If you’ve seen this poster I think you pretty much get why I watched this movie. I mean seriously, that’s a baby bottle filled with blood. How are you gonna pass that up? And for once, the movie behind the visual lives up to every hint of weirdness and horror promised by the poster.
You can sum up Grace‘s premise in two words: Zombie. Baby.
Here’s the scoop: a mother conceives a child and carries it almost to term, but then a horrific car crash results in the deaths of her husband and the baby in her womb. The mother is devastated, but decides she wants to carry the dead baby to term. And when the baby is born she loves it back to life. Yeah, I know it sounds stupid, but trust me, somehow, in this movie, it works.
But as we’ve learned from the master himself “sometimes dead is better.” Because baby Grace came back…different. Outwardly she still looks like a normal human child, but instead of feeding off her mother’s milk she thirsts…for BLOOD.
What, too dramatic? Okay, I’ll back off a bit.
And not just any blood either. Baby Grace needs human blood. Oh, and did I mention that the flies are gathering in swarms around her crib?
But in spite of her thirst for blood, baby Grace isn’t the monster in this movie. She’s just a baby. She’s got no special powers, nothing noticeably unnerving about her nature. She just needs “special food.”
No, the real monster in this movie is motherhood. No you didn’t read that wrong. This film makes mothers in particular and women in general out to be something truly terrifying. The men who appear don’t seem to be much more than pets, weak willed accessories with slightly more status than a handbag, or slimy unlikable opportunists.
But the women…they cheat, lie, kill, lie some more and generally ruin the audience’s perception of an entire gender. With Grace’s mother at least some of this is understandable. She’s doing the terrible things she does to keep her child alive. But the rest? The scheming grandmother who is so obsessed with motherhood that she forces herself back into lactation, or the former lesbian lover who…well she’s a vegan. I mean she kills people too, but that’s not nearly as terrifying as veganism.
I do not know how such an anti-feminist film got made in the twentieth century. But I’m glad it did. Because it works. It really works. Its that increasingly rare brand of horror that builds suspense through tone and pacing rather than splashing buckets of gore at the screen, a good reminder that little things can still be scary.
Little things like flies. Crawling into a baby’s nostril.
If that sounds like your cup of Earl Grey then give this movie a shot. It will unnerve you. But more importantly it will make you think.