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Swallow
Written and directed by Carlo Mirabella-Davis
Out March 6       

Everything about Hunter’s (Haley Bennett) life seems immaculate, from her cashmere turtlenecks to her stunning home overlooking the Hudson River. But the truth is, despite all that upper-crust glamour and her marriage to a wealthy businessman (Austin Stowell), she feels trapped—stuck in a large, sterile house with access to very few people aside from her husband and condescending in-laws (David Rasche and Elizabeth Marvel). Her sense of isolation only grows when she discovers she’s pregnant. In an attempt to regain some control, Hunter develops pica, an eating disorder characterized by consuming inedible items. First, it’s a marble; then, a thumbtack; then, a battery—her world becomes smaller as her disorder takes over.  

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Both the heart and horror of Swallow lie in Bennett’s performance and in the stunning, terrifying shots of the objects Hunter consumes. The film doesn’t rely on classic scare tactics as much as on anticipation and restlessness; at times, just the mere image of something sharp is enough to inspire queasiness. Though the feminist themes at Swallow’s center—the stifling nature of being a housewife, the struggle for control over one’s life and body—would benefit from a subtler touch, the film’s arresting details are engrossing enough to satisfy any fan of psychological thrillers. (3/5)

By Lydia Wang

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This article originally appeared in the Spring 2020 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!

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