Overview: A heavily pregnant woman seeks revenge on her husband’s killer. Shudder; 2017; Rated-R; 88 mins
Lowe: Alice Lowe has gradually carved out her place in the horror comedy pantheon. Starring roles in the seminal Garth Marenghi’s Dark Place and Sightseers (which she also co-wrote) have helped make her name as an actress who is equally adept at landing a joke and cutting a throat. For Prevenge she pulls triple duty as its writer, director, and star. This would be impressive enough, but when you add in the fact that she wrote, directed, and starred in the movie while she was seven months pregnant it becomes apparent that Lowe is a unique talent.
Prevenge: Lowe stars as Ruth, a woman a few months off giving birth who decides to get revenge on the people who she believes are behind the death of her baby’s father. She goes about her task egged on by her baby bump which seems to be talking to her and encouraging her to kill her enemies. Ruth is not a Beatrice Kiddo or a John Wick and her targets are just normal people, which creates this wonderful awkwardness about how she dispatches them. Long, funny scenes of her trying to trap them or barely suppressing her rage at being in their presence are both wonderful and cringe-worthy to watch, especially her interactions with the disgusting DJ Dan, a man who pukes into his afro wig before forcing a kiss on Ruth in the back of a cab.
Tone: The dark tone of the movie is very similar to the Shane Meadows/Paddy Considine cult classic Dead Man’s Shoes, another movie about an odd loner seeking revenge. Just as in Dead Man’s Shoes, there is a shabbiness to the whole thing, a feeling which is heightened by the weird locations: a claustrophobic pet shop, a pathetic singles night, and a sterile boardroom. Lowe also shoots a lot of the movie using handheld cameras which move constantly, never allowing the viewer to feel settled. Much like Paddy Considine’s character in Dead Man’s Shoes, Ruth is unhinged yet likeable, especially in comparison to most of her targets who are rude, uncouth, sleazy, or dismissive.
Overall: Prevenge is a tight, episodic movie which moves Ruth from target to target efficiently and with lots of very funny moments. Lowe is an immense talent in front and behind the camera as she manages the balancing act of absurd comedy and some quite guttural violence. She is also a magnetic lead who we’re very happy to follow from murder to murder, never questioning her motives and letting her drip feed the events that led her on this path to us. For fans of Sightseers, this is a fantastic companion piece and it will hopefully lead to more directorial work from the incredible Alice Lowe.
Featured Image: Kaliedoscope