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Starring: Jordan Ladd, Gabrielle Rose, Malcolm Stewart, Serge Houde

Directed by: Paul Solet

Produced by: Kevin DeWalt, Adam Green, Cory Neal, Ingo Vollkammer
Written by: Paul Solet

Distributor: Anchor Bay Entertainment

As seen at the 2009 SXSW Film Festival:

     Put simply, Paul Solet’s Grace is one of the freakiest and most atmospheric horror films I’ve seen all year, deserving of the “disturbingly entertaining”-reputation it garnered on the festival circuit. The film follows Madeline Matheson (Jordan Ladd), who is pregnant and determined to deliver her baby at home with a midwife—absolutely NOT in a hospital—to maintain a natural lifestyle. After finding the right woman for the job—her ex-lover, Patricia Lang (Samantha Farris)—matters complicate. Madeline and her husband get in a car-wreck that leaves both he and the unborn child dead… or so the viewer is led to believe. Dead or not, Madeline is determined to carry the fetus to term, and a minor miracle happens when little Grace comes to life after initially appearing stillborn. But Grace is no ordinary child: instead of nursing on milk, she craves blood.

     Grace is a more understated film than the buzz might suggest and, as such, creeps up on the viewer in a silently creepy way. The first scene in which Baby bites into Mommy’s breast to nurse is a real shocker, mostly because Madeline’s reaction is so subdued, perhaps because she’s a good victim. In fact, the movie’s real terror rests not in what the baby does, but how her mother handles it. Desperate to keep Grace’s secret under wraps so that her mother-in-law, who wants to take Grace for herself under the argument Madeline is an unfit parent, Madeline goes to extremes to keep the baby in check by quenching her thirst. The inevitable final showdown between mother and grandmother, which I dare not spoil, is bound to make the viewer’s jaw drop. In this sense, as Film Blather’s Eugene Novikov points out, the movie is a surprisingly conservative condemnation of the “hippie granola” lifestyle that leads Madeline to believe she’s doing what’s best for Grace. It’s a refreshing change of pace not to see Madeline depicted as an extremist Christian, as she no doubt would be in mainstream horror. Instead, writer/director Solet’s sociopolitical commentary examines the severe pitfalls “alternative” living, although it never does so in an overly obvious or preachy manner. In terms of message-delivery, Grace does for blood-thirsty babies what Romero does for zombies.

     Grace is not a masterpiece, but it isn’t trying to be. The film is, plain and simple, great Midnight Movie-making, with plenty of shocking action for audiences to marvel at and food for thought to chew on. If you’re looking for Tolstoy, then you clearly made a wrong turn several miles back. But for my tastes, Solet’s film was certainly worth the hour it took me to hail a 2 a.m. St. Patty’s Day cab back to my hotel during this year’s South by Southwest Film Festival. Drunk Austinites who have no qualms about running into oncoming traffic to chase the bright yellow object they need to get home are tough competition in that regard. At least I wasn’t taken down by an infant vampire while I waited.

-Danny Baldwin, Bucket Reviews

Review Published on: 3.23.2009

Screened on: the eve of 3.19.2009 at Midnight at the Alamo Drafthouse Ritz in Austin, TX.


Grace is rated R and runs 85 minutes.

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