17th– 23rd February 2017, DCA
Prevenge tells the story of a pregnant single woman who, heartbroken over the death of her baby’s father, seeks revenge on those responsible for his death- because her unborn baby tells her to. Obviously, pregnancy can make a woman do some strange things, but blood thirsty revenge is a less common symptom. Prevenge is a British film with an all British cast and is full of a darkly British sense of humour which adorns much popular British cinema such as Hot Fuzz, a clear influence on the violentaspects and gruesome death scenes in Prevenge.
First time director Alice Lowe, who also plays the main protagonist in the film, has delivered a darkly hilarious and fantastically told revenge story filled with witty dialogue, cleverly planned murders, and an amusing reflection on the anxieties of single motherhood. However, while the film itself is very funny in places and is just one of the many dark comedy films that are adored across the country, the story itself lacks substance as the film draws to a close and the baby is born. All through the film Ruth (Alice Lowe), thinks that her unborn child is talking to her and making her kill the people responsible for her baby’s father’s death, but when the baby is finally born she merely coos at her mother and says nothing. The question of whether it was in fact the baby talking to Ruth or if Ruth was just hearing what she wanted to hear is left open for discussion, as the film refuses to guide us to a definite answer. The ending is weak in respect to tying up the loose ends of the surviving characters or determining Ruth’s fate in whether she will literally get away with murder or not, but the open ending confirms the darkness permeating the entire film and will leave audiences speculating. All the characters in Prevenge are hilarious; the victims are oblivious to Ruth’s motive and her struggle to regain control over her mind and body as she carries the murderous child in her stomach. Their demises are executed in a cool, dark, twisted, but amusing manner with quick one liners and laugh out loud moments that will make you cringe without exception of every single character in the film.
The characters are all very well played by their actors and, despite the fact that Ruth limits their screen time to a matter of minutes, they achieve a quick comic impact. Displaying such stereotypical personality traits that in a matter of seconds you can tell exactly what type of person they are and if they deserve to die or not. Prevenge is not all mindless death and revenge however, as when Ruth kills someone who merely witnessed her murder another person she feels guilty and wishes that she could have spared him instead of killing him in cold blood as if he was also at fault for her partner’s death.
Prevenge is a twisted tale of a single mother’s journey through pregnancy and her fears of having to go through it alone while also dealing with a severe case of grief. Although the ending lacks the punch that the rest of the film exhibits, it is as quick witted and darkly funny as one would expect from a film about a blood thirsty unborn baby.First time director Alice Lowe should have no problem making another dark British comedy nor earning a place alongside the other classics of this particular flavour of British cinema.