Being pregnant isn’t easy. I know. I have two kids. I’ll be the first to admit that I wasn’t a good pregnant person. I equated it to having an alien sucking the life out of me. (Love you, Jon and Kelsey!) Lowe wrote and directed this gruesome horror flick while she was in her third trimester, but her character Ruth, a widow, takes the hormonal mood swings to a new level. She receives not just messages, but has complete conversations with this unborn and apparently evil little girl. The demon from within has quite the imagination as the bodies begin to pile up.
Not since “Rosemary’s Baby” has pregnancy been equated with a horror movie. And never have I seen comedy and horror together in this situation. Lowe has exactly what it takes to make this concept work—a dark sense of humor. Having starred in and co-written “Sightseers” with Ben Wheatley, I knew exactly what kind of an adventure I was in for—and I was looking forward to it! Lowe didn’t disappoint me as she kept that same dark, edgy humor and blended it perfectly with some rather twisted and gut-wrenching scenes. I found myself gasping in horror and chuckling at the same time. That’s not an easy feat to pull off!
Ruth is a widow, but we don’t understand the circumstances under which she has become pregnant and has lost her husband. The film introduces us to her as she is buying an exotic animal for her son’s birthday, but there’s something “off” with her interaction with the store keeper. You have a feeling of unease and impending doom for a reason. The owner isn’t long for this world and the blood starts to pour. This is just one in the line of many, but what keeps you captivated is the fact that you need to know ‘why’ she is doing this. The motivation is revealed, bit by bit, as we get flashbacks to an earlier and traumatic event. The conversations between mother and soon-t0-be daughter reveal some background as well as being quite entertaining. Every single scene is peppered with ironic humor as well as quite a bit of cheeky sarcasm which balances the situations that are splayed out before our eyes. It’s this balance that makes the film work.
Lowe is a genius of comedy, dark comedy, I should say. The characters she creates are as unique as her writing. From the D.J. in the bar (I still cringe when I think about his fate) to the woman who fights back, you know exactly how it’s going to end for them, but it’s the interaction in the middle that makes you almost root for Ruth. Jo Hartley plays the midwife with whom Ruth has the most consistent interaction. Her choice of words and Ruth’s responses are simply hilarious; each of them really talking from two totally different perspectives.
Cinematically, this independent film feels like a big budget movie. The special effects are riveting and disturbing—exactly what a horror film should be. One of the special camera views that is worth noting is when we are seeing what the unborn baby sees. The effect is perfect, allowing us to understand the baby’s view. This attention to detail is what cements the film in all it’s gruesome humor.
“Prevenge” is one of the most unique horror and comedy films, creating a genre of its own. Under the direction of Lowe, the film is at once edgy, hilarious, and disturbing. And I thank her for making me look like an angel while I was pregnant…it’s scary that it took a murderous revenge rampage to do this, though!