Prevenge Screen 78 of 10 reviews

Prevenge

2016

Prevenge Poster
  • Rocking a dirty mind and a sick sensibility, the British import “Prevenge” sends a pregnant serial killer on a darkly comedic odyssey dictated by her malicious fetus. Yet what hoists this bloody battiness above much of the scrappily low-budget horror pack is the smartness of its execution and the strength of the movie’s central performance.

  • Similar in texture if not tone to Jennifer Kent’s The Babadook, Prevenge turns the ‘demonic pregnancy’ trope on its head. At the heart of the film is a deeply-felt and authentic insight into soon-to-be motherhood – albeit filtered through Lowe’s ear for the meticulous rhythms, euphemistic small talk and banal politeness of British vernacular. Her deft dialogue dissects the rhetoric around pregnancy.

  • If metaphors were movies, Alice Lowe’s new film would be a masterwork. Instead, it’s just smart fun—as well as a promising début... Lowe directs with a spare, clear, brisk style that builds tension and deals death with minimal fuss but displays little imagination; the movie is diabolically clever but it stays within the narrow limits of its cleverness.

  • It's at once sturdily engineered and a little bit too tidy, and its shocks grow ever more predictable. And because it doesn’t quite stick its landing, it seems underwhelming in spite of its best bits, including some quick-cut, effectively Wheatleyian imagery that’s been dropped into the mix and a well-deployed electronic score by Toydrum. At this point, Lowe is a more striking and resourceful actor than director, and that’s fine. She’s clearly a huge talent.

  • Like death, pregnancy is a topic that can allow awkward platitudes to gum up conversations. There's a tendency to regard a pregnant woman as an Other of sorts, particularly by those who're firmly disinterested in having children. Pregnant women, of course, can often sense these emotional vibrations, feeling isolated, patronized, de-sexed, and de-individualized, and Prevenge seizes on these cultural discomforts with sporadic ferocity. Lowe has fashioned a one-joke film, but it's a good joke.

  • Horror comedy is a difficult genre. Sightseers is one of a handful of films that strike the right tonal balance, and I’m not wholly convinced that Lowe has pulled it off with the same success. Perhaps because the ticking clock on Lowe’s pregnancy meant the production had to be speedy, the story itself feels hurried in places. But Prevenge feels decidedly original. Although it is primarily a horror film, it also touches on the struggles faced by expecting mothers and the nature of traumatic loss.

  • The cutting of a cord births a plan, just like the cutting of a cord births a baby. Might've been the feminist Theatre of Blood (but two of the victims are women), might've been the comedy I Spit on Your Grave but the (p)revenge isn't actually prompted by rape. Call it Grumpy Pregnant Lady: The Movie, a bit repetitive and too self-consciously midnight movie-ish (fortunately, I watched it at midnight), but it keeps hitting all kinds of notes - zany, rueful, angry - and hits them smartly.

  • What initially seems like a one-joke movie in its first two-thirds eventually reveals deeper psychological layers in its final act, especially as we begin to get a fuller picture of the tragedy that inspires Ruth’s killing spree. It all leads to a final punchline that actively denies the redemption arc Lowe seemed to be building toward, suggesting a character who’s gained a fuller awareness of her own disturbed self.

  • A bleakly humorous serial-killer tale in which the murderer is both eight months pregnant and under the imagined instruction of her unborn child, it’s a film that refreshingly couldn’t have been born — at least, not with quite such blunt conviction — of a man’s imagination. That Lowe herself was with child during the production only heightens the raw nerve of proceedings; while not every tonal downshift here is entirely fluid, this remains a smart, risky one-off.

  • In particular where Prevenge falls short is in one of its titular elements: ‘revenge’. Though the pre-death dialogue between Ruth and her victims is always witty, the motive for some of the murders is either obtuse or wholly unknown... As a result, Prevenge puts viewers at a distance; you’re unable to perceive any consistency within the film’s internal machinations.

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