Widow Ruth (Alice Lowe) is seven months pregnant when, believing herself to be guided by her unborn baby, she embarks on a homicidal and indiscriminate rampage.
From the very start of Prevenge, you're met with an unusual feeling that really does persist throughout - you don't know whether to be horrified or laugh. Either way, Prevenge makes for some essential viewing. From the synth-laden soundtrack to the grungy, handheld filmmaking style, Prevenge doesn't pretend to be anything other than what it is - a violent, splashy romp from a truly unique perspective.
Ruth is a single woman, heavily pregnant, who stalks the city by night and attends medical check-ups and the like during the day. Over the course of the film, it's slowly revealed that Ruth has suffered a traumatic loss and, perhaps as a coping mechanism, is conversing with the baby growing inside her. So far, so normal - except the baby is urging her to murder people on a frequent basis. There is something deeply disturbing about the idea, but the way in which the film treats the subject makes it into an almost cartoonish version of reality. One particularly gruesome scene sees her character engaging in a pleasant discussion about her pregnancy and her future job opportunities and then ends with her slicing open her victim's throat. It's jarring stuff and, yet again, you don't know whether to laugh or be horrified by it all.
Lowe's screenplay is wickedly smart and it's fascinating how it uses pregnancy like David Cronenberg would, all body horror and metamorphosis allegories throughout. Though it's evident that the film was made on a shoestring budget, the aesthetic lends itself towards a more cheap, grimy vision of the world and the two work off each other exceptionally well. Lowe's comedic background - which includes cult classics like Garth Marenghi's Darkplace - is perfectly suited to the kind of deadpan and absurdist humour that's at play here.
It's not for everyone and, yes, some people might not be able to grasp the idea of a pregnant serial killer. However, if you can get on board with it, Prevenge is a blackly funny, deeply depraved and highly original film that's worth your time. Think American Psycho meets Peep Show and you're on the right track.