Swallowed

February 14, 202360/1005 min
Starring
Jena Malone, Cooper Koch, Jose Colon, Mark Patton
Written by
Carter Smith
Directed by
Carter Smith
Run Time
1h 32min
Release Date
February 14th, 2023
Overall Score
Rating Summary

              I think most people enjoy a nice suspenseful ride when watching a movie, and Carter Smith has just the right vehicle to give you that very thing with his latest film Swallowed. Set in the final night for two childhood friends before one moves across country, Swallowed for sure gives you something that might just make you want to take a shower after. We are here though not to talk about the after, but to share in the adventure that gets us there.

             Benjamin (Cooper Koch) and Dom (Jose Colon) have been friends forever, but this is Benjamin’s last night in town, as he leaves for what he hopes is greener pastures. That being of course: L.A. where Benjamin hopes to become a gay adult video star, even if that means leaving behind he best friend in life. Dom for his part wants to send Benjamin away comfortably and takes a job, unbeknownst to Benjamin, that will give him a little more going away money. When the two of them arrive to the meeting place, they meet Alice ( Jena Malone) and things get a lot more sticky pretty quickly. Dom after finding out what he has to do, politely declines, but Alice, who is against the clock, forces Dom to agree to do what he agreed to do already. The job to smuggle what is assumed drugs across the border, but in order to do so, Dom and Benjamin will need to ingest the packets and once across, retrieve them from the other end (yes that one). Benjamin is not happy with what Dom has gotten them into, but that anger disappears when Dom starts having stomach issues and needs to pull over at a rest stop. It is there a chance encounter makes things even worse and Dom and Benjamin soon find out that they are very wrong about what they are carrying inside them.

Smith really delivers on the tension, as he provides no “small wins” for his two leads. Instead their situation goes from bad to worse as Smith leads us down a path that is more suspense than horror. Some may say Swallowed swims in body horror waters, but it stays in the shallow end as it is more implied than shown, but is nonetheless effective. Also helping in the overall feel of the movie is the choice of showing it in 4:3, which just adds to the claustrophobic feel you have while watching it, as there is no denying everyone on screen is trapped on both sides.

Swallowed succeeds because of the performances, as each of the main characters bring something that keeps the suspense train going at full speed. While Koch and Colon have an unwavering chemistry on the screen, they also bring the only calm the story allows. When you add Malone, whose performance acts as the driving force of the plot and Mark Patton, as the guy behind it all, you get an effective movie. Ultimately Swallowed is an intense and wild trip that is well worth taking, as it tells a dramatic and intense story, that never gets choked up along the way.

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