SXSW Film Festival Review: PREVENGE

Where to even begin! I found myself feeling so many things upon first hearing about Alice Lowe’s directorial debut, PREVENGE. Intrigue, anticipation, and excitement would sum it up perfectly, leading me towards high expectations of this film. I can wholeheartedly say that my expectations were met and this film did not disappoint in the slightest. 

Dark but humorous, PREVENGE follows Ruth (Alice Lowe, also the writer and director), a pregnant woman dealing with the death of her partner while simultaneously receiving murderous motives from her unborn baby. While the fetus compels her towards the notion of murder, Ruth accepts the advice and goes on a killing spree, leaving behind a trail of victims. Amidst all this carnage, the viewer remains unsure whether the communications between Ruth and her fetus are real, and if the chosen victim’s are random or serve a higher purpose. 

To say that the concept of this film is unique would be a massive understatement. This British black comedy has a multitude of creative elements, and the plot is just the tip of the iceberg. PREVENGE incorporates a very original storyline, combining smart humor with the structure of a modern-day slasher film. To give so much control (along with a high-pitched, squeaky voice) to a menacing unborn fetus is clever in itself, allowing for vast and innovative possibilities. Even the killings dance to their own rhythm: the murderous acts are strong, yet soft, and harsh but peaceful. These inconsistent elements work together harmoniously, bringing an almost tranquil balance to the film’s atmosphere. Overall, it’s intense, but strangely soothing at the same time. 

The versatility within this film is endless, showcasing major creativity, determination, and great direction. PREVENGE also goes to impressive heights through the entirety of its production; having been shot within eleven days while director/actress Alice Lowe was actually pregnant. This film will hook your attention through its use of black humor, sly symbolism (let’s not forget the added shots from Crime Without Passion), and a solid foundation. I can honestly say that there is something in this film for everyone who enjoys the genre, and horror fans will not leave the theater displeased.  

Abigail Braman