Out Now: Dvd/Blu-Ray
Written and Directed by: Paul Solet
Starring: Jordan Ladd, Gabrielle Rose, Stephen Park
Running Time: 85 Minutes
Reviewed By Ross Hughes Official HCF Critic
“The film harks back to the days of Rosemary Baby, and its simple concept makes you want to look away!”
Forgive me for bringing a film that was released nearly two years ago to the front of HorrorCultFilms but I am ashamed to say that only now I have watched this horror that was released to little acclaim and as somehow vanished from existence! The film itself has sat in my collection for the past 18 months and it was only a brief chat with an equally loving horror friend who could not believe I had not seen it made me run home to watch! To the dent of my horror reputation, this has sat between a copy of Whisper and Mum And Dad, gathering dust when in reality I should have been telling everyone I knew to watch and discover it themselves.
Grace is good horror fans, really really good!
The only way I can describe what you about to watch is that it mixes the two films of Its Alive and Rosemary Baby but comes out with an identity of its own! You can not ignore the Roman Polanski influence through out its running time, but unlike his Rosemary, Grace fills the screen with plenty of blood. People die, blood gets spilled and a mother has a nervous breakdown! But most of all, Grace like all good horrors plays with the human nature. It makes the viewer feel uncomfortable and the subject here is childbirth and what lengths would you go to protect your child! As most viewers can relate to this premise, Grace succeeds straight away in sucking you in, even though you will want to look away at times! Not because what you see resembles the gore-porn that is awash with horror these days, but for the simple things that makes you winch in your seat!
After watching Grace, all new mothers may think twice of breast feeding again!
We start with a sex scene! A real uncomfortable one because its all one way! Husband Michael (Stephen Parks) grinds away on top which seems to last forever while wife Madeline (Jordan Ladd) just lies there, going through the emotions, waiting for it to be all over! When Michael finally reaches the point of no return he runs to the bathroom while Madeline raises her knees and stays in the position-a clear sign that this young couple are trying for a baby!
Looking back, this scene sums up the dark tone through out, a baby created out of routine and not love, there is no enjoyment, just a cold feeling and looking back you realise that Grace is multi layered when it comes to story telling! This way of lovemaking worked though and we see Madeline with lump, having dinner with the in laws and its here first hand we see the strained relationship between herself and mother in law Vivian (a quite wonderful Gabrielle Rose). Their views on how to deal with child birth differs and you can honestly feel the tension in the air! Despite the lack of passion in bed, we do see a strong mutual respect between the husband and wife and to be fair its not hard to like Michael because he only wants the best for Madeline and giving her what she wants!.
Both being Vegan and literally would not hurt a fly, they shun the doctor that Vivian wants and goes to an independent clinic run by Madeline’s old friend Patricia (Samantha Ferris). Patricia welcomes them both with open arms but again the film hints that something is not quite right between old pals Madeline and Patricia and unlike most horror films it does not dumb down to explain it to you!
Then comes the first big shock, a massive jolt to the system that ripples through your body! On their way home, the car they are driving suffers from a blow out and the vehicle skids down a ditch! A passer by finds Madeline out of the car, the camera pans down and we see blood all over her legs and clothes. Rushed to the private clinic, tests show that the baby has died from the impact, but in grief Madeline insists the she still wants to go full term and give birth to her lost child. Even though Patricia disagrees, she goes by her wishes and we then witness a heart breaking scene of mother given birth to the child she has always wanted!
This in particular is one of the most gut wrenching scenes I have ever seen and made me realise that many horrors can learn a thing or two of how such a simple concept and terrible tragedy can still bring a fear to the viewer and beats hands down scenes of gratuitous violence!
Madeline holds her dead daughter as the nurses around her weeps, she begs for her lost child to come back from the pits of darkness and reunite with her mother, Patricia herself leaves the room so mother and daughter can spend their final moments together! Its moments late when Patricia comes back in to tell Madeline its time to let go that the film turns on its head! The once clearly “dead” baby is alive and well, and Madeline smiles and says “her name…..is Grace!”
With this stunning development, Madeline and Grace go home but while you all hope for a happy ending, something is clearly wrong! Why is there a strange smell coming from the young child? What is with all the flies that are gathering around the cot? And why is Madeline leaking blood from her breasts when it clearly should be milk?
To say anymore will spoil the film and GRACE is clearly a film that needs to be seen without the knowledge of events to follow! What I loved is the originality that just oozed from the screen! This is a rare horror for me in which I could not second guess what was going to happen, every scene was like a blast of freshness, yes it does play with old themes of Cannibalism, Vampirism with a touch of Sexual mutilation but its all mashed together to a quite wonderful effect!
Writer and Director Paul Solet has crafted a memorable horror that harks back to the good old days when strong story telling was the key and not dumb CGI effects! Its slow paced and reminds you a bit of last years House Of The Devil, even though GRACE does not shy away from the blood flow! Its taboo subject of how far we would go for our child makes it an uncomfortable watch, a delicious ride of original Supremacy that old horror fans will find hard not to love!
Its a shame that its been missed by so many! An unheard horror film that even myself ignored its existence! I am ashamed for that and I am now trying to put it right! As Eli Roth said about this very film, “It makes Cabin Fever look like a Disney movie!” and who am I to disagree!
OVERALL: A slow burner that may put off those looking for a Final Destination splatter fest! Grace is an unsung gem in a horror world full of re-makes and sequels! Missed it when it came out? So did I, and for that I can only apologise!