A pitch-black British comedy that still manages to have serious mood swings, Alice Lowe’s labour of love=hate is even more disturbing than Sightseers (her previous film) and takes us into darker territory.
Ruth (Lowe) is six months pregnant when her partner dies in a climbing accident. She blames the other members of the climbing team – and so does her already pissed off and bitter foetus. Ruth is driven to hunt down and kill the survivors, goaded on by the voice of her unborn child.
It doesn’t sound like the plot of a comedy, and it feels like you’re smirking through broken teeth for most of the film. Prevenge has that characteristically British ironic detachment to its own subject, here personalised in the character of Ruth. She’s a fish out of water, a character split, confused and driven all at the same time. The film also has an intentional naivety about it, much like Sightseers, the film Alice Lowe co-wrote with Steve Oram.
Prevenge lurches from laughs to horror to psychodrama, the changes in style and mood effected in a wave of naivety that is both Ruth’s and the film’s own true tone.
The tone is helped by some pitch-perfect, Loach-like grimy cinematography by Ryan Eddleston.
Most disturbing of all is that Alice Lowe wrote, directed and acted in the film during her own real-life pregnancy.
This is desperate stuff and well worth a watch.
Prevenge is released on DVD, Blu-ray an VOD on 5 June.