– By Stephen Harper
I’ve always liked Alice Lowe since watching her in Horrible Histories and various other comedy shows, such as The IT Crowd & The Mighty Boosh, but it wasn’t until seeing her in Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace & Ben Wheatley’s magnificent Sightseers, which she co-wrote, that I truly became a fan. Since then I’ve seen her pop up in other bits and pieces such as Locke & Paddington, but always believed she deserved another leading vehicle, so was delighted and very intrigued when I found out she had written and directed her debut feature Prevenge, in which she also takes lead role.
Firstly I’d like to state the trailers for this movie don’t do it justice. What I thought was going to be a straight forward British comedy/horror has turned out to be one of the best horror/fantasies in a very long time, in my opinion.
The plot evolves around Ruth (Lowe) who, recently widowed and heavily pregnant, believes her unborn child is guiding her on a murderous rampage. Throughout the film we take view from Ruth’s perspective, so hear the voices from her fetus manipulating her. It’s easy to establish that the voices are all in Ruth’s head, nobody is trying to insult the audience, but they’re done in such an eccentric way, in such a quirky voice, you can’t help but find it amusing. We follow Ruth as she not only embarks on the journey of being alone and becoming a mother, but also watching her successfully complete her mission, which is a bloody one.
I don’t want to give too many spoilers away, but Ruth’s mission is triggered by grief and loss and the people she feels responsible for it. It’s not all plain sailing though as most of her kills are humorous and messy, but even though graphic, never feel overly gratuitous – she’s like Patrick Bateman, but up the duff!
There’s some extremely funny scenes and dialogue throughout, in particular one brilliant dance scene with the absolutely fabulous, as always, Tom Davis as DJ Dan.
Lowe is naturally funny and here playing every scene with a deadpan expression you can’t help but smile at, but the juxtaposition in tone is alarming at times which I found mesmerizing. Stylistically the atmosphere bounces from laughter to tears in the blink of an eye. There are some gorgeous city scenes when following Ruth as she walks, which show her isolation, her fears and her loneliness, and even though the story is wrapped in an element of fantasy there is a sense of ‘kitchen sink’ about it all.
The supporting cast is to die for with wonderful performances from Jo Hartley, Mike Wozniak and Kate Dickie, but it’s a very lovely, understated performance by Kayvan Novak that caught my eye.
Prevenge is funny, vicious and expertly acted, with a fun heart and dark soul. It’s a tremendous debut feature and all I can say is Wow Wow Wow; what a talent Alice Lowe is.
Prevenge is released February 9th 2017