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Haley Bennett shines in “Swallow” — a disturbing but mesmerizing portrayal of mental health, obsession, and the struggle to regain control.

Show host Carolyn Smith-Hillmer takes a deep dive into Swallow, a beautifully executed, women-driven body horror/psychological horror film that adeptly addresses multiple complex themes, including intrusive thoughts, female bodily autonomy, loss of control, the horrors of isolation, and mental health. Uncompromising, disturbing, and thought-provoking, there’s a good reason this was one of the most buzzed-about and critically celebrated genre films of 2019. – Stephanie (Editor-in-Chief)

SHOW NOTES FROM HOST CAROLYN SMITH-HILLMER:

Sit down with your favorite drink and listen in as I discuss the complexities of pregnancy, Pica Disorder, and control.

Swallow is a 2019 psychological thriller film written and directed by Carlo Mirabella-Davis and starring Haley Bennett. Its plot follows a young woman who, emotionally stifled in her marriage and domestic life, develops an impulse to consume inedible objects.

Writer-director Carlo Mirabella-Davis drew inspiration for the story from his grandmother’s obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Swallow follows a pregnant housewife who develops the disorder pica, which causes her to ingest inanimate objects.

Mirabella-Davis stated that his grandmother developed various rituals of control due to her unhappy marriage and the increasing sense of powerlessness in her life. She was eventually placed in a mental institution, where she received treatments such as electroshock therapy, insulin shock therapy, and a non-consensual lobotomy.

Mirabella-Davis wanted to make a film about his grandmother’s experience, but he realized that hand washing, her primary OCD symptom, was not very cinematic. Instead, he chose to focus on pica and explore the attraction of people with this disorder to ingesting objects.

The film was widely praised by critics, who recognized the film’s strong script and outstanding performance from lead actress Haley Bennett (Cyrano).

SOURCES/INFORMATION

IMDB: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8372298/

Black Box Diaries: https://festival.sundance.org/program/film/6569ff92fac9f427abc03c60

Realm of Satan: https://festival.sundance.org/program/film/656a08effac9f4692bc048d2

Little Death: https://festival.sundance.org/program/film/656a08dafac9f40bb2c048a3

Pica Disorder Information: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/22944-pica

ABOUT THE SHOW:

The Final Girl on 6th Ave is a weekly show where host, Carolyn Smith-Hillmer, dissects an arthouse/elevated horror film. Each episode includes a detailed play-by-play of the film itself and a subsequent deep dive into the thematic elements and symbolism. Because elevated horror is sometimes viewed within the horror community as pretentious, Carolyn makes sure to use her down-to-earth tone and unique perspective to make these films less intimidating for the casual horror viewer and less ostentatious for the genre lover.

Listen to more episodes on the show’s website here

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