Grace is a 2009 horror film written and directed by Paul Solet. It is based on the 2006 short film of the same name. The short film was used to obtain funding for the feature version.
Michael Matheson (Stephen Park) and his pregnant wife Madeline (Jordan Ladd) are involved in a car accident. Michael dies, and doctors tell Madeline that her unborn child is dead, too. Madeline, desperate after trying to have a child for years, decides to carry her baby to term anyway. The child, a girl, initially appears stillborn. After a while, though, she seems to revive, and Madeline names her "Grace". It soon becomes clear something is wrong with the baby. It develops unhealthy smells, attracts flies, and craves blood.
After two unsuccessful attempts to have a child, Michael and Madeline succeed the third time. Michael's domineering mother Vivian would rather they use her preferred doctor and friend, Dr. Sohn, as their obstetrician, but Madeline would rather consult her dear friend Patricia, a midwife. Though Michael is also skeptical, the couple visit the clinic for a tour. They meet with Patricia, who describes her natural approach to birthing.
One night Michael rushes Madeline to the hospital because of chest pain. Dr. Sohn arrives at Vivian's request. Just before he administers drugs to induce labor, Patricia arrives. She challenges his diagnosis and determines through bloodwork (which he has ignored) that inducement is not necessary. Madeline is treated and later released. On the way home from the hospital, a car accident kills both Michael and the unborn baby.
Madeline refuses to go to the hospital to have the dead fetus removed, and Patricia allows Madeline to carry the dead fetus to term. When the stillborn baby, a girl, is delivered, Madeline is left alone with her daughter, presumably to say goodbye. However, when Patricia returns, the baby is miraculously alive. Overjoyed, Madeline names the baby Grace.
Patricia later visits Madeline at home and encourages Madeline to take Grace to the hospital for tests to help understand how she revived. Citing her recent experience with Dr. Sohn, Madeline refuses any involvement with conventional medicine. But as Madeline cares for Grace, strange things keep happening in her home. She resorts to hanging fly paper in the nursery because Grace is attracting them due to her putrid scent, even when her diaper isn't soiled. Madeline decides to bathe her daughter, but Grace's skin begins to bleed in the bath water. Madeline tries to contact Patricia for help, but can only reach the clinic's answering machine and Patricia's jealous girlfriend, who does not pass on her messages. After attempts at feeding Grace end with vomiting, Madeline realizes that the baby is unable to digest breast milk.
In the meantime, Vivian wants to visit the baby and attempts to call Madeline, but she will not answer. She visits Dr. Sohn and convinces him to visit Madeline while looking to collect proof that she is an unfit mother. She intends to have Madeline arrested and raise Grace herself.
Madeline discovers that Grace's nursing is painful to the point of causing her breast to bleed, and soon realizes that the child is actually feeding on her blood. She buys raw beef, drains the blood, and is able to get Grace to drink it from a bottle. While disposing of the leftover meat outside, she almost catches Patricia spying on her from her car. She returns indoors to find Grace vomiting up the cow's blood, leaving Madeline no choice but to continue to feed Grace her own blood. Each feeding becomes more gruesome, and Madeline begins to become dangerously weak to the point that she allows Dr. Sohn into her home when he calls on her. He examines her, explains that she is anemic, and instructs her to refrain from nursing for a few days. After hearing Grace cry weakly, he starts upstairs, while dialing Vivian's number on his cellphone. Fearing that he will take Grace away, Madeline beats Dr. Sohn unconscious, but not before his call connects.
Vivian arrives just as Madeline finishes draining blood from Dr. Sohn's arm into a baby bottle. Vivian notices the unkempt state of the house and suspiciously remarks at Madeline's sick appearance. She agrees to leave, but instead finds Grace in her crib, and the bottle of Dr. Sohn's blood broken on the floor. Madeline hears her and climbs the stairs, but Vivian is able to grab Grace and look for a hiding place, discovering Dr. Sohn's body in the process. She arms herself with a hammer and sneaks downstairs with Grace. Madeline confronts her, and Vivian beats Madeline unconscious with the hammer, but not before Madeline rips out part of her mother-in-law's throat with her teeth. They are discovered by Patricia, who realized her girlfriend was withholding Madeline's messages and decided to investigate.
Some time later, Patricia is driving a motor home through the desert. She pulls over and goes to the back to check on Madeline and Grace. Patricia asserts that medical tests have confirmed Grace is as healthy as she looks. As long as Madeline keeps eating the proper diet, they can continue feeding and raising Grace. Madeline is concerned about something else, however: Grace has begun teething. She pulls up her shirt to reveal that a large chunk of her breast has been chewed away.Jordan Ladd as Madeline MathesonGabrielle Rose as Vivian MathesonSamantha Ferris as Dr. Patricia LangMalcolm Stewart as Dr. Richard SohnStephen Park as Michael MathesonSerge Houde as Henry Matheson
Shooting began on April 21, 2008, in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Grace premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. It was released in the US on August 14, 2009.
Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, reports that 67% of 27 surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating is 6.4/10. Metacritic rated it 52/100 based on six reviews. Jon Anderson of Variety called it "a satirical creepfest that mines modern motherhood for all its latent terrors". Doris Toumarkine of The Hollywood Reporter wrote, "Grace whimpers a bit like Rosemary's Baby and gurgles occasionally like The Exorcist, but the video look and bare-bones craftsmanship all scream B movie." Mike Hale of The New York Times described it as a "chilly and slow-moving horror film, which plays with ideas of mother love, obsessive child rearing and liberal spinelessness, adding a helping of trendy vampirism." Michael Ordona of the Los Angeles Times called it "a horrifying meditation on the unbreakable union of mother and child". S. James Snyder of Time Out New York rated it 1/5 stars and wrote, "Paul Solet's gyno-horror flick is certainly twisted but only slightly unnerving; the movie is about as gripping as one might expect given that its infant monster is both mute and cradle-bound." Ed Gonzalez of The Village Voice wrote that Grace is creepy but questioned the point of the film.