Filled with innuendo and an impending sense of threat from the get-go, Alice Lowe’s directorial debut Prevenge fulfils its promises within the first five minutes. Main character Ruth, heavily pregnant (which was the case in real life for the English actor and writer), enters a pet shop, surrounded by poisonous insects and reptiles, proceeds to murder the owner, in scenes which create an intimate sense of stasis. This sets the tone for the whole of the feature, which is drenched with weighted comedy akin to Lowe’s previous work in Sightseers, and to some extent some of the comedy productions she’s appeared in such as The Mighty Boosh and Hot Fuzz.
Each murder comes with a fairly predictable lead-up, but just as the protagonist tests her subjects, the film becomes not about asking why, but a larger investigation into a sense of blackened pre-natal mania. With intermittent synths, dialogue from a high-pitched baby and dry remarks from the protagonist to her prey, catharsis is found tenuously in a last hurrah – she experiences childbirth dressed as a revenge-filled monster.
This article appears in Issue 77 of Aesthetica Magazine. For more information or to buy a copy: www.aestheticamagazine.com/shop.
1. Trailer for Prevenge. Courtesy of Kaleidoscope Entertainment.