HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: PREVENGE

Starring

Alice Lowe (Hott Fuzz)
Jo Hartley (The Young Victoria)
Gemma Whelan (Game of Thrones)
Kate Dickie (Star Wars: The Last Jedi)
Kayvan Novak (Four Lions)
Tom Davis (Paddington 2)
Dan Renton Skinner (High-Rise)
Mike Wozniak (Man Down)
Tom Meeten (Burke and Hare)

Alice Lowe in Prevenge (2016)For her writing-directing debut, showing here in Venice in the Critics’ Week sidebar, Alice Lowe returns to the grisly territory of Sightseers, the black comedy she made with Steve Oram for director Ben Wheatley. Only this is a more macabre and explicitly violent serial-killer movie, with a fainter tint of queasy humour. It provides a nightmarish satirical twist on post- and antenatal depression: its tone is bizarre, its pace a remorseless, heavy tread.Alice Lowe in Prevenge (2016)Lowe stars as a very unsympathetic character – and it’s great to see a film which rejects so thoroughly the idea of sympathetic characters – with some of David Brent’s self-pity and self-importance. I also wonder, strangely, if Lowe might have been influenced by Touching the Void, Kevin Macdonald’s documentary about a famous climbing accident. She plays Ruth, a heavily pregnant woman with an intense and rational awareness that, despite the sentimental propaganda, pregnancy is a gruelling, painful and violent business, made even more traumatic by the condescending way women in her situation are habitually treated. The midwife refers to the baby without the definite article, just “baby”, effectively treating the mother as a baby, too.Alice Lowe in Prevenge (2016)Ruth is to be a single mother, for reasons which become plain, and is also suffering from the paranoid delusion that her baby is telling her to kill people – which she duly does, over and over again. Some of the people she kills are nasty, such as the creepy specialist pet-shop owner, and the 70s disco DJ who throws up into his afro wig. But some are nice and some appear to have no connection at all with Ruth’s current situation. It is naturally very far from being a realist film. In the real world, Ruth would be caught very quickly, especially as one of her slayings takes place in an office, where witnesses and CCTV would be commonplace. Prevenge is more a grisly fantasy-rhapsody about a sense of invasion and infection that is, arguably, an unacknowledged condition of pregnancy.Alice Lowe in Prevenge (2016)As for the title, it is intriguing. The movie appears, on the face of it, to be a straightforward story of revenge. But prevenge could also be a way of getting your retaliation in first, a pre-emptive payback for all the bad things that each victim is presumed capable of doing. The film’s big flourish is what happens when the baby is born – climactic and even cathartic in some ways, but also disturbing. Prevenge is a tough, dour, gruelling watch. Some audiences might well heartlessly laugh their heads off – the one I was in stayed rapt but mostly silent. It is a well made, well controlled film, and its sullenly monomaniac quality – perhaps partly a function of the star doing the writing and directing – is entirely appropriate for the subject matter. As a film-maker, Alice Lowe might want to evolve away from violent dark comedy in future projects. But this one is gruesomely successful.

REVIEW: Aaaaaaaah!

Starring

Steve Oram (Welcomee To The Punch)
Tom Meeten (Paddington)
Julian Rhind-Tutt (Rush)
Lucy Velik (Neighbours)
Toyah Willcox (Cluedo)
Shelley Longworth (Benidorm)
Julian Barratt (The Mighty Boosh)
Holli Dempsey (Wizards vs Aliens)
Tony Way (Edge of Tomorrow)
Alice Lowe (Prevenge)

Toyah Willcox, Lucy Velik, Tom Meeten, and Steve Oram in Aaaaaaaah! (2015)Steve Oram made his big screen writing debut with the fantastic Sightseers, I read about this film when it was being broadcast on television, it sounded like an interesting concept, but it was rated the lowest of the low by critics, but I still went ahead and watched it. Basically it is set in a parallel universe, all modern day inventions exist, i.e. clothing, buildings, technology, transport, etc, but humans have not developed the ability of speech, and behave like primitive apes.Julian Barratt in Aaaaaaaah! (2015)It is a series of unrelated storylines, with a family and some outside people, and their interactions with each other. This can be anything from simple domestic situations, doing every day things including eating dinner, shopping and much more, then there is of course the underdeveloped, unevolved animal-like behaviour, from urinating and masturbating in public, not wearing clothing properly, not preparing food in a normal way, and a lot of sexual activity, from intercourse and foreplay in various places, and even animalistic sexual harassment.Starring Mindhorn’s Julian Barratt as Jupiter, Holli Dempsey as Helen, Noel Fielding as Carl, Lucy Honigman as Denise, Shelley Longworth as Carolla, Alice Lowe as Sitcom Eudora, Tom Meeten as Keith, The Mimic’s Terry Mynott as Radio DJ, Bo! in the USA’s Barunka O’Shaughnessy as Party guest, Steve Oram as Smith, Sean Reynard as Og, Green Wing’s Julian Rhind-Tutt as Ryan, Tony Way as Sitcom Lee and Toyah Willcox as Barabara. The biggest problem is that it is full of offensive and disgusting moments, these include a man urinating and the other man drying his penis, a woman giving a blowjob and then biting off his penis, and a drunken party with one man resting hill testicles on another’s head. It could have been an interesting and indeed scary idea, a world with everything we know, but no words, there is not much of a plot, everyone communicates with a series of grunts and indistinct noises, and there is a sort of fight for supremacy thing going on, but it is such a shame to see talented people wasting their time, it is just a gross, unfunny and unwatchable horror comedy. Poor!

