Sunday, April 2, 2017

The Overlook Theatre Reviews: Prevenge

of 5 viewers "Liked" "Prevenge" (2016, UK)
Here's what the creatures had to say:

Lord Battle - "Prevenge was not what I expected. I saw a pregnant woman on the poster of a horror film and instantly thought "great, now I'll have to hear about how everyone loves Rosemary's Baby for a month. And of course right in the center of every Twin Peaks fan staggering out of the woodwork (pardon my pun) to talk about David Lynch...etc". To sum up my thought rant, I was projecting on Prevenge in a major way based on the poster because the Bay Area owns the batsignal of Virtue Signaling and has made me cynical in a way I've only just become aware of. Thankfully Prevenge won our Thursday poll and I was able to see what I can only describe as a dark horror/comedy slasher. I realize how redundant and long winded that sounds but it's honestly the only way to describe the film. And even though this film is a slasher, it's neither retro nor steeped in research to be considered "elevated" (which doesn't mean it's lacking in plenty of metaphor, especially Adam and Eve imagery). Prevenge is elevated just slightly below one's brow and will only turn off fans of the UK office as they both are comedies of embarrassments (i.e. very British)." - 4.5 Stars

Huntress - "Prevenge made me appreciate the power of dry humor in the context of horror. The film’s ability to switch from uncomfortable yet realistic small talk to biting, direct criticisms that took a minute for the recipient to process made my eyes widen with a mixture of amusement and surprise, and that was entirely due to the leading lady’s delivery. As the writer/director/star of Prevenge, Alice Lowe gives the film a face and all of its power." - 4 Stars

Trash - "Alice Lowe is awesome: she wrote, directed, and starred in Prevenge while actually pregnant. And Baby Blood aside, pregnancy horror is rarely done like this, in which the pregnant lead isn't a victim trying to protect her baby, but the slasher herself. It's so exciting to see Lowe establishing herself as a filmmaker, telling a story that's not only personal but funny and a weird indie horror. It feels very close to Sightseers in a lot of ways, stripped down, character focused, and strange. Sometimes the plot gets lost in her character, Ruth's perspective, leaving things a tad bit unclear. But it doesn't detract from the movie much." - 4 Stars

Dabbles - "A prego slasher never seemed so sweet. I love that Alice Lowe wrote, directed, and starred in the movie. The character development, escalation of plot, and character's purpose was well built and fully effective. The script had so much well written humor, and the execution by the actors and the lead became the cherry on top. I'd put this on my bluray shelf." - 5 Stars

Math Mage - "Hilarious black comedy about motherhood, revenge, and discovering what you really want. Alice Lowe's crying face is all you need to sell this film." - 5 Stars

The Overlook Theatre Final Rating*
(Below is for after you've seen the film)

After our Shudder screening of Prevenge, it was clear that everyone thoroughly enjoyed the film and that we all wanted to know more about the writer/director/star Alice Lowe! Also we slightly argued about whether she was really pregnant or not... which is answered in the following interview with Daily Dead.
I read through quite a bit of interviews to make sure I plugged the right one for all the creatures out there and Daily Dead is pretty damn good at asking interesting questions. So check them out  (HERE) and actually read this interview! It's awesome!
Daily Dead - So great to speak with you today, Alice. I’m a big fan of Sightseers and I was so excited to hear you were going to be taking the reins on your own project. For Prevenge, I'd love to hear if this was an idea that you had prior to getting pregnant, or did your pregnancy become the genesis for everything?

Alice Lowe: I basically had to be provoked into doing this project. It's quite funny, I was pregnant and I'd been developing a film for about three years to direct, and it just wasn't happening. It was in development limbo, and then I was having a baby, and so it really wasn't going to happen. So I was accepting of the fact that if I want to get a film done now, I'm probably not going to get to direct.

And I had made a film as an actress with director Jamie Adams, where we did this five-day shoot that was all improvised. It did really well and it went to South by Southwest and Sundance, and so he came to me about a year later and said, "That worked really well. Do you want to do another one? I've got this company that I'm working with where it is private financing and it's good to go, they really like you, they want to shoot something really quickly, and the money is there to do it. It's very low budget." It was exactly what I wanted to be doing, but I couldn't do it because now I was pregnant.

