Prevenge opens with a heavily pregnant Ruth (Alice Lowe) murdering a seemingly harmless, although admittedly creepy, reptile shop owner. No explanation is given, and from here we hang onto Ruth’s maternity-sized coattails as she stalks around town murdering men and women who we assume she just doesn’t like, as we’re given no other explanation until later in the film. The film follows Ruth as she commits a series of murders, and gradually reveals the whereabouts of her absent husband. In her downtime, Ruth watches films featuring ‘Vamp’ women of the silent cinema era, the film drawing on these past references as a visual nod to the presence of dangerous women in cinema.
Much like 2012’s Sightseers, Prevenge is dry and dark in its humour, the mixture of speech and physical comedy giving it an unmistakably British tone. Ruth’s unborn daughter speaks to her in her head throughout, which is funny yet terrifying at the same time.
The horrific murders that Ruth performs coincide with her own horror at her soon-to-be baby taking control of her body, making the film not only a comedic thriller, but also in part a discussion on the psychological effects of pregnancy. It is not often that a main character in a film is heavily pregnant and active, let alone the actor actually being pregnant at the time of filming, making Lowe’s connection to the character of Ruth all the more real.
An occasionally touching, frequently violent and consistently disturbing examination of loss and grief as new life emerges, Alice Lowe’s directorial debut Prevenge is funny and incredibly dark in a way that only British cinema seems to be able to achieve well.
CAST: Alice Lowe, Jo Hartley, Kate Dickie, Gemma Whelan
DIRECTOR: Alice Lowe
WRITER: Alice Lowe
SYNOPSIS: A pregnant woman takes revenge, embarking on a killing spree that is both vicious and funny. For ruthless Ruth, will motherhood lead to redemption, or destruction?[TRAILER FORTHCOMING]