I went into this having heard so many positive reviews and recommendations, however the over all film left a bad taste in my mouth. I was hesitant to watch this film because the subject matter dealt with a new born baby, and having become an Aunty earlier this year, it all felt too close to home. Grace tells the story of Madeline (Jordan Ladd), who has finally become pregnant after several tries. Her apparent in-laws (more so the mother in-law) seems to have issues with Madeline being a vegan and her alternate lifestyle. Madeline decides against a hospital birth, and goes with a mid-wife Patricia (Samantha Ferris) who also happens to be an old friend (lover perhaps?). About a month before she is to give birth, Madeline and her husband? (Stephen Park) are involved in a car accident. He dies (at least it is implied) and Madeline is told that the baby has also died, she decides to carry it to full term and give birth to it. The time comes and she does give birth, however the baby is alive and Madeline soon finds out the baby craves blood, not milk.
(Spoilers ahead) I apologise for all the question marks in that description, but nothing is actually explained to the audience, everything is implied. I have no idea if Madeline’s partner was her husband, they don’t even really mention what happened to him after the crash. We only get the idea that the mid-wife and Madeline might have been a couple earlier, but nothing is confirmed. From the start of this film I felt as if none of the characters were likable, Madeline I guess is supposed to be but I didn’t like her. The women in this film come off as insane, all of them! I have no idea what the writer/director Paul Solet was trying to say, but from what I gathered it was ‘all women are crazy’. He plays to fears that women in general would have in regards to getting pregnant, becoming pregnant, problems that can arise ect. But once the film hit the car crash it really lost me, as it was here it became stupid. I cannot believe that a woman in Madeline’s state would have been able to make the decision she did, the health risks involved are very serious. I am not a professional on the subject, however I found that in itself to be a huge stretch. Then seeing the baby come alive after Madeline wants to hold her and then goes to breast feed her (even though at this point she is dead), it was silly. I thought maybe, that Grace the baby might not have actually been alive after all and this could have all been a delusion because she couldn’t deal. But the way the film progressed and ended put a stop to that theory (and the film might have been better if it went in that direction). I thought that because once the baby is at home, flies are drawn to her, she doesn’t want milk, she wants blood. I thought surely this must be a sign, but it wasn’t. So why the flies? No idea, this film does not explain anything, while I am fine with films that leave things open, in this case it was just plain stupid. (End spoilers)
The film did have some good aspects, mainly Jordan Ladd who put on a fantastic performance. Despite the silliness of this film, she was rather convincing in the role. She looked like a woman who had been through hell, and she played it well. Having seen her in Cabin Fever previously I didn’t expect that she had such range as an actress. I certainly hope she gets more meatier roles, because she is really good. While Madeline wasn’t a character I liked, if written differently I think she could have been very sympathetic and possibly would have resulted in an even better performance. The real crazy one here was Gabrielle Rose as Vivian the mother in-law, I have no idea what this woman was smoking, but I don’t want any. Her motivations are not really made clear, we just get the idea she doesn’t like Madeline much, or her lifestyle. Having lost her son, she seems desperate to be a mother again, but that is what we have to work out through some very odd scenes. Perhaps someone else might have seen those scenes as meaning something else, but that is what I got from it. Her performance does come off as campy at times, but she did try with what she was given. No one else was all that memorable in the film, we basically are with Madeline from start to finish. The visuals in this film are also worth mentioning, it had some great shots and great use of colour. The blood especially really stuck out, which worked for what the film was about with Grace.
I can’t understand the positive reviews for this film, I thought it was silly and a bit of a mess. Structure in this film was all over the place, things seemed disjointed and other times it did not make much sense. I felt the characters were incredibly stupid and I felt Paul Solet thought the audience must have been stupid to buy some of what he was selling. Grace was a huge disappointment as I was expecting something so much better, while I can appreciate Solet was trying for something a little different within the genre, his execution was not successful. The message this film is trying to put across is also not clear, are women crazy? Are vegans evil? Are people who eat meat evil? I have no idea, and this film does not get a recommendation from me. Skip it and watch something better.
Grace was part of my Horror Films For October, you can find the entire list here.