Friday, January 22, 2010

Grace - 3/5

There are Horror movies that create a frantic sense of energy and have a high octane pulse and then there are Horror films like "Grace" that breed a slow burning atmospheric and heavy feeling throughout its run time. Not that these films are bad, I can still reference the rather impressive French film "Inside" in this category, but this one was just too awkward for its own good.

"Grace" has our rather fast forward mother/protagonist (she's a vegetarian and uses alternative medicine in the film) struggling to conceive with her husband. When they finally do, tragedy strikes and an accident leaves her husband and unborn child 6 feet deep. She carries the baby to term in a rather odd decision, and - SURPRISE - baby Grace isn't dead after all! Too bad though something is wrong with baby Grace and she requires the nourishment of...not milk...but human blood! Now mother has the cluster fuck situation of a far will she go to keep her child alive?

Call it whatever you want, but that's a pretty badass concept. Its a clever take on the killer baby genre (not that there is a whole lot out there besides "It's Alive" and perhaps "The Brood") and "Grace" gets an A for originality. Unfortunately, some of the film isn't up to par with the concept and it fails on a few levels.

I applaud the film for trying to throw in some modern social moral choices here. A vegetarian that has to feed her child blood? Brutal. There is even some solid lesbian undertones (well, strike that - they are pretty up front and center) with the mother's relationship with her midwife and the alternative (medicine) lifestyle. I don't think that some of the issues went far enough though. The film is pretty minimalist with its dialogue and subtle with its acting, but I just didn't really feel the struggle for the mother when making these decisions for her child. I wanted her to wrestle and be disgusted that she has to do these things for Grace and I never really got that. At times it was just too simple of a decision it seemed. And the homosexual subplot was pretty surface level in the end. There didn't seem to be a whole lot depth to some of the choices made and it was rather frustrating for me as a viewer.

Then there is the entire mother-in-law subplot that was way more awkward for me then I needed. Her obsession with breast feeding and child rearing seemed like an odd addition to her already well established concern with the child's well being. The character and the situation did pay off in the end, but along the way there seemed to be too much weird that didn't quite fit. It was a good try, but just didn't pull it off.

Really, that's what "Grace" falters on. It touches on a lot of great things but never finishes it off. It doesn't quite go the distance. The pacing is solid, the atmosphere think, and the low key energy is burdening but it just can't put it all together into the striking film it should have been. This film could have been amazing but came off as just viable. Great concept though. 

Written By Matt Reifschneider

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