Reviews - Specialty Releases


Film Review: Grace

Lame horror entry about a woman who gives birth to a literal little monster won’t scare up the bucks, in spite of post-fest hype.

Aug 13, 2009

-By Doris Toumarkine


filmjournal/photos/stylus/101855-Grace_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

Paul Solet’s Grace has done the festival circuit to death, including a showing at Sundance where reportedly two filmgoers fainted. But surely it was an overheated auditorium rather than this undercooked tale (apparently trimmed for the big screen) that felled the patrons.

Grace
whimpers a bit like Rosemary’s Baby and gurgles occasionally like The Exorcist, but the video look and bare-bones craftsmanship all scream B-movie. The best bet for Grace is a B-line to home-video which will follow Anchor Bay’s first stop at big screens.

Auspicious August is low-budget genre time for theatres and the grave-robbers and couples in distress are already making the rounds. Joining the fray is Grace’s mother in distress Madeline (Jordan Ladd), pregnant and in a lousy marriage with obnoxious hubby Michael (Stephen Park), who is soon dispatched to heaven by way of a car accident. Also lost, but not really, is the baby Madeline carries, which is also pronounced dead.

As story here is everything and characters nil, Madeline decides to carry the baby to term and deliver the goods via natural childbirth (don’t ponder why). To facilitate this, she enlists midwife Patricia (Samantha Ferris), her former lover.

Hardly a bundle of joy, the now-anointed baby Grace, like the filmmaker, is afflicted with a breast fetish. The irritable, repulsive infant chews on nipples, attracts flies, and is a source of the necessary blood-spilling.

The other nuisance is Madeline’s former mother in law Vivian (Gabrielle Rose), a Margaret Thatcher-like bitch determined to gain possession of little Grace (don’t ponder why). Enlisting the help of wimpy husband Henry (Serge Houde), she prepares her own breasts for the milking job. Vivian also engages milquetoast Dr. Sohn (Malcolm Stewart) to take her side in the baby fight by having him discredit Madeline as a mother.

Beyond its breast and childbirth obsessions, Grace is packed with other de rigueur elements at the genre’s low end. Occasional shots of disgusting raw meat, menacing cable-TV animals, and a symbolic black cat interrupt, as do gratuitous digressions into unconvincing lesbianism. A smattering of nudity and a female cat fight are other routine menu entries.

The DVD projected for press had a dull look. It doesn’t help that L.A.-based filmmaker Solet shot in Western Canada. (So much wood paneling in so many bland rooms is a giveaway.) His writing and direction serve the form and the performances are good enough, but not enough to distract from the pervasive shabbiness. Worse, frights in this curiously R-rated offering are few, and filmgoers looking for an occasion to faint will be disappointed.


Film Review: Grace

Lame horror entry about a woman who gives birth to a literal little monster won’t scare up the bucks, in spite of post-fest hype.

Aug 13, 2009

-By Doris Toumarkine


filmjournal/photos/stylus/101855-Grace_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

Paul Solet’s Grace has done the festival circuit to death, including a showing at Sundance where reportedly two filmgoers fainted. But surely it was an overheated auditorium rather than this undercooked tale (apparently trimmed for the big screen) that felled the patrons.

Grace
whimpers a bit like Rosemary’s Baby and gurgles occasionally like The Exorcist, but the video look and bare-bones craftsmanship all scream B-movie. The best bet for Grace is a B-line to home-video which will follow Anchor Bay’s first stop at big screens.

Auspicious August is low-budget genre time for theatres and the grave-robbers and couples in distress are already making the rounds. Joining the fray is Grace’s mother in distress Madeline (Jordan Ladd), pregnant and in a lousy marriage with obnoxious hubby Michael (Stephen Park), who is soon dispatched to heaven by way of a car accident. Also lost, but not really, is the baby Madeline carries, which is also pronounced dead.

As story here is everything and characters nil, Madeline decides to carry the baby to term and deliver the goods via natural childbirth (don’t ponder why). To facilitate this, she enlists midwife Patricia (Samantha Ferris), her former lover.

Hardly a bundle of joy, the now-anointed baby Grace, like the filmmaker, is afflicted with a breast fetish. The irritable, repulsive infant chews on nipples, attracts flies, and is a source of the necessary blood-spilling.

The other nuisance is Madeline’s former mother in law Vivian (Gabrielle Rose), a Margaret Thatcher-like bitch determined to gain possession of little Grace (don’t ponder why). Enlisting the help of wimpy husband Henry (Serge Houde), she prepares her own breasts for the milking job. Vivian also engages milquetoast Dr. Sohn (Malcolm Stewart) to take her side in the baby fight by having him discredit Madeline as a mother.

Beyond its breast and childbirth obsessions, Grace is packed with other de rigueur elements at the genre’s low end. Occasional shots of disgusting raw meat, menacing cable-TV animals, and a symbolic black cat interrupt, as do gratuitous digressions into unconvincing lesbianism. A smattering of nudity and a female cat fight are other routine menu entries.

The DVD projected for press had a dull look. It doesn’t help that L.A.-based filmmaker Solet shot in Western Canada. (So much wood paneling in so many bland rooms is a giveaway.) His writing and direction serve the form and the performances are good enough, but not enough to distract from the pervasive shabbiness. Worse, frights in this curiously R-rated offering are few, and filmgoers looking for an occasion to faint will be disappointed.
Post a Comment
Asterisk (*) is a required field.
* Author: 
Rate This Article: (1=Bad, 5=Perfect)

*Comment:
 

More Specialty Releases

Small Time
Film Review: Small Time

You might not buy a used car from the guys in Small Time, but you will enjoy the movie about their exploits, even their exploitations (of others). More »

Fading Gigolo
Film Review: Fading Gigolo

Some top screen talent gets lost in the silliness surrounding the amorous adventures of an unlikely gigolo and his even more unlikely pimp, with writer/director/actor John Turturro the shtupper “ho” co-starring with Woody Allen as the mercenary shtup-enabler. Yarmulkes off to Turturro’s brave but deeply ill-conceived comedic foray into Brooklyn’s Satmar Hasidic community and other alien territory. More »

A Promise
Film Review: A Promise

Handsomely filmed but wan period romance. More »

Final Member
Film Review: The Final Member

Breezy documentary about the aging owner of a small Icelandic museum dedicated to penises and his quest for one last, coveted exhibit is a charmer, thanks to the warmth and sly sense of humor the protagonist brings to his unusual hobby. More »

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

Transcendence
Film Review: Transcendence

Johnny Depp is an idealistic researcher whose consciousness is uploaded into an artificial intelligence in this slick techno-thriller with delusions of seriousness from Christopher Nolan’s cinematographer. More »

Draft Day
Film Review: Draft Day

Pro football manager faces crises on the most important day of his career in a well-tooled vehicle for Kevin Costner. More »

Player for the Film Journal International website.


ADVERTISEMENT



INDUSTRY GUIDES

» Blue Sheets
FJI's guide to upcoming movie releases, including films in production and development. Check back weekly for the latest additions.

» Distribution Guide
» Equipment Guide
» Exhibition Guide

ORDER A PRINT SUBSCRIPTION

Film Journal International

Subscribe to the monthly print edition of Film Journal International and get the full visual impact of this valuable resource for the cinema business.

» Click Here

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Learn how to promote your company at the Film Expo Group events: ShowEast, CineEurope, and CineAsia.

» Click Here