More noise than signal


Republished from the show notes of my other site, Fuds on Film.

An odd one, this, written by, directed and starring Alice Lowe, perhaps best known for her turn in Ben Wheatley’s similarly themed Sightseers. She plays Ruth, a heavily pregnant lady with a few issues. Primarily, her partner’s recently died, and her unborn child is instructing her to do things. Well, I say things. Murder. It’s telling her to murder people.

People like creepy pet shop owner Mr. Zabek (Dan Renton Skinner), or pathetic local 70’s DJ Dan (Tom Davis). Why? Well, there is a reason for these seemingly arbitrary people to be targeted, and if you’re paying even the slightest attention to the film you should know why from the start.

However, seeing as the rest of the film seems to believe that it’s something that requires a reveal later on, I suppose I’ll classify it as spoiler territory and leave it alone, other than to say that plainly it’s not enough of a mystery to hang a movie-driving intrigue from.

It’s billed as a dark comedy as much a slasher film, and for me at least, there’s a couple of moments where it raises some wry smiles. Unfortunately, not all that many of them, and good chunks of the mercifully restrained eighty-odd minute running time pass without me thinking much of it one way or the other.

That, I suppose, is almost as much as there is to say about Prevenge. It’s not funny enough for a comedy, and too weird to work as a conventional slasher, and too obvious to hold any mystery. So if falls between three stools, which you’d think by law of averages it ought to have at least laid one cheek on one of them.

I’ve no real beef with the execution of Alice Lowe’s ideas – the performances, pacing, dialogue and so on are all perfectly adequate – but I find the overarching tenet of the piece not landing with me the way I hoped.

I imagine there’s a fairly large pool of horror movie fans, or the horror movie fan adjacent, who will find this right up their alley and take a great deal more from this than I did – I’ve seen it appear at least as a consideration on a few best horror films of the year list – but more general audiences most likely will not buy what this is selling.