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Grace Paul Solet

Cult Movies movie directed by Paul Solet

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Blood in A Baby Bottle...Depiction of the Horrors of Motherhood With a Touch of Vampire-Zombie Lore

  • Sep 22, 2009


I’ve been real disappointed with American horror the last few years. Most of them have cheapened their style in utilizing elaborate special effects, a weak storyline, remakes and beautiful people. I wasn’t expecting much with writer/director Paul Solet’s “Grace”, and surprisingly, it proved to be an overpowering horror film. It would be easy to dismiss the film as another “It’s Alive” rip off or just another attempt at vampire horror. The film utilizes the fine art of cerebral intrusion, it doesn’t follow the standard rules of the horror genre and instead turns the ugly head of something that is supposed to be an amazing experience; a mother nursing her own baby. “Grace” has all the makings of a successful low-budget horror film; it is twisted, shocking and maddening…the film just feels wrong.
Madeline and Michael (Jordan Ladd and Stephen Park respectively) is a young couple who is very adamant on having a child and have finally gotten 8 months pregnant again. They have suffered through 2 miscarriages and out of desperation, they opt to seek the services of a midwife clinic headed by Patricia Lang (Samantha Ferris). One evening, a car accident takes the life of Madeline’s husband and her baby had been determined also dead. Madeline decides to carry the baby nonetheless, and to pretend that the baby is still born. When she does give birth, her baby is lifeless but miraculously, the baby comes to life; Madeline considers the event as divine intervention and names her child Grace. However, the problems begin when she takes her baby home as strange things begin to happen and Madeline finds that her baby requires not mother’s milk but fresh human blood. Madeline is still determined to see things through, even at the possible cause of her very life.

I am quite surprised that I haven’t heard of Paul Solet. He has displayed intelligence, a great methodical approach and finesse in the making of this horror movie. I thought I was about to see a baby on a bloodlust much like “It’s Alive”, the Filipino horror movie “Tianak” or the Japanese horror movie “Tamami: The Baby’s Curse” but surprisingly the plot of this film while very simple manages to find the right tone, style to pull off this very disturbing horror film. Solet’s direction sidesteps the mechanics of standard horror filmmaking; in “Grace”, there is no threat to be eliminated or vanquished. This film is more about the psychological state of a mother and her twisted desire to keep her child alive.
Solet manages to display quite a few freaky images. The sight of a mother feeding her baby should be beautiful and amazing, it is just so downright unsettling to see it seem so ominous and creepy. It is just so wrong to see a baby rejecting her own mother’s milk and starts feeding off her life giving blood. Which as a result drives her to extreme anemia. Jordan Ladd gives an excellent performance as Madeline (this film may prove to be her best performance), and in this film one has to take into account that this mother had suffered through two miscarriages and her state of mind has to be brought into question/consideration. The film isn’t about jump scares, scary images and special effects but more on visual cerebral images that can make the viewer very uncomfortable.
I’ve mentioned that there is no threat to be eliminated and no one gets killed by this inhuman baby. The baby itself is innocent, it is the situation that serves as the main antagonist. Madeline’s child is as innocent, cute and adorable as your usual baby; she is as helpless as a babe, incapable of defending herself or harming anyone. Grace the baby is just doing what every other baby does when she’s hungry; she feeds. There is no malevolence or unkindness to what she does, it is no fault of her own that her situation is both a phenomenon and a curse. I think parts of the mythos of the film can be attributed to the myths of the “shell”. A myth where a soulless shell (or body) left out in the open can attract several spirits, even demonic ones. Warning signs signify this myth through the flies that hover above the crib, sensitivity to water and the infant’s bad odor.
Madeline wholeheartedly subjects herself to the immensity of the situation, as she would do anything to protect and sustain the life of her child. She never intentionally kills anyone to feed her child, whoever she attacks holds malice towards her and her baby; it is a twisted idea of self defense. The film’s driving force comes NOT from hatred or trepidation…love or the twisted understanding of it is the one thing that drives the horror of this film. Mothers are naturally protective of their children. Again, it is imperative to consider the mother’s feelings to appreciate this horror movie.

