Grace @ Fantasia

Starting off its life as a 6-minute short and slowly became a feature length film. Its success continues as a feature length as it is being screened at Fantasia, being an Official Selection at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and winning a Special Jury Prize for Best Feature Film at 2009 Gerardmer Fantastic Film Festival.

It seems as if there is a mini trend at this year's Fantasia Film Festival. There are at least three films (including this one and the soon-to-be wide release film Orphan) with themes of kids being dangerous. Parenthood would not seem too appealing if you were to watch all these films.

Madeline (Jordan Ladd – Hostel: Part II, Grindhouse) and Michael (Stephen Park – Slither, The Pink Panther – 2006) are a yuppie couple getting ready to have their first child. Madeline, much to the chagrin of Michael's mother (Gabrielle Rose – Catch and Release, Where the Truth Lies), has decided to use a midwife for the birth. She is using former colleague Dr. Patricia Lang (Samantha Ferris – appeared in episodes of Stargate SG-1, The Chris Isaac Show) as her midwife.

Everything is going along fine until while driving home after being hospitalized for gallstones, Madeline and Michael are in a car accident. Michael is killed while Madeline survives, but the baby is thought to have died. Madeline decides to carry the fetus to term and to give birth to it. Even Dr. Lang is doubtful about doing it, but Madeline gives birth to what everyone assumes is a dead little female baby. Somehow with everyone out of the room the baby begins to show signs of life. Madeline calls her baby Grace.

Home after the birth, Madeline has a hard time keeping up with Grace insatiable appetite. She cannot seem to feed her enough and it really tires her out. She also notices a fly problem in Grace's room, so she put up fly strips to try and control it. Soon Madeline begins to realize that her daughter Grace not only has a huge appetite, but an appetite for something quite unusual.

With all the strange female characters in this film you begin to question whether director Paul Solet's film is an ode to women and mothers or a criticism of them. Even after watching it I'm still not sure which it is. The film is full of dark humour that is coupled with gruesome horror. There are some truly creepy scenes in this film. I read that two people passed out at the Sundance screening. Now, it is not that gross. Not even close but still creepy.

Evil babies and the mothers that enable them is not something that hasn't been done in the horror genre. In that case, you really have to bring something new to the subject. What Solet does bring to the film is an exploration of issues not usually addressed in horror films. He also shows plenty of confidence behind the camera considering this is his first feature film. The man knows how to make a horror film inserting all the requisite elements and then throwing in some humour/cheesiness thanks to a couple of odd characters. Promising start for someone who isn't even 30 years-old yet.

While the beginning of the film shows plenty of promise it kinda got bogged down towards the end. The end of the film becomes a gruesome bloodbath and not much else. But I am just being picky, which I am prone to be at times, overall this is a good film.

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