Prevenge (2016) [Final Girls Berlin Film Festival 2018]

A woman believing that her unborn child is talking to her goes on a killing spree following her child’s father’s death.

Written, directed, and starring Alice Lowe, Prevenge is a film that has an interesting killer as pregnant woman as often, and usually, shown on screen as either helpless or very caring. Here the lead created by Lowe is neither. She’s a woman on mission and ready to go as far as it takes to keep her child happy. The character created here is one with a single goal, she is single-minded, she’s a strong woman with her doubt on herself, her capacity to be a mother, and how she is going about things. Throughout the film, she questions herself and shows some inkling that she may very well be a caring human beyond her child and dead husband. Her character is built up slowly through her moments alone and her murders. She’s a tough woman but also needs help, which is clear and shown in a way that is a change from the usual killer-on-the-loose or slasher film. The film also boasts a lot of dark humor, in how she does things and in the way some of the characters are shown.

Playing the lead is writer/director Alice Lowe, a part she thought up while pregnant and unable to get much work, and she does so quite well while also being really 8 months pregnant. The belly here is not a fake, it’s the real deal and she works miracles acting and pretend killing all those people close to the end of her pregnancy. Her acting is good and her resolve is realistic. She is the center of the film and does take up most of the film’s runtime, giving a strong performance that is also touching at times. The rest of the cast is mostly kill-fodder and they do their jobs well. One that stands out for both good acting and ick factor is Tom Davis as DJ Dan, who gives his all in his part of scummy, not quite talented DJ who likes to bring women home after a night’s work. His acting makes him come off exactly that way, a scummy creepy loser who has not real goal in life and manages to hit on a pregnant woman as he loves “fat birds”. The man is not one any woman would want to take home and he plays the part in a manner that makes the character possibly the ickiest man on film in a while. Playing his mom is Leila Hoffman who does a lovely job and is adorable while she does so.

The film has some really bloody kills at times and those are done beautifully well with lots of blood and some guts and other bits in one that will have some viewers thinking twice about messing with a pregnant woman. The special effects are somewhat minimal but the blood flows lovingly well and makes some of the kills truly stand out.

The score by Pablo Clements, James Griffith, and Toydrum is mostly effective, but the synthwave music is something that has been feeling a bit over-used lately and is getting old as a way to cool up a film. A simple, regular score may have worked better here, but as synthwave is what is offered in parts, it’s decent for what it is.

Prevenge has a very British dark humor to it that makes the whole process of these killings funny and a bit lighter than a simple kill-em-all would have had. It’s a bit of a revenge film, but it’s also clearly something that is meant to be taken more lightly. The lead character is fascinating to watch and her decision making is puzzling at times, but the film remains interesting to watch throughout and the kills themselves are interesting. Prevenge as a slasher quality to it at times and a soul-searching one at others.