Thursday, January 14, 2010

Movie of the Week - Grace

Yet ANOTHER movie that has been sitting on my table for months and I never picked it up to watch until now.
Warning to any pregnant women who read this blog! You may want to pass on Grace until you've given birth and the baby has stopped teething!

So in a nutshell: Grace is about a young woman named Madeline who has finally gotten pregnant after many failed attempts. Unfortunately, she is in a car accident which kills both her husband and her unborn child. Despite the dead child, Maddy still decides to carry the baby to term and miraculously, she wills the baby back to life. But there is something horribly HORRIBLY wrong with her baby girl. Suspense, insanity, and some of the most disturbing scenes of breast pumping ensue.

I assure you, the synopsis does not even give the details and subplots of this movie any justice. But I don't want to give anything away so I'm being very vague here.

At first I really wasn't' sure what to make of Grace. It sounded interesting overall but I've always been more of a fan of campy horror. The whole disturbing horror sub genre tends to get too much under my skin and I'm upset, disturbed, and depressed for days. So I was almost afraid to watch this one for a while. Well I've decided that I'm kind of an idiot for sitting on this sucker for so long because it was definitely one I enjoyed.
What I loved so much about Grace was how extremely subtle it all was. While it did have gore and some disturbing context, it was all done in a minimalist manner. This, I believe puts less emphasis on the horror that baby Grace isn't natural and more on what lengths people would go to to protect their child. And watching Maddy's decent into madness was far more frightening than anything Grace was. To the audience, Grace just appeared to be a normal healthy baby girl. The only main clues we gets to things not being right are how she attracts flies (Beautifully shown with the tons of pest strips hanging around the crib) and that she has a very bad smell that doesn't come from her diaper. and that's all that was really needed.
The story is dominated by very strong females. But this is far from a "Girl Power!" film. Actually, every woman in this movie is pretty screwed up in the head. The director does walk that fine line between "deeply flawed characters" and "The Bitch be crazy!" with this story and manages to create some very real women that were in no way insulting to me as a female. They could have easily slipped into crazy bitch territory and have gotten campy but luckily the performances remained subtle and creepy. BIG props go out to the two main actors in this movie. Jordan Ladd as Maddy was wonderfully haunting. The obsession she has for her baby reads in her eyes from start to finish. and Gabrielle Rose as Maddy's controlling mother-in-law Vivian was flawless.

Visually the movie was impressive. The picture quality changed from brightly lit, colorful, and crystal clear in the beginnings of the film then deteriorated slowly and subtly to fuzzed edges and washed out tones as Maddy begins to lose her mind. It also contains one of the few moments of gore at the end that really startled me.

Grace is a slow burn of a movie. Its not action packed or gore filled but gives you a deep sense of dread and disturbance as the movie goes on. I truly enjoyed this movie and I feel like it should be considered a classic of the genre. So overall, it gets one of my highest recommendations.


Nojh said...

Ooh! My friend just gave birth. I'll totally tell her to watch this film!

Matthew said...

Glad you liked Grace. I plug it wherever I go, because I watch enough horror to know that it's completely different. Jordan Ladd is a better actress than I would've thought.

I'd recommend any wannabe breast-feeders watch this film first ;)

Cins said...

Nojh>>*L* You're a bad bad man..

Matthew>>I was very impressed with Jordan Ladd. I looked her up on IMDB and thought "that's the SAME woman?!" I understand why my sister opted out of the breast feeding thing. But the only thing I found more creepy than the blood drinking baby was that Vivian breast fed her son until he was three. AAAH! WRONG!!!