Arguably the 1970s was the finest period of American horror cinema. An era where everything fell into place – production, performance and thematically. The films of this period really reflected society’s paranoia and ditched the campness of the 60s and took a darker more unnerving approach, pioneering classics in every sense of the word. The modern horror film would be a very different beast indeed without the influence of The Exorcist, Halloween, Dawn of the Dead and The Shining.
Grace is a throwback to this golden era and despite its flaws is an effectively dark film that plays on the audience’s paranoia.
Being a male I can’t really begin to understand what it would be like to be pregnant and give birth but if I was a woman I’m pretty sure Grace would make me think twice about bearing children.
Grace plays on the paranoia of medical malpractice, misdiagnoses and whether alternative forms of treatment are effective and in the child’s best interests. Quite reminiscent of Regan’s misdiagnoses and her unnecessary treatment that was explored in the extended cut of The Exorcist. We live in a time where people pay a lot more attention to what they put into their body and the side effects. Along with the issues related to pregnancy Grace plays on this aspect and there’s an underlying theme of vegan diet vs non-vegan diet and it’s consequences. I’m sure these elements will hit home for many viewers and is an effective backdrop for the story.
Grace is the story of Madeline (Jordan Ladd), who while 8 months pregnant is involved in a car accident which takes the life of her husband (Stephen Park). Adding to the tragedy Madeline’s child is pronounced dead. Madeline goes against all advice and decides to carry the pregnancy to term and mysteriously her baby Grace is delivered alive. Madeline soon comes to realise Grace isn’t quite normal and has a craving for human blood. She begins feeding Grace her own blood and slowly becomes more and more unhinged while trying to keep it a secret. Her family and midwife soon work out everything’s not quite right and Madeline does everything in her power to prevent her child being taken from her with ultimately tragic consequences. This film has some really great dark, brooding stuff… well until we reach the final scene.
To say I was disappointed in the ending of this film is an understatement. I couldn’t get over how this film just throws away everything it effectively built up with its tacked on trashy “let’s set this fucker up for a sequel” conclusion. Those who know me or have read some of my previous reviews know that I’m a total trash fiend who loves countless sequels and totally over the top premises but what they laid on the audience just didn’t sit right with me. Totally out of place and context the climax does nothing but sabotage what could’ve been a real gem for modern era US horror which really has been dragging the chain compared to their foreign counterparts.
I’d recommend this as a rental rather than purchase. For those after a dose of old school aesthetic I’d recommend The House of the Devil over this one.
Madman’s offshoot Asylum maintain their usual high standard of release with Grace. Nice crisp transfer, 5.1 Dolby soundtrack and plenty of extras giving insight into how the film came together and its appearance at the Sundance film festival.
- Grace: Conception
- Grace: Family
- Her Mother’s Eyes: The Look Of Grace
- Grace: Delivered
- Lullaby: Scoring Grace
- Grace at Sundance
Grace is available on R4 DVD from Madman Entertainment.