Grace (Blu-ray / DVD)
Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring Jordan Ladd, Stephen Park, Gabrielle Rose, Samantha Ferris, Malcolm Stewart
Directed by Paul Solet
Distributed by Anchor Bay Entertainment
Paul Solet's Grace has caused quite a stir since it was unleashed upon audiences. People have legitimately fainted during screenings (no bullshit), and the film has been known to put more than just the isolated person on edge. Why? Because no matter how you slice it, the film is downright disturbing.
Madeline Matheson (a stunning performance by Ladd) is about to become a mother, and things couldn't be brighter for her about-to-be family. That is, until fate, as it does so very often, decides to weigh in and toss a nice sized monkey wrench into said happiness. A horrible car accident occurs that leaves Madeline's husband dead and her banged up with unborn baby Grace laying dead in her womb. In her distraught state Madeline decides that she will not allow her child to be removed but will carry it, dead or alive, until term.
That she does, and as expected, little Grace arrives into this world stillborn. Yet, there's something else happening. Despite being apparently dead, the baby begins to move. Begins to cry. Little Grace is alive ... or is she? Even though technically active and kicking, our little bundle of horror displays some really odd behavior like ... stinking, attracting insects, and, oh yeah, her appetite for flesh and blood.
Grace will prey upon all of your senses until you're left absolutely drained. This is horror. In fact, this is its very definition. With this film Paul Solet has emerged as a director to be watched. The performances he was able to get out of his actors, especially Ladd, who is white-hot, along with the deliberate slow-burn pacing and mud-thick atmosphere, will leave you white-knuckled and grabbing your seat. It truly is one hell of an experience that's marred slightly by what feels like a bit of a tacked-on ending which leaves the door open for another visit with everyone's soon to be favorite terror-toting-toddler.
In terms of picture and sound quality, yes, the Blu-ray gets the edge over its DVD cousin, but not by much. That's not to say the high-def transfer presented here is bad by any stretch of the imagination; it's just kind of adequate with a surprising amount of noise running throughout the feature. Grace is shot as beautifully as its subject matter is ghastly so I was kind of taken aback by how flat everything looked at times despite the high level of detail exhibited. Again, better than the DVD but nothing to write home about either.
Also worthy of mention is that with the exception of the audio commentary with Solet and star Jordan Ladd, both packages share identical special features, which we'll dive into now.
Things kick off with a commentary by writer/director Paul Solet, producer Adam Green, and director of photography Zoran Popovic. Solet and Green do most of the talking with Popovic not coming on until later. They offer lots of insight into the inner workings of Hollywood, etc. A good listen for sure but definitely a lot more technical than I expected. The Blu-ray exclusive commentary with Solet and Ladd is actually a bit more entertaining as the two play off of each other very well with at times amusing results. Each is as good as the other, but it really depends on what you're in the mood for in terms of which you should watch when.
From there we get several featurettes ranging from about seven to forty minutes long that are absolutely stellar and riddled with lots of candid behind-the-scenes footage. The journey to bring Grace to life has been a long and arduous one for all parties concerned, and the included featurettes take you perfectly along on every step. If you're only up for watching one, definitely dig on the Grace at Sundance featurette, which features a brief history of the festival along with footage form the Grace Q&A and lots more really good stuff. Without question, other than the film itself, this is the must-watch moment on the disc.
The DVD and Blu-ray truly are nicely stacked, but there is one nagging and glaring omission that drives me crazy ... where is the original Grace short-film that launched all of this madness? Yes, it's available as a Best Buy exclusive when you buy the DVD, but come on, really? That's what gets left out? It's only one of the most important pieces of the puzzle. I just don't get it.
Grace on Blu-ray and DVD is nearly a perfect package, film and supplement-wise, with just a couple of little things that keep it from absolute and total greatness. Without question a new horror classic has been born. God help us when she works her way up to solid food!
4 1/2 out of 5
4 1/2 out of 5
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