Fear So Bitter, Greater Than Death: ‘The Swerve’ (2020) Movie Review

The Swerve is not your conventional horror film. It doesn’t rely on cheap scares or gore. What the movie does best is overwhelm you with a sense of anxiety. The Swerve stars Azura Skye (One Missed Call), and was written and directed by Dean Kapsalis (Sara Goes To Lunch).

The movie centers on high school teacher Holly, who looks to have it all: two kids, a good job, and great husband. However, Holly is burdened with insomnia and other various mental illnesses. Throughout the film, we see Holly’s condition worsen.

Although the life that we see on the outside seems great, for Holly, it’s the farthest thing from it. Her children, Lee (Liam Sieb: Henry Danger TV series) and Ben (newcomer Taen Phillips), ignore her, her husband, Rob (Bryce Pinkham: Mercy Street TV series), is a drunk, and her job is miserable. For this woman, it feels as if the weight of the world is on her shoulders.

Azura Skye does a spectacular job in this film. Her performance is chilling and so realistic, I often felt like I was watching a documentary without the interviews. As the film progresses, you really start to feel bad for her. You begin to feel the same dread and unwillingness to live as she does. Skye’s acting was fantastic in The Swerve, some of the best the horror genre has to offer.

What this movie does fantastically is its sound. The use of diegetic sound is absolutely incredible, adding to the eerie atmosphere the film has to offer. There are plenty of quite moments thanks to the diegetic sound, where I often wondered if this was the filmmaker’s way of showing us Holly thinking. Or, at the very least, what’s going on inside her head.

Another aspect of the film I really loved is its lack of music. Along with the quiet sequences, it adds to the effect of this story being about a real person, and this is their real life. Honestly, it didn’t even feel like a movie.

The Swerve also shows the stigma against mental illness. Often, Holly’s husband would yell at her for feeling the way she did. Her children didn’t care, even though her pain was clearly written upon her face.

The Swerve is an emotional movie from beginning to end, showing how hopeless people can feel when living with a mental illness. I highly recommend this film, especially if you’re looking for a more realistic horror flick.

Read another PopHorror writer’s thoughts on The Swerve here.

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About Anthony Baamonde

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