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Swallowed is a strong body horror flick
After a brief hiatus, Carter Smith returns to the horror genre in Swallowed. Smith also pens the film’s screenplay. After a drug run turns disastrous, two friends, Benjamin (Cooper Koch) and Dom (Jose Colon), must survive a nightmarish ordeal of drugs, bugs, and horrific intimacy.
Benjamin is preparing to become a gay porn star in Los Angeles. Trying to make the most of a bittersweet situation, he and his longtime friend Dom (Jose Colon) spend their last night together, hitting clubs and discussing their choices. To save his friend’s wallet, Dom drives to his cousin’s girlfriend, Alice (Jena Malone), who has a special mission for them.
Dom and Benjamin become drug mules after Alice gives them balloons filled with unknown items to swallow. When the men get down after ingesting the balloons and driving away, they hesitate but persevere. Trouble soon erupts inside a rest-stop restroom as a gay-bashing monster punches the men, triggering a digestive process that reveals something terrible.
One of the greatest strengths of the scenario lies in the way it illustrates the profound bond between these two quite different friends. When the spectator is initially surprised to learn that the two characters are not a couple, they will increasingly understand why their complicity is foolproof. Through this filiation, the tension will reach rather gargantuan proportions. The feature film will go from drug trafficking to body horror before ending with a touch of thriller. It should be noted; however, that horror, as corporeal as it is, is more suggested than shown, which may disappoint gore lovers.
In his direction, Smith offers a thoughtful approach to actors and seems especially drawn to suggestive passages. He seems to swim like a fish in the water. The filmmaker had already worked in the genre before with his film The Ruins.
Against Jena Malone’s’ solid villain, Cooper Koch and Jose Colon exude unwavering chemistry. Horror fans will also recognize Mark Patton (A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge), who amazes the most by employing perverse accents. Patton can command the screen with his presence and nuanced delivery of lines. This, combined with his experience, allows him to bring a certain level of depth and complexity to his role that the other actors in the film can’t match.
If anything, Swallowed validates that Smith is a welcome voice in the horror genre.
Final Grade: B
Swallowed is available on all streaming platforms tommorow
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