In a genre flooded by outlandish, disconnected and often comedic pictures, GRACE acts as a definitive reminder that good old fashion storytelling can still be frightening and unbelievably unsettling. Like other films of similar nature (such as the highly acclaimed 2007 Dimension Extreme gem INSIDE), GRACE is a disheartening venture into the life of a mother torn apart both physically and mentally by an unbridled need to protect her child. Itís the specifics of the harrowing tale that separate the film from any Iíve ever seen however.
After a car collision leaves Michael (Stephen Park), and Grace Matheson - Michaelís wife Madelineís (played by genre veteran Jordan Ladd who has appeared in the likes of DEATH PROOF, HOSTEL II, and CABIN FEVER to name a few) unborn child dead in the womb, life for Madeline becomes a world of darkness and depression. Extremely distraught and completely irrational, Madeline insists upon carrying Grace full term, dead or alive. Upon giving birth to the lifeless Grace, something remarkably strange occurs: Grace mysteriouslyÖ reanimates, coming to life in Madelineís arms. But this is no miracle. And if it is, itís the kind no sane individual ever wishes for.
Madeline immediately discovers (in painful fashion) that Grace bears some unusual traits for a newborn. For starters, sheís got a taste for blood. Toss in that deathly odor, an abundance of hovering flies and you can start to form a rational theory as to what the hell is wrong with Grace. Madeline seems to put the pieces together for herself, but desperation and loneliness has left her traveling a fractured train of thought. Rather than doing the right thing (I guess she already blew that when she decided to carry her dead offspring to term) and contacting physicians, Madeline caters to Graceís unorthodox eating requirements. Itís obviously safe to assume that this is an extremely unsafe practice, and the results of such behavior are life threatening to all parties involved.
While Madelineís health spirals out of control, Michaelís mother Vivian (Gabrielle Rose), whoís been an intrusive bitch (for lack of a better term) throughout the course of Michael and Madelineís marriage attempts take custody of the child, whom Madeline has prevented her from seeing (with good reason) since birth. Of course, Madeline isnít about to let Vivian, or anyone else take Grace anywhere. Those who attempt to separate the two face a rash, homicidal mother, and a likely trip into premature afterlife. But no worries, those bodies wonít go to waste.
Iíve got to say, GRACE is one of the biggest surprises of the year. I picked up the film anticipating an eerie drama with a slight BASKET CASE twist. I got so, so much more - which says a lot considering how highly I think of BASKET CASE. GRACE is in truth one of the most haunting character driven films Iíve ever seen. The connection between Madeline and her child is executed with brilliance; Paul Solet (who did an incredible job of writing and directing the picture) crafts a flawless script, and guideís the incredibly underrated Jordan Ladd through a believable and sickening journey of motherhood. Some of the visuals, though fairly tame by todayís standards are decisively chilling, and powerful enough to truly resonate in viewers minds.
If youíre looking to invest an hour and a half in anything horror, make it GRACE. Itís frightening, itís saddening, itís absolutely disgusting, itĎs so many things die hard horror hounds crave daily. If youíre anything like me, itís also likely to make the thought of a glass of milk downright nauseating.
Damn you Paul Solet - I loved milk!
Grace is an unnerving look into the psyche of a fragile mother. The scares are genuine and the eerie atmosphere climbs under the skin, in startling fashion.