Why the Look of ‘Swarm’ Is as Unsettling as Its Superfan Serial Killer

Murder, like everything else, just hits different on film.

Prime Video series “Swarm” — co-created by Janine Nabors and Donald Glover — creates rich visual contrasts that amp up the awkwardness and obsessiveness of Dre (Dominique Fishback), a superfan of a Beyoncé-esque pop singer who is more than willing to kill in the name of her idol.

Fishback’s performance allows us to glimpse how Dre’s innate strangeness and years of trauma inform what she does, but there’s always an essential wrongness to her and a brutal, unglamorous messiness to her kills.

That wrongness comes from the image itself, and cinematographer Drew Daniels knew he could only convey that by shooting on film.Daniels, who shot six of the show’s seven episodes (Gabriel Patay shot Episode 6’s mockumentary tangent), had strong initial instincts for how the story should look and feel.

He wanted to avoid the easy excitement

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