I also have to commend the efforts that Solet made to restrain from the usual clichés. Solet respects his audience and presents a methodical horror film without good and evil; he appreciates the fact that for a horror movie to be truly effective, his audience has to have an investment in his characters. “Grace” is a horrifying character study in the way the script is structured. Solet magnificently avoids jump scares, teenage stereotypes and caricature-like characters. The direction gives the main characters time to settle in to his audience as we see their state of mind even as the two make love in the opening act. Madeline raises her knees to insure pregnancy, the scenes speak a lot for their characters. Solet firmly believes that a picture is worth a thousand words. Even the character of Vivian, Madeline’s mother-in-law (played by Gabrielle Rose) who came dangerously close to becoming cliché; Solet manages to give her some needed depth. After her son’s lost, she just becomes obsessed in playing the role of a mother that is given credibility when she checks her own ’milk situation’. This is a film about mothers and the pain about losing an offspring. Solet brings every point across through the sleek photography and simple execution.
Jordan Ladd carries the burden of the film and she delivers. “Grace” is also a film about isolation and alienation; Ladd spends most of the screenplay by herself. Her baby may be the film’s driving force, but its emotional and narrative impact is carried by Ladd by herself. Her role is no walk in the park, and Ladd delivers. She performs astonishingly well as a mother under mental torture. She keeps her character grounded, and keeps her “Madeline” from becoming over-the-top. For a character at her lowest ebb, it is tempting to deliver the scenes with just false bravado. The scene with Madeline standing over the crib as the sun rises is just breathtaking. This film has made me a fan of Jordan Ladd.
I do hope that this isn’t his last horror film, American horror needs more writers and directors like Paul Solet. The finesse, the craftsmanship just contributes to the every aspect of the film’s tone and plot. One minor flaw that I can find is that the hints of the lesbian subplot may feel a little out of place and there is an underlying plot hole between the baby's birth and the time she was brought home. The climax may also be missing a few details but I can easily look pass that. “Grace” is right in the brink of exceptional filmmaking. “Grace” is just primal, visceral, moody, disturbing, an amazingly well-made horror film that generates its terror from emotions. Fans of fast-paced jumps and thrills may be disappointed since the film is a little slow in the first half.
“Grace” is artistically rendered and utterly unnerving. There is just something unsettling and chilling about a movie that depicts the horror of childbirth and “Grace” draws its strength from that. This may not be essential to horror fanatics but it is a refreshing reminder just how awesome and compelling horror films can become.
Highly Recommended!! [4+ Stars]
Video/Audio: 2.35 ratio anamorphic widescreen. The PQ was intentionally shot to have some grain in the scenes. The colors and contrast are good with good black levels. The 5.1 Dolby Digital track is powerful and clear.

