PrintE-mail Written by Peter Turner

No one is going to argue that being pregnant looks like a barrel of laughs. No one is ever likely to argue with a pregnant woman about anything ever again after watching Alice Lowe’s directorial feature debut Prevenge.

Lowe writes, directs and stars as the pregnant Ruth, mourning the man who got her knocked up and hell bent on taking some revenge on the people she considers responsible for her lover’s death. While the baby girl inside her eggs her on by talking to Ruth and urging her to kill, Ruth must balance the ordinary challenges of pregnancy, while simultaneously ticking off names on her kill list and taking out anyone who gets in her way.

Prevenge plays on every mother’s fears of bringing a baby into the world. While Lowe was really pregnant as she took on the lead role, she might have poured out her major concerns about the world around her, but she still maintains a wicked sense of humour. Prevenge is a slasher film with a pitch black sense of humour, finding the mirth in murder and undercutting expectations of what society expects of a pregnant woman at every opportunity.

It's structured around a series of interactions as the ruthless Ruth continuously picks her next targets, mostly male, from sleazy DJs to pet shop owners, but also taking time out to deal with a cut-throat woman from the world of business. Its in the build-up to the kills that Lowe finds the real laughs giving her actors a chance to show off comic chops, even with not one, but two of Game of Thrones’ female stars among the cast. Even so, it's in Ruth’s conversations with her unborn child that we learn the most about her mind state and understand why she is determined to be a castrating angel of death.

Prevenge can't help but have wild lurches in tone and is mostly successful in being a comedy. Any attempts to get serious are undermined by the ridiculousness of the set-up, making the conclusion lack much of the bite of what has come before. Still, Prevenge is a confident debut that puts a neat spin onto gritty British revenge thrillers like Dead Man’s Shoes.

While perhaps serious in some of what it has to say about the pregnancy experience, as well as the state of the world we live in, Prevenge mostly sticks to dark laughs and does it well. It’s more intent of getting laughs than spouting a fierce feminist message, but manages to do a little bit of both in its best scenes. And if you don't agree? Well don't get into an argument with Alice Lowe about it.


Expected: 7
Actual Rating: 

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