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  • Writer's pictureWill Scarbrough

Review: Swarm - Season 1

A young woman's obsession with a pop star takes a dark turn.

Dominique Fishback, Chloe Bailey, Nirine S. Brown, Kiersey Clemons, Heather Simms & Karen Rodriguez.

‘Swarm’ is a new Prime Video original created by the endlessly talented, Donald Glover. And is a lot different & a lot weirder than anything he’s done or be involved in before. The series establishes quite early that the show is a humorous horror, more uniquely moving into the horror style of Ari Aster that has this tense, under your skin tone that makes you feel utterly uncomfortable. This style is really consistent throughout the first season & has you on the edge of your seat through many moments.

Dominique Fishback is absolutely terrific throughout the show, delivering both a scary & hilarious performance that is complimented well by the writing. However, she is far from likeable and a lot of audiences may not love the show due to their lack of attachment to her character. She is an obsessive teen belonging to ‘The Hive’ a group of super fans of an artist named, Ni’jah. This theme is apparent during every episode and it couldn’t be more clear. Dre will do everything and anything to protect her image & meet her, often paralleling a lot of what people say on twitter. Something also often referenced.

Chloe Bailey & the other supporting cast are all surprisingly great. Delivering wonderfully engaging performances, along with a big surprise actress who makes an episode long appearance that, quite honestly, blew me away. On a technical aspect, the show is quite brilliant, especially in episode 4 that was by far the most engaging and interesting of the series so far.

However, I was expecting a lot more focus on the plot, with a clear idea of where the series was heading. It’s a very action driven show that shifts and changes when Dre takes action, but there’s no final goal in mind for the audience to connect with. This often took me out of the show & halted the pacing at times. A plot point introduced in the finale was far too interesting to be left last & would have much preferred an early introduction for a more emotional conclusion. A brilliant twist episode in 6 had me in hysterics and was a highlight for me, but this definitely won’t work for all.

Donald takes the series in so many interesting and unique directions that this may be seen as rather messy to some. But Donald, along with the other directors have this unique touch to the directing that I couldn’t help but feel enthralled throughout each episode. It’s brilliantly shot & lit. The sound design is eerie and builds towards bloody conclusions. The themes of obsession and grief are present, but only slightly explored. Which may be down to its short runtime and 7 episode season.

Either way, I thought Swarm Season 1 was a great start to what could be a multiple season show. While I wish it was more plot focused and had longer, more complex episodes. It’s hard to deny the mastery on display from a technical standpoint. This might be a big hit.

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