(Warning: Spoilers ahead)
A mother’s love is possibly the strongest bond present in the world. This is an idea which is very much clear in Paul Solet’s film Grace (2009). Grace tells the story of Madeline Matheson, a pregnant woman who gets into a car accident and loses her husband and unborn child. The strangeness to the film comes in however, when she refuses to believe that this child is dead. Instead of having the fetus removed, she decides to go to her friend, someone who promotes natural child birth and somehow, the baby is revived. It is because of this that she names her baby Grace. What she does not realize however, is that Grace is not a normal baby. She feeds on blood, attracts flies, and has a strange smell. The movie then goes on to show how, despite all of this, Madeline decided to do everything which she can to care for her baby, even when this leads to her committing crimes which she never would have done before this.
Personally, I very much appreciated the film. I cannot say that I enjoyed it as some scenes were just too much. I found it disgusting and revolting at times and very hard to watch but, I thought that it was very well executed. Even though there were ridiculous amounts of blood, excrement, and other disgusting materials which we normally associate with horror movie, I felt like these were all placed within the movie for a reason. This is why I was able to watch the movie. I felt that the horror and disgust was there for a reason. The filmmakers weren’t just throwing mindless gunk and gore at the audience for the sake of it. This allowed me to focus more on the story and in the end, I was invested in the movie and was so curious as to what might happen to the characters. I found it to be very well made and was interesting enough to keep me watching even though throughout most of the movie I had an urge to cover my eyes or look away.
In the article Horror and the Monstrous-Feminine: An Imaginary Abjection by Barbara Creed, she talks about the relationship of the abject from the subject. To her, the abject is something that is not normal or doesn’t follow the regular rules or systems set. It is “that which does not ‘respect borders, positions, rules’ . . . that which ‘disturbs identity, system, order”. This is especially seen in the movie through the abjection in the relationship between a mother and child. The mother, as I mentioned is willing to do anything for her child. This is very much brought to its peak by the movie. Madeline does crazy things for Grace such as feeding her blood from her own body, killing people, draining the blood out of meat, and even allowing Grace to eat her own flesh. Madeline literally gave up a piece of herself to ensure that Grace would remain healthy and would grow up well. She then went beyond what is normal in order to care for her child and, this made the abject. This theme of a mother’s love however, is very much present throughout the film. We see it in how Madeline’s mother-in-law wanted to have Grace to herself and actually even treated her own husband as her child.
Going further than this however, we can see how Grace as she is is also ultimately abject. She goes completely beyond what is normal because, the whole movie makes it seem like Grace is undead. In fact, Madeline has to pass on her life force in order for Grace to be able to live on. Grace however, serves as the main reason for Madeline’s abjection. She quite simply became the main reason for Madeline to live on, especially after losing her husband. We see this in how, at the end of the movie, she was readily willing to pack up and leave everything, just to be able to be with Grace.
Grace is a movie then which I felt was very well made. I would recommend it to almost anyone whom I feel has the stomach to watch a movie such as this. I found it very refreshing to see a movie in which the gore level was high but, also played a very important role in the overall story. As I mentioned a while ago, I did not necessarily enjoy this movie but, I very much appreciated it for what it is.
Barbara Creed, “Horror and the Monstrous-Feminine.” Horror, The Film Reader (Routledge, 2002)