Grace is about a mother, Madeline, who has long been waiting to bear a child, only to find out that she had lost her. Miraculously, her daughter, Grace, returns to life with an appetite for blood. This strange character of her child has led Madeline to do unimaginable things for the love she has as a mother.
I found Grace really disturbing. It is horrifying in that sense. It mostly showed how far mothers would go for the sake of their children. Although the message sounds lovely and inspiring, it also challenges the viewers to ask themselves if the act is justifiable, since mothers are caring in nature, or if she has gone too far. One of the moral questions Philosophy tries to answer is if the act is towards the good, is the act always considered moral? The Machiavellian concept of the “end justifies the means” is related to this as well. Of course, if I were Madeline, I would’ve brought my child to the hospital because it scares me. But I’m not a mother, and I don’t think any mother would just give up on their child that easily. Although the movie might just be an exaggeration of the degree of matriarchal love, point is, this movie made me think beyond what I always think when watching movies (predicting what will happen next.)
Also, the degree of predictability is lower in Grace. The more unique plot may have contributed to this greatly. But even compared to other films viewed in class, Grace has the lowest level of predictability. Even from the beginning, I never would’ve expected the story would be about the baby.
A lot of elements helped Grace distance itself from the typical horror movie. One is there is no killer. Technically there is, but the typical killer would have a motive at the beginning of the story. The motive would always be self-centred, heartless, and usually pointless or shallow. Madeline resorted to killing the doctor and her mother-in-law because she worried about her daughter’s well-being. She was afraid they’d take her to the hospital and be taken away from her forever. The motive was not out of negative feelings such as hate and jealousy, rather it was out of love and care. So, for me, Madeline should not be labelled as a killer. Although the main character is an attractive blonde woman, Madeline was not stupid like how most scary movies portray protagonists. She is actually very smart, because she was able to deceive people around her and was able to keep her child until the end. Madeline showed that not everyone can be easily manipulated. This comparison is quite confusing because Madeline might seem like the “bad guy” and she is the one manipulating others. I guess that factor just adds to how Grace deviates from the normal. The distinction between who is nice and who is not is vague, thus leaving interpretation for the audience. How the film tackled sexuality is also a unique element for me. In Grace, we can see the dynamism of sexuality. Sexuality and relationships go hand in hand. There is homosexuality, women domination (mother-in-law, for example), and husband-wife relationships in the story, which makes the movie more interesting and eventful. I think it is important to tackle such topics, even in horror movies, to depict a sense of relevance for the audience amidst the supernatural events that have occurred.
I think the most important element in Grace is the dilemma of the protagonist. It is very unique for a mother-newborn bonding to be the center of a horror film. I guess that’s what made it more disturbing. The movie was able to exploit the wonderful experience of a mother in taking care of her child and turn it into a nightmare of obsession. It is horrifying to think that a mother would kill for her child, but I think it does apply in real life.