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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Grace's Jones

I'm going to keep this one real quick as I wasn't even planning on doing a review for 2009's, uneaten baby film, Grace, but I felt compelled to write something about it. First off, I really enjoyed the film, the only issues I may have had were eradicated by the end of the movie. It seemed to be a little ambiguous as to where it was going, but where it went was fitting to the film as a whole. I did think that some of the vegan stuff was a little overdone and unnecessary in its in your face-ity (?). In your face-ness? No?

Grace is a very slow, brooding film that just keeps everything simple and stays away from almost obvious over the top temptations that must have been had with a story like this. It is superbly shot and the Zoran Popovic cinematography and direction from Paul Solet are tops, with the ominous and well crafted technical aspects really matching and pushing the eerie mood and tone of Grace's story.

The acting and character development was a very nice change of pace with this movie. There is a lot of depth to the secondary characters with a film that is essentially about a mother and her blood lovin' baby. Every character serves a purpose and is important to the story, and to the main characters, but carry their own individual back story too. One of the best of the secondary characters was Gabrielle Rose as Vivian Matheson, who puts forth a rendering that is remarkable in its creepy sadness and outright bitchiness.

A huge stand out was Jordan Ladd as Madeline Matheson. I have been a big fan of hers since Cabin Fever and to be honest, it was for her looks. Not that she was bad in other films, but in Grace, she completely puts herself out there and gives a fantastic performance. She carries a very emotional film here and is able to keep from going campy or over the top in a role that could invite an over the top portrayal.

What really got me about Grace was the birth scene, where Ladd really brings it. This scene is incredibly emotional and powerful...it was a very tough scene to watch and even as a man, who has no kids, I was very moved and saddened by it. Great slow burn and very subtle horror film that is one I recommend if you like that type of movie. In addition, I should note, the DVD extras are fantastic too, with great behind the scenes stuff and fun commentary from Solet and producer Adam Green. Shortest review eva!

13 comments:

  1. if there was any justice in the world Gabrielle Rose would get a nomination for a supporting Oscar due to her work in Grace.

    Like you, I felt the ending was a bit of a let-down, but that's my only complaint with this movie.

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  2. She was incredibly creepy and really conveyed a sadness that came from the loss of her son and the need to have another child to take care of. Very well written character and Rose was amazing for sure.

    Overall, Grace is very solid and a nice change of pace from the average direct to DVD horror that comes out.

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  3. I thought I commented on this already damnit!

    I agree the ended was very strange. It suddenly all seemed to work out even though things looked far from working out. I would have liked to understand how that all played out.

    The gnawed off teat was terrifying and made me really nervous of an impending sequel.....no god no!

    Grace 2 Zombie baby is TEETHING look outtttt

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  4. Did you comment on this post? I left my reply to Pax and it showed up in my email, but not in the comment section for some strange reason...

    Anywho, everything does come together quite well by the end, but you aren't sure as to where the film is going for a good portion of the running time. I think that ultimately makes the movie stronger since you aren't given definite answers as to what Grace's deal is.

    I do love that when her nip gets gnawed off, she just says something about Grace needing more than formula (aka...BLOOD!), as to show how far into madness this whole situation has taken her. If I had a boob and it got eaten off by my baby, I would throw that jerk right out the window!

    And a sequel would be a bad idea for a movie like Grace, but it would be pretty awesome if they did a Grace 2 where the girls lure scummy dudes onto the dinner table for Grace to chew on!

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  5. Yeah when the baby starts giving you bloody nipples--that is the first strike. But actual flesh gnawed off? I would also chuck that bitch out the window.

    I think all the flies in the baby's room was my favorite part...Grace is dead and not loving it me thinks. Well I think she's dead anyways- she does smell and it's not just her poo.

    And yes I did comment before but it never showed up. I thought it was because i included my picture

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  6. The film took a huge dump on modern medicine in a very unfair way. Portraying the midwife as a medical genius and the Doctor as an unethical monster was bad enough, but the treatment of the hospital scene in its entirety juxtaposed with the idylic and beautiful birthing center with its incredibly unsanitary and unsafe birth scene put me off this film altogether.

