Review Prime Video series ‘Swarm’ – SerieTotaal
Like a horrible car accident: out of morbid fascination you keep looking.
Several have managed to cultivate sympathy for fictional serial killers: Dexter murdered acquitted criminals, Grenouille was an autistic man who was hated from birth and hoped to finally be loved through the ultimate perfume, and love was also a driving force for Tom. Ripley. And then there are those characters who are just plain evil, but so fascinating that looking away is not an option: Hannibal Lecter, Patrick Bateman, and thanks to Swarm now also dr. Nasty and dangerous, but intriguing.
Dre has a crush on singer Ni’Jah and shares that passion with her roommate and best friend Marissa. Until Marissa commits suicide because her boyfriend cheated on her. Reason enough for Dre to make him her first victim. First, because she allows herself to be guided on her flight by the ‘swarm’ that people who criticize Ni’Jah share on social networks.
Swarm has a misleading first episode. That gives the impression that it is not a good series. Dre is a horrible main character that makes you wonder why you should watch him. He seems stupid, incompetent at everything and, of course, murderous. What comes of the second episode? This is not a serious drama, but a comedy as black as a moonless and starless night. And it arose in that framework Swarm itself as addictive viewing fodder.
Dre isn’t nearly as weak a talent as he initially appears, but more of a cunning chameleon. It’s a bit embarrassing that Dominique Fishback sometimes plays the main character of her so stupidly, because as an actress she is brilliant and, oddly enough, hilarious. His stoic look in response when others speak to him works perfectly.
Contrary to what each episode indicates at the beginning, this is not really a true story, comparable to the same statement at the beginning of Fargo. Although here a non-fictional base is used as a background: the ‘Beyhive’, a group of extreme fans of Beyoncé who make their way through online terror. There is a small role for Billie Eilish – which shows her potential as an actress – and she knows it too: her own fans of hers went crazy for her when she once didn’t show up on the red carpet like an emo vixen.
Far away in the background, because Swarm it brings Dre completely to the fore. Despite being just a bad person, he is not a flat character. Ni’Jah’s idolization of him is not solely due to music; Being a fan is his bond with Marissa with whom he was always discussing new music videos and singles. An attack on Ni’Jah is an attack on Marissa.
It is not easy to put your finger where Swarm exactly about. It is a separate work, sometimes almost artistic. And therefore open to interpretation. An indispensable recurring point is that strangers lend Dre a helping hand time and time again. Since the second episode, there is always someone who does not realize that she is a murderer and offers support with good intentions.
Even in the sixth episode, where someone who knew Dre as a child stands up for her. That, by the way, is a standalone episode supposedly a crime documentary, following a detective who is the first to connect Dre’s victims. Good idea, but not well executed, first of all because the actress doesn’t play it naturally enough. On top of that, it’s kind of depressing, because it’s Dre’s destructive path that draws attention. A backstory doesn’t do that.
Is that the theme, “don’t always give someone the benefit of the doubt”? There’s a cool moment when Dre wants to get into an expensive gym but she’s not allowed in without ID and a white man comes to her rescue because he accuses the employee of discrimination. But meanwhile, he inadvertently turns out to be the racist one because he mistakes Dre for another black woman, and Dre just goes along with it, because that’s how she gets in, of course.
Swarm it is a separate work with an ambiguous ending that leaves it even more open to interpretation than the rest of the series. You can’t get pure satisfaction out of it, but it’s probably one of the few options that at least fits the unique, and highly unpredictable box. Swarm It’s a strange duck, but one you can’t take your eyes off.
Swarm can be seen in first video.