Plot: When Madeline Matheson loses her unborn baby in an auto accident, she insists to her midwife that she wants to carry it for the full term. And once the baby is born, cold and lifeless, a miracle happens. Almost as if she willed the child to life, Grace begins to cry. This one gets creepy.
Review: I canít imagine the fear, the joy and all the other emotions that must swarm around a woman expecting a child. There is something absolutely beautiful and mysterious about childbirth. The love a mother feels for her baby is profound and divine. That is exactly what Paul Solet manages to accomplish with his disturbing and surprisingly thoughtful feature film entitled Grace. He manages to create an original and quite chilling horror film that seems to drift between family drama and thriller. Grace explores the desperation of two mothers, and the deep and unsettling impact it has on the people around them. On many levels, it transpires the terror of trying to save the life of your child or grasping at the memory of motherhood long lost over the years. While there are certainly comparisons to be made between this, and say, Rosemaryís Baby or even The Brood, Paulís ode to motherhood is exactly what the title suggests it is, grace-ful.
The opening sequence consists of two people involved in what looks to be one of
the most pathetic and loveless acts of sex Iíve seen in awhile. The desperation
of the man who thrusts away, and the worn and sad face of the woman that he
finds his way inside. Yet, out of this sort of loveless act of f*cking, comes a
miracle. The woman, Madeline Matheson, finds that she is pregnant. And thanks to
a wonderful bit of casting, Jordan Ladd as Madeline is a very layered and
fascinating creation. Her weak willed husband, Michael Matheson (Stephen Park),
is still living in the shadow of his mother, and has problems with the way his
wife is handling her condition. Maddy has opted out of seeing a regular MD, but
has decided to see a midwife. And it is this decision that has Michaelís mother
horrified, after all, Vivian (Gabrielle Rose) knows what is best for Maddy and
her adoring son. Thus the stage is set for a underlying yet hurtful battle of
wills between the two women.
The power of this film is certainly charged by these two actresses. Both Ladd and Rose are incredibly rich and fascinating. Mother is not only fighting a battle for Michael, whom she feels she has lost to Maddy, but now she wants as much of her grandchild as she can get. I guarantee this is probably a common fight, and it makes for an involving watch. The funny thing is, while the actual horror takes a little bit of time to develop, I was utterly intrigued by the this bitter little pill. Whether Mr. Solet had this in mind, there is certainly a bit of controversy as of late in regards to over-medication opposed to bio-medical treatments for children and their families. This creates a very timely and heart wrenching look at motherhood and how tough it can be. But usually, these cases donít get nearly as bloody and brutal as Grace eventually becomes.
Now, Iím sure that this may sound like a Lifetime movie of the week, but donít be fooled. To give away too much about what happens would spoil the fun. And yes, there is blood. Very rarely do I find myself feeling that sense of Ďickí that is found in something like Miikeís Audition. But that ick-factor is very strong here. After all, the key to a beautiful childhood is in her motherís milk, although if a child develops a taste for something else, it could be shocking and absolutely disturbing. Mr. Solet creates a beauty of a picture with some serene images that mingle with a whole lot of creepy stuff, and Iím not just taking horror. The emotional terror that surrounds Grace is pretty potent stuff. While it may not carry the sheer audacity of Tashiki Miikeís Audition it comes pretty close. Grace is engaging and disturbed as it explores the idea of being a mother in a time when we may question the many chemicals that are being spread thanks to over-medicating, vaccines and who knows what is inside the food on our grocerís shelves.,
Grace is a strikingly shot and powerful feature film. It explores the real horrors that life has to offer, while still delving into the really dark and macabre. Both Jordan Ladd and Gabrielle Rose are wonderful as the two women searching for themselves in their children. Yet this is no Lifetime movie of the week, this is a disturbing and scary horror film that deserves to be seen. I canít wait to see what Paul Solet brings us nextÖ Grace is absolutely shocking and beautiful.