SWALLOWED is a new Horror-Thriller with LGBTQ main characters and a whole lot of creepy-crawly moments. Oh yeah, the horror is real in several ways here. We screened this movie at Fantasia 2022. Read our full Swallowed movie review here!
SWALLOWED is a new horror movie that is currently screening at Fantasia 2022 which is where we saw it. This horror-thriller has a runtime of 93 minutes and LGBTQ main characters. At first, it might seem like a strong (but fairly standard) thriller. Then the horror part kicks in.
One of the official descriptions of the plot is “… a nightmare of drugs, bugs, and horrific intimacy” which is very accurate!
Continue reading our Swallowed (2022) movie review below.
The bugs are real!
Whenever I hear “drugs” and “bugs” in the same sentence, I’m ready for the bugs to be of an imagined kind. As in, something people on the mentioned drugs think they’re seeing. Well, in Swallowed, the bugs are very real. You won’t really get to see them at first. However, before the movie is over, you definitely will.
Before we get that far, there are lots of creepy moments. Including those of “horrific intimacy” which is indeed the right way to describe what happens.
For the record, yes, the main character is LGBTQ (as is at least one other). He is a gay man about to embark on a career as a pornstar, which – to be fair – you can see that he’s built for. In every way, as you will see. There are several scenes with full-frontal nudity, but really, they’re all part of the horror story.
In any case, the fact that he’s gay isn’t really important to the story. It’s just who he is. Also, the whole “swallowed”-title doesn’t refer to anything sexual. Instead, this is where the horror begins. They just won’t realize until later.
Maybe just a bit too neat
Swallowed refers to the fact that the two best friends end up in a real shit show of a situation. And really, while bad decisions have been made, the real problems begin when they have no choice. Literally, they are forced to swallow bags of drugs at gunpoint.
Now, the whole “shit-show” description isn’t nearly as accurate as you’d expect. The feces part has been dialed back a lot. Well, completely, really. It’s as if they expected to land in this situation – which they clearly did not – and the bags could just slide through. Clean as a whistle.
Look, I get that it would be even more disgusting than what we do end up seeing, but really, it ruins the illusion that it’s all so neat. Having said that, this is actually my only real issue with how the story unfolds. So, you know, it’s just a pet peeve that I want more crude realism in my horror.
Simple plot, and a great cast!
The cast of Swallowed is very small but absolutely awesome. The main character, Benjamin, is the future pornstar and he’s played perfectly with both heart, charm, and pure dread by Cooper Koch. We’ll get to see him again soon in the John Logan (Penny Dreadful) created horror-thriller series They/Them produced by Blumhouse.
His best friend, Dom, is the one who gets them into trouble but never really knew what he was getting into. Also played so damn well by newcomer Jose Colon. And there is definitely a pun in there somewhere (so to speak), which you will understand far too well after watching this movie. In any case, this is a strong debut for Jose Colon.
Finally, we have Jena Malone (Antebellum, Hunger Games) and Mark Patton (from the iconic and virtually infamous A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge), in the final all-important roles that make this story.
Swallowed was screened at Fantasia 2022 – on VOD later
Carter Smith is the writer and director of Swallowed. You may recognize his name because he also made the 2008 horror movie The Ruins which also starred Jena Malone. Carter Smith is an out and proud gay man himself, which is not unimportant when making a horror movie with LGBTQ characters.
This is indeed both a horror-thriller, a queer nightmare, and everything in between. Personally, being part of the LGBTQ community myself, I love it when I get to see LGBTQ characters in movies. Especially genre films where they get to be more than the first victim or stereotypical villain and are just there for comic relief.
In Swallowed, Benjamin is an out-and-proud gay man, but it doesn’t really have anything to do with the story. With his future career and friendship, yes, but not that they embark on this dangerous drug-smuggling mission.
From its premiere at the Overlook Film Festival in the US in June of 2022 to its Fantasia 2022 screening in Canada, Swallowed is sure to be one of those movies you cannot forget. Be sure to check it out when you get the chance. It is definitely worth your time – and do expect quite a lot of discomfort!
Swallowed had an international premiere at Fantasia Film Festival 2022 on July 15, 2022. It comes to VOD and digital on February 14, 2023.
Director: Carter Smith
Writer: Carter Smith
Cast: Jose Colõn, Cooper Koch, Jena Malone, Mark Patton
Two old friends gets caught up in an overnight drug smuggling operation that is anything but normal. And when things go wrong, they must survive a horrific night in a backwoods hell of drugs, bugs, and obscene intimacy.