Waiting with anticipation, sat in my seat ready for the preview screening of Alice Lowe’s hybrid comedy horror directorial debut, I couldn’t take my eyes away from the film’s promotional poster which was projected on the big screen. It wasn’t just because the poster featured six four-star reviews, or that the poster established key themes of motherhood, violence and loneliness from the overwhelmingly prominent use of the colour red and the picture of Lowe’s character Ruth in the foreground. The integral part of the poster that caught my eye was the use of the letter “v” in the title Prevenge. Isolated on the left hand side of the aforementioned letter was Alice Lowe’s name, whereas her entire supporting cast were grouped together on the right hand side of the consonant. Perfectly, the placement of the cast on the film poster reinforced the notion that Alice Lowe’s character, Ruth, would be in opposition with everyone in this film. Furthermore, this strengthened the idea that Lowe’s character would be in a series of fatal fights and would have to overcome a plethora of challenges throughout the ninety minutes.
After the screening of Prevenge, Lowe participated in a Q&A session conducted by Solon Papadopoulos from Hurricane Films, in which he described the movie as “gloriously sick”. During this revelatory discussion, Lowe declared that, when it comes to labelling a film, “it doesn’t matter what genre it is, as long as it’s interesting. ”I wholeheartedly agree, as Prevenge’s flexible nature and its ability to juggle elements of horror, comedy, thriller and traditional drama resulted in the audience of FACT being enthralled and captivated from start to finish. As cliché as it sounds, Prevenge takes the viewer on a rollercoaster of emotions. The amalgamation of horror and comedy, and the mixture of the surreal and the authentic left one feeling satisfyingly repulsed and deeply touched.
When I asked Lowe where she drew her inspiration from, in relation to films and directors, she revealed her passion for revenge films such as Dead Man’s Shoes, Oldboy, Red Road and Kill Bill. Lowe also stated that she believes there is a “simplicity” and a “comforting structure” to revenge movies which she wanted to capture in her own work. Her passion for cinema is also demonstrated in the film’s music which pays homage to A Clockwork Orange and Blade Runner. Whilst explaining Prevenge’s “horrifically comforting and warm” soundtrack, Lowe clarified that she “didn’t want a generic horror score” and instead wanted the music to “reflect Ruth’s personality and mind”.
Ruth, the main character of the film, was depicted by Lowe as a “anti-superheroine with pregnancy as her superpower”. Claiming that Ruth is at the centre of a “modern fairy-tale”, Lowe compared the lead character to Taxi Driver’s Travis Bickle, suggesting that more films need protagonists that “aren’t necessarily likeable.” Incidentally, Lowe seems to have passed down her “performance gene” to her daughter as her “angelic, lovely baby” (a stark contrast to the malicious, malevolent monster portrayed throughout the movie in Ruth’s head) makes a cameo appearance towards the end of the film.
Obviously, Alice Lowe deserves all the plaudits that she will inevitably receive from this fantastic piece of guerrilla filmmaking. Not only is she an inspiration to all movie buffs as the film’s director, screenwriter and lead actor, but she deserves huge praise for writing and shooting the film whilst she was six months pregnant. Solon Papadopoulos, like the rest of the FACT audience, was astounded by the fact that she wrote the script “in a week or two weeks” and filmed the movie over the space of an eleven-day period; Solon was extremely impressed by the brevity of the process and even conceded that the shortest time that he had spent on a film was actually three years. The rushed filming procedure does not at all diminish the film’s quality: interestingly, the film’s editing took eight months to complete.
Making the most of her pregnant situation, Lowe was eager for the film to be shot over a short period of time to prevent continuity issues and health complications. Using the environment that she found herself in, Lowe decided to shoot the film in Cardiff, allowing several opportunities to accentuate the city’s “amazing cinematic locations.” Offering advice to future first-time directors, Lowe recommends one to “look around you” and utilise what you have at your disposal when considering to create a film.
After admitting that her experience with Prevenge and the 2012 movie Sightseers (another film Lowe wrote and starred in) made her realise that she wanted “to do this for the rest of my life”, Lowe was questioned about her immediate plans to make another future feature-length film. Keeping quiet on the title, Lowe indicated that her previous projects had made her “more confident” and that she wants to explore the possibilities of creating a piece of work that was “conceptually ambitious”. Admirably, Lowe strongly hinted that her next film will not be a horror as she doesn’t want to feel “constrained” to the genre. When asked whether or not she would class herself as a horror writer, Lowe categorised herself as a “fantasy writer” keen to rival the Coen Brothers’ ability to produce any type of film regardless of the genre.
Set for release in cinemas on 10 February, I implore you to watch Prevenge. Sadistic, satirical and stirring, Lowe’s gruesome gem will consecutively terrify and tickle you.
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