    I know it makes sense for the mother to eschew medical intervention to allow things to devolve as they did after the birth. But to say the Vegan stuff was heavy handed and in your face and not note the alternative medicine apologetics is unfair to those of us who struggle to convince the public that we take the Hypocratic Oath seriously and we aren't a bunch of money hungry opportunists who rmove children's tonsils just so we can make an extra buck.

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  7. Oh Matt, I wish I liked this movie more. Good review! And I'm glad you liked it! Jordan Ladd was fucking great though. She's one of my favs.

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  8. Andre: I went with the notion that she was just dead and the flies and smell were why. I guess she is just a zombie baby in the end!

    And honestly, I couldn't take your first comment seriously with a photo attached!

    Doc!: I had read your thoughts on Grace in the review from the little lady below you. I can totally see why you of all people would be put off by the poor representation of doctors in Grace.

    I think everyone outside of the midwife was made to be a shady character with alternative motives to benefit themselves in some way... including the doctor who had some sort of issue that he was dealing with. These people were meant to be feared in Madeline's deranged mind. Even with the midwife, she only wanted to get back together with Madeline for her own personal and emotional gain, and being blinded by her love, she would turn a cheek to any sort of baby flesh eating nonsense.

    I guess the doctor thing and the vegan thing would be used to put her in a position to shun her beliefs and any sort of reasoning for the blind love of her child.

    The entire hospital scene, while being an incorrect portrayal of doctors and procedures was just to set up her fear of going to see the right people when she needed to. In that same sense, her faith in the alternate methods of birth are what really failed her in the end...if she had only gone to the hospital is what it all comes down to.

    Christine: Thanks Christine! Ladd was fantastic and really brought the movie up a level for me and it was great to see her in that light. The movie is a bit of a mess in what it wants to be, but it came together and worked for me in the end.

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  9. Matt, I agree. I waffle between believing that Solet was using her alternative lifestyle as a plot device, his approving of these beliefs and his condemning these beliefs as what caused her downfall. i also waffle between thinking that the mixed message was a strength of the movie as it allows the viewer to take what they want out of it and a weakness as he really has trouble focusing on a message.

    Overall, the movie had a strong opening and a strong closing scene. It had some great visuals and terrific acting. But the body of the movie was a muddled mess and did not seem to know what direction it was going. I was wondering through the middle if this was all a delusion of the mother's or was Grace really an undead baby.

    Personally I would have preferred pursuing the post partum psychosis angle.

    But in the end the movie failed me completely due to my complaints listed above. In today's climate, I struggle so much to overcome the barage of negativity that media is dumping on physicians. And so I am highly sensitized to this in film.

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  10. The Post partum angle was stolen already by Baby Blues! : (
    Although I did generally enjoy Baby Blues

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  11. Glad you got to this one Matt, I have been a huge supporter of the film and loved what Solet accomplished in this breakthrough piece, but I also completely agree that the ending of the film lacked the punch I was hoping for. Outside of that, I have no problem standing behind GRACE as being one of the single strongest Indie Horror efforts in the last decade. The birthing scene and the scene immediately following the crash are the highlights of Jordans performance for me as well.

    I have a review I conducted with Paul months before the DVD release floating around ILHM for some behind the scenes info on the film. Love. Grace.

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  12. Doc: I agree that people don't need to fear doctors anymore than they do...I know enough people that don't go when they should and they end up having issues that just get worse when they could have been easily fixed if caught early enough. I appreciate the value of medical physicians, but drug companies...not so much!

    I do like the psychosis angle quite a bit as Ladd really played crazy very well and it would have worked with only a few changes to the overall film. Dead baby flesh eater and all, I am happy that they didn't go all out and over the top with it...until the final moment of the film that is.

    Andre: I never heard of Baby Blues and I checked out the trailer...wow. Looks completely insane and I love that she uses some sort of farming equipment to take out her kids! I have to see that!

    Carl: I remember you were talking about it quite a bit on ILHM and i agree that it is one of the strongest indie horror films in some time. Solet has some serious talent and i look forward to what he works on next.

    Here is the link to the interview that sexy Carl did with Solet for anyone interested...

    ILHM Interview with Paul Solet

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  13. I was really hoping Ladd's character would be revealed to be deeply troubled and nothing more. I would have preferred it if the baby was dead and she was deranged etc. I think it would have been heart breaking.
    Also, as I said in my post, I really enjoyed the vegan angle. But I'm biased ;-)

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