If you’re like me, always looking for a new horror movie to spice up your weekend, add The Swarm to your list. The Swarm is a French horror feature that was recently released on Netflix about a widowed mother, Virginie, who makes a living breeding locusts to sell as a high-protein food to customers in order to financially support her two children. Unfortunately, breeding locusts takes a turn when her income decreases after customers don’t see locusts in the market. And, to make matters worse, Virginie accidentally hits her head in the locust breeding tent, causing the locusts to have a taste of her blood. That’s right: these locusts are now blood-thirsty for anything with flesh (including a goat, dog, and a couple of neighbors).
Despite creature-features being my least favorite genre because I’m squeamish when it comes to humans being eaten by crazed animals (or in this case, lab-loose locusts), this film is not as gory compared to other creature-features. At first, I was hesitant to watch a film with creepy-crawlers in it, but the up-close shots of the locusts were surprisingly stunning. I wasn’t horrified or disgusted when I saw one of the locusts nibbling at the son’s wart, maybe because it looked like it was kissing it. Although watching a locust chew on a boy’s wart is supposed to be disturbing and hints at the bloodthirsty-locusts plot, that scene felt very tendering because the son had a close relationship with one of the locusts he keeps in his bedroom. He even smiled, probably because he figured the locust was healing him.
Let’s not forget that this is a horror movie, and while the beginning of the film is about a woman struggling to keep her family together, we get some gory scenes after Virginie’s daughter slashes one of the tents holding the locusts out of rage and the swarm of locusts carries the goat into the sky and Virginie discovers a feasted goat left on the ground.
One of the reasons why I love this movie is how it makes you empathize with Virginie’s struggle to provide for her family. After Virginie realizes the locusts have been feeding on her leftover blood after she was unconscious from wrecking the lab, she decides to feed the locusts her blood to make them bigger to attract more customers. Her plan starts to work: she gains more money, expands her lab, etc. The only dilemma is she has to keep feeding them more of her blood, which eventually takes a toll on her body. But don’t let the disgust factor make you miss your chance to watch one of the best films I’ve seen this year. While this film is about hungry locusts wreaking havoc in France, its true themes are about sacrifice and family.