Back From The Grave: Alice Lowe’s Prevenge

A series dedicated to unearthing lost gems of of the horror genre. In this entry, the forgotten directorial debut of Alice Lowe and her darkly comic horror film, Prevenge.

Prevenge follows a pregnant woman by the name of Ruth who goes on a killing spree seemingly brought on by her unborn child. The unborn baby dictates her murderous actions, speaking to Ruth from the womb, coaching her to lure and ultimately kill her unsuspecting victims. Her struggle with her “conscience, loneliness and the strain of peripartum madness leads Ruth to ultimately choose between redemption and destruction at the moment of motherhood.”

The film made the rounds at film festivals around the world and even acquired North American distribution during its initial 2016 run before going on to win the Monster Innovation Award at Monster Fest and finally being released in February of 2017. It’s time to add Prevenge to your must-watch list!

Check out the official trailer below:

Alice Lowe has contributed to Edgar Wright’s “Cornetto Trilogy,” appearing in Hot Fuzz and The World’s End, as well as co-writing and starring in Ben Wheatley’s masterful dark comedy Sightseers, and penning the director’s cult horror classic Kill List as well. Lowe seems to have taken all that has come before to create Prevenge, and helm a film that is the perfect vehicle for her sensibilities.

Pulling triple duty as the writer, director, and star Lowe’s uniquely edgy black comedy mixes genre in unexpected ways. Being pregnant during the entire shoot in real life, Lowe’s handling of the material is all the more personal (and impressive). She delivers a post-feminist revenge film that ultimately draws parallels between society’s expectation of motherhood as a sainted and sentimentalized cornerstone with the notion of a mum-to-be being an unrepentant mass murderer. This culmination makes for a darkly humorous catharsis and is deeply satisfying. Lowe is a satirist with serious bite.

Lowe herself has revealed that her influences for Prevenge ranged from Stanley Kubrick to Kate Bush. Prevenge delivers for fans of cult thrills and pitch-black comedies but never forgets about the darker aspects of her protagonist’s journey; the sadder narrative that imbues the proceedings. You could almost play the entirety of “This Woman’s Work” by Kate Bush over the whole film and it would feel appropriate.

The synth score from Brighton-based duo Toydrum (members Pablo Clements and James Griffith) injects an almost post-80s Carpenter-esque undertone and creates an unnerving mood throughout.

You can check out a sample of their score from the film below:

Prevenge played at both Venice and Toronto International Film Festivals back in September of 2016 before going on to screen at SXSW. The AMC Networks-backed thriller/horror streaming service Shudder snatched up the rights to distribute and later stream the film, which is where you can view it now and you really should.

Source: Shudder, Lakeshore Records

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