THE SWARM (2020) Reviews of French bug horror now on Netflix

 

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The Swarm is a 2020 French horror drama film in which a single mother begins breeding edible locusts to save her farm from bankruptcy. Soon she develops a strange, obsessive relationship with them.

Directed by Just Philippot from a screenplay co-written by Jérôme Genevray and Franck Victor, based on an original idea by Genevray.

Plot:

Virginie lives on a farm with her children: fifteen-year-old Laura and seven-year-old Gaston and raises locusts as a high-protein crop.

Life is hard: money worries and practical problems are piling up, tensions with her kids and neighbours are running high. However, everything changes when she discovers the locusts have a taste for blood…

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Reviews:

“Suliane Brahim of the Comédie Française, recently seen in Olivier Nakache’s The Specials, plays the character of Virginie remarkably well, a force of nature that seems to be led to the rupture […] Combining social drama and horror, The Swarm is an excellent first film for Just Phillippot, who manages to make a poignant film of a great scenaristic, visual and rhythmic quality.” BRWC

“The cloud of illusions flies too close to reason … The French director must understand that the viewer sometimes calls for meaningful discourse by letting themselves be caught up in the spectacle of a show and anxiety-provoking tension. Everything here remains so easy-going it is easy to understand Netflix’s interest in this swarm for its international platforms.” Ciné Dweller [translated from French]

” …I enjoyed The Swarm. It just was not the movie advertised in the trailer, so consider yourself warned. Again, the locusts do turn quite scary at two moments during this movie. However, it’s more of a slow-burn horror drama, so watch it as such and enjoy!” Heaven of Horror

The Swarm is visceral, horrifying and an absolute hoot to watch. If you’re a fan of horror, I recommend this wholeheartedly. It’s slow-paced, but it delivers when it finally picks itself up.” Leisure Byte

“If you hate bugs you’ll probably have a hard time watching some of the close-up crawling/creeping/nibbling […] but Philippot rarely leans into the terror, preferring to focus on the real-world horror of a family slowly being torn apart by financial worry. There’s something being said here about the global food crisis and the way humans exploit natural resources […] a smart, original and wholly unexpected bug movie.” NME

“It really got under my skin with its deliberately drawn-out tempo, and always followed up with a full-frontal assault on the senses. I’m not someone who has any issues with little beasties, but the sheer amount on show here took its toll, so I can only imagine how much more unnerving the film could be for anyone who does. Whether you’re a bug freak or not, give this a whirl.” Ready Steady Cut

“At first harmless, borderline laconic grasshoppers content to loll in their tents morph into something far more agitated and aggressive. Ominous details are planted with visual flair and sound design is outstanding. Escalating social desperation makes the tale pertinent, insects that go bump in the night make it original.” Screen Daily

“Leading the cast is the excellent Suliane Brahim, a kind of superwoman who does not hesitate to do whatever it takes to avoid the failure of her original businesses […] The pleasant impression that its viewing has caused us makes us recommend it to lovers of cinema that’s not too gruesome. To those who don’t, tell them that they have the opportunity to see a movie that leaves a great taste in your mouth.” Terror Weekend [translated from Spanish]

Release:

The film premiered at the Angoulême Film Festival on 29 August 2020.

The Swarm is streaming on Netflix on August 6, 2021.

Cast and characters:

Suliane Brahim … Virginie Hébrard
Sofian Khammes … Karim
Marie Narbonne … Laura Hébrard
Raphael Romand … Gaston Hébrard
Stéphan Castang … Eleveur 1
Victor Bonnel … Kévin
Christian Bouillette … Duvivier
Renan Prévot … Luc
Vincent Deniard … M. Briand
Clément Bertani … Le livreur de sang
Guillaume Bursztyn … Eleveur 2
Thierry Calas … Le livreur de serres
Raphaël Liot … Coach de foot
Nathalie Boyer … Kévin’s mother
Barnabé Bernard … Manu
Océane Bargeaux … Kévin’s sister

Filming locations:

Billom, Puy-de-Dôme, France (soccer field; street scene)
Caubeyres, Lot-et-Garonne, France (farm)
Riom, Puy-de-Dôme, France (Lycée Virlogeux school)
Saint-Jacques-d’Ambur, Puy-de-Dôme, France (lake)

Technical details:

101 minutes
Aspect ratio: 2.39: 1

Original title:

La nuée

Related:

The Abominable Dr Phibes (1971)

More insects movies

Netflix trailer:

French trailer:

Critics’ aggregated score: