Grace is one of those horror movies wherein the horror comes not from scary jump-out-your-seat moments but from slow, achingly graphic scenes that might scream borderline cringe torture for some audiences. As I was watching the film I thought about the similar film with a zombie baby in it entitled It’s Alive, wherein a bloodthirsty baby actually goes on a killing spree. Grace is much different. The baby, whilst a bloodsucker with a penchant for human blood, did not kill anybody at least directly. Instead, all throughout the film I felt the presence of a lingering discomfort especially every time the undead baby Grace is around the mother. We were cringing at the beginning of every breastfeeding scene. In that sense, I would think that the film was effective in terms of evoking strong reactions. Yet as a film of its genre one should have acquired a certain taste in order to find enjoyment. I myself did not film that likable.
Horror could offer a dark interpretation of a common notion or a phenomenon in society. These are hen twisted and pushed to the extremes. In this case, the film offers a view on motherhood and the relationship of a mother and her baby. This undying love of a mother to her offspring is already a well-established fact in society. Any normal mother would go great lengths and do everything in order make sure their offspring would survive. Similarly, albeit in a twisted sense, Madeline made great lengths in order to ensure her baby’s survival, from carrying still-born Grace till the end of her term and to ultimately feeding her blood from her own breast.
Another topic that can be observed in the film was the empowering of women. This was done through numerous references to the breasts. The husband died leaving Madeline to make all the decisions for their baby. Her breasts not only were the source of food but it also symbolized her willingness to raise Grace on her own. Notice too, that the husband’s mother played a larger role in the film, as compared to the father. There was this scene in bed wherein the mother took out her breast and obliged the father to suck it, which he does so submissively. It was a really weird scene but I think it kind of demonstrates this power women have over men. She took control of instigating sexual advances, as opposed to the more traditional role of submission of women to their husbands. Also, it was interesting to take note of the lesbian characters especially the midwife who has taken an attraction to Madeline.
Overall I commend the film for trying to speak not only of motherhood but also of several themes regarding women though they were only snippets and could still be removed from the film without sacrificing anything from the plot. While the style of horror is still something we could all learn to appreciate, Grace is a film that torments women the idea of motherhood.