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Grace




2009
Directed By Paul Solet
Starring Jordan Ladd and Samantha Ferris

Complications with birth have declined dramatically in the last century but they are still somewhat common. And yet the idea of a stillborn birth is so deeply tragic and saddening that most of us are clueless when it comes to even discussing the topic let alone dealing with it on any personal  or profound level. Simply put the subject is taboo. We all know it happens. It happens to all of us, in that it has happened to us or someone we know and yet still we don't talk about it. To take this premise as a starting point for a horror film is a stroke of genius.

Madeline Matheson (Ladd) is given the worst news possible for an expectant mother , the news that all parents dread, that she has lost her unborn child. Her decision to carry the child to term is one that showed a remarkable level of commitment to this child and firmly establishes the type of parent she would make. Following the birth of her child something truly remarkable happens. The child returns to life.

This being a horror film we know that something is deeply wrong with this situation and there will be a price to pay for necromancing. This film is about a devotion that causes a woman to abandon her moral compass and do anything she can to hang on to an idea. Her love is not rooted in the child itself but the idea of a child and the idea of motherhood. We all have ideals that cause us to ignore the truth. Sometimes when you want something so badly you are unwilling or unable to face the reality of it not being what you imagined once you get it. 

This is a gory film that offers no pleasure in its on screen splatter. Everything in the film is played straight. The only relationship in this film that matters is the one between a mother and her child. The husband who died the same day as the child is quickly forgotten and the lesbian midwife who replaces him is completely disposable. I'm not sure if this is a commentary from the point of view of a father who feels left out of his family or a cautionary tale for men who date vegans but either way the film has a somewhat bitter tone throughout. That's not to say I didn't enjoy the film because I think this is highly watchable. It just has the undercurrent of a man who was scorned and has some shit he needs to work out.  

The point of horror is to make the audience face its darkest fears. We are given the experience of wrestling with these fears in a darkened room thanks to horror films. This experience can be cathartic and helpful to open dialogues about subject matters that we might otherwise sweep under the rug and ignore. I'm not sure Grace will help to open any dialogues about infant mortality but it does take this taboo subject head on and there is definitely something to be said for that.




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