GRACE – The Dungeon Review!
I read about this film several months ago and was instantly intrigued. Based on what I had read, I had envisioned something more “over the top”. Although it was not quite what I was expecting, I really liked ‘Grace’ and it’s subtle but disturbing story.
Madeline Matheson (Jordan Ladd) is eight months pregnant. She’s determined to have a healthy child, and as such, she’s adapted a pure-body lifestyle and decided to have a natural childbirth. Though her outspoken mother-in-law is adamant that Madeline receives standard hospital care during the delivery, the expectant mother has instead opted for the caring companionship of an experienced midwife. When the unborn baby is fatally injured during a sudden and tragic accident, Madeline remains determined to carry her stillborn daughter to term. Later, when the child is delivered, Madeline miraculously wills the tiny corpse to life. In the aftermath of the devastating experience, Madeline grows increasingly isolated from her family and friends, gradually realizing that something is terribly wrong with the little baby Grace. Now, if Madeline hopes to keep Grace alive, she will be forced to make a series of dreadful sacrifices. (Jason Buchanan, All Movie Guide)
You really need to put every other killer baby flick you’ve ever seen completely out of your mind. Sure, Grace drinks blood instead of milk and she attracts a disproportionate amount of flies, but in every other way she is a normal baby. No deformities, no supernatural power, just a baby. An adorable little bloodthirsty baby. If you go into ‘Grace’ thinking you are going to get ‘It’s Alive’ or ‘Baby Blood’ you’ll be hugely disappointed. ‘Grace’ is a slow but evenly paced psychological drama with horror elements. I have had more than a few women tell me they had dreams when they were pregnant about forgetting to feed the baby, or going away for the weekend and leaving the baby behind. I can only imagine that the fear of miscarriage or your baby being born with poor health is a concern for any mother. Add a car accident, dead husband, past secret life and a nasty intrusive bitch for a mother-in-law, and you’ve got a whole cavalcade of anxieties. This all comes up very early in the film. Hubby is in and out of the picture long enough to show you his docile nature and that his wife does not enjoy sex.
Madeline goes through the daily rituals of caring for a newborn baby. Each day a new truth about the child is exposed. And as each day goes by she becomes more flustered, anxious and sickly. You never quite know where the film is going to go. It is discreet in its intentions but the atmosphere of tension is always there. Jordan Ladd is excellent as the harried new mother willing to do anything for her child. Gabrielle Rose also does an excellent job as the hideous she-demon mother-in-law. More disturbing than her nosy, self-righteous attitude towards Madeline and the care of her baby, is her transformation as she re-discovers her mothering instincts. Seriously, Yike!! Very, very freaking disturbing! The horror is there, certainly the aforementioned blood drinking and flies might bother some people, but there isn’t much in the way of carnage or gore. It is more about mood than anything. The film feels a bit clunky towards the end and the final scene didn’t move me much. The final shot was brilliant but the supporting character who appears in the scene with Madeline rubbed me the wrong way for a reason I can not explain. Nonetheless I thought ‘Grace’ was a well-made, intense film. Highly Recommended.
Dungeon Rating: 4/5
Directed By: Paul Solet
Starring: Jordan Ladd, Stephen Park, Gabrielle Rose, Serge Houde, Samantha Ferris, Kate Herriot