When the Ben Wheatley directed Sightseers came out, it put Alice Lowe at the forefront of British cinema, with her terrifying and hilarious performance as one of the murderous campers. She was well received in a film which isn’t really something for mainstream audiences, yet she made it work. The fact that she co-wrote the film is equally impressive. Well, it seems she has a taste for blood as she stars in her directorial debut, Prevenge which sees a soon-to-be mother exact revenge on several individuals who have done her wrong. Her experience as a writer on Sightseers shines through in a dynamic and original way, coming up with more and more shocking ways to kill her victims.
She stars as Ruth who goes on a murderous rampage during the final weeks of her pregnancy. Her victims are completely clueless until their final moments; she’s charming, sweet, horny, polite and psychotic. All the while, being told to do away with these people by her unborn child, Lowe has perfected the look of someone who can quickly switch between innocence and evil.
In between her killing spree, we see her have a few sessions with her midwife who has a few gems of advice which appear to ring true. The back and fourth between the two regularly have nuggets of hilarity, as they clearly disagree on almost everything when it comes to life, giving birth and raising a child. A particularly stinging line comes from John Hartley’s midwife who says “You have absolutely no control over your mind or body now. Baby will tell you what to do.”
We get to know most of her intended victims, of which there’s a misogynistic 70s DJ, an uptight career woman, a fitness freak and more. The DJ in particular seems to have had it coming for a while. You’ll almost be begging Ruth to do away with him after he proceeds to vomit in his afro wig (after which he plants a vomity kiss on Ruth, which will either make you sick, laugh or both.)
From all of these encounters, she’s captured perfectly what it’s like on a night out trying to take someone home, in an interview situation with no hope, to meet someone genuinely nice but not being able to make it work (killing their flatmate doesn’t help relationships funnily enough). The film is as fun you as it is gruesome with plenty of people meeting their end in bloody fashion that can be compared to a time when horror movies were this gory.
Alice Lowe was pregnant at the time of filming and, whilst some of her problems as Ruth during her final trimester are extreme, there are points raised which bare resemblance to everyday pregnancies. Not being able to find someone because you’re expecting which leads to Ruth covering up who she is. Interviewing for a job you need in order to make a bit extra but knowing full well that you won’t get it due to your unborn child. Unable to do interesting and adventurous activities because of your “condition” is painfully truthful. In a film about bloody revenge it’s Lowe’s incredible talent and insightful storytelling which takes this tale of vengeance just that much deeper.
4 out of 5.
Keep. It. Reel.