Ed’s Super Long Note: They say that Prevenge got a tiny release in theaters on March 24, 2017. Even though it has 67 professional reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and is listed on Mike D’Angelo’s list of NYC theatrical releases (in fact, it says he walked out of it), Prevenge is not listed on Box Office Mojo. The American distributors have given exclusive distribution rights to AMC Networks’ Shudder streaming service ($5/mth or $50/year). There is no US disc of Prevenge. Prevenge is not streaming through any other service (even iTunes), you cannot rent Prevenge on a disc, Prevenge is only “legally” available through Shudder. I know I’ve bitched about this with Netflix exclusives, but having “no-disc” single-streaming-service releases is immoral and…ugh.
I’m fortunate in that I have a region free player and the video store near me had a Region 2 copy of the disc available to rent. Any British, European, or Australian readers probably also have disc version of Prevenge available to them. Go America.
Pregnant women are crazy even when they’re actually being the sanest person in the group. Even other pregnant women know this. Alice Lowe (Garth Merenghi’s Darkplace, Sightseers) wrote, directed and starred in Prevenge when she was 7 months pregnant. SEVEN MONTHS. That’s the third trimester. She made a whole movie while incubating another human being in her belly. Do you know how determined that is?
I’m sure it helped that Prevenge could also stand in for Alice’s own awe and fears of being pregnant. Suddenly, a woman’s body is growing, puking, kicking, aching, and acting in ways they never expected. It’s like being trapped in an alien body telling you exactly what you need to do to keep it healthy. Maybe your pregnant body tells you that you need to eat some dirt? Congratulations, you have pico. Maybe your body craves pickles and ice cream? Maybe you need to use the bathroom every 5 minutes because your damn baby can’t stop stomping on your bladder? You suddenly have 20 doctor’s appointments a week, have to take pills and otherwise care for that living being. A pregnant woman can feel like her body isn’t hers anymore.
Ruth (Alice Lowe) is a newly widowed pregnant woman who believes her unborn fetus is telling her to kill people. In the opening sequence, Ruth walks into a pet store run by a creepy dude who has a special collection of exotic deadly animals in the back. After he pervs over her a little, she savagely slits his throat and leaves him for dead. Is this a feminist movie about the next generations being unable to take the sexist shit of society? There are definitely parts that read particularly anti-asshole, but this political semi-morality is shown to be demonstrably wrong as the back story finally comes into focus.
Lowe knows that these feelings of losing control are as ludicrous as they are real, so she lines the slasher movie formula with a wicked dry sense of humor about her situations. In the middle of a kill sequence, Ruth starts lactating through her shirt, leaving her with two big milk spots for the remainder of the extended scene. Earlier, Ruth bemoans her baby’s homicidal urges, “kids these days are really spoilt… its like ‘mummy, I want a playstation, mummy, I want you to kill that man’.”
The point of the movie isn’t the killings (gorehounds may be seriously disappointed), but the disembodied feeling of parenthood, especially as a single parent. Prevenge is that rare curious mix of deadpan comedy, straight-from-the-heart paranoid and some fairly wicked slasher film fun.