Viewers either outraged or moved after premiere of “Swarm” at SXSW

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  • Published on March 15, 2023
  • Last Updated May 15, 2023
  • In Culture

Shock and awe accompanied the premiere of Amazon Prime's new horror series on the opening night of SXSW.

The South by Southwest Film & Television Festival premiered Prime Video’s “Swarm” on Friday night, leaving viewers shook, gasping, and cheering after the showing of the first two episodes.

The series co-creator and showrunner Janine Nabers and her “Atlanta” colleague Donald Glover, who directed the pilot, forewarned that the show would be highly conversation-provoking and impulsive.

“We know that it’s going to evoke a lot of conversation. We know that people are going to have a lot of responses and may be angry or really inspired. So I just want you guys to know that if you have any feelings after watching this, and if you really want to tweet about it, then tweet at Donald,” Nabers said.

The Hollywood Reporter noted that while Glover wasn’t physically present, he did record a mock Cameo message that aired before the screening, acting as though Amazon had paid him through the fan-greeting service to promote the series.

Dre, played by Dominique Fishback, is a young woman who becomes unexpectedly immersed in a cross-country voyage due to her obsession with the world’s biggest pop star. The first two episodes feature gory depictions of murder, nude males in varying states of arousal, and aggressive bouts of binge eating.

Fishback admitted that she was apprehensive about taking the role because it deals with such heavy subject matter.

“I started to be like, ‘Do I want to do this? I’m afraid,’” she recounted. “And then I thought about different artists who did things they were afraid of. And I had to journal and pray. I asked myself: What gave me pause and why? And if I could identify what the pause was in me, then I could address it. But if it was because of perception of what somebody else was going to [think], then I wasn’t doing a service to my own artistry, to the gift that God gave me, and the reason I’m here. “

“So, yes,” Fishback continued, “it’s very nerve-wracking to hear what people have to say. But I’m very proud that I was afraid to try something different [and did it anyway].”

Nabers highlighted the fact that the show is groundbreaking because it may be the first to depict a Black female serial killer. She claims that the show’s primary source of inspiration, an urban legend in Houston, is present throughout. The show’s name went through several changes; “Yellow” and “Hive” were also contenders, according to Global Village Space.

Glover’s first project under his Amazon overall deal is “Swarm,” which features Malia Obama as a writer. The cast includes Chlöe Bailey, Damson Idris, Rickey Thompson, Paris Jackson, Rory Culkin, Kiersey Clemons, and Byron Bowers. On March 17, all episodes of “Swarm” will be available on Prime Video.