Writer: Alice Lowe
Cast: Alice Lowe, Jo Hartley, Kavyan Novak, Gemma Whelan, Tom Davis, Kate Dickie
Running time: 88mins
What’s the story: Believing her unborn baby is telling her to get revenge on certain people, mum-to-be Ruth (Lowe) embarks on a bizarre killing spree.
What’s the verdict: No surprise pregnancy often crops up in horror films. An alien being growing inside you, controlling and distorting your body, altering your mind; it’s all good horror fodder.
Rosemary’s Baby, Inside, Twilight: Breaking Dawn, The Brood, Alien – just some examples of impregnation trepidation cinema.
Prevenge is an imaginative, funny, clever addition to the foetal attraction canon. Nestling somewhere between Sightseers, Dead Man’s Shoes and Abel Ferrara’s exploitation classic Ms.45, this is an impressive directorial debut from Lowe. Who also penned the script and stars in the film. While being seven months pregnant.
Lowe’s Ruth is a wide-smiled psycho, convinced her baby is instructing her to off apparent strangers (there is more to it than that, but no spoilers). Unwittingly enabling Ruth’s belief is a kind, pragmatic midwife (the always impressive Hartley), who attempts to soothe the nervy mum-to-be with such comforting words as, “Baby will tell you what to do.”
Alternating between Ruth’s murder spree and scenes backfilling the reasons why, Lowe’s script is punchy, pacy and sympathetic to the cracked woman. Her performance and dialogue build a fascinating character riddled with anxiety about the upcoming life changing event, while gleefully ending lives of those around her.
Better than Sightseers at balancing humour and horror, Prevenge also stands as one of the year’s best awkward comedies – a kind of unlikely dance partner to David Brent: Life on the Road. Murder scenes shift between surreal horror and black comedy, recalling Chris Morris’ best work, with Lowe unafraid to deliver strong, wince-inducing gore.
Familiar faces including The Witch’s Kate Dickie, Game of Thrones’ Gemma Whelan, Four Lions’ Kayvan Novak and Murder in Successville’s Tom Davis all line up to appear in Lowe’s horrorshow, Davis’ delusional, horny DJ a memorably grotesque creation.
Satisfying right up to its abruptly cut-off final moment, with filmmakers such as Lowe on the scene British horror is pregnant with possibility.
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