Spoilers have some dietary restrictions.
Although this is a horror film in every sense of the word, it does feel more like a lesson in suspense and thrillers. There is an obvious take on traditional suspense subverted to include and showcase the reality of life outside the heteronormative way that genre films are portrayed. Queer cinema is most transgressive in the way that it challenges regular cinema to be inclusive and some audiences might need that update.
SWALLOWED (2022) was written and directed by Carter Smith. Dom (Jose Colón) is saying goodbye to his best friend Benjamin (Cooper Koch). Ben is leaving for Los Angeles, where he wants to start a career as an adult film star. Ben lives out loud his life as a gay man, while Dom professes to be straight but there’s some obvious tension between the two. Unfortunately Dom brings Ben along for the quick cash grab which puts them both in the sights of Alice (Jena Malone). With one bad decision in front of another, they found out the deal involves swallowing these mysterious little plastic pellets.
The movie doesn’t shy away from the awkward scenarios as Dom and Ben seem to be going from a bad to a worse situation. Their luck is at their lowest when the big boss walks in (Mark Patton). This itself is a controversial character, unhinged and flamboyant. Horror is now both natural and unnatural, although it feels like this situation is really that far removed from reality. Time starts running out and the tension is at its highest as we guess who’s making it out of this conundrum still alive.
Recommended with reservations. The suspense is rather high but body horror is barely pictured, so gore fanatics might need something with more blood. We’re here for those moments on pins and needles as we hope someone gains the upper hand on the despicable antagonist. Whether or not they do and who makes it alive we’re not sure until the last moment. Worth a watch for an audience with an open mind and a strong stomach.
That will do for now.