I know most people these days use Netflix, On Demand, or Redbox, but I still prefer Blockbuster. I love walking up and down the aisles, taking my time to look at each movie’s cover, holding the DVDs in my hand, and grabbing a bag of popcorn in the check out line. There’s something pleasant about going to the video store. At least, I think so. On my last journey, I picked up a title I’ve glanced over a few times, called Grace. I remembered reading about the film somewhere, but I didn’t really remember what the film was about. When I saw Adam Green’s name on the box, I had to watch it.
To be honest, when I read on the back cover that the film revolved around a baby, I was skeptical. However, my faith in Adam’s work brought me to the register. I can still say that the man has never disappointed me. I was afraid to have a baby before I watched Grace, and now, I’m terrified.
In Grace, Jordan Ladd plays Madeline Matheson, a vegan, soon-to-be mother, who tries her best to please her husband Michael (Stephen Park)’s mother Vivian (Gabrielle Rose). Unfortunately, Vivian is not very easy to win over. Obsessed with playing the mother role, Vivian tries to intervene in Madeline and Michael’s pregnancy plans at every opportunity that presents itself. After Michael and the baby die in a brutal car accident, Madeline elects to carry her baby to term, and give birth to it. Of course, when the baby is born, it’s not breathing, but Madeline holds it nonetheless. Just as Madeline’s friend and midwife Patricia (Samantha Ferris) is about to take the baby away, it suddenly comes to life. The cause for the reenactment is unknown, since Madeline refuses to see any medical professional other than Patricia, but Madeline rejoices in her baby’s unusual pulse anyway. However, soon it becomes apparent that Madeline’s new baby ‘Grace’ was born with a few hiccups. For one thing, she has a thirst for human blood.
Grace sheds light upon the dark secret of overbearing mothers. The casual awkward moments shared between a mother and her offspring are taken to the extreme in this thriller. It’s interesting, because this movie manages to find fear in the one place that most people consider safe territory–their parents. It isn’t afraid to dive into the uncomfortable question of ‘how much love is too much?’ Grace breaks the boundary of ordinary mother and child relationships, and infringes on maternal narcissism.
Grace also explores the dynamic of the makings of a good mother. At the beginning of the film, the viewer is inclined to disapprove of Madeline’s strict eating habits and strange vegan channel. Michael’s mother, although domineering, seems more relatable, just because she appears to be more like the majority of Americans–a meat eater, who only wants the best for her granddaughter. However, by the end of the film, the audience is shown just how far Vivian will go to stay in charge, and raise Grace as she sees fit, while Madeline simply does her best to hang onto her child. Poor vegan Madeline is forced to provide blood for her baby. This is much easier said than done, especially because Vivian is always sticking her nose in where it doesn’t belong. This movie begs the question, just how far are you willing to go for your child?
Although this film is not directed by Adam Green, it is stunning. Every shot is wearisome and grotesque. Director Paul Solet uses close ups of the baby’s bloody mouth and hands to disturb and disgruntle the audience into a grievous state. Jordan Ladd is amazing in this somewhat solo show as the mother who will stop at nothing to keep her baby alive. This movie is definitely worth watching, so the next time you’re (hopefully) at the nearest Blockbuster, take a pregnant pause in the horror section and pick up Grace.