Having lost his job at the bank, Lennaert (Gijs Scholten van Aschat), an overenthusiastic outdoorsman, takes his wife, Sylke (Carine Crutzen), their sons Jan (Alex Hendrickx) and Marco (Chris Peters), his future business partner, the recently divorced Rob (Bart Klever) and his daughter, Emilie (Jamie Grant), on a hiking trip deep into the woods.
After a long search they find an idyllic camp site - in a fenced off area - by a small lake, far away from any sign of civilization.
Their first evening goes well, and following a hearty meal, Rob shares a folk tale about people disappearing in the region.
The next morning, all their fresh supplies are spoiled and their gas canisters are empty.
From there, things just get worse.
Despite using Len's high tech digital compass any efforts they make to head back to their car, or simply get away from their campsite, results in them appearing on the other side of the pool.
Then their tinned food is ruined, forcing them to hunt for edibles.
Jan starts hearing voices and having strange dreams about the pool, while Len has visions of an ethereal beauty (Evil's Katja Herbers) in the woods, who claims she can help him get out of his current predicament.
As the situation escalates, deceptions and hidden passions are brought to light, tempers fray, and violence flares.
The Pool (aka De Poel) is an excellent 76-minute Dutch horror that's superficially Blair Witch Project meets Lord Of The Flies.
The disintegration of the family units is powerful stuff, with the tension ratchetting up as their disastrous camping trip goes from bad to worse, aided by the subtle infusion of supernatural prodding.
What starts off as simple uncomfortable family friction is manipulated into something deadly.
Having deliberately entered an area of the forest where they were not supposed to be, the families have fallen under the spell of a mysterious supernatural entity, the vengeful ghost of a woman (possibly a suspected witch?) drowned in the lake who is seeking her own freedom.
A solid, if slightly predictable and not wholly original, the film is carried by some excellent performances, particularly from Gijs Scholten van Aschat (who co-wrote The Pool with director Chris W. Mitchell).
Len's mental collapse is central to the plot, and drives many of the beats in the script.
My only slight disappointment is how little we see of Katja Herbers, but it's for a good narrative reason and makes the ending that much more powerful.
FILMS WATCHED: 19
NEW TO ME: 15