A mother’s love for her child is one of the strongest forces ever known to exist. It’s probably one of the many reasons why the movie industry seems to have taken a penchant for movies using this as the overall theme. However, you mostly get them from the genres of drama and/or comedy. Few would expect that a horror film would dare tackle one of the most popular and often cute and bubbly (or so it seems) stage in the human life: motherhood. Motherhood has always enthralled the masses, and Grace is one of the newer and refreshing takes on the subject.
A smile crept up my face when I saw Jordan Ladd’s name as Madeline towards the beginning of the movie. I have seen her previously in Club Dread and Cabin Fever, two films which made me discover that I actually have the ability to fall asleep while watching a movie. She’s a pretty good actress; her choice of films, on the other hand, is another story. Throughout the story, we see her trials and tribulations as a widowed mother trying to raise a baby all by herself. Of course, being a horror story, a supernatural twist is added: her newborn baby might actually be one of the rather undead kind. I like how the movie portrayed the apparent horrors of motherhood, albeit in a sick, twisted, and utterly hyperbolic way. I think this whole movie is a big fuck you to every other movie out there who try to sell motherhood as something that’s all sugar, spice, and everything nice. I think the reason why a lot of people do not like this film is because it clashes with the societal structure of motherhood. We’ve seen a lot of movies depicting the same concept, but nothing has ever come to this.
I also like how the movie didn’t really focus that much on the baby itself, but rather on Madeline, and how everything is taking a toll on her well-being, both physically and psychologically. Sure, before Grace, we’ve had films like The Omen, Baby Blood, and Rosemary’s Baby (seriously, what is up with Hollywood’s fetish for supernatural babies?), but none of these films–at least, none that I’ve watched so far–have portrayed so extensively and so delicately at the same time what it really means for a woman to be a mother. In the movie, we see how Madeline would just about anything just to make sure her baby survives. She doesn’t even mind the fact that her baby might be undead, or that it’s slowly killing her (never have I been more repulsed at the mere thought of breastfeeding). She wants Grace to survive, and will stop at nothing so that it comes true.
A funny (or so I’d like to think) theory I formulated about the film, though, is that it seems to be a public service announcement about the dangers of lesbianism. Yeah, you read that right. Throughout the film, we uncover the truth between Madeline and her gynaecologist, and an apparent love triangle ensues between the two plus the gynaecologist’s receptionist. Now I’m not trying to read into this too far, but I kind of noticed how there were almost no phallic symbols in the film (I don’t know if the film is indeed a PSA, so sue me), but a lot of yonic symbols were present in the film. Or maybe I am reading into the material a bit too much. But see, at the beginning of the film, we see Madeling having sex with her husband, with a bored look on her face, like she just got a husband so she can have a baby. Then we find out maybe, just maybe, she is bisexual. At the end of the movie, she apparently gives in to her lesbian tendency, and elopes with her gynaecologist. Of course, this entailed devastating results. I won’t spoil it for any of you, but the cherry on top for me was the last scene of the movie, which involves flesh, blood, and the agonizing look on my classmates’ faces when they saw what they saw. Overall, Grace is a pretty good film. However, it is not, and probably never will be, everyone’s cup of tea.