Prevenge Review: The Darkness Inside

Photo Credit:https://www.tiff.net/films/prevenge/

Blacker than black comedy has its drawbacks, but Prevenge could become a cult classic for the subgenre. That’s entirely because of Alice Lowe. Writing, directing, and starring in the film, she is Prevenge. The unique tone she sets here pervades most other genre fare and becomes something of a miracle.

The film follows Ruth (Lowe), a pregnant woman out for revenge after the father of the child was killed in a climbing accident. The opening scene alone defines just about everything you need to know about the film. Ruth appears to be shopping for a pet and getting help from an obnoxious clerk who wants her to “feel his big fat snake.” She cuts his throat a few minutes later, all backed by a heavy retro ’80s glam soundtrack.

Prevenge is almost episodic in this way. After the brutality in the pet store, the film slowly unveils its backstory as Ruth goes on extended “missions” to kill, each of which is practically self-contained, to the point where the thought crossed my mind that this concept would work as an extended web series.

But the slow reveal of Ruth’s backstory is a bit give and take. We eventually learn that Ruth is hearing the voice of her fetus inside her brain, and that it’s the one telling her to kill people, the best and most hilarious development. That said, the more we learn about Ruth and how she feels about her partner’s accident, the comedy starts to slip. The film doesn’t succeed in transcending into drama territory, as it never gives us a chance to feel for Ruth.

Still, for most of its 90 minute runtime, Prevenge is a very dark hoot, subverting the genre by also pushing it forward in possibilities not all would expect. The film is more of concept than the actual story it wants to tell, but it’s one hell of a concept. Grade: B+

By Matt Dougherty

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