Prevenge (2017)

Director: Alice Lowe

Writer: Alice Lowe

Starring: Alice Lowe, Alice Lowe’s unborn child.

Review Author: Adam Monks

Rating: 4/5 Glasses of red wine

Ok, ok, stay with me. This pregnancy based killing spree-revenge comedy horror. And it’s brilliant. We were jammy lucky enough to attend a press screening of this one and it set a weird toneforn the rest of my Wednesday.

At no stage in this film are you told what’s going on, or why she’s killing, or what the past held for our murderous baby-maker. You’re shown. And that is what good filmmaking is about! The motivation for the killings is never spoken to you, or shoved down your throat or revealed through some cheesy monologue or knife-wielding rant to a victim. Above all else, that’s what I was scared of for this horror film. I absolutely applaud this film for that above all else. Alice Lowe trusts the audience and her writing abilities to deliver information through staggered and smart exposition to justify what’s going on with a lot of laughs and realisations along the way.

So, incase the trailer and the poster and the following tweet from the Irish press screening isn’t enough for you…

…the film is about a murderous pregnant women who sets out on a killing spree right some wrongs in her life. The motivation, which starts as a very abstract seemingly mental illness is actually quite raw and unexpected. Don’t get me wrong, it is a hilarious film, but there is a strong set of emotions running through the back of it. 

In terms of setting the scene, it’s an amazing study in making people feel uncomfortable. As an assault on every sense and phobia you could have Alice Lowe creates a wonderfully unsettling tone to the film visually; with just the right amount of anticipatory squeamish-ness that had me wriggling in my seat. The acting is so deadpan and apathetic in the best possible way. It’s a risky move to be slightly emotionless and subtly funny, it can come off as lazy bad acting but it’s pulled off so well here that you get the overwhelming sense that the women is on edge and has completely retreated back into herself and this idea that overcomes her. Nothing else matters once a knife is in her hand and a depraved and hilarious ‘no it’s ok, I’m supposed to kill you’ vibe pulls some brilliant laughs. 

There’s a fantastic use of dramatic irony running through this, where the audience knows something the actors don’t know and that makes for a very odd mix of entertainingly satisfying murder scenes. 

A dramatic shift in the third acts brings us a bit closer to reality and it shifts away from comedy-horror to drama, and I don’t mind that. It’s quite heart wrenching at parts but mostly just a good old-fashioned, funny, well made film. 

Initially when I heard that Alice Lowe filmed this while pregnant and this is also her directing debut I was sceptical that it may be too ambitious but she has absolutely nailed this. 

It’s also fantastic to see Kayvan Novak play something with a bit more substance than his role as a legitimately moronic suicide bomber in Four Lions. 

This film is very violent and very unsettling in parts, it’s bleak and it’s funny and there’s a lot of juxtaposing about the utter bollox that tends to be thrown at pregnant women going on. The whole thing of ‘the baby knows what to do’ is taken so so so literally in this film and turned into a plot device that isn’t overused. After a while you forget about the fun and games of a good old-fashioned killing spree and go on a journey through a sick and twisted revenge quest. 

I’m not sure what sort of release to expect from this, particularly on Valentine’s weekend… where a film about a single mother goes around chopping people up, this may push some crazy girlfriends over the edge. It’s not for everyone but if you’re a fan of films like Four Lions, and dark humour then you should absolutely get out to see this. 

Let us know what you think @ReelTimeDublin and follow us for more! 

Author: Reel Time Flicks

Passionate about film and writing since 2015.

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