Pregnancy turns homicidal in Alice Lowe’s dark comedy satire Prevenge. Many women will attest that being pregnant can be hell and baby rules, but here it is truly murder and the baby is a psychotic tyrant. A sinister humour underlies a sequence of gruesome serial killings committed by a very expectant Ruth (Alice Lowe), in obedience to the commands of her boldly outspoken foetus. With matter-of-fact nonchalance, she systematically butchers her prey one-by-one and then checks each off her list of intended victims, targeted for their connection with her husband’s death.
An unsympathetic character, Ruth indulges in remorseless gore in the same way she might engage in household chores: unpleasant tasks, but ones that must be done. Yet increasingly the film reveals that she would like to stop killing, but is helplessly enslaved by her child’s directives. The torment the infant causes her is a farcical allusion to the often gruelling nature of pregnancy itself. Ruth’s complete obliviousness to societal niceties are akin to her feeling that the world treats her condition with condescension.
With a shocking opening scene showing Ruth brutally slashing a man’s throat, then calmly noting “one down”, Lowe wastes no time in getting to the point. “Those selfish bastards; we may as well not exist, but it’s ok, I’m here”, asserts a shrill little voice. Macabre humour and puns are peppered throughout: after slaughtering an uptight executive (Kate Dickie), Ruth calmly jokes “I’m sorry I’ve had to make some really harsh cuts. It’s a cutthroat world”.
Lowe skilfully reveals new information with each murder. Initially it seems she is taking revenge on men when she butchers two sexist, unsavoury perverts (Dan Renton Skinner and Tom Davis). But when a woman and a mountain climbing instructor (Kayvan Novak) become targets, Ruth’s purpose becomes clearer. Her motive is at first implied to be her apparent resentment towards men who abandon women and children, but she then confesses that she would swap her baby to have her dead husband back.
With a hint of Kill Bill, It’s Alive and Rosemary’s baby, Prevenge‘s clever Tarantino-style devil-may-care dark wit and insolence combined with lurid violence provide potential camp classic material.
Prevenge does not have a UK release date yet.
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