Prevenge Blu-ray Review
Written, directed by and starring Alice Lowe in her directorial debut, Prevenge is an effectively subversive little low budget horror, but not quite a hidden gem.The co-writer and co-star of Ben Wheatley's dark Sightseers, Lowe makes an effective directorial debut, and probably a first time for any director in that she shot the entire movie in two weeks whilst heavily pregnant - as per the lead character. It certainly puts a different spin on the traditional horror formula, as Lowe's pregnant woman goes on a seemingly random killing spree, spurred on - again, it would seem - by the voice of her unborn foetus no less.Shot for what looks like mere pennies, but at least afforded a slightly more effective score, Prevenge doesn't aspire to a great deal beyond a certain novelty factor, trading in a very dark sense of humour, particularly with the at-times ludicrous dialogue that prefaces each kill. It is subversive, playing against genre expectations with Lowe revelling her deadpan anti-villain role, but the end result still feels very unpolished and doesn't quite make good on the promising premise.
Picture QualityPrevenge reaches UK shores on a Region B-locked Blu-ray complete with a 1080p/AVC-encoded High Definition video presentation framed in the movie's original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.40:1 widescreen.
Although this was clearly a very low budget, fast and dirty shoot (two weeks is nothing), filmed on location in Wales (a particularly drab season too), there's little excuse these days for even the cheapest productions not to look reasonably good, largely thanks to the quality of digital photography. Prevenge unfortunately, somehow, unfathomably, manages to look like a low budget production from the nineties, with softness pervasive throughout, and a dull, dreary look that appears to have very little intentional style to it.
The low budget image is on the cusp of acceptability
To a certain extent the look is forgivable given the subject-matter, but the softness isn't, and only heightens the low budget feel (when, for comparison, something like The Void looked exceptionally good, and visually very stylish for a likely similarly nothing budget). There are a few nice shots (a kill shot through an opaque glass table) and interesting angles, but not enough to give this any visual flair, nor distract away from the cheap look and feel. It's far from a pretty film - perhaps it was never intended to be – but this is on the cusp of acceptability even with awareness of the production restrictions.
Sound QualityThe accompanying DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is far more impressive. Yes, it's still a way off demo standards, and a long way off reference, but it does the job, and does it nicely.
The audio track does the job, and does it nicely
Dialogue remains clearly and coherently disseminated across the front and centre channels, whilst effects - for the most part incidental to bring the limited environments to life with natural authenticity - are picked up nicely and play out across the surrounds with reasonable dispersal. There's little here that pops or really engages the array, but slashing and blood gurgling sounds are well represented, and arguably play the most significant part.
The score is perhaps the highlight not only of the film but also the audio track, giving the piece an 80s electronic feel, and giving the film itself a nice quirky bent that flavours it appreciably. It gets prioritisation across the array and certainly gives it a considerable upgrade in presence.
ExtrasThere's a nice couple of extras, including a Behind the Scenes feature that includes cast and crew clips and background footage of the shoot, but really defined by a strong Audio Commentary by Writer/Director/Star Alice Lowe herself, who makes for an engaging, funny narrator to her labour of love. We also get a few trailers.
Blu-ray VerdictSubversive, but the end result doesn't quite live up to the premise
The UK Region B-locked Blu-ray release doesn't exactly engage with an impressive video presentation, but at least delivers the goods on the aural front, and comes with a few nice extras to leave this a solid enough package for fans of the film - or of Lowe - to want to pick up.
You can buy Prevenge on Blu-ray here
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £9.99
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