Well, it’s official. Jared Cohn is quickly becoming one of the best independent writer/directors in the business. He’s produced a number of recognizable pictures – including 12/12/12, Little Dead Rotting Hood, action-thriller The Horde and Chiller favorite Hold Your Breath – but I think Death Pool is really going to be the movie that skyrockets him to the next level. I went into my viewing of Death Pool with an open mind, but not expecting much, and came out with nothing but positive comments in regards to a movie that I’m certainly going to buy on DVD. Death Pool is the perfect summer movie and it has tremendous re-watchability, so it’s definitely worth the price of purchase. Swim through my review of this title and then consider buying it from MTI Home Video on June 20th.
I think what I enjoyed the most about Death Pool is that it had a retro feel to it that made me feel like I was watching the career of a real life, famous murderer like Ted Bundy. If any reviewer draws a parallel between your original character and a serial murderer like Ted Bundy, you know you’ve created some serious movie magic. In Death Pool, when he was just a tot, Johnny was nearly drowned at the hands of his adult female babysitter. Now, as an adult, Johnny is a troubled young man who gets a sick thrill out of drowning women in pools. As the body count rises, so does Johnny’s urges… and his fame! He becomes a state-wide phenomenon and as he hunts for his next victim, law enforcement and out-of-control fans are hunting him, too.
Randy Wane (Hellraiser: Judgement, “The Bay”), Demetrius Stear (Sorority Sister Slaughter, “General Hospital”), Sarah Malakul Lane (Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse), Jessica Long, Walker Hudson Mintz, Nash Carter, Tom McLaren (The Exorcism of Molly Hartley), Gena Kay, Jordan Preston (“Breaking Point”), Shawn C. Phillips (Grave Encounters 2) and James Cullen Bressack (To Jennifer) star in this horror-thriller from writer/director Jared Cohn. Death Pool had a surprisingly high body count for a film about a killer drowning women in pools. Normally that’s a good thing, but at times I felt like the majority of the characters in this story were throw-aways. Besides Brandon (D. Stear), I don’t think I’d peg anyone as lead and supporting so mush as they were featured or appeared. That’s why the casting of Johnny (R. Wane) was so crucial… and spot on. Randy Wane absolutely nails his performance here with a laid back sense of arrogance while maintaining a certain level of charm. He’s very good looking as much as he’s cunning, calculated and deadly. Randy Wane’s performance, coupled with the strong writing of his character, was the perfect paradox of a serial killer and it sets the bar for anyone trying to bring real life believe-ability to a serial killer in the future.
I’m going to follow this up with a question? Did Death Pool screen at Cannes? I feel like it would’ve been so at home there. The entire feature is an artistic, sexy, retro-thriller that genre fans need to appreciate. The cinematography from Josh Maas and the editing by Rob Pallatina helped Death Pool to become the masterpiece in summer horror that it turned out to be. I loved the choice of style when it came to picture quality, which featured bright colors and over-shine while somehow muddying them down to a hazy level. Just beautiful camera work and flawless editing. Shout out to producers Gabriel Campisi, Demetrius Stear, David Sterling and Randy Wayne as well as Jared Cohn, Josh Maas and Rob Pallatina for all their behind-the-scenes decision making skills. They’ve paid off here in an incredible way. When it comes to critiquing Death Pool from a production standpoint, the only bad thing I have to say is the audio was problematic in three scenes. Not terrible, but it needed a little extra work. The foley was beyond perfection, though.
I honestly cannot rave about Death Pool enough. It’s Cabin by the Lake meets Swimfan and I enjoyed it from start to finish. It features a quick, murderous downward spiral and subsequent rise to fame as Johnny becomes a celebrity as The Valley Drowner. Potential victims being so infatuated with him that they give him shelter from police is another sick, twisted and comical device that you’ll find in Death Pool, one that I don’t think we’ve ever seen before. I’m infatuated with this movie. I’m going to buy this one on June 20th and watch it every summer. You should seriously consider checking it out, too. I guarantee you will not be disappointed. Also, super proud of myself for not typing Death Proof once while doing this review. Final Score: 9 out of 10.