Azura Skye has always been an interesting screen presence – she has a vivid bit in Red Dragon and turns up in a lot of TV genre fare in guest roles – but rarely given lead roles. Here, she plays Holly – a schoolteacher who has overcome childhood obesity (perhaps through an eating disorder), is stuck with a cheerful but brusque supermarket manager husband (Bryce Pinkham) and squabbling sons, and is permanently on edge partly thanks to the return of Claudie (Ashley Bell), her more outgoing trainwreck of a sister (who still insists on retelling an ancient who-ate-the-pie anecdote), but also through the persistent presence of a mouse in her kitchen and an impression that she might have been responsible for a fatal road accident.
Everything in Holly’s life is vague and disconnected – she’s having trouble sleeping, and looks more and more haggard throughout, but she also suffers from vivid dreams and occasionally acts out inappropriately while sleepwalking. Written and directed by Dean Kapsalis, The Swerve is a slow-burning essay in the persistent sub-genre of women cracking up quietly. Obviously, something very bad is due to happen – and all of Holly’s attempts to counter her personal problems make things worse, from buying poison which almost certainly isn’t going to end up in a mouse to forcing herself into a relationship with a check-out boy (Zach Rand) at her husband’s workplace who’s also a dreamy student in her class. Skye is the whole show here, and uncomfortably convincing as the walls close in.