Grace (2009) directed by Paul Solet
There's no denying that there's a seed of a good idea in here. A pregnant woman named Madeline survives a car wreck, though it seems as if her baby has died. She refuses to go to the hospital and decides to carry it to term, anyway. It's stillborn, but miraculously comes back to life. However, the only substance it's interested in drinking is human blood. Obviously, Madeline's going to go all Julia-in-Hellraiser and start luring horny men to their bloody deaths, right? Eh, not really. She starts out as a vegan, which is kind of an obvious joke for this sort of movie, and works her way up to killing flies before accidentally killing a person. By that point, the movie is just about over with.
The movie flirts with some nice story elements. Most of the film is about the conflict between Madeline's maternal instinct and what society says she should do. She carries a dead baby to term, gives birth with a midwife instead of at a hospital, and refuses to take her baby to a doctor because she knows how to take care of her. All of her choices ensure baby Grace's survival, though we're forced to wonder if this is for the best.
Ultimately, it's not enough. The movie is rather slow and fails to build any tension as it reaches its climax. Baby Grace's unique condition is explored a little in the beginning -- she smells badly, her skin and hair come off easily, flies are attracted to her -- but this is dropped in favor of the blood-drinking angle. I would've like to have seen Grace continue to show signs that she was really dead as the movie continued. The ending is unsatisfying in a way that makes me think the director just could think of a better way to stop the story. (6/10)
Tales from the Darkside: "Trick or Treat" (1983) directed by Bob Balaban
The pilot episode to the TV show with the creepiest intro ever. After that intro, you might expect to be into something dark and mind-blowing. Not so much. Staying true to its conception as "Creepshow: The TV Series," this is a pretty standard EC comic-style horror story of comeuppance. An unlikable miser likes to scare the crap out of children on Halloween while promising to erase their parents' debts if they can find his hidden IOU packet. Scrooge-like, he's visited by supernatural forces... but they take him straight to Hell instead of given out second chances. It's a tale that'd be scary for kids -- especially the witch -- but nothing much more than that. (6/10)
BLAXPLOITATION MONTH: Shaft (2000)
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