Story: Gale (Jessica Morris) has just moved into a beautiful home with her daughter Becca (Ellie Darcey-Alden), after the previous owner had a tragic accident and died in the house. As soon as she moves in, she runs into an unexpected visitor in the backyard, as a pool cleaner has shown up and is hard at work on the pool. Adam (Tanner Zagarino) tells Gale that he didn’t know there was a new owner and apologizes, but Gale asks him to go ahead and finish his work. The two eventually notice a spark and before long, Gale winds up having a one time stand with Adam, though she quickly realizes she needs to let it go and move on. Adam doesn’t take the news well, as he has feelings for Gale and doesn’t seem to want to leave the picture. After some uncomfortable moments, Adam is still around and even begins to date Becca, which puts Gale in an awkward predicament. Will Adam just move on sooner or later, or does he have an even darker agenda in mind?
Entertainment Value: Pool Boy Nightmare lives up to its title, with a psycho pool cleaner on the loose and all the bad decisions, ignored red flags, and melodrama you could want. While not as outlandish or over the top as Lifetime’s wildest thrillers, this one does ratchet up the drama and dysfunction somewhat, which was fun to watch. The narrative is not going to dazzle you with subtle wit or intricate twists, but it sets up the drama well and does what it needs to do. Not a logic shown by our characters, but that is part and parcel with these kind of thrillers, as they’re often more comfort cinema. And while this story has been told countless times, Pool Boy Nightmare distracts us with odd plot turns and decisions that make you wonder what the characters could be thinking. So no fresh ground explored here, but the dysfunction and outbursts of drama do a little to make up for that and in the end, Pool Boy Nightmare is fun to watch, despite its cookie cutter nature. I do think director Rolfe Kanefsky puts some of his old school horror vibes into the mix to great effect, so perhaps the slight lean toward light horror touches helped put this one above the pack. In any case, I had fun with Pool Boy Nightmare and if you like melodrama in your thrillers, you should give this a look.
I liked several of the performances here and overall, I think this is one of the deeper ensembles in the Lifetime thriller realm. Jessica Morris is our lead and while she is the protagonist, she has more going on than the usual Lifetime heroine, at least at first. Once the obsession angle kicks in however, she starts falling into the usual Lifetime traps, which make her character look oblivious at times, though that is the material, not Morris’ performance. She has good presence and gives off a believable mom vibe, which is important here, even as she ignores red flags and stays passive in a troubling situation. But even when she has her hands tied by the script, Morris puts in good work and is a more than capable lead. Tanner Zagarino is fun at times as the stalker pool cleaner, while Ellie Darcey-Alden is fun as the daughter who drifts from attentive child to total brat often here. The cast also includes Clark Moore, Cynthia Aileen Strahan, and Angela Nicholas.