The horror of pregnancy is the subject at the forefront of Alice Lowe’s frightfully funny horror comedy, Prevenge. Widowed Ruth (Lowe) is seven months pregnant with her first child. Facing the life changing event alone, Ruth hears her unborn baby’s voice from within and embarks on a murderous rampage, doing away with anyone who crosses her. Prevenge has it all, it’s sharply funny, menacingly mean-spirited and incorporates dark drama amongst the laughs and blood shed. It’s a genre film with so many layers which is reflected in the lead character Ruth.
Alice Lowe showcases her talents for writing, acting and now directing, creating an unforgettable and dynamic character while breaking taboos when it comes to female roles in media. Lowe intended to create a character who was both sympathetic and villainous. Ruth is the ultimate horror anti-heroine. To a degree the audience roots for her as she experiences sadness and loneliness with her pregnancy but at the same time she pulls no punches and sets out for nasty, bloody revenge, leaving a trail of carnage in her wake. She is complex and challenging which is incredibly refreshing to see.
Lowe’s chemistry with her co-performers in the film is excellent particularly with Jo Hartley as The Midwife. Hartley plays the character as warm and concerned while engaging in witty dialogue with Lowe’s Ruth. Both actresses have starred in two of the best British horror/comedy films in recent years, Inbred (2011) (for Hartley) and Sightseers (2012) (for Lowe); it’s an absolute treat to see them on screen together as they are both exceptionally talented and play drama and comedy equally well. Tom Davis is wickedly hilarious as ‘DJ Dan’ in one of the film’s earliest scenes. Expect gross out humour and to laugh out loud until your sides split during this bizarre disco sequence. It’s a brilliant mix of Lowe’s twisted sense of humour accompanied by intense, nerve shredding horror.
The film has a surreal tone to it and it can be viewed as a mixture of genres. Essentially it’s a very well done slasher film with a rising body count, creative kills and features a killer with strong characterisation. It’s also an emotional drama that deals with very real subjects of impending parenthood and grief. Lowe uses the fantastical horror element as a metaphor to depict a realistic situation exceptionally well. It’s a well rounded film and nothing feels wasted. The stunning scenery of Pembrokeshire and the bright lights of Cardiff are beautifully captured with the cinematography. Shots of Ruth in her Halloween costume (featured on the poster) wandering the streets of Cardiff amidst all the drunken chaos is a frantic but an incredibly awesome film moment.
Prevenge includes a memorable soundtrack that fans are raving about and rightfully so. The score composed by Toydrum has John Carpenter vibes about it, adding another cool dimension to the film. It’s available for purchase courtesy of Bandcamp. https://invada.bandcamp.com/album/prevenge-original-soundtrack
The conclusion is absolutely fitting and the most brilliant and poignant way to round the film off, in terms of the plot and dialogue. Shot in only 11 days while Lowe was pregnant in real life (no prosthetic bumps required!), Prevenge is a tremendous achievement in independent filmmaking. The kills are expertly edited and the movie has so much depth to it on the whole. Alice Lowe has created a film where a female character doesn’t have to be just one thing, she can be a mother but she can also be badass and can take care of herself.
Prevenge is currently one of the best genre films out on the horror circuit and has something that appeals to all kinds of horror fans. It’s pitch black British humour at it’s best. If you loved Sightseers then you’ll definitely love Prevenge, in fact they would make a superb double feature together.
Prevenge will be screening at the Aberystwyth Arts Centre on Friday, March the 31st at 8:15pm alongside Caradog James’s (The Machine) “Don’t Knock Twice”.