Alice Lowe discusses the making of Prevenge, her wickedly funny directorial debut, from conception through to completion. Shot when she was seven months pregnant, the film is a revenge movie in which a foul-mouthed fetus sends its mother, Ruth (Alice Lowe), on a killing spree. This is an excerpt from our forthcoming ebook on feminist horror beyond empowertainment. To read the entire article, get your copy of the book here.
Only in Prevenge, Alice Lowe’s wickedly funny directorial debut, would it seem perfectly natural to castrate your date and then tuck his mum into bed and offer to do her washing. But the film, which Lowe wrote, directed, and starred in while seven months pregnant, is hardly ordinary. It’s a revenge movie in which a foul-mouthed fetus sends its mother, Ruth (Alice Lowe), on a killing spree.
“I wanted to reflect pregnancy and the kind of emotional rollercoaster that you go on hormonally and how vivid those experiences are,” Lowe explained. “As soon as you think, ‘Oh, this is a comedy,’ I pull the rug out from under your feet, and you see something that’s really shocking, like a horror film. Then, suddenly, you’re feeling quite sad for her, and that she’s quite sweet, and then I’m changing it again.”
Lowe wanted to flip the audience’s expectations of the narrative around pregnancy: her character is anything but helpless. When the film opens, we see “a normal woman walking down a road, and she’s pregnant. She goes into this really creepy environment. It’s like the fly walking into the spider’s parlour. As an audience, you feel very used to the man being the predator and the woman being the victim. But, actually, she ends up being the one being dangerous.”I wanted to reflect pregnancy and the kind of emotional rollercoaster that you go on hormonally and how vivid those experiences are.Click To Tweet
Lowe shot the film from Ruth’s perspective. “The film, the whole thing is subjective. Everything you experience in the film is what she’s experiencing,” Lowe explained. “It’s one person’s perception so it’s a bit like a dream, or it’s her insanity. Nothing is real. I deliberately wanted to unnerve the audience.” For example, “the midwife’s office doesn’t feel like a real place, in a way, because you don’t see the outside of the hospital. You don’t see her going in. That’s true with all of the scenes. They’re all theatrical backdrops for what’s going to happen.” Accordingly, in these scenes with the midwife, Lowe didn’t want to add hospital background sounds because these would add too much realism.