Now available on DVD
Jordan Ladd as Madeline
Gabriell Rose as Vivian
Samantha Ferris as Patricia
Serge Houde as Henry
Stephen Park as Michael
Tenai Cam Measmer as Grace
Directed by: Paul Solet
Warning: Spoilers within!
There have been a number of pregnant and baby horror films over the years â the classic Rosemary’s Baby the most famous â but the subgenre has witnessed a resurgence of last with the excellent Inside, the not-so excellent Born and even an episode of Masters of Horror entitled “Pro-Life” to name a few.
Grace follows this same path but luckily with a different twist from these other films. Actually, up until the moment when the baby is born, the film could be any run-of-the-mill Lifetime movie about a woman, her husband, and their attempts to have a child despite the fact she’s had two miscarriages already. When they do get pregnant a third time, Madeline (Jordan Ladd of Cabin Fever fame) begins to have heart pains for some reason and she’s taken to the hospital. Released after everything seems to be OK, Madeline and her husband, Michael, get into a brutal car accident that results in the husband dying.
What’s worse is the baby also dies but Madeline, too emotionally destroyed, won’t let them take the dead baby out and carries it to term in a still-birth. Not sure if that’s even possible in reality but it could still be a Lifetime movie so far, right?
But then it gets a little crazy. After the still birth death, unexplainably the baby comes back to life. A miracleâ¦well, maybe. The baby, now named Grace, is living, breathing, doing everything a newborn does.
That doesn’t last long.
Soon, Grace begins to have problems. She bleeds uncontrollably in the tub, her hair begins to fall out, flies circle her crib en mass and she begins to no longer just want milk for food. Yeah, something ain’t right here folks.
Instead of milk from Madeline’s nipple, the baby digs in for blood. Something that if you are a woman and have given birth, just having a baby bite down on a nipple is torture enough, biting it for blood is surely an unbearable pain.
Madeline tries her best to figure out how she can fathom this development but it just sends her spiraling downward into a depressed state. But what wouldn’t a mother do for her child? It is the age old question that we have seen in so many Lifetime movies. And now it crosses over into horror. Left with little choice either let her baby starve to death or feed her human blood, Madeline first takes out the family doctor who pays a house call in order on the direction of Madeline’s meddling mother-in-law. Madeline sees an opening to feed her starving, crying baby.
But all doesn’t go according to plan, Madeline’s mother-in-law, Vivian (Gabrielle Rose) â who has been plotting since the death of her son to steal Grace from Madeline even so far as to get her breasts to begin producing milk again so she can once again be a mother â shows up to enact her kidnapping plan. They have a tussle and it leaves Madeline bloodied and near-dead. However, luckily her midwife (Samantha Ferris of Supernatural fame) was also paying a visit at that same time and the next scene we see is of the midwife and Madeline traveling alone in the desert with a teething (literally) Grace in tow.
Now there are some ambiguous plot points that director Paul Solet says in one of the featurettes was done on purpose because intelligent horror fans don’t need everything explained. Yeah, but it helps. Like, how the hell did the baby come back to life and why does it crave human blood? At least to me, this was a big one that perhaps needed a bit of attention in the film Not the full explanation, mind you, but at least something. A hint. Anything, really. And we are left to assume that the midwife and Madeline have some sort of lesbian relationship going on but it again is never really fully explored but see photos of them together and a more-than a doctor-patience relationship throughout Grace.
Overall, Grace isn’t bad at all. In fact, it is well acted, well produced and directed. The ideas are interesting and different, it just isn’t scary at all. It has some “Ouch, that’s gotta hurt” moments but they aren’t scary. And because the whole nature of what the little girl actually is, never is explored, the creepiness factor doesn’t register at all because unlike what Solet says I wanted at least a hint of what was happening.
The cool thing about Grace is the amount of special features they included on the single disc DVD. Always nice to find out a bit more about the movie you are watching.
There are a host of featurettes on the DVD all looking at the entire film making journey from the initial conception of the project to the filming and more. The gem of which is “Grace Delivered” a documentary on the entire film making process told through all 17 days of production. At 35-plus minutes, it takes its time in giving us the whole picture, detailing what struggles the crew went through, the stunts the actors performed, the special effects, the last minute production and more.
“Grace Conception” talks about the short film from which the feature length movie was derived from and how Solet got the pick up from Anchor Bay and the producers signed on.
“Grace at Sundance” examines the journey the filmmaker took to the film festival and showing his film to audiences in order to get buzz going. He also brought a dead baby in a baby Bjorn just for shits and giggles.
“Grace Family” examines the casting of Grace. Your typical casting exploration here with stories on how the director got each actor to sign on to the movie and so on.
“Her Mother’s Eyes: The Look of Grace” is all about the production, the sets, the costumes and general feelings of the movie. So we see many of the conceptual art beginnings through the actual use and the set design and location discovery. Solet was so involved in this process he gave the designer in charge a 200-page manifesto.
Finally, “Lullaby: Scoring Grace” is a look at the soundtrack for the film and how they went with a score from one character’s perspective. With the beginning light music and happy to the troubling sounds to doing whatever it takes to let your baby survive, no matter what the costs, the sound follows along. It is an interesting look at how a composer goes about looking at a film and how he feels the movie should be from his perspective with the director’s influence. Interesting stuff indeed and a great extra.
There is also an audio commentary on the film as well as the original trailer.