Angry Women Month rages on and feels particularly appropriate set against the backdrop of the Great British Heatwave, which is making me furious and sleepy in equal measure. I know our summers generally last around two weeks total but I hate the sun and summer more than anything and I cannot wait for it to rain.
Anyway, a murderous rampage in the company of Alice Lowe (of the excellent Sightseers) is just what the doctor ordered. I do feel this has set the bar very high for my next choice so we can sign off July with a bang.
Widow Ruth is seven months pregnant when, believing herself to be guided by her unborn baby, she embarks on a homicidal rampage, dispatching anyone who stands in her way.
Director: Alice Lowe
Starring: Alice Lowe, Dan Renton Skinner, Kayvan Novak
Genre: Horror, Comedy ∙ IMDB user rating: 5.9
My score: 4.5/5 ∙ Runtime: 88 mins
Following the death of her partner in a horrific climbing accident, heavily pregnant Ruth is – understandably – having a hard time of it. Imagining the fetus is cheering her on to seek vengeance for his murder, Ruth finds herself putting everything except bloody murder on the back burner.
One by one she seeks out members of Matt’s climbing team, lead by instructor Tom, who she blames the most. But will she gain the closure she seeks for herself and her unborn child once she’s done? I think we all know how a life lived solely for vengeance pans out, at least from the films we’re explored before.
On Ruth’s Kill Bill-esque list are businesswoman Ella (Kate Dickie), oafish pig DJ Dan (Tom Davis), caustic Len (Gemma Whelan), Zac (Tom Meeten) and Tom. The film begins though with the first death of exotic pet dealer Mr Zabek (Dan Renton Skinner), who also has some responsibility.
Systematically knocking off her enemies isn’t her only worry either, baby’s arrival is just around the corner and Ruth is struggling with that too. Wary of her midwife (Jo Hartley), who adopts a no-nonsense (and annoying approach), she’s put off immediately when the woman fails to read Ruth’s file and asks her where her hubby is.
When forced to dispose of somebody not on the list, only then does Ruth start to question her passion project. Will the difference of opinion distance her from her child? And is closure really even a possibility?
A few home truths during a conversation with Tom, who isn’t quite the monster she’s been picturing seem to signal a turn in our pro/antagonist – will she put it all to bed before it’s too late?
This is so far up my street, I’ve watched this film more times than I can remember since its release in 2016. I was excited to revisit for the blog and also to see how Jill feels about it.
Of course the subject matter is devastating and we explore many aspects of the grief process but it is also very funny at times. All the characters are horribly flawed which I appreciate and that includes Ruth, though she’s someone you really want to see come out on top.
I think Lowe does a good job of turning the notion of the mad hormonal woman on its head and challenges us to feel sympathy for the alleged killers at the same time, despite how heinous most of them are.
Tom’s decision to cut Matt’s rope to save the rest of the group was an impossible one and will probably haunt the rest of his life, so does he deserve more punishment? I think the idea of having someone to blame is a very real one.
The entire segment with DJ Dan is perfect, particularly when his elderly mum appears, and I loved Gemma Whelan’s appearance as Len, who’s the only one to really fight back. I don’t really have any criticism, everything about it is a bit of me, from the long shots and framing to the amazing cast.
Again I think this brand of humour is my absolute favourite and I need more from Alice Lowe STAT. Directly into my veins.
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