REVIEW: ‘The Swarm’ Is Slow Burning Suspense Tale With A Frustrating Finale

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Swarm

Content Warning: The Swarm contains a scene of animal abuse.

The Swarm is a French suspense movie on Netflix starring Sulaine Brahim.  Virginie is a single mother of two who has bet everything on the success of a locust farm she has started behind her house. But when the locusts start dying off, it looks like things are going to crumble around her. Then she makes a startling discovery. The locusts thrive on consuming blood. Virginie may yet save her farm. But at what cost?

When I read that this movie involved a woman who discovers the locust she keeps feed on blood to thrive, I figured I had a pretty good idea of where this story was going. She’d try to find ways to feed them until they would eventually get out and wreak havoc on the family until they are destroyed somehow. While that was the structure the one-paragraph blurb put in my head, that is not the sort of story The Swarm delivers.

Rather than a moderately bizarre concept animal attack movie, The Swarm delivers a slow-burning tale that attempts to harbor a sense of suspense as Virginie(Brahim) struggles to find ways to keep her new crop of locust feed and multiplying. I won’t spoil any details about exactly what lengths Virginie goes to in this endeavor, but it isn’t good. While a descent into madness isn’t a bad plot for a suspense movie, the biggest shortcoming this movie has is how it fails to deliver a satisfying wrap-up to its narrative.

Rather than addressing the terrible things the lead does throughout this movie, The Swarm sweeps aside her heinous acts in a cookie-cutter ending that wants to deliver possibly the most unearned happy ending I’ve ever seen. As the credits began to roll, I was left with nothing but outrage at how blissfully the movie seemed to forget what had transpired during it.

Beyond its frustrating ending, The Swarm also fails to keep the audience’s attention for much of the movie. The pace at which the movie progresses is nothing short of glacial. This slow-moving story is occasionally broken up by moments of family drama or the newest attempt Virginie makes at keeping her obsession alive.

While the story doesn’t deliver enough to keep its hour and forty-five-minute run time interesting, the acting in the movie does as much as it can to make the characters that exist in this story as believable as possible. In particular, Brahim delivers Virginie’s obsession in a low-key way that gets the point across without going over the top with it.

When all is said and done, The Swarm drags far too long, setting up its eventual ending, which compounds the film’s problems by delivering an ending that I can’t imagine anyone being satisfied with. Despite the solid acting and original concept, these elements are not nearly enough to overcome the film’s far more glaring failures. There is no one I would recommend this film to.

The Swarm is streaming now on Netflix.


The Swarm
  • 3/10
    Rating - 3/10
3/10

TL;DR

When all is said and done, The Swarm drags far too long, setting up its eventual ending, which compounds the film’s problems by delivering an ending that I can’t imagine anyone being satisfied with. Despite the solid acting and original concept, these elements are not nearly enough to overcome the film’s far more glaring failures. There is no one I would recommend this film to.