the irony). Of course, Johnny has no choice but to drown the porn star. Then, later that night, another at a party, the two pool service techs attend.

Death Pool Movie

The press has provided the serial killer the moniker of “The Valley Drowner” as bewildered authorities skim the surface for clues. The community elevates the Serial Service Tech to celebrity status holding drowning parties in his honor, complete with souvenir t-shirts and bobbles within the LA PnP. Brandon, Johnny’s pool cleaning cohort, relishes in his friend’s rise to fame.

Eventually, Johnny turns to drown people in bathtubs, sinks, and plastic kiddie pools. Men become beyond exclusion, and when he cannot find water – a gasoline drowning seems to satisfy his thirst. Like a pool with an accidental fecal release, this film should have been closed to the public.

Despite the Valley’s growing love for Johnny, I found myself wishing someone would maim him with a telepole as I struggled to watch the last three-quarters of the film. That is not saying that the first twenty minutes of this B-flic was not unlike gargling muriatic acid. If the writers had stuck to their guns and continued with the original premise of a serial killer pool tech who drowns his customers, they may have ended up with a better film. Consulting with an actual service company for accuracy in character portrayal would have been a huge benefit.

“There’s a Shark in the Pool!!!” Teens at a house party struggle to find a solution to a series of deaths that seem to have no end in sight due to a great white shark that has mysteriously appeared in the swimming pool. This one takes a poke at teen scream horror flicks and does it well. Please take a look at our review of the short film Shark Pool.

When McGradey (Tobin Bell), the pool manager, triggers the automatic pool cover to close, two sisters become trapped beneath the surface. The struggle to get out of the pool is only overshadowed by the personal differences the young women have for one another. Add a crazed parolee caretaker on a work-release program and settle in for a night of terror. Please read our review of the movie 12 Feet Deep


Rudy Stankowitz is a 30-year veteran of the swimming pool industry and President/CEO of Aquatic Facility Training & Consultants

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Andrea

    I’m going to have to watch this now just see how bad it is. ? My two favorite things are sci-fi and horror movies, and pools. I have been working on a short story where a pool tech gets sent back in time.

    1. Rudy Stankowitz

      You’ll need to come back and share your thoughts after watching, but just remember… You’ve been warned ?

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