SWALLOW is a new horror-thriller from IFC starring Haley Bennett. It’s extremely uncomfortable to watch – for several reasons – but it is also absolutely amazing. Watch the trailer to be (somewhat) ready for its content. Read our Swallow review here!
Swallow is a horror-thriller from IFC which in and of itself is more than enough reason to check it out. Anything released by IFC is generally worth watching even if it isn’t a new favorite of yours.
When it comes to Swallow, you should expect it to make an impact. Also, you probably won’t forget it anytime soon. And just to be clear, these two statements are meant as compliments. Haley Bennett stars in this movie and she is absolutely breathtaking.
Continue reading our spoiler-free Swallow review below.
Haley Bennett is amazing in Swallow
From the poster to the trailer, it’s clear that Haley Bennett is the absolute star of Swallow. Fortunately, she is absolutely amazing in this movie. As the character Hunter, Haley Bennett appears to be a very careful and soft-spoken young woman. However, don’t mistake this for weakness.
Hunter does speak up for herself on many occasions. Still, her husband and new parents-in-law do not let up when it comes to controlling her. Especially when she becomes pregnant shortly after the wedding. Hunter is simply a vessel for the next member of the family and, as such, the family has an opinion on everything.
Haley Bennett portrays Hunter in a way that you root for her. Even when she does things that can and do hurt herself, you want to be in her corner. She is fighting for some sort of autonomy and you cannot blame her for needing to do so.
As a fan of horror movies, you will recognize Haley Bennett even if the name isn’t familiar. She had her first starring role in the horror movie The Haunting of Molly Hartley. And yes, Haley Bennett did play Molly Hartley. That was in 2008, and in 2009 she starred in The Hole by Joe Dante who directed Gremlins and more recently Nightmare Cinema. More recently, Haley Bennett co-starred in Girl on the Train (2016).
Do watch the trailer first!
Look, there is no doubt that Swallow will probably be too much for some people to handle. Not because it’s violent or grotesque (well, maybe somewhat), but more because of its very simple and realistic approach to everything.
The story is all about Hunter (Haley Bennett) who is trapped in a life where she has no control over anything really. It’s not that she’s a push-over, but she has to fight for every inch of independence. And she is often confronted in very passive-aggressive ways by those who want her to act in different ways.
All of this causes Hunter to swallow objects and let them pass through her. This is something she can control and a power she is able to bestow on her body. At first, it’s simply a small marble, but she quickly advances to objects that are potentially (or even “probably”) extremely dangerous.
You will see all of this simply by watching the trailer. Since it is a very trying movie to watch, I would recommend that you start with the trailer. However, let me also be very clear; I highly recommend watching this movie. It’s just that I want to warn you that it will be uncomfortable which the trailer makes very obvious as well.
You simply must watch Swallow
I know I’ve spent a great deal of this review “warning” you about Swallow but you simply do have to watch it. It’s a slow-burner but that’s only a good thing. Otherwise, it would have been too much to handle.
Writer-director Carlo Mirabella-Davis has created an actual masterpiece with this movie. I don’t know that I’ll watch it again but I sure wouldn’t have wanted to miss out on it. Also, I cannot wait to see what Carlo Mirabella-Davis comes up with next.
This is the feature film debut for Carloe Mirabella-Davis as both writer and director but I am sure we’ll see more from him. I just hope we won’t have to wait for too long.
Swallow premiered at Tribeca Film Festival in April of 2019. It has been playing film festivals worldwide ever since including Fantastic Fest and Sitges as it is a true genre production. If you love horror and thrillers with a slow burn and you’re ready for physical discomfort (for yourself while watching it), then please don’t miss it!
Swallow is out via IFC in limited theatrical release and on VOD from March 6, 2020.
Director: Carlo Mirabella-Davis
Writer: Carlo Mirabella-Davis
Stars: Haley Bennett, Austin Stowell, David Rasche, Elizabeth Marvel, Denis O’Hare
On the surface, Hunter (Haley Bennett) appears to have it all. A newly pregnant housewife, she seems content to spend her time tending to an immaculate home and doting on her Ken-doll husband, Richie (Austin Stowell). However, as the pressure to meet her controlling in-laws and husband’s rigid expectations mounts, cracks begin to appear in her carefully created facade. Hunter develops a dangerous habit, and a dark secret from her past seeps out in the form of a disorder called pica – a condition that has her compulsively swallowing inedible, and oftentimes life-threatening, objects.