Traumatic child abuse cases are enough to spark unease in the mind of anyone. However, these stories are not as terrifying as the psychological repercussions that may follow. Inspired by actual events, Death Pool dives headfirst into this horrifying topic with a believable story, unexpected plot developments, and notable performances.
Having nearly drowned at the hands of his twisted babysitter, Johnny Taylor (Randy Wayne) has grown up with an irrational fear of water. However, he soon conquers this fear in a very disturbing way. Finding himself lured into a pool by a beautiful young woman, Johnny embraces his previously suppressed violent tendencies and drowns his first victim. Feeding his murderous urge, Johnny makes his way through the L.A. party scene drowning one beautiful girl after another.
Written and directed by Jared Cohn (The Horde, Little Dead Rotting Hood), Death Pool explores a believable story of a serial killer in the making. It is the true-to-life aspect that this could really happen, which gives this film an edge. Keeping it from becoming just another stalker/killer film, a plot curveball is thrown into the mix when Johnny begins to develop an unexpected fanbase along with his fame. Considering the story takes place in L.A., this doesn’t seem as far-fetched as one might believe.
Giving off a disturbing vibe similar to American Psycho, Maniac, and Dexter, Wayne dominates the screen portraying a creepy psychopath with a rebellious edge. Absent from emotion other than rage, Wayne displays anger driven kills and a gradual character arch of acceptance as he embraces an unexpected level of fame. Having a role in the highly anticipated film, Hellraiser: Judgment, Wayne’s display of talent gives us another reason to eagerly await this upcoming feature.
Wayne isn’t the only one who brings talent to this deadly pool party feature. Helping to drive the film is Demetrius Stear in his supporting role as Johnny’s friend, Brandon. Encouraging Johnny so that he may experience the murders vicariously, Stear brings excitement to his role. Playing off of Wayne’s performance with ease, Stear adds a little substance and originality to the film.
While the story, plot, and performances offer enough depth to keep the film afloat, it’s not without some flaws. Though offering plenty of potential, some scenes seem rushed interrupting the flow. Another problematic element is the connectivity between Johnny’s boyhood trauma and psychopathic tendencies as well as his seemingly abrupt transition into a serial killer. Flashbacks spaced throughout the film to help develop the character’s background could have greatly benefited this feature.
However, despite its shortcomings, Death Pool offers enough originality that can be appreciated by fans of true-to-life horror films. It is now available on DVD and VOD.