DVD scene in tub blood in a bottle scene

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October 22, 2010
Yeah man my girl picked this one up for me after ti came out, the cover got her interested, worked out for me.
October 22, 2010
Luckily I got it for free through amazon vine. :)
September 24, 2009
I was thinking of checking this out but, had my doubts. Your review's changed my mind and it is now added onto my Netflix cue- thanks, Will!
September 24, 2009
This is worth watching, Samantha. It has some mixed reviews because folks were expecting too much, keep your expectations low so you can be taken by surprise. It is a horrifying drama than a scary movie.
September 23, 2009
Sounds really intriguing, Woo. Sorry it took me a while to find this review for some reason. Put me to shame, you did. It kind of sounds like this movie taps into the same nerve or vein that "Rosemary's Baby" tapped into: the desperate mother wanting to protect her child, never realizing that her child is the real danger.
September 24, 2009
No probs, Sean. It's just that whenever I see a vampire movie (or something that resembles one) you and trashie always come to mind. This was real good, not perfect but really close. Funny you mentioned Rosemary's Baby, this one also brings a mother's descent into madness. I think you may enjoy it.
September 24, 2009
See, and whenever I review a comic book-related film or fantasy film, I think of you and Trashie... so I guess we're just a gleeful bunch of geeks! LOL!
September 22, 2009
Okay. I'm totally sold.
September 23, 2009
haay haay...
September 22, 2009
This movie sounds Disturbingly awesome!  Very nice review, I'm going to have to check this out soon!  Is Grace meant to be a "vampire" or just a baby who happens to need blood instead of milk?  Also, did you see the film Event Horizon?  I would have to say that that is still the scariest film I have ever seen. 
September 23, 2009
oh yes, this is so creepy and chiling the way you see a baby rejecting mother's milk but would keep on going until it starts to suck on blood. For me, it is rather unresolved whether Grace is a vampire or a zombie...but the signs suggests that she may be something else. I saw hints of the 'human shell' legend in this film as I also see a potential sequel in the works for this. I do like Event Horizon. I see Lunch has an empty data point. Hmmm....tempting.
September 23, 2009
Ya, it's tempting for me as well. I'd have to watch it again, as I'm a little rusty!
September 23, 2009
It's been many years since I saw it last. May as well watch it again and review it.
September 24, 2009
Husher my friend, are you giving me a hint to review Event Horizon? Just say so and I will give it a shot... ;-)
September 24, 2009
Hey, you can if you want ;) BTW, I just picked up Grace to watch! I can't wait to watch it!
September 24, 2009
Hey, you can if you want ;) BTW, I just picked up Grace to watch! I can't wait to watch it!
September 25, 2009
alright...enjoy. It is not so much as scary as it is horrific. Think you'll really like it.
September 22, 2009
Sweet review! I have been tempted to check this out but I keep procrastinating. I'm glad one of us decided to get off their ass & check it out. Remind to write that review for "Redsin Tower" soon too by the way. I just finished it this past weekend.
September 22, 2009
Thanks, dude. Would you believe I got this one for free?? This is worth a look but I have to say it may not be for everyone. So, where's that review for Redsin Tower at?? You know I'll be bugging you about it now...
September 22, 2009
Ni-ice. There is nothing so cool as getting a movie for free, right? Hey, what's your secret on getting free flicks Woo? I will begin my work on Redsin Tower today....just for you. ;-)~
September 23, 2009
I got this from amazon's vine program. They'll send a copy of a movie for free in exchange for an unbiased review. Give me a holler when you get that review up...
September 23, 2009
Vine program, eh? Hmm, I may have to look into that. Can anyone write a review for a free copy?
September 29, 2009
They invite folks to join, as for how they determine who gets invited, I have no idea.
September 29, 2009
Okies, cool. Maybe I will get an invite sometime. Every now & then I get lucky. Thnks bro.
More Grace reviews
review by . March 01, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
*** out of ****      A baby's cry - no, a baby's scream - is quite possibly one of the most annoying sounds known to mankind; this is something that both writer-director Paul Solet and his debut feature "Grace" know very well. In a cinematic legacy of children from hell and toddlers from beyond the grave; here's an artful horror flick where the child is not from hell, nor is it undead. No, it's a normal baby; just with some ugly, gruesome peculiarities. …
review by . November 10, 2009
Writer/director Paul Solet serves up a heaping helping of creepiness in his 2009 chiller, "Grace," but an unintended camp factor prevents me from taking it too seriously. The film opens with a young couple, the Mathesons, successfully conceiving a child. It's been a hard road for the pair in their attempts to become pregnant, but this time around they are successful. Michael (Stephen Park), has grudgingly compromised with his wife, Madeline (Jordan Ladd), on having a midwife deliver the child for …
review by . October 04, 2009
Grace is about a thirty something Madeline who's married to some schlub named Michael,  They have been trying to have a baby for sometime.  Mike's mother Vivian wants to make sure Madeline has the kid in a hospital but she wants to have a midwife named Patricia (her old lover) deliver it.  But before any of their plans transpire, a freak car accident leaves Mike dead and Maddy her unborn child in some serious trouble.  A few days later her water (er red Flavor Aid) breaks and …
review by . October 12, 2009
'Grace' is a good horror film. It has raw horror combined with a psychological component that makes this movie intensely creepy and engulfing.     The movie follows the tragedy of a mother that has to carry her stillborn baby to term. But, when the baby is born, it is alive. And I mean `it' and not `she', because there is something seriously wrong with baby Grace, she does not want her mother's milk, she wants her mother's blood.     At first, I truly doubted …
review by . October 07, 2009
While more subdued and slower-paced than the shocking short, this feature-length Grace still packs a punch. The woman-centric issues of pregnancy and self-sacrificing motherhood are rarely featured in horror, so it's nice to see these addressed. The bond between a mother and child are strong, so like Madeline, I'm willing to bet you would sacrifice everything and anything for them. Madeline breaks her own ethical beliefs to ensure that Grace gets what she hungers for...blood...and is prepared to …
review by . October 05, 2009
Doesn't the following sound like a great idea for a horror movie; a pregnant woman with three weeks left in her pregnancy is in an auto accident. This auto accident produces a tragic outcome, her baby is killed. The mother is obviously devastated, but decides to carry out the rest of her pregnancy and give natural birth; despite the fact the mother (to be) knows the child will be stillborn. However, when the child is born, she is alive and appears rather ghoulish.    I felt like …
Quick Tip by . October 01, 2009
There's Horror and then there's being uncomfortable, this movie is sick and disturbing. Whoever wrote it has issues. Full review coming!
review by . September 08, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
"Grace"    Motherhood    Amos Lassen    I am not a fan of horror movies but "Grace" really made me think about the genre. This is a movie that is not easy to forget and it is an emotional and psychological thriller as well as a trip into terror. Madeline (Jordan Ladd) and Michael Matheson (Stephen Park) have been trying to have a child for a long time. Now they are about to become parents but soon before delivery, a terrible accident kills …
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William ()
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Please "Like" Film and Movies and Keep the Economy strong....LOL!!      My Interests: Movies, Anime, History, Martial Arts, Comics, Entertainment,Cooking, Things I don't … more
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Director: Paul Solet
DVD Release Date: September 15, 2009
Runtime: 84 minutes
Studio: Starz / Anchor Bay
First to Review

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