Director: Alice Lowe
Writer: Alice Lowe
Verdict: A whole lot of fucking fun
I promise, I PROMISE, I don’t just like this film because it has Alice Lowe in it. I PROMISE.
In Prevenge, (Pre-venge..? P-revenge..? This is Dennis Villeneve, (Arrival), all over again), a riff on post and antenatal depression from Alice Lowe, writer and star of Sightseers and star or Black Mountain Poets, both of which I just love to bits, Ruth, played by Lowe, is convinced her baby, also played by Lowe, is telling her to kill a whole bunch of people.
I’ll level with you I wasn’t sold for like the first act or so of Prevenge. I mean I liked it enough, but it just seemed like the two forces of horror and comedy that lie in the film were completely at odds with eachother and I couldn’t quite settle in to the film’s surreal, dream like, almost hormonal tone. Which is a weird criticism coming from someone who likes the films I like and it’s clear that Prevenge and Alice Lowe herself also likes those films. I mean Sightseers had exactly that kind of thing going on. The film also has a very episodic nature that in lesser hands could make the film repetative. However, these two threads very quickly meshed together very well in some sequences that really walked the line between being both really funny and quite scary, which was then maintained throughout the rest of the film.
What’s really impressive though is that’s the only uneven patch in a film that was written in two weeks and shot in eleven days, (especially seeing as Sightseers took 7 years to get made), which it kind of had to be to fit the limited timeline of Alice Lowe’s actual seven and a half month pregnancy. The film despite this is, for the most part, extraordinarily accomplished.
It also has an incredibly soundtrack that recals the scores of John Carpenter, (Halloween, Escape from New York, The Fog), and Dario Argento, (Suspiria, Dawn of the Dead), as well as bit of Tangerine Dream, (Risky Business, Near Dark, Legend), and scores for more recent throwback horrors like Stranger Things and It Follows. It’s sparse and it’s motiffs are recycled endlessly but that’s not a criticism and if anything that minimalist approach pays huge dividends. It also has some wonderful cinematography that gives the whole film this alien, sci-fi aestetic that makes Ruth feel like a character in The Man Who Fell to Earth, or like her child is one of the villains of Invasion of the Body Snatchers or Village of the Damned, or as some have said in the wake of John Hurt, Alien.
As a fan of cult cinema and surrealist body horror like Eraserhead and Videodrome, it’s so great to see that the tradition hasn’t died. The indie horror scene is one of the most intersting, and creatively free scenes going at the moment, and it’s about time the British got a slice of that pie. I’ve also been reliably informed that this film really acurately depicts what it’s like to be pregant and the anxieties therin, so you now have my permission if you’ve never been pregant to sympathise with your pragnant friends and say, ‘it’s OK, I’ve seen Prevenge, I understand’, because of course.