REVIEW: HOT FUZZ

CAST
Simon Pegg (Star Trek)
Nick Frost (Paul)
Matin Freeman (The Hobbit)
Stuart Wilson (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3)
Paul Freeman (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie)
Timothy Dalton (Flash Gordon)
Jim Broadbent (Gangs of New York)
Paddy Considine (The Bourne Ultimatum)
Rafe Spall (Prometheus)
Stephen Merchant (The Big Bang Theory)
Rory McCann (Game of Thrones)
Lucy Punch (Into The Woods)
Cate Blanchett (Hanna)
Olivia Coleman (The Favourite)
Bill Bailey (Chalet Girl)
Edward Woodward (The Wicker Man)
Alice Lowe (Prevenge)
David Bradley (The World’s End)
Steve Coogan (Philomena)
Peter Jackson (King Kong)
Police Constable Nicholas Angel, a high-achieving member of the Metropolitan Police Service, is promoted to Sergeant but it comes with being transferred to the village of Sandford, Gloucestershire,[7] for being too good at his job while making his colleagues look bad by comparison due to his skills. Angel finds the town is generally devoid of any crime, with its local Neighbourhood Watch Alliance (NWA) helping to keep the peace as everyone prepares for the “Village of the Year” award contest. Angel finds minor instances of disorderly conduct, during which he confiscates a shed full of unlicensed fire arms including a naval mine, pursues an escaped swan, and arrests a drunk driver who turns out to be his new partner PC Danny Butterman, the son of town chief Inspector, Frank Butterman.
Just as Sgt. Angel begins to despair at Sandford’s apparent tranquility, the town is struck by a series of deaths. Angel begins to suspect a serial killer is afoot and that the murders are linked, although Danny seems more concerned with discussing his love of action and buddy cop films. Furthermore, the rest of the police force refuse to believe the deaths were deliberate and pass them off as mere accidents. Eventually, Angel’s investigations lead him to accuse the local supermarket manager, NWA member Simon Skinner, of the murders, but is rebuffed when Skinner’s alibi is backed up by video footage. Dejected, Angel considers the possibility of more than one killer being involved, but after this idea is shot down by Inspector Butterman, he returns home. As he opens his door, though, Angel is attacked by a cloaked figure, who turns out to be an employee at Skinner’s supermarket. Angel subdues the man, then impersonates him over a walkie-talkie to discover Skinner’s whereabouts.
Arriving at a meeting of the Sandford NWA, Angel confronts the group and tries to arrest them. They confess they are collectively carrying out the murders of any residents who could cause Sandford not to be crowned Village of the Year. Inspector Butterman then reveals himself to be the leader of the group, explaining that he is motivated by the memory of his late wife Irene, who committed suicide after her efforts to win that title were foiled by a group of “gypsies”. Upon hearing this, the Sergeant is forced to flee, but he becomes trapped in a crypt where he discovers the bodies of the NWA’s ill-fated victims. It seems that Angel is about to be caught, when Danny suddenly appears and stabs him, causing the Sergeant to lose consciousness. He awakens in Danny’s car, where the younger Butterman reveals he only faked Angel’s murder to cover his escape. Danny begs his partner to leave Sandford for his own safety.
Initially Angel plans to follow Danny’s wishes, but has a change of heart en route to London when he notices some of Danny’s favourite films for sale at a service station. He proceeds to return to Sandford, arms himself with the previously confiscated guns, and reunites with Danny. After a firefight with NWA townsfolk, the two policemen rally their fellow officers and besiege Skinner’s supermarket, eventually forcing Skinner to flee. Angel and Danny give chase, catching up to Skinner in the village’s miniature scale-model town and confronting both him and the elder Butterman, in turn. Sgt. Angel and Danny finally succeed in arresting them, after a fist fight and a swan-induced car crash.
Some time later, Angel declines a request to return to his job on the London force to remain in Sandford. As he and the other police officers process paperwork related to their recent activities, the last NWA member at liberty, Prof. Weaver, bursts into the station and attempts to kill Sgt. Angel. As the officers attempt to disarm him, he stumbles into the confiscated sea mine and triggers it. Angel and the others manage to survive the ensuing explosion which destroys the station. One year later, Angel and Danny are in charge of the Sandford Police as Inspector and Sergeant, respectively.
The film certainly keeps you entertained and interested. Its a sort of who-dunnit with a funny twist. If you love British humour, you will probably like this movie.