There's a horror movie inside Alice Lowe's darkly comic slasher film Prevenge, but not the one you'd expect. Sure, the killer, Ruth (played by Lowe, who also wrote and directed it during her real-life pregnancy), is quick with her knife, and kills without warning. The film never dwells on her victims' dread, though -- instead, we're so deep in Ruth's head that we can hear her fetus, urging her on in a sinister-sweet voice. Ruth stalks and kills her victims, recording her progress in a Baby's First Steps book. The film is suffused with Lowe's mordant wit -- a drunken lothario vomits into his costume wig, then goes in for another kiss; there's a masterfully timed lactation joke.

The horror is instead experienced by Ruth -- poor, alone, increasingly marginalized by her pregnancy, and losing control of her body. Hoping to calm Ruth's nerves, a doctor assures her: "Baby knows what to do. Baby will tell you what to do." And baby does, again and again. Ruth even tries to drown out its hectoring with a pregnancy meditation CD -- but its soothing platitudes drive her into a rage, and she bashes the stereo in. That's this movie in an instant: a cathartic destruction of the saccharine bromides you can expect when you're expecting.


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