Written and directed by Carter Smith.
With Jena Malone, Cooper Koch, Mark Patton and Jose Colon.
Follow two best friends through drugs, mistakes, and terrifying intimacy on their last night together.
Carter Smith's third film ( The Ruins, Jamie Marks Is Dead ) is hard to swallow and difficult to categorize, and is really best seen with the viewer's own eyes for a mind free from outside influences. It is possible
If you're still with me, though, Smith offers a unique take on the body horror genre, filtered through a candid and sensitive LGBTQ+ lens. The gritty, unpredictable, genre-bending storytelling won't be to everyone's taste, but those willing to fall down the sticky rabbit hole of Smith and his acting will be rewarded for their highly original efforts.
Ben (Cooper Koch), a young man who travels to Los Angeles hoping to become a porn star, arranges for his friend Dom (Jose Colon) to send him a large sum of money. Some expensive drugs cross the border in the name of smuggler Alice (Jena Malone). Often, Dom and Ben have to take drugs to hide from the border guards, but the drugs are not what they expected and it will not be easy to get back on the other side.
If Wallowed starts out as a familiar-looking drug movie, it doesn't take long for Smith to do what we've come to expect from this kind of story, between disturbing body horror scenes and strange visuals. Without giving too much away, the stuff in Dom and Ben's stomach soon causes massive stomach ulcers and spoils the on-screen results.
On Smith's part, it is clear that the naked male body is shown in an unexpected and consistent way; Facial nudity is often exaggerated, as disturbing as it is beautiful, but never because of the gay shock laughter so frequent in Hollywood. And then there is the strange clear flow of water; It's clear from the start that Dom has feelings for the player Ben, drug lord Alice Rich, a crazy middle-aged woman played with delight by the great Mark Patton ( "A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge ").
It all makes for a consistently extraordinary work that eschews most supernatural horror in favor of something down-to-earth and believable. The climax can feel a little over the top when the meaning is clear, but this does little to make it bold and fearless into the subgenre associated with pure crime.
The actors deserve credit for understanding Smith's confused vision. Newcomers Cooper Koch and José Colón (whose names are anything but credible) are hilarious as our two protagonists with digestive problems, and it doesn't take much effort for the audience to fully appreciate their increasingly grim struggle for survival. The always beautiful Jenna Malone does a great job as a gangster human trafficker, whose character is more complicated than meets the eye, while again Mark Patton likes to hang out with drug lords (or queens). ?) Rich. His free interpretation is on the right side of the camp without reducing the "heaviness" of the piece.
The technology is strong; Smith opted for a square 4:3 aspect ratio that emphasizes the protagonists' booty, while Christopher Beer's synth soundtrack blends the image confidently. Unexpectedly disarming, Swallowed offers a fresh take on body horror that explores human frailty in an unconventional way.
Flash Legends Rating – Movie: ★★★★ / Movie: ★★★
Shaun Munro – Follow me on Twitter for more movies.