Night Swim: Is Ray Waller Inspired by a Real Baseball Player?

‘Night Swim’ is a horror film that centers around a mysterious pool in a suburban house that hides many secrets in its deep end. After a new family, The Wallers moves into the house, they instantly fall in love with its backyard pool since it offers the perfect spot for family bonding time and pool parties. However, the kids, young Elliot and teenage Izzy, soon encounter inexplicable danger within the pool, spotting an unnerving presence. With a secret to unravel about the tragedy that befell the house’s previous owners, parents Eve and Ray must find a way to keep their family safe without becoming the pool’s next victims.

Within the film, Ray Waller is a former baseball player forced into early retirement due to his medical condition. The incident ends up playing a significant part in the family’s move as well as their eventual dive into a dangerous madness. As such, people might be curious to know if there’s any relation between protagonist Ray’s faded fame and real life. SPOILERS AHEAD!

Ray Waller Is a Fictional Athlete

No, Ray Waller from ‘Night Swim’ is not based on an actual Baseball player. The film’s supernatural horror elements cement its storyline firmly into a fictional realm of water spirits and malignant wishing springs. As a result, most other details within the story, including the characters and their experiences, also end up being confined to fictionality.

As a result, Ray Waller remains an entirely fictional character. However, his past career as a baseball player ends up holding narrative significance on more than one occasion. As the film begins, Ray has already retired from the sport due to his Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis. Therefore, as a part of his treatment and abrupt cooldown from a life of fame and talent, Ray searches for a place for his family to start over.

Thus, the Waller family arrives at the house, which ends up becoming a catalyst in their doom. Furthermore, Ray’s unresolved issues with his baseball career’s end play a vital part in the house’s haunted pool’s influence over him. Since Ray used to be a beloved athlete, his early retirement hit him hard. On more than one occasion, the former player seems reluctant to accept the fact that his body is no longer in shape to achieve its previous feats of athletic wonder.

For the same reason, out of everyone in the Waller family, Ray becomes more susceptible as a victim of the pool. The pool feeds on people’s dark desires and desperate wishes. As such, with the promise of renewed strength and health, which would, in turn, help Ray jumpstart his baseball career again, the pool attempts to use the man against his own family.

Although Ray’s existence isn’t rooted in reality, his adverse reaction of heavy denial and desperate bargaining remains reflective of the grief many real-life athletes undergo after their careers are cut short. Such a momentous departure from the sports limelight, especially when it arrives without the player’s personal decision, can lead to severe loss of identity. In fact, several studies have been conducted in recent years to examine a former athlete’s mental health and its correlation with their retirement from the sports world.

Naturally, no real-life retired athletes have fallen victim to water spirits while undergoing the traumatic loss of their careers. Nevertheless, the same provides a context for Ray’s grief and vulnerability that further enhances his realistic downfall as a victim of the film’s horror-driven plot. As such, Ray’s past career, though a fictional detail much like the character himself, adds a layer of authenticity to his character. Still, ultimately, Ray Waller and his experiences as a baseball player are fictional in nature.

Read More: Movies Like Night Swim