Parents' Guide to

The Swarm

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Blood, disturbing imagery, language in French horror movie.

Movie NR 2021 101 minutes
The Swarm Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

There aren't any parent reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say Not yet rated
Kids say (2 ):

This is a French horror movie with brilliant execution and a thoughtful message that's slightly marred by stale horror movie tropes and predictability. The Swarm (not to be confused with the cheesy '70s bees-gone-bad movie The Swarm) goes to great lengths to construct the world and the lives of the characters. Virginie is a single mother trying to provide for her family while also living up to environmentalist ideals by raising locusts as an alternative protein source to meat. But her teen daughter hates everything about where they live, and her young son just wants to attend a soccer camp that Virginie cannot afford. What emerges from this structure and slow-burn suspense is, beneath the ever present and oh-so-creepy buzzing of the locusts, a comment on the exhausting lengths people go to -- particularly single mothers in a capitalist and patriarchal society such as the one depicted in the movie -- in order to provide for their families, even if it means becoming, in this case quite literally, "consumed" by their work.

Unfortunately, there are more than a few horror movie tropes and plot points of banal predictability that not only prevent this from being better but also seem unnecessary: jump scares, a nightmare involving locusts, nosy neighbor characters, pets, and animals whose fates don't require much guesswork. These moments slow down what's already a slow build, and while it's fun to experience the playfulness of dashing expectations as we wonder early on in the movie whether teen bullies and condescendingly sexist farmers are going to meet a satisfyingly gory fate once the titular swarm is unleashed into the world, these moments ultimately feel either like story threads that go nowhere or else flabby exercises in character development. Still, this commentary, paired with the nightmarish sounds of the locusts not only buzzing but also thudding into tarps by the hundreds, will linger long after the movie is over, and there's enough Hitchcockian menace to make The Swarm stand out from standard horror fare.

Movie Details

Inclusion information powered by

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate