Cult British comedian Alice Lowe snuck her way into filmmaking a few years ago by co-writing/co-staring in Ben Wheatley’s bitterly bleak comedy Sightseers. Now she goes into full triple threat mode by also directing Prevenge. If you enjoyed her campervan murdering tale, it’s a good indication of what to expect here. Even better, Lowe proves herself to be a damn fine director to back up her writing and acting chops.
Lowe stars as an 8-months pregnant woman whose partner died shortly after conception for reasons kept just slightly out of the audience’s grasp. So, she’s not doing well and it’s about to get worse. Lowe’s unborn baby starts babbling to her and unfortunately the little bundle’s request aren’t related to strange food cravings but murder. Specifically, the murder of those potentially responsible for daddy’s death. So Lowe goes on a killing spree, but don’t worry everyone. This is a comedy. Just one of those remarkably dark ones that inches towards horror.
The concept is pretty great, taking the typically beloved and caring sight of a pregnant woman and shifting it into murder and psychosis. Lowe (who was actually knocked up during shooting, so her child should really appreciate this movie some day) is brilliant in the lead role, clearly damaged and angry, but in ways that are hysterically removed from reality. Murder set pieces pile up in a manner both stylized and distressingly realistic. The victims tend to be satirically exaggerated character types, yet are always psychologically credible. The final twists are even dramatically devastating in ways most comedies don’t dare to even attempt.
Lowe emerges as an immensely talented and mildly nutty (in a great way) filmmaker by the end of Prevenge. She delivers a movie that has clear influences from her movie drunk brain, yet feels like a unique project entirely her own. Hopefully she’ll hammering away in horror comedies for a while. It feels like she’s just getting started.
Saturday, September 17, 6:15pm, Scotiabank 8