I had mixed feelings about Grace because it was the first every horror movie that’s genuinely made me sick to my stomach –literally . For me, I love watching horrific scenes whether the scenes were about mutilation, monsters, mystery and others. I knew they were just a movie and sometimes, Like in the Saw series, I would feel uneasy, but I would immediately look back again. Grace was the only movie that I made me not want to continue watching anymore because I felt sick in the middle.
One thing to notice about the movie is the biological mother’s attitude towards Grace. When Madeline (the biological mother) got into a car accident while she was pregnant, she was brought to the hospital and was told that her baby was dead. From there, a reasonable person’s behavior should have been to expel the baby out of her womb because it would just be plain creepy to be carrying around a dead body. In Philippine mythology the baby would be considered a tiyanak or demon baby. She insisted on carrying it and seeing the delivery through. After she gave birth, everybody even she knew that the baby would be dead, but she still had hope that it might be alive. This is true for real life as well. An example can be seen when a student does not study for a test, has a difficult time on the test, then after getting it back and before looking at it hopes for a passing grade. Obviously, it’s impossible. But, Madeline’s wish suddenly came true. At first I thought that the baby coming to life was just in Madeline’s head, but it really did come to life. This made the movie all the more horrific because you would not know whether to love the baby or feel something different for it because it was a strange situation. It was sort of like the Minotaur from the story of Icarus – an abomination of nature. It had a strong odor. Its skin and hair were falling off, and it would breastfeed the breast and not the milk. The fact that its name was Grace was ironic because it did not seem like a gift from God at all. Even without all the skin-peeling or stench, Grace caused a lot of chaos within the family and for Madelaine, which further emphasized that it was not a gift from above.
Another thing to notice is the obsession of the women in the movie. First is the most obvious obsession of Madelaine with Grace. She knew that the baby was exhibiting undead characteristics, but she chose to think about it as being sick. Second was her mother-in-law’s regression to being a mother to her son again. She felt like she wanted to come back to the days where she still had her dead son that’s why she was obsessed about taking Grace. Lastly was the subtle obsession of the midwife with Madelaine. It was unclear at first that the two used to be a couple because the hints in the movie were subtle. Eventually, Patricia would give flowers and would stalk Madelaine outside her house. At the end of the movie, it was not a surprise that they left town together, but the particular thing about the situation was that Patricia did had the same sentiment with Grace. She wanted to take care of her despite all the baby’s odd characteristics.
The plot line made Grace scary, but another thing to notice about the movie was the use of liquids. I can’t reasonably explain it, but liquids and horror movies go great together. One incident was when Madelaine bought meat for Grace as a substitute for milk. I thought at first that the meat would be the substitute but it was actually the meat juice. See, also saying “meat juice” already brings a bit of uneasiness in my skin. Try also saying dead body juice, pimple juice, and vaginal juice, and also excrement, excretion are words that are plainly disgusting. These are things that make a horror movie disgusting. It would not be as grotesque if a body was mutilated and there were no excretions. It would just look like an autopsy. That’s mainly the reason why I wanted to excrete my morning breakfast. No movie has ever done that to me.
An irony in the movie was Grace herself. They say that a baby’s laugh is the most beautiful thing (except when it’s 3 am and you don’t have a baby), but if Grace were to laugh it would not be the same. The movie presents the ultimate symbol of life as something dead.