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Swallow (2019) Movie Review

Updated on May 23, 2020
Noel Penaflor7 profile image

Hey you. I wrote this Review Just for You because I like you.I also like pizza.

No. I won't.
No. I won't.
MPAA Rating
Running Time
94 minutes
Carlo Mirabella-Davis
Carlo Mirabella-Davis

“I'm off the deep end, watch as I dive in
I'll never meet the ground
Crash through the surface, where they can't hurt us
We're far from the swallow now”

-From the Very Popular Song “Swallow” performed by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper from the hit movie A Swallow Is Born.

I think you mean “Shallow” from the movie A Star is Born.

And I think you need to get yourself tested because you’re looking very flushed. You seem to have great deal of warmth coming off your body and you look very dizzy.

I do feel like I’m coming down with a fever or something worse. Maybe I need to see a doctor.

Also, it looks like a Kraken is going to tear both your arms off.

I agree. I need to see a doctor about this fever and my arms being torn off by a Kraken.

And scene…

What you just read there was a very dramatic representation of what is going on all around the world as people try to choose what they want to see at the movies this weekend until they realize they should stay at home because it would be safer for all involved.

I am not really sick. And only one of my arms was eaten by a Kraken.

Since most of you aren’t going out in public anytime soon because of public hysteria and vampires, you’re going to get your moviegoing pleasure from home.

It’s a tough pill to swallow, but with some common sense we’ll get through this together.

I just bought a pallet full of toilet paper.

You’re a f*cking moron. And speaking of swallowing, that just happens to be the title of the movie about to be reviewed. What are the odds?

So sit back with the rolls of toilet paper you hoarded, open wide (with both your eyes, your heart and your throat) and take a journey with me. It’s not like you have anything else to do while you’re quarantined.


Swallow opens with the whitest people you’ve ever seen this side of an episode of Downton Abbey. We meet the lucky couple, Hunter (Haley Bennett- The Girl On the Train, The Magnificent Seven) and Richie (Austin Stowell- Fantasy Island) Conrad.

They’re newlyweds and Richie’s just gotten a promotion…working for his daddy (David Rasche). Richie’s rich parents also bought them a house. He’s two degrees from becoming Brock Turner.

Hunter is content to be the dutiful wife, spending her days in their giant house playing Candy Crush and planning what to plant in their garden. It’s hinted that Hunter had a rough childhood but she holds her cards close to the vest on that subject. She married into a rich family and wiles away the hours doing whatever her heart desires. She seems to live only to please her husband. What more could a girl ask for? Maybe some actual love and attention from her spouse?

How ‘bout a brand new baby!!! We find out that Hunter is pregnant. Richie can’t wait to tell his parents and ignore Hunter some more.

Hunter smiles and nods as her in-laws congratulate her on the baby. Now her life is complete.

Or is it?

The audience can see that Hunter is not fulfilled and the Richie barely notices her. Even suburban housewives need to find some purpose or else…

Please use the bubble gum filter on this shot.
Please use the bubble gum filter on this shot.

Hunter’s mother-in-law Katherine (Elizabeth “Captain” Marvel) senses this and gives Hunter a self-help book. Oh goody, a book.

In said book it says that one should do something unexpected every day.

So Hunter decides to swallow a marble.

That certainly was unexpected.

Hunter really likes swallowing random objects. Maybe it gives her a sense of control over a life that doesn’t really feel like hers. She keeps her newfound hobby to herself, eventually, um, getting back the marble she swallowed.

I will let you imagine how she got it back.

Yes. That’s it exactly.

A marble was fun and all, but there are so many other fun things in the world to swallow. Like a pushpin. Or other things equally sharp and equally shiny. Pretty soon Hunter has to swallow any and all things she’s curious for, even having a kind of altar for all the things she’s, um, recovered.


It’s all fun and games until Hunter swallows something that gets her sent to the hospital.

Now the Conrads are keeping a tighter leash on Hunter. You know, for the sake of the baby. They’re forcing her to go to therapy, even hiring someone that looks like a Russian gangster to look after her.

But some open doors you just can’t close. Despite the eyes watching over her, Hunter will find something to swallow. No matter what the cost.

That was ominous.

White people, amirite?

What Works With Swallow

  • Haley Bennett- She’s been relegated to mostly supporting roles (unless you count her lead role in that awful The Haunting of Molly Hartley, but I’m sure Bennett would prefer no one remember that at all), but Swallow gives her a chance to carry a movie on her shoulders and even when the movie meanders, Bennett is never less than magnetic. You never really know where Hunter is coming from, and Bennett makes each moment of Hunter’s arc a revelation. Such an odd captivating performance and the main reason anyone should see Swallow. The best performance as a long-suffering wife since Elizabeth Moss in The Invisible Man.
  • Swallow is a quiet, compelling piece of horror with nary a cheap Blumhouse scare to be seen. Writer/director Carlo Mirabella-Davis keeps the viewer off balance for most of the 90-plus minute running time. Even when Swallow doesn’t quite maintain its level of unease, you’re more than happy you’ve taken the ride.

What Doesn’t Work With Swallow

  • The first two acts on Swallow are a master class in tone and silent tension. Unfortunately, the 3rd act slightly devolves into something more conventional. It’s been hinted why Hunter is the way she is. We don’t necessarily need it spelled out for us. It won’t stop you from enjoying the movie, but it never sustains the friction of the first hour.


Take a bite and swallow and the silent suburban horror movie Swallow. The taste it leaves won’t be sweet, but it’ll be worth it.

3 stars for Swallow


What’s Your Favorite Thing To Swallow?

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    • Noel Penaflor7 profile imageAUTHOR

      Noel Penaflor 

      2 months ago from California

      Thank You Ivana! Thank you for reading.

    • Ivana Divac profile image

      Ivana Divac 

      2 months ago from Serbia

      Excellent review! Thank you for this.

    • Noel Penaflor7 profile imageAUTHOR

      Noel Penaflor 

      2 months ago from California

      Thank you Rachelle! It's worth a watch!

    • Rachelle Williams profile image

      Rachelle Williams 

      2 months ago from Tempe, AZ

      Deliciously Done Noel! I read every single word, and now I'm definitely going to see this one, thanks to your review.


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