‘Prevenge’: One woman’s tale of a “hostile” takeover
Following expectant mother Ruth on a vicious yet laugh-out-loud reign of terror, Prevenge is a clever comedy that weaves together themes of loneliness, depression, destruction, feminism, and what to expect when you’re expecting.
Alice Lowe, best known for her role and credit as co-writer in the 2012 horror-comedy Sightseers, wrote, directed, and starred in the new comedy-horror that follows a similarly dark theme: exploring what happens when ordinary people lose their impulse control.
In 2015, Lowe was no stranger to directing, having already taken short films to Cannes. Finding herself six months pregnant, she was beginning to accept that her feature-length directorial debut may have to wait. Just as she was about to give up hope, Western Edge Pictures offered financing for the low-budget film, with one caveat: the film would need to be made quickly. Initially, she turned Western Edge down due to her “condition,” but then a germ of an idea arose: what if Lowe’s pregnancy became the central theme of her movie?
Channeling Rosemary’s Baby, Lowe works against every perceived wisdom surrounding “being in the family way.” Prevenge, filmed while Lowe was nearly seven months pregnant, is best when it’s discussing prenatal psychology. Lowe, in her dark-as-the-night way, acknowledges the fear of a “hostile takeover” that so many women experience, in addition to the common feelings of fear and isolation.
The film was shot in 11 days and can seem a little rough around the edges, which actually works well to mirror the mental state of Ruth. All in all, Prevenge is not a polished piece – the narrative can feel a little heavy-handed at times, especially in the drip-drip reveal of Ruth’s motivation for her bloodfest. However, based on the budget, the shooting schedule, and the sheer quality of acting, the film transcends its scrappiness. Charming it ain’t, but if you like your delivery deadpan and your laughs jet-black, Prevenge is a great choice for a Friday night on – or hiding behind – the sofa.
Prevenge is available to stream now on Shudder.