VOD film review: Prevenge
Ivan Radford | On 04, Jun 2017Reading time: 2 mins
Director: Alice Lowe
Cast: Alice Lowe
Watch Prevenge online in the UK: All 4 / iTunes / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / TalkTalk TV / Rakuten TV / Google Play
Without a doubt the best pregnant serial killer movie you’ve ever seen, Alice Lowe’s Prevenge is a masterpiece of maternal nightmares.
The dark comedy follows Ruth, an expecting mum who’s doing exactly what you’re not expecting: running about murdering people. Why? “Baby will tell you what to do,” she’s reassured by an unnervingly upbeat midwife (Jo Hartley). And sure enough, baby does. Or, at least, an unseen inner voice does, spurring Ruth on to commit increasingly graphic deeds.
Juno, this ain’t – and it’s all the better for it. Lowe’s creation is deliciously sick stuff, full of witty observations about antenatal procedures, insight into prepartum blues and a lucid understanding of the pressure of looming motherhood. Mix that up with gory homicide and you have one giddy, hormonal cocktail that will make your stomach churn.
There’s an irresistible glee in knowing that almost every conversation Ruth has is destined to end in bloodshed – bloodshed that’s ungainly, lumbering and all the nastier for it. But it’s the understated tragedy gestating below the surface that elevates this B-movie from entertaining to excellent. Lowe handles the shift in tone impossibly well, from howling one-liners (“Kids today are so spoiled: Mummy, I want a PlayStation. Mummy, I want you to kill that man…”) to emotional fury, a balance that’s maintained through costume (including outrageously over-the-top Halloween outfits for one party scene), make-up, editing and acting.
That subtle attention to detail runs throughout the production – one that Lowe oversaw while only weeks away from giving birth herself. Accompanied by a sinister, heartbeat-driven soundtrack, Prevenge unfolds against the knowledge that something foreign is growing inside of her – something Ruth is scared is taking over. Lowe is magnificent in front of the camera as well as behind, fusing Ruth’s fears and loneliness with a righteous anger at the selfish society around her, one that her baby will soon have to grow up in.
Intimate, intelligent and astonishingly individual, this is a personal genre piece that you can’t imagine anyone else making – after her work with Steve Oram on Ben Wheatley’s Sightseers, and a whole heap of memorable performances over the years, this is a welcome chance for Alice Lowe’s voice to shine on its own, a voice that already feels fully formed and confirms Lowe as a major force in the future of British horror. A confident, bold, idiosyncratic feature debut, Prevenge is a brutal, broody tale of the fesrs of pregnancy, immaculately conceived.
Prevenge is available on All 4 until 14th May 2020. It is also available on Shudder UK, as part of a £4.99 monthly subscription.