So I went away having said “no.” But then I realized that I really wanted to work, so I decided to come up with a character that I could play as pregnant, and I'd write out a quick thing. I sent them a pitch and they loved it. I knew we needed to film it in the next two months, but they said it was something we could definitely do. But the director that I was talking to said they couldn’t direct it because it was horror, and they only make rom-coms, so that’s when I came on to direct it. And I wanted to direct, but I didn’t want to necessarily be pregnant for my directorial debut, but I knew that if I could pull it off, this story had a great hook to it.

I know there's a lot of debate about women in film these days, so I was like, If I can pull this off, it will be a good day. If I don't pull it off, it doesn't matter. Just take the bloody opportunity and run with it, and try not to worry too much about the consequences, because at the end of the day the baby's more important than any of this. I was just incredibly relaxed about it. I don't know if it was just hormones or whatever, but I was a bit like, "Yeah, well, let's just make a film, and maybe someone will watch it at some point".

Daily Dead - Movies are challenging enough to make under any circumstances, but you were over seven months pregnant doing Prevenge, where you were working in front of the camera, behind the camera, and on the story itself. How do you go into that situation, handling all of those different challenges, and still make sure that you're having a healthy pregnancy and you're not putting too much onto yourself?

Alice Lowe: Well, this isn't something that I did overnight. It was 15 years of preparation to make this film, lots of feature film scripts that I've got on my laptop that I haven't made, and lots of frustration. You mentioned Sightseers, and I felt that it was such a huge panty-dropping moment for me, where I was like, I think I know how to make a feature film, I think I understand it. I've been doing it all wrong, or thinking about it in the wrong way. I've also made a lot of low-budget short films collaborating with others, so I got to a point where you're like, I feel I've got all the experience now, and so, I felt like I was quite in my element, and I knew exactly what I was doing.

For me, it feels very normal to do all different things on a project, because I've always been a bit like that. I don't see myself as a very conventional actress. I don't see myself as a conventional writer. I started out in theater, which has this dynamic of telling stories that you've written and characters that you've created and you're creating a mood, and an environment, and an atmosphere with music and sound, that’s all right there live in front of your audience.

It's like asking a singer, "You've written this great song, are you going to sing it?" That's how I feel when people say, "Are you going to act in this film that you’re directing?" The acting is the tool that I know of how to tell the story. It's not that I'm always going to be in everything that I direct, but for me it just feels very natural.

Daily Dead - What is really remarkable about this film is the fact that you explore the darker sides of pregnancy and impending motherhood in a way that feels so real. Ruth’s also grieving through this story, too, which gives her character this whole new dimension. There was this one line that stuck with me, where she says, ”I’d give her back just to have him again.” You really put a lot into Ruth and the complex emotions she was dealing with.
Alice Lowe: That line was actually based on some real research that I did, where I read about women who were bereaved while they were pregnant, and a few of them said that exact line. And it made me think about how women are expected to be very martyrish and sacrifice themselves over the baby. There’s a brutality to it. I was really struck by that sentiment as well and wanted to put it in the film.

But the real challenge to what I was trying to do was to create a horror comedy, but it had to be emotional, too. I don't know if that's because I'm a woman or what, but I really was like, "I don't want to denigrate this woman's experience if that's the reason why she's doing this.” I could have made this a very silly comedy, but I didn't want to do that. Childbirth is serious, being a mother is serious. These are heavy, dark, profound things. I don't want to shortchange this woman by giving her a silly reason for what she is doing.

The audience will be able to cope with being asked to really care about Ruth, and to follow these dramatic beats to find out why she is doing what she is doing. I didn't want them to be funny. And that was probably the biggest risk we took in terms of, are people going to go with this or are they going go, "It's not funny anymore, so I'm not enjoying it." I wanted to make sure there was a gravitas to how you felt about her, and what she was going through.

- Daily Dead (full interview)

-Lord Battle

The Overlook Theatre materialized in a residence for a screening on 3/30/2017
*Based on the star ratings turned in by character reviewers, others viewed and got to "Dislike" or "Like" but that does not affect the rating.

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