PREVENGE comes full term in black comedy
Movies about pregnancy aren’t new. Movies about demonic pregnancy have been a staple of horror movies since Rosemary’s Baby (1968). Movies about fetuses training their mothers to become serial killers – we may need a new column for PREVENGE (2017).
Ruth (Alice Lowe) is very pregnant. She perseveres as pregnant woman do, dealing with the weight, the urges, the voices coming from the unborn offspring inside of her. Since the loss of her partner, she feels aimless and without direction – until the creature inside of her begins unraveling the truth of matters, and it’s all Ruth can do to keep up. These are amiable conversations, and I’ve seen mothers-to-be talk to their stomachs and listen, as if hearing a response. I’m fairly sure those women aren’t psychotic, but what do I know. I’m childless by choice.
Ruth is on a mission, flipping through a baby book filled with first kills and hit lists. She’s a newly minted killer, so her work is a little sloppy, but her offspring will guide her. Watching all of those police procedurals is about to pay off in spades.
Probably. The churlish voice coming from her belly is pretty sure things will be fine.
This movie is darkly hilarious because no one pulls black comedy like the English. The dialogue is sharp and the story is compelling, and not just because it offers a rare female serial killer. We become invested in Ruth’s life, and the nonsense pregnant woman endure on a daily basis. Clothes, dating, sex, shopping, judgement from others. It’s all painful and real. Ruth’s maternal instinct to provide and nourish and set things proper feels right, even if her methods aren’t entirely according to Dr. Spock. The fact that she’s killing people seems natural because those people are also murderousm unsympathetic jerks, and it’s always okay to kill jerks, right? There is justification that solidifies her actions, and we’re kinda cheering her on.
Playing Ruth’s chipper midwife is Jo Hartley, proving that to listen to pregnant woman all day one needs a sense of humor and a lot of patience. She was one of my favorite characters, providing not just a voice of reason but a potential excape hatch, should Ruth want it.
We’re really not sure if we want her to want it, am I right?
Writer-director-star Alice Lowe was actually pregnant for most of this filming, so Ruth’s waddles are authentic. Everything about this feels authentic and that’s why it works. Get on with your crazy baby-making self, Ruth.
Prevenge is streaming exclusively on Shudder, and should be rated-R for bloody violence, attacks on a pregnant woman, the forcible removal of a man’s penis (don’t worry, he had it coming) and language complete with English swears. But it’s unrated, so know what you’re getting into.