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Director: Alice Lowe
Writer: Alice Lowe
Starring: Alice Lowe, Dan Renton Skinner and Jo Hartley
This was a movie that I heard about pretty much when I got into listening to podcasts. This is one that was an early Shudder exclusive that I’m just now getting around to see. I decided to move it up my list of movies to see as for my podcast, I wanted to do another movie that was directed by a woman, in his case Alice Lowe, for Women Appreciate month in February. On top of that though, she also wrote and starred in this one. The synopsis is widow Ruth (Lowe) 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.
We star this off with Ruth going into a pet shop where she’s met by the owner, Mr. Zabek (Dan Renton Skinner). He’s showing her around and she states that for her child, she wants to get them something special. Mr. Zabek takes her into the back where she ends up slitting his throat.
Ruth then goes to see a Midwife (Jo Hartley) where we get an interesting interaction. She’s trying to connect with Ruth, but she isn’t having it and it appears that the depression Ruth is coping with goes deep. The father of her child passed away in a climbing accident and the Midwife reveals that Ruth might have some thoughts that are different from normal. This leads Ruth to allude that she thinks her baby is talking to her, telling her to do things.
We then follow Ruth as she goes shopping for cloths and picks out a pretty fancy outfit. She has a flyer for a 70’s night that is hosted by DJ Dan (Tom Davis). She comes on to him and buys him drinks before they end up on the dance floor together. He’s a real jerk, but regardless, she goes home with him. Things get a bit weird, which includes meeting his mother before she kills him as well.
Ruth is on a mission and is hunting certain people down including the man she holds responsible for her ex’s death, Tom (Kayvan Novak). Her baby continues to tell her things and it makes us wonder, is this really happening or is Ruth crazy due to her grief and hormones from pregnancy.
The first thing that I really need to lead off here with is that I give all the credit in the world to Lowe. She wrote, directed and starred in this movie while she was legitimately pregnant. I think of all of the excuses to avoid doing things in my daily life, so to see her work as hard as she did, I will give credit there for what she accomplished with this movie.
For the story, I think this introduces an interesting concept. I like that it sets the tone for that opening murder before giving us a look into Ruth’s life. It then shifts to the Midwife where we’re given the explanation of what is actually going on in this movie. That’s something that I thought was good for the back-story, but is really secondary as to why she’s doing these murders. It took me until near the end to realize as we’re given hints to why these people are targeted. It was quite interesting and these make for interesting twist through a major conversation between Ruth and Tom.
I do find the story to be a bit problematic though as well. I do think this woman could possible get away with one or two of these killings. Eventually she’s going to be discovered as any detective worth his salt will probably see the correlation. The movie does kind of end before we get there and that’s not really a spoiler either. She does kind of have an argument for temporary insanity though. I do think it has an interesting little ending though that is kind of a horror cliché as well.
The pacing of the movie is a bit off for me. It starts strong, had me hooked and trying to figure out what is going on. I even think we get an interesting duality of seeing Ruth as she is communicating with her baby and how she is enjoying it. The killings are making her feel better. The duality I speak of is when the Midwife, who wants to help her, is trying to give her the facts and to help her as best as she can. Ruth is resistant to that though. The movie just kind of loses its way a bit and I think it does become disjointed as Ruth descends farther into madness. I liked the ending as I said, but that final scene which at first was heartwarming moves into the cliché as I said and it felt out of place.
Taking this to the acting, I thought it was pretty solid across the board. Going back to what I said earlier, it is crazy that Lowe was as pregnant as she was during this movie as it brings even more realism to it. She really does seem like a soon to be mother, for the first time who is dealing with horrible grief. It is also reminiscent of something like Inside as well. Novak is really another person who gets a lot of screen time here. It does things to make us not hate him, even though we are kind of on her side with things she says to him. She blames him most for the crux of all these killings. I also give Hartley credit. I feel bad for her as she is just trying to do her job in a friendly manner. It makes me think of times when I’ve been rude to people just because of my mood and I feel horrible thinking of it. Shout outs as well to Gemma Whelan who is Len and Katie Dickie who is Ella. Both of them I know from Game of Thrones as well as Davis, Skinner, Mike Wozniak and Tom Meetan. Also to Della Moon Synnott as the adorable baby that is in the movie who is the actual daughter that Lowe had as well, as she was in this movie ten days after her birth.
I will shift this over to the effects, which seemed to be done practically. I thought the blood and the wounds that we get during the murders scenes were good. It wouldn’t surprise me if a scene near the end as legitimate, but I don’t want to spoil what it is. I will hint that it is a legit medical procedure though. The cinematography is also well done and does add to some of the scenes in the feel of the madness that Ruth is descending into.
Playing along with that would be the soundtrack. It doesn’t necessarily stand out, but near the middle of the movie, there’s a scene where I could feel it. It made me anxious and uncomfortable, which I thought worked really well. I would say that overall, this soundtrack worked for what was needed and really helped to enhance the feel of the scenes at different times. That’s all I can really ask for as well.
Now with that said, I really commend Lowe once again for all that she did with this movie. I think there’s an interesting story here and the back-story works nicely. I do feel there are some minor plot-holes that are problematic, but nothing that completely ruins this. The effects look good, the acting is solid in support of Lowe and the soundtrack fits for what is needed. I did have my interest wan a bit later in the movie, but not enough to bore me and it pulls me back in before it ends. I would say that my rating is above average for this movie for sure.
My Rating: 7.5 out of 10