CERT: 18 / PLATFORM: PRIME VIDEO (VOD) / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Holly (Azura Skye) is a mother, wife, daughter, sister, and teacher and she appears to be falling apart mentally. Her children ignore her, her husband is distant, her sister is an ex-junkie who relishes in humiliating her at a family dinner, and one of her students is infatuated with her. This is a woman with everything on her plate and is struggling to digest anything. To top it all, she has a mouse in her house that has bitten her. As her world collapses around her, can she trust what she thinks is real?
This is writer/director Dean Kapsalis’ first feature and it’s an assured, measured, and thoughtful work. Even the moments that could have been overblown for shock value are presented in a rationed fashion, bringing us ever deeper into Holly’s crumbling psyche. The character isn’t an easy one to get behind, but Azura Skye is fantastic in the role, and the descent of her mental health is handled so well that it’s hard not to feel sympathetic to her cause, even if you don’t agree with what she’s doing. Much of the pacing and claustrophobic framing brings to mind the work of Ingmar Bergman and we’re often left questioning the reality we’re being shown as Holly’s view becomes more tainted by her psychiatric state. Naturally, it all leads to a devastating climax that will leave you reeling.
Although The Swerve isn’t a traditional horror film, it is nevertheless deeply disturbing and will resonate with viewers, regardless of gender.