Who’s your favourite artist?” asks Dre (Dominique Fishback) of the characters she meets along her adventure in “Swarm,” Prime Video’s clever and fiendish horror satire. She poses the question with a happy lilt that belies the menace in the back of it, just like Ghostface whilst he conducts focused cellphone surveys about the slasher style in the “Scream” franchise. Dre’s respondents don’t recognise how high the stakes are, nor that there’s a correct solution: Ni’Jah, a messianic pop princess who bears hanging similarities to Beyoncé, proper all the way down to the cultish following with zero urge for food for dissent.
Dre lives a generally unexamined lifestyles in pre-pandemic Houston, fumbling through her 20s without a good deal course other than anything gets her in the direction of her favourite singer’s internal circle. Her roommate, Marissa (Chloe Bailey), is just as enamored of Ni’Jah, but is hustling as a hair and makeup artist to break into the enjoyment discipline. Dre, meanwhile, bounces between lifeless-stop day jobs whilst she’s no longer taking the stage at a gentleman’s membership to carry out dances which are greater esoteric than individual. Despite working as a stripper, Dre is mystified through intercourse, a curiosity Marissa’s creeper boyfriend (Damson Idris) makes use of to govern her.Not tons distinguishes Dre besides for being the most committed amongst a notoriously rabid fanbase. She’s memorized every album and discovered all of the choreography. She’s plunging herself into financial spoil to buy a concert price ticket that’s priced like a jumbo mortgage price. She’s essentially the embodiment of “The Beygency,” the traditional “Saturday Night Live” cartoon approximately enforcers who make unpersons of all people bold to insult Queen Bey, but mildly. Just how far will Dre go to expose her dedication to the cult of Ni’Jah? It’s no spoiler to say she’ll cross way, manner too a long way, leaving blood spatter in her wake.
If the logline seems like one of those left-of-left-area, self-contained episodes of “Atlanta,” that’s because “Swarm” is the introduction of Donald Glover and Janine Nabers, who previously collaborated on that show. The Glover-directed pilot may be dropped into “Atlanta’s” particularly ominous second season as-is. Like that show, “Swarm” combines metacommentary about Black subculture with arch comedy and Lynchian horror. (As if to add to the show’s surreal charisma, Malia Obama labored inside the “Swarm” writers’ room, and is credited as simply Malia Ann.)
“Swarm” is simply as lots a melanated fever dream, with all the music video-inspired visual flourishes that advise. But not like “Atlanta,” “Swarm” is linear even if it’s now not literal. Dre embarks on a road journey from the homeland she and Ni’Jah percentage to satisfy her dream of meeting her idol and turning into rapid pals. The more conventional narrative creates a developing experience of dread as Dre movements from factor A to factor B, lending an intensity “Atlanta” may want to never sustain given all its scenic detours.