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Directed and written by Carter Smith.
Starring Cooper Koch, Jose Colon, Jena Malone, Mark Patton, Michael Shawn Curtis, Roe Pacheco
Benjamin (Cooper Koch) and Dom (Jose Colon) have been best friends for ages. Benjamin is leaving town to Hollywood to star in gay porn films, leaving Dom behind. Turns out Dom is desperate for money and on their last night of hanging out together, he brings Cooper with him on a drug deal. Unbeknownst to them, the dealer, Alice (Jena Malone) forces Dom and Cooper to ingest the drugs in order to mule them across the Canadian border. Sounds simple, right? Unfortunately, the two run into a rest-stop redneck, who ruptures the drugs inside of Dom after punching him in the gut. But these are no ordinary drugs and Alice’s boss (played by A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2: FREDDY’S REVENGE’s Mark Patton) wants the drugs whether Cooper and Dom survive the experience or not. Meanwhile, the unconventional drugs are kicking in.
Talk about your sticky situations!
SWALLOWED is filled with intense, disturbing, and uncomfortably intimate body horror. It’s not for the squeamish. And I’m not talking about the fainting at blood type of squeamish. I’m talking about other matter and other uncomfortable places where that matter comes from. The drugs have to come out one way or another and the dealers are not patient people. It’s gross stuff and I offer no judgment to those who can’t handle it. The gore and gruesome actions are handled delicately, but still, it’s quite the disconcerting experience nevertheless.
Of course, there will be those who just aren’t comfortable with the amount of gay themes in SWALLOWED. This is not a film that shoves homosexuality in your face. It’s just tells a story with gay characters. But still, that just might not be for everyone, so I figured I’d let folks know about it and you can make the judgment call of whether or not you want to see it.
All of that aside, SWALLOWED has some fantastic performances by its four leads. Jena Malone, who just appeared in CONSECRATION, is strong as one of the dealers. She is trying to be forceful, but still shows some compassion towards the two guys who are in over their heads. Both Cooper Koch and Jose Colon are great as the two leads who have a deep love for one another, yet only one of them is gay. Their performances are nuanced and strong. But the real treat here is Mark Patton, who if you’ve seen SCREAM, QUEEN! MY NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, has not had the best of times past his slasher movie debut all those years ago. Patton is menacing as the boss dealer. But again, he shows much more past the surface threats in his excruciatingly intimate moments with his drug mules. Hopefully, this role will give Patton opportunities for bigger and better things. The way all of the actors of SWALLOWED show depth past their exterior traits and roles is something you just don’t see enough of in horror films and I appreciated the three dimensional characters even in the short time you get to know them on screen.
One of the things that bothered me with SWALLOWED is that I think it is highly inaccurate in regards to the process of digestion. In what seems to be just at the most a few hours, the boys are supposed to produce the ingested drugs for the dealers and seem to be able to do so. Now, I’m no dietician and I don’t want to be too crude, but I do know that if I eat corn on a Tuesday, I am reminded I ate said corn maybe a day later, not just a few hours later. And when I do so, and especially if I were out for a night of drinking, it’s going to come out with some other stuff. If…ya know what I’m saying. I understand the need to rush this process for the sake of the film. But still, I think the expectations to produce the drugs in such a small time and the fact that they are downright spotless when they come out is a bit of an over-exaggeration. Just sayin’.
Nevertheless, SWALLOWED is a simple story of two kids out of their element and the bond they have with each other. It’s extremely grody for mass portions of the film. The subtle effects of the drugs, the squishy sounds, and the uncomfortable moments that thankfully mostly happen just off screen are going to make your toes curl and your lunch to creep up. Still, it is a great looking film with genius level of characterization from its talented, yet small cast. If you choose to work up the courage for the gore, you might be able to digest SWALLOWED.