The status quo is turned on its head after an exceptionally turbulent dinner at her mother’s house. Claudia humiliates Holly for an incident in the distant past where Holly ate an entire pie. On her way home, Holly is harassed by a reckless driver behind her who keeps riding up beside her and taunting her. This is when the titular swerve happens, or does it? After this night, where Holly falls asleep on a bench downstairs and claws her husband’s neck in her sleep, she finds a notebook one of her students, Paul (Zach Rand), has been doodling in during her class. There are drawings of her naked body in the notebook, and she immediately sends Paul to the principal’s office.
“…the ending is one of the best…ever encountered in any film…”
These are just some of the upsetting events that rattle Holly and cause her condition to worsen. We see her mental health deteriorate before our eyes and let me tell you. It is devastating. By the end of the film, I became so invested in Holly’s journey that the ending nearly ripped my heart out of my chest. She tries so hard to be a good mother and a good wife, but her own mind keeps getting in the way. Her family doesn’t help too much either, but what ends up happening is not fair to any of them.
I cannot recommend The Swerve enough. It is one of the most depressing horror films I’ve ever seen, so maybe don’t watch it if you’re trying to feel super-sunshiney. It is an amazingly cathartic experience. I’m incredibly impressed that Dean Kapsalis was able to convey the suffering of a woman so well, without belittling or objectifying Holly in the process. It’s an honest portrayal of an unlikely set of circumstances, but the horrifying thing is that all the things that happen to Holly in the film could happen in reality. I’m being purposely vague here because the ending is one of the best I’ve ever encountered in any film. Please check out The Swerve, if you think you’re brave enough to handle it. I’m pretty sure you are.
The Swerve screened at the 2019 Brooklyn Horror Film Festival.
"…tackles the subject of mental illness from